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?

Monday, July 30, 2007

Chocolate Walk

One of the nice things about shooting for the way bottom of the calorie count is that if I want to indulge in a temptation, I don't have to freak out about it.

This afternoon, we went for a walk. We had some business we had to take care of that involved The Kid. Since she's gone to summer camp, we figured we'd walk over to the office and then walk home. If she'd been here, we'd have probably taken the car, just so we didn't have to listen to her whine.

Near our destination, is a small shop that sells handmade chocolates and candies. They are very good.

While we were out for our walk, we decided to stop at the shop. I bought a tiny bag of something that resembled peanut-butter flavored white chocolate. It came in flat pieces, and they claimed it was "bark."

Whatever it was, it was delicious, and I don't feel guilty, either.

Holding Steady

This weekend was a tough weekend, though not only for diet reasons. The Kid has been away at summer camp, and came home with an attitude that sucked the oxygen right out of the house. Exhausting didn't even come close to describing her behavior. It's better now, but she's returning for one more week of fun in the sun.

From a diet perspective, things were challenging, too. We ate out several times, despite my objections, and it's been really hard to stick to plan. Things were helped yesterday, though, by the fact that I managed to have a Carnation Instant Breakfast in the morning, and I got busy doing chores and helping my father work on one of my broken-down cars and didn't eat again until dinner. I had a low-calorie frozen something-or-other, and my weight was actually down 0.2 lbs since Friday.

That's the good news for the weekend.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Weekly Weigh-In #14

Here's my results for this week:
Weight       236.4 lbs (-0.6)
Body Fat 48.5 % (+0.8)
Body H20 36.4 % (-1.1)
Bone Mass 7.7 lbs (+0.3)
Muscle Mass 46.5 lbs (-2.8)

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Gifts You Don't Want

My sister is a fabulous cook.

She just sent a package from out of state which arrived today. Among the items for The Kid (including items she forgot and a new pair of shoes) was a plastic bag filled with home made chocolate chip cookies.

VLCD or no, I couldn't help myself. I ate four of them.

They were so good.

At least they were small.

But on one level, I wish my sister hadn't sent them at all. Not only is it temptation to completely blow my diet, it also makes me miss her all the more. I wish we could climb into my truck and head back there, now.

But we can't, for a variety of reasons, and I'm staring at the bag of cookies feeling so empty inside. I'm empty, not because I'm hungry, or even because I particularly want to eat them, but because I miss my sister who I have only seen a handful of times in the past 10 years.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Shaking It Loose

I've been very frustrated of late because it seems like my diet efforts are really stalled. I've been sticking to my plan, but things just aren't going as well as I'd like.

A few days ago, my SO had a discussion with our doctor about weight loss. The doctor said that there are two effective ways to lose weight: 1) To eat a reasonable number of calories (in the 1,200-1,300 range for women) and exercise a lot so that your body expends enough energy that it can't hold onto fat; or 2) eat an extremely low number of calories so that your body simply doesn't have enough to hold onto the fat.

Either way works, but the doctor recommended option #1 because it's hard to maintain balanced nutrition doing option #2 over an extended period of time.

My knee is getting better. It's not actively paining me, but it feels somewhat unstable when I walk on it, and it's back to making that suspicious clicking noise. Now is not the time to go on multi-mile long hikes, or take up jogging.

I really can't do much in the way of exercise right now, though I've been doing a lot of washing and waxing cars. Beyond that, there's just not much I can do until my knee heals up.

So I've decided, at least for a few days, to try and shake off some weight by going the VLCD route.

Now before everyone freaks out and leaves a bunch of dire-sounding comments, I want to say the following things:
  1. I realize that a VLCD most certainly neglects my nutritional needs and should not be maintained long-term.
  2. My body will go into "starvation mode" if I do this for too long.
  3. I'll get extremely grumpy if I do this too long.
So, dear readers, please don't freak out on me. I'm just going to do this for a few days to see if I can kick myself out of being stuck.

How Many Weigh-Ins Are Too Many?

FatBlokeThin (who I happen to really like) is sponsoring his own weight loss challenge. His challenge will be starting this Friday for those that want to join, and will be running along until the end of the year.

I'd really like to get in on the challenge, but he's selected Mondays as his official weigh-in day, and I'm thinking that three official weigh-in days are just too much. I'm already officially weighing in on Fridays for myself and Tuesdays for the May Day Weight Loss Challenge, and I think having a third day where I have to be accountable is just too much.

