Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Clean air, clean hair

Posted by Holly, but written by Sara:

Hey look, I'm not dead. Lucky. you. I am, however, in America. That's right--land of the free and home of the clean stores with miles and miles of products available for purchase, no haggling required. I think it may be heaven. Or not, since I sincerely hope that heaven isn't this cold and snowy. If it is, I may have to rethink some lifestyle choices and commence with the sinning.

Unfortunately I'm here because my grandma's health has gotten worse, and my husband and I decided that it would be better for me to come see her now than to wait for the funeral. I got here the day after Christmas, and have been spending my days at her house and my nights at Holly's. Girl has a seriously comfortable couch. I've also visited a few of those aforementioned stores. So many choices! I tell you, Americans don't know how good they have it. 73 billion different kinds of shampoo alone! And I'm pretty sure my kids' heads would explode if they could see the toy selection.

Today as I was driving over to my grandma's (thanks for the car, Hol!), I think I had to stop at every red light in town. And apparently every red light is really long. So I did a lot of sitting at red lights. Guess what I don't like doing? Waiting. I am not a notoriously patient person, and driving seems to bring out the worst of it in me. But as I was sitting at perhaps the 4,563rd light of the day, it occurred to me how flippin' great it is to drive in a country where there are actual laws that are both enforced and (usually) followed. As I was driving through an intersection it was nice to know that I had a reasonable expectation of not getting hit, and best of all it was nice to see everyone driving in their own lanes and waiting their turns to go. So instead of thinking about how annoying it was to have to wait for 6 years every 2.3 blocks (do you think maybe I have an exaggeration problem? No? Me neither), I tried to focus on being grateful that those lights exist. It made the drive much more pleasant. (Plus Holly's car is really old and makes a funny noise every time you turn the steering wheel sharply, and that was making me laugh)(what can I say? I'm easily entertained). Then when I got to my grandma's, she wasn't feeling so great and was especially not looking forward to going to the hospital for her radiation treatment, but she kept saying how great it was to be able to lift her arm, which she couldn't do before she started radiation because the cancer had gotten into the nerves in her shoulder and made it too painful to move.

Putting those two things together, it got me to thinking about how many different things there are that are annoying or difficult in life, but how somewhere there's something about them that we can be grateful for. Does anyone have any examples they'd like to share? Or something that may seem small but that makes your life a little easier or happier? Just now I was liking that the blogger sign-in page was in English and not Arabic, like it is in Egypt (I had to click on a lot of random links until I figured out the right one; this way is so much easier!), and clean air--both indoor and out--is something is short supply in Egypt that I am really enjoying here. The cold though? You can keep that.

P.S. Holly here--I am entirely responsible for the dumb picture and the even dumber title. I don't want to make Sara take the rap for that. 

Saturday, December 27, 2008

All I Want for Christmas is Stew

No, I'm not procrastinating, I'm thinking ahead. My husband and I decided not to buy Christmas presents for each other this year for the sake of saving money and all that jazz, but I've thought of a few things I want for next year. I'm really not all that greedy or materialistic (or so I'd like you to think), but I have found a few things on the internet lately...

First of all, I think I want one of these.

And also, this thing right here.

And here's yet another annoying link
to a thing I want. 

While we're at it, I would like this thing here.

You must be really bored if you're still clicking on these links, but fine, I also would enjoy this thing here.

And one more...right here.

Oh! I can't forget this one little last thing.

What d'ya know? It looks like I'm interested in opening an old-timey general store. Maybe I should. At the very least, I want the phone booth. I could hide in there with my cell phone when the kids are loud. 

I suppose the thing I want the most for next Christmas (besides peace on earth--that's a given). I want to be quite a bit smaller (but not in height) and healthier than I am now. I think I may have to supply that gift myself. 

Think of how well I'll fit in that phone booth!

P.S. The idea for that picture came to me a few weeks ago while I was driving alone in my van. I laughed out loud (that's "lol" for you internet-savvy folks) for about five minutes. Now that I'm not on cold medicine, and I realize that it isn't nearly as funny as I thought, I still laugh because of how much I laughed before. 
(Those of you not familiar with contemporary Christmas tunes, you'll be extra confused by the picture. That's OK.)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Contest Day 22: Still time to weigh in, even if I am tardy!

Feeling a little bloated post-Christmas? Me too. I ate pretty well, overall, but all that festivity and association with relatives makes me retain water. 

Still, I weighed in this morning. I hope you did, too. If not, do it in the morning and get back here and post your weight (please). 

Did you eat 5 pounds of peanut brittle yesterday? Two quarts of eggnog? All the hard candy that was stuck to the bottom of your kids' Christmas stockings (from last year)? Oh well. Weigh in anyway. Think of the number on the scale as a reference point, rather than a manifestation of your character and worth. 

And by all means, please don't through in the proverbial towel and decide to "start over in January." That's baloney/bologna. Start now and avoid the January 1st here-we-go-again dieting fiasco with everyone else in the USA (and Canada). 

Also...Merry Christmas! I hope you had a lovely holiday. 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

What I'm Not Doing Right Now

It's quarter to midnight, and my husband and I are sitting on the couch watching the first season of Lost. Turns out it's an interesting show! I never knew that. I'm not sure I could take watching it in real time though. Slow exposition kills me.

But anyway, I ate really well today. Wrote everything down, accounted for everything, stayed within my limits. I like sentence fragments. And it's really late, and my husband just got up and went to the kitchen.

What I'm not doing right now is eating cookies.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Contest Day Or Other

My internet is super wonky right now, and it's kind of a miracle I can even get this page to load. But that maybe tells you a little bit about me--internet finally working (sort of) after a day and a half, and do I go pay bills or order last-minute Christmas presents? Nope. I blog.
I want to respond to everyone's great comments about what they're proud of this week, but I don't know how much longer I'll be connected, so I'll let Holly do that. (You're welcome, Holly!) I am really impressed with everything you're doing though--even if you don't think you did anything right but survive the week. And way to go with all the losses! This has to be one of the hardest times of the year to lose weight, and it makes me happy to see so many of you actually doing it!

Oh, and my proudest moment of the week is finishing off my 12-week chart with every single day filled out. And I started my 2nd one. While I was on vacation. Woot!

I'll leave you with this article I found at at VitalJuiceDaily.com that lists 12 tips to keep yourself from quitting. It's a good'un, so go check it out.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Contest Day Something: Weigh-in Day!

I told Holly from the beginning that she'd have to be in charge of keeping track of the days, as my ability to remember stuff like that is not so great. Most days I'm lucky if I can remember my children's names.

Anyhoodle, don't you hate it when people say some variation of "anyway?" I sure do. But that aside, it's Friday! Hooray! Time to weigh in! And use exclamation points way more than necessary!

When you post your weight, also tell us something that you did this week that you're proud of. Of which you are proud. Grammar shmammar. It can be anything at all, such as not eating the entire package of oreos. That's just a random example I pulled out of the air. No matter how big or how small, there has to be something about this week that you did well, and we want to know what it is! If you're e-mailing us your weigh-in, still post a comment about your accomplishment(s) this week.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

What is it about being around my kids that makes me mainline cookies?

So we got back from our trip this morning. As is 3:45 am this morning, and neither of us could fall asleep until after 5, and then we were up at 6:30 to get the kids off to school. Me = tired.

But anyway, I did really well on the trip. I ate a lot of fruit and as many veggies as I could get. I also made a little rule for myself that unless the food was amazing, I didn't finish all of it. And perhaps my biggest victory foodwise was not spending all seven days gorging myself on pastries. Egypt, you see, does not have a single good pastry in the