As it is, I get pretty discouraged when I see small gains between my Tuesday and Friday weigh-ins. Even though I weigh myself every day, and even though I know that it's normal for my weight to peak and valley during the week, it's emotionally much harder to deal with those peaks and valleys when I have to record them on my Web site. Even when my weight is up a little bit, as long as I don't have to record it, the change doesn't usually bother me so much.

So how many official weigh-ins are too many? Three seems like a lot.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

May Day Weight Loss Challenge Weigh-In #11

This week's results: +2.2 lbs.


I'm sure that pizza and beer on Friday didn't help, but I suspect that's not the only culprit.

I suspect that the real culprit has been that we've eaten out every day since Friday. Even though I've done my best to make good selections and exercise portion control, I think the real truth is that even the deceptively healthy-looking entrees at most restaurants aren't as good as they appear. I wish restaurants would list at least the calorie counts on their menus. I suspect if they did, though, there would be a public outcry.

I've told the SO that we really need to stop eating out.

What surprises and frustrates me, though, is that over the weekend I was very active, so I really expected to see my weight stabilize, rather than spike. On Saturday, we had an event that had us walking around all day. On Sunday, we had a car wash party, and I was outside detailing cars all day. Yesterday, despite the fact that my knee was killing me, I managed to wash our worst-running and dirtiest car (had to wash it three times) and start the detailing process. Once it's cleaned up and I get a couple of minor things fixed, I plan to sell it. We have too many cars cluttering up the driveway.

Other than Friday night, when I went to bed feeling full, but not stuffed, I've gone to bed feeling slightly hungry each night. Most of the time I'm still plagued with being hungry all the time.

My doctor called last night to speak to my SO about their recent visit, but while she had me on the phone she said, "I heard from SO that you are doing a good job sticking to your diet." I shot my SO a furious look, as that topic wasn't supposed to be discussed with anyone. "Lies, lies and more lies," I told the doctor. She laughed. "Well, hang in there," she said.

Can I kill my SO now? I am so ready.

What's really aggravating me is that the SO has been running off at the mouth telling everybody and anybody who will listen about the 25 pounds lost so far. Shut up, I mouth, but the lips just keep on flapping. I'll tell people I'm on a diet when I am good and ready.

And of course nobody is noticing that I'm losing weight, either. I'm the one suffering, I'm the one starving, and I'm the one whose numbers don't budge on the scale. The SO eats like a pig, and the pounds fall off. I exercise to the best of my ability, I eat crumbs, and there is no reward at the scale.

I'm getting so annoyed with my SO of late that I've actually been entertaining thoughts of moving out. I wouldn't mind so much if the SO would just shut up.

I wonder, how many divorces are caused by diets?

Monday, July 23, 2007

I Did Something Bad

Do you remember my knee? That's the knee that's been making suspicious popping and griding noises since at least April, and sometimes hurt in June.

Well now it's really hurting, and I don't know what I did. On Saturday, we were looking at an exhibit that involved considerable going up and down of small sets of stairs (no more than 4 or 5 at a time) and that's when it started hurting. By Sunday, it was really sore, and I was hobbling through my day's activities.

If I wasn't stiff and sore enough from detailing four cars, the knee made it ten times worse.

This morning, it's really sore, and it hurts to walk on it. It doesn't hurt if I keep the joint at least slightly bent, but putting weight on it hurts and straightening it out hurts.


Saturday, July 21, 2007

One Cannot Live on Grass and Twigs Alone

As I've been dieting for just about three months now, I've come to realize a particular reality. As much as anyone might want to, it is not possible to live on grass and twigs along. For the sake of my sanity, I have to give up on the diet once in an while, and just eat some real food.

Last night, we went to a auto repair party. A friend of our is leaving on a three week vacation, so we went over to help install new brakes and struts on our friend's car, and to drink beer and eat pizza.

Before I arrived, I mentally planned out what I was going to do. I was going to have one beer and one slice of pizza, and then I was going to drink water for the rest of the evening. I had it all decided how good I was going to be, and how I was going to be so virtuous.

When I got to the party, I decided, "f*ck it," and I decided to eat and drink until I was satisfied.

Even though I made sure to eat decently during the day, I was starving. Two beers and three pieces of cheese and two pieces of vegetarian pizza later, I was finally full. I wasn't stuffed -- just comfortably full.

I enjoyed every bite.

And, no, I didn't step on the scale this morning either.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Weekly Weigh-In #13

I just realized, after looking at my calendar, that last week's weigh-in was actually week number 12, which makes this week lucky number 13. I went back and corrected the week information on my previous weekly weigh-in, since it turns out I missed two weeks of weigh-ins while I was on vacation, and not one like I had thought.

Here are the results from this morning's weigh in.
Weight       237.0 lbs (-1.8)
Body Fat 47.7 % (-0.6)
Body H20 37.5 % (+0.8)
Bone Mass 7.4 lbs (-0.3)
Muscle Mass 49.3 lbs (+1.3)

I'm down a tiny bit since yesterday (0.4 lbs), so I'm not really sure that skipping the hamburger last night bought me much. I'll have to decide if missing the hamburger was worth less than half a pound.

We'll see.

According to my calculations, I've been averaging about 1.5 lbs lost a week, which I guess isn't so bad. I was hoping that I could lose a little faster, because at the current rate I'm going, I'm not going to be at my goal weight for another year and a half. I hate how every time I calculate my estimated completion date, it seems to be stretching out further and further into the future.

It was pretty hard thinking that I'd be at this for a year. It's even harder knowing that I'm going to be at this for at least another year and a half on top of the three months I've already been dieting. I'm worried that as I lose more and more weight, things will go even more slowly, and I might be looking at another two or three years before I'm anywhere near my goal.

I'm trying to keep my eyes on shorter-term goals like losing a total of 10% of my original body weight (25 lbs) or just moving out of the category of morbidly obese to just plain-old obese (39 lbs) but even both of those goals seem really far off. Although I'm certainly getting close to the 10% goal (I've lost 7% of my original body weight), the last little bit just doesn't seem to want to come off. It's only a measly 5 lbs from where I am now, but even that seems like climbing a mountain. When I think about the fact that I still need to lose 101 lbs until I'll be at a normal weight and 119 lbs until I reach my goal, it's pretty darned overwhelming.

I just keep trying to remind myself that I'm 4/5ths of the way to the 10% goal, and a bit more than halfway to becoming obese.

Of course there is something a little sick and wrong about having the goal, "I would like to become obese." If I went running around the neighborhood yelling, "Guess what? I'm obese!" people would surely think I'd lost my mind.

Funny, isn't it? What's one person's goal is another person's nightmare.

Thursday, July 19, 2007


This evening, we wandered out into the vegetable garden to see what was out there. We harvested a tomato, some squash, and a bunch of beets. We harvested a few string beans, but there weren't enough to really go around. We are cooking them up, just so we can each have a taste.

Boy, those beets were yummy. I'm the only one in the house who likes them, so they are all mine. Mine, I tell you!

Insert maniacal laugh here.

In hopes that my weight will be down tomorrow, we skipped our weekly trip to the hamburger restaurant. Instead, we got our favorite soup in to-go containers, and I had a bowl of soup with two large wedges of cantaloupe instead. The cantaloupe came from the CSA, and it was delicious.

Too bad there wasn't more melon. I ate the last of it.

I didn't really miss my hamburger all that much, either.


Okay, I missed it a lot. But maybe I'll be rewarded on the scale tomorrow.

Is No Post Better Than Grumbling?

I almost didn't post today because I'm feeling especially grumpy for several reasons:
  • My weight seems to be stuck again.
  • My SO has lost 25 pounds so far and gone down three pants sizes.
  • I've lost almost 20 pounds, and I'm not noticing any change in the way my clothing fits.
  • My SO "cheats" all the time.
  • I rarely cheat, and still don't lose weight.
  • My muscles are still terribly sore from the marathon car washing session we did last weekend.
Like I said, I feel especially grumpy today.

On the bright side, at least my weight loss woes are entertaining to someone. Yesterday, I went to play guitar, sing and tell stories at a senior daycare center where I volunteer. I usually will play a song or two, tell a story, and then play some more. Generally, the stories are anecdotes from my life, and this time I had people rolling on the floor laughing over my vacation misadventures (descriptions of getting fat me up on a horse) and the fact that I ate like a pig on vacation and lost 5 pounds, only to gain a pound after starving and washing cars all day last weekend.

I'm glad that my suffering at least brightened someone's day. That still doesn't make it very much fun for me.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Buns of Tinfoil

Lady T posted this morning that she wasn't much interested in exercising to the point of having six-pack abs or buns of steel, and that she really is shooting for an overall healthier body.

I, on the other hand, wouldn't mind having a body with six-pack abs, buns of steel and a scarily low percentage of body fat. Although I certainly wouldn't mind looking like that, I have to be honest and say that I doubt very much I'd ever put forth the amount of effort it takes to have a body like that.

It's just like cars -- although I do have one newish, but inexpensive, car (it's a year old) the rest of the cars parked on our driveway are older and pretty beat up, the newest being a 1995 model that we bought well-used a few years ago. Although I certainly wouldn't mind driving around in a brand-new $45,000 SUV or big truck with a 12,000 pound tow rating, I'm not about to go to the work (or in my case incur the debt) it would take to actually own one. If I ended up with a lucky windfall that netted me one of these beauties, I wouldn't say no, but that's about the extent of my desire.

So, I guess that means instead of having buns of steel, I'm going to have buns of tinfoil. I'm okay with that.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

May Day Weight Loss Challenge Weigh-In #10

Okay, here we are at week #10.

I'm still sore and tired from all the auto detailing I did on Sunday. At this point, I don't know which is worse -- the fact that I worked my body to the point of being crippled for several days, or the fact that I gained weight doing it.

I didn't set out to make myself this sore. I vacuumed, washed, and detailed my car, then I worked over my truck, which needed the carpet and upholstery shampooed. I didn't wax it, since it's going in for a minor paint repair soon. When I was finished with it, I decided to wash my next door neighbor's van. After that, I detailed a friend's extremely filthy car. Before I knew it, I had four sparkling vehicles and the day was completely gone. I was tired, but felt okay. The sore muscles didn't hit until the next morning.

So here's the news for May Day Weight Loss Challenge #10:

Weight: 237.8 lbs (-2.0 from last week)

My biggest frustration is that all that car cleaning put me up a pound from my lowest weight of the week. It doesn't seem fair that I was outside, working my rear off for the entire day and I gained weight. Still, I should be happy because I'm still down two pounds from last Tuesday and down one from Friday.

But still, I want that scale to go down every time I step on it!

I suppose that's how we all feel.

My SO went to see our family doctor for a checkup, and the doctor was pleased with the fact that SO has lost a whopping 25 lbs since we started dieting. I'm a little miffed, because the SO started discussing my diet with the doctor, too. I've given everyone who knows strict instructions not to discuss the fact that I'm dieting with anyone, so I'm a little peeved. At any rate, the doctor is apparently quite pleased that I'm losing weight as well, and said that 1,200-1,300 calories per day is right for me.

So I guess the good news (or bad, depending on how you look at it) is that all the starving I've been doing is right on target. A measly 1,200 calories a day leaves me feeling hungry a lot of the time, but at least it's what the doctor ordered. Now, when I have people telling me, "you really should eat more," I can at least feel satisfied in knowing that my doctor says what I'm doing is okay.

Of course being hungry a lot of the time just isn't much fun no matter how you slice it, even if it is what the doctor ordered.

I'm still waiting to notice a difference in the way my clothes fit, and my friends and family don't seem to be noticing that I'm losing weight either. I would have thought that at nearly 20 lbs gone, people would start noticing, but maybe I'm just so fat I'm going to have to lose 40 or 50 lbs before people start seeing the difference.

At any rate, I'm still here. I haven't given up yet, so that's good news in and of itself.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ooh, Ouch, Oh!

I think the scale is out of whack again.

Yesterday, I spent the entire day outside washing and detailing cars. I was outside from about 10:00 AM until about 7:00 PM. I vacuumed, I washed, I detailed, I clayed and I waxed several vehicles, including two cars, a truck and the neighbor's van.

I am so sore this morning I can barely move.

And what was my reward on the scale for all this activity?

I gained a pound.


Sunday, July 15, 2007

My Scale Must Be Broken Again

I think my scale is broken again. I stepped on it this morning and was shocked to see 236.8 lbs. That's down a total of 20.2 lbs.

Not possible.

I'd better go check and see if the scale needs new batteries again.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Weekly Weigh-In #12

Well, here it is, 12 weeks since I started my diet.

I've compared this Friday's weigh-in with the measurements I took on Monday, right after my vacation. My weight is down a little bit (though not as far as yesterday), but as expected my body fat percentage is up and my lean muscle mass is down. As much as I'd like to, I just can't keep up the level of activity I had while I was on vacation.
Weight       238.8 lbs (-0.6)
Body Fat 48.3 % (+0.6)
Body H20 36.7 % (-1.1)
Bone Mass 7.7 lbs (+0.3)
Muscle Mass 48.0 lbs (-2.4)
I think I'm definitely going to have to put a stop to our weekly hamburger outings. This week didn't do as much damage as other weeks have, but I think I would make more progress if I could just quit this one indulgence.

The exercise thing is a real problem, too. There's really not much I can do, other than walk around the neighborhood, or exercise on my living room floor, both of which I simply hate doing. I can't afford a gym membership, or even an exercise class. They are just too expensive. Our budget right now is stretched tighter than a drum. Our vacation wasn't particularly lavish, since we stayed with my sister and didn't eat out, but it was still expensive because we had to buy gas to drive about 2,400 miles round trip and we got stuck with four unexpected and expensive auto repairs during the trip. This falls on the heels of my SO's very costly dental problems, so we won't have money for anything extra until we dig ourselves out of this budgetary mess. In the course of one month we went from having no debt, other than our mortgage and a car payment, to owing a ton of money.

By all rights, we should have canceled our vacation. It would have been the responsible thing to do given the huge bill my SO incurred at the dentist's office. We went anyway, since I haven't taken a vacation in nine years, but in retrospect it was definitely not the responsible thing to do. Sure, there were all sorts of emotional arguments in favor of going, since it was the first time I'd visited my sister's home in nearly a decade, but from a financial standpoint it was a poor choice.

Even more foolishly, I promised my sister and The Kid that we'd go back to visit again before the end of the year (which really means before the end of October, because the roads to her home are often closed due to snow) so we are going to have to squeeze another expensive trip out of our overtaxed budget. When I made the promise, I wasn't thinking about how much gas cost, and we hadn't run up the expensive car repair bills.

So now I'm stuck with a lot of bills and an expensive promise I have to keep. I don't make promises very often, but when I do, I keep them, especially if they were made to The Kid. She's only lived with us since she was 10, and before she came to us she endured a life filled with hardships and adults who were untrustworthy and unreliable. So, if I promise something, it's gonna happen, even if I have to kill myself to get it done.

I'd love to buy a Bowflex, but they are expensive beyond my wildest dreams. Even if I had the money, I wouldn't have anywhere to put it. My tiny house barely has room for my furniture, let alone a home gym.

Back to the weight loss issue for a moment, I've lost a total of 18.2 lbs, or about 7% of my original body weight, in 11 weeks. I think if I cut out my weekly hamburger and soup, I'll lose weight a little faster. I was hoping I'd be able to sustain an average loss of 2 lbs a week.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Ongoing Struggles

This week has been a real struggle.

It's not been a struggle as far as my weight-loss efforts. I've actually been pretty good since we've been back. Although I miss my beer, fry bread, and pancake breakfasts, I've been very good about sticking to my food plan, and not over-indulging.

In fact, I've been downright good.

The struggle I'm wrestling with is with my motivation and attitude in general. I don't want to get out of bed in the morning, I don't want to work, and I don't have much patience for The Kid. I've been back at work for a week, and I've accomplished almost nothing. I've just stared at the computer screen for hours, watching the cursor blink. Other than blogging, I've barely been able to find the energy to press a key.

The further away I get from my vacation, the more I realize what a bad idea it was. I never should have gone anywhere. I should have stayed home, kept working, and kept doing what I was doing. If I hadn't gone, I wouldn't be sitting here knowing that there's a better world out there, but I'm stuck at my desk doing a job I dislike because I have "responsibilities."

Coming back from vacation has been like the transition at the end of the movie The Wizard of Oz. Nearly the whole film is in color, and at the end it switches back to black and white. I'm feeling like I've experienced a moment of life in Technicolor, and it's very hard to go back to the monochrome existence that is my life.

The worst of it is that I feel so trapped. I feel like there's little I can do to get out of my current situation. I can't sell my house because the real estate market is in a slump, and I can't change jobs because I have no professional abilities outside my career field. Changing jobs won't fix the problem, because I am sick and tired of the kind of work that I do. I have no money to go back to school, and even if I did, I don't have the time because of my professional obligations. I have a family to support, The Kid to feed, and animals for which I have to provide. Even my diet feels like a black mark on my life. My small victory at the scale feels empty, and I've realized that unless I can find a job that would either require or give me time to be much more active, I will be resigned to a life of being hungry all the time.

I can't think of a time where I've felt more negative about my life. Although I've been through very tough times in the past, those times were made easier by the fact that there was a clear path out of the mire. This time, though, I feel like there's really no solution. I have to live up to my responsibilities. I have a mortgage and bills to pay, and I can't exactly walk away from my life and do something else.


I Should Move My Weigh-In To Thursday

So here it is, Thursday morning, and my weight is once again at the lowest weight of the week. I am starting to think that perhaps I should move my "official" weigh-in to this day, because I always seem to be doing my best.

This morning: 238.0 lbs.

Thursday evenings are what really mess me up. We have a tradition of going out to a local hamburger joint and having burgers and this really decadent swiss potato soup, which is basically a milk-based soup filled with potatoes and swiss cheese. If you've never had a similar soup, imagine white clam chowder, minus clams, plus a bucket load of swiss cheese.

Now I have cut back when we go out. Usually I have half a hamburger (either split with the SO or The Kid) and a bowl of soup. I skip fries and the onion rings, but it doesn't seem to matter. Every Friday morning, my weight is up from the day before. It doesn't seem to make any difference if I exercise or eat almost nothing before dinner. I suspect the bowl of soup and half-burger have more calories than I'm guessing, and it does me in every week.

I should just stop going. I should move to Timbuktu so I won't be tempted every Thursday.

But then I think about it, and realize that if I skip my Thursday soup and burger, it will give me just one more reason to hate this diet and my life even more. I'm already having a hard time; why give myself one more reason to be miserable? I've already cut out so many other things that I love from my regular menu, that cutting out this might push me over the edge. I've cut out beer, ice cream, 2% milk (now I drink non-fat), and all forms of cakes, candies and sweets. I don't drink soda, especially the sugared kind, and I've cut my portion sizes back so far that I leave the dinner table hungry most nights.

Maybe I should just move my official weigh-in day to Thursday.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I Miss Being On Vacation

Now that I'm back home, I'm back "on program" and weighing and measuring every bite that goes into my mouth. When I was on vacation, I really enjoyed mealtimes. I had a light breakfast, sometimes skipped lunch, and was busy all day. Between the heat and my activity level, I just didn't feel particularly hungry. When it came time for dinner, I ate until I was full, and sometimes went back for seconds. I still lost weight, because I was physically active all day long. From sun up to sun down, I was playing with horses, walking around the property, or doing chores.

Back at home, though, I work at a desk job, and to be honest, I really hate to exercise. The stuff I like to do just isn't available here. There are no horses to ride or brush, and no interesting terrain to explore. After a full day of working at a desk, most days I'm too tired to exercise anyway. I have barely enough energy to get a load of wash into the washer or help the SO clean up after dinner.

We all know the diet math. If one wants to lose weight, calories in have to be less than calories out. That means, in this equation, that I have to eat less, since my activity level is much, much lower. It means pushing away from the table when I'm still hungry, and it means saying no to yummy favorites that I could consume while on vacation. I'm trying to still get some exercise, but there's no way I can continue on the level I was during vacation. There's the reality that I'm paid to spend eight or more hours each day sitting at a desk. There's no way around it.

While we were on vacation, my brother-in-law introduced me to a specialty beer. I really liked it, and each evening he and I would sit down and share a beer or two. This afternoon, my well-meaning SO found the same beer at our grocery store and offered me one. I had to turn it down. I just don't have the extra calories to spare. The SO was visibly hurt, thinking the beer would be a well-received treat and a reminder of our wonderful vacation. After my wounded SO left the room, I cried. I wanted the beer -- I really did -- but I just don't have the calories available.

Dieting and exercise were so much more fun on vacation. I didn't have to diet, and I didn't have to exercise. Instead, I was busy having fun, and I didn't have to think about what I was doing.

Cheese Curds

One of the unexpected pleasures of my vacation was that I was so active I didn't mind eating things that I would normally consider "bad" for me. My sister lives near a wonderful dairy produces the most fabulous milk, ice cream and cheese. While we were there, my sister introduced me to something I'd never eaten before -- cheese curds.

Cheese curds, for the uninitiated, is cheddar cheese before it's been properly aged. It tastes like cheese, but it's got a rubbery texture and it squeaks in your teeth when you chew it. It's good stuff, but usually can only be had in areas where cheese factories are nearby. Cheese curds lose their squeak very shortly after being produced, so they can't be transported. They don't go "bad," they just don't taste as good as they would when they are first made.

When my sister introduced me to these little morsels, I went nuts, and gobbled up almost the entire bag. I bought another bag to bring home with me, and I ate a few, but realized that I can't have them because my activity level here at home doesn't give me enough spare calories to indulge in such luxuries. I'll give the bag to my stepmother -- she loves cheese curds just as much as I do, and she's not on a diet.

It makes me want to cry.

Ratty Clothing

It's funny how you don't notice things change over time. It's not until something grabs your attention that you notice things aren't as they once were. Just before I left on vacation, I had one of those wake up calls regarding my clothing.

First off, I should explain that clothing isn't one of my top priorities. I used to be a jeans and t-shirt kind of person, and then when I grew out of my jeans, I became a sweat pants and t-shirt person. I've always hated to shop, especially for clothing. Even when I was thin, I couldn't find clothes that fit right. Pants that fit in the seat were too big in the waist, and everything was just too long and had to be hemmed. Now that I'm heavier, I have a hell of a time finding anything that fits, so I just don't shop for clothes.

If you were to look in my closet, there's lots of stuff in there that doesn't fit, and my dresser is stuffed with sweat pants and t-shirts in various colors. Those are my uniform for the day. Since I work at home most of the time, I don't need nice clothes. When I do make an appearance in front of my boss, I have one or two dressy outfits, and that's more than enough. He's a guy and probably doesn't notice that I wear the same two things over and over when we meet. Besides, the dress code in his office is jeans and t-shirts, so it really doesn't matter.

If I'm staying home, I don't mind wearing clothes that are stained or have holes in them. After all, who is going to see? Nobody. When I go out, though, I like to pick sweats and shirts that are clean, don't have any permanent stains, holes or tears. Usually, I'll have to pick through several shirts before I go out, but I know I have some clothes that are still mostly good.

When I packed for vacation, though, I realized just how much of my clothing was either ripped, stained, or had holes in it. I have an entire dresser stuffed with shirts and sweats. I couldn't find enough clothing to last me a week that wasn't damaged in some way. I ended up picking the best of what I had, none of which was very good, and made due. Truthfully, it wasn't as if it was going to matter all that much -- I was planning to ride horses so I definitely didn't want to bring along high-fashion clothing. After all, horses are filthy, and the dirt you brush off them ends up all over your hair and clothes.

So it really was okay. I wasn't struck down by the fashion police. G-d didn't send a lightning bolt down from the sky to punish me for dressing badly.

But the truth is, it bothered me a little bit. It bothered me that this was the first time I was taking a vacation in nine years, and it was the first time I was going to see my sister at her home, and I didn't have anything better than ratty sweat pants and t-shirts with holes in them. Of course it didn't bother me enough to actually go and do anything about it. Even if I had wanted to, I really didn't have time to shop before I left. I was busy packing my bag at the last possible minute, so going out to buy a whole new wardrobe wasn't going to make it onto the schedule.

Now that I'm back from vacation, I guess I should take another look at my wardrobe, but it doesn't seem worth it. If I'm successful at losing weight, anything I buy now will be too big in a few months, and since my clothing still fits, I might as well keep it for as long as possible. Eventually, I realize my clothing will start falling off of me, so I guess then is the time I'll buy a few things to keep me going.

But maybe I should start throwing away stuff that's ripped our stained. After all, I really shouldn't be wearing clothing with holes so big I can put my fist through...

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

May Day Weight Loss Challenge Weigh-In #9

Here's the results of my May Day Weight Loss Challenge Weigh-In #9. I missed last week's weigh-in because I was off on vacation for 10 days, and I decided that my vacation was not only going to be a vacation from work, it was also going to be a vacation from obsessing about my weight.

I left my scale at home, thank you very much. I ate like a pig, and I enjoyed every minute of it. In my defense, though, I was very active. I was visiting my sister, who lives on acreage and has a bunch of horses. The entire time I was there, I was playing with, cleaning up after, and riding them. I spent very little time doing nothing. When I did do nothing, it was because we were seeing temperatures in the 100's and it was too hot to do anything at all. As soon as it cooled off, though, we were back riding and exercising horses in the round pen.

I've lost 3.8 lbs since my last May Day Weight Loss Challenge weigh-in two weeks ago. All total, I've lost an even 10 lbs since the start of the challenge. I was hoping that I would have been able to average 2 lbs a week, so that I'd be down a total of 18 lbs by now, but 10 is better than zero.

Now that I'm back from vacation, I'm really struggling again. The truth is, I really don't enjoy exercising. Walking around the neighborhood seems pointless and stupid, and I don't have the money to buy exercise equipment or join a gym. Doing push-ups on the living room floor is equally distasteful. It was easy to be active when I was on vacation, because there were plenty of things I wanted to be doing. At home, there are no horses, no fun things to do, and exercise is a drag. Since I can't be nearly as active as I was on vacation because I have to work at a desk job all day, I also can't get away with eating nearly as much food. Now I have to go back to being hungry all the time.

Bleah. I should have stayed gone.

I think what has made the transition back to "the real world" so very hard is that this is the first vacation I've taken in almost 10 years. In all that time, I couldn't go anywhere because I was stuck in the lousy position of either having time off but no money, or money but no time off. As it was, I almost didn't go on this vacation because my car was giving me trouble, my SO managed to run up an expensive dental bill, and my job was throwing insane amounts of work on me before I left. The only reason I was able to go was because my father decided to help out with travel expenses and took some time off from work to fix my car, and I basically gave my boss the middle finger and told him I was leaving anyway.

I had a great time on vacation, which makes the contrast of my regular life all the more stark. I'm coming to the realization that I am very unhappy in my current life. I don't like my job, my house, or the neighborhood in which I live. It really was a huge contrast. During the five days I spent with my sister, I woke up early, got out of bed early and had plenty of energy, even though we were staying up until past midnight most nights so we could visit. Now that I'm back home, I'm making an effort to go to bed early, but it's a struggle to get out of bed.

For the first time in ages, I felt really good. It's a real struggle to go back to my life because I just feel so crummy all the time. It makes me want to run away from home.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Vacation Photos

Earlier today, I was very happy because I won the Diet Lottery while I was on vacation. I lost 4.6 lbs while I was gone, and that's good news. I was feeling pretty good about things.

Then I got my vacation photos developed.

All I can say is yuck.

I was especially eager to see the photos taken while I was horseback riding. I was an avid rider when I was younger, and I wondered if I'd forgotten how to sit a horse. Everybody kept telling me that my seat was fine, but it didn't feel fine. I certainly felt in control of the horse, and I didn't fall off, but it didn't quite feel like the animal was the natural extension of my body in the way that it used to feel. Of course I shouldn't expect that much, since it's been about nine years since I last sat a horse.

When I got our pictures back I was appalled. Although I was indeed sitting correctly, I looked...huge. There I was, perched on the backs of several different horses, looking as big as a house. The worst picture was one where I was riding away from the camera. My butt was enormous.

I'm embarrassed and discouraged.

Before I left on vacation, I felt like I was trying to put an extra amount of effort into getting in shape so I would be able to ride. All those efforts seemed to be for nothing, as I struggled to get on and off the horses, and I was plagued with sore muscles for the entire trip. I'm still sore, even though I've spent the last two days doing absolutely nothing, except driving across country to get home.

I've lost a total of 17.6 lbs, and I still don't notice a difference in my body, the way my clothes fit, or anything else. While I was on vacation, exercise was fun. Grooming, cleaning up after, and riding horses is incredibly fun (to me, anyway) and I really enjoyed myself. Now I'll have to go back to walking around the neighborhood or exercising in my living room because I'm too out of shape to run and too broke to afford a gym membership. Sadly, there are no horses nearby, so I won't ride again until my next vacation.

I'm glad I went on vacation. It's been a full nine years since my last one. But, I'm also sorry I went. If I hadn't gone, I wouldn't be sitting here knowing just how much fun I've been missing.

Can I run away from home now?

The Vacation Diet Lottery

Well, I'm back from vacation. (Rats)

We had a really good time, and it is hard, hard, hard to be back at my desk this morning. I still have a million post-vacation things to do, like unpacking and laundry, and I definitely have a bad case of Monday morning blues.

Although today is not a scheduled weigh-in day, I thought it would be interesting to post the results of all the "damage" I did while I was on vacation.

I'll be honest. I ate like a pig. I ate things like strawberry shortcake, fry bread, and smothered burritos. I probably consumed my weight in Popsicles during the two-day drive home because we were making the drive across the desert in a car with no air conditioning.

That being said, I am shocked and delighted to report the following post-vacation results:

Weight       239.4 lbs (-4.6)
Body Fat 47.7 % (-0.9)
Body H20 37.8 % (+1.1)
Bone Mass 7.4 lbs (-0.3)
Muscle Mass 50.4 lbs (+1.3)

I guess this time I won the diet lottery. Woo!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Diet Vacation

I haven't blogged much from the road because it turned out that I haven't had much access to the Internet. Although I do enjoy blogging, the lure of of horseback riding, backyard BBQs, and visits with family seemed much more appealing.

I have no idea how I am doing with my diet, as I didn't pack my scale. I've been very active, riding, exercising and caring for horses, and I've tried hard to make good food choices. I suspect, though, that I will be disappointed when I get back on the scale, as I still see no difference in the way my clothes fit.

Although I've enjoyed my vacation immensely, I have also been extremely frustrated with my body. I used to ride a lot when I was younger and it was easy. Now, it's exhausting work. After a week of this level of activity, I'm sore as the dickens. My legs, back, arms and back are just one huge sore muscle. I thought that my exercise and weight loss efforts would have made more of a difference. Instead, I am finding that grooming a horse prior to the ride leaves me almost too tired to ride. Even if I take it real easy, I no longer have enough upper body strength to put a heavy Western saddle on the horse. I also don't have the strength to climb aboard -- instead I have to use the tailgate of a pickup truck as a mounting block.

Although I am sure that all the activity will have done me good, I am disappointed I couldn't do more. On July 4th, we had to walk at least a mile from the parking area to the viewing area. I'd exercised a horse in the round pen and gone riding earlier in the day, and the walk was almost more than I could manage.

It's disappointing that all my dieting efforts haven't made much of a difference. I'm still old, fat and out of shape, and it seems like my best efforts to improve my health have had very few results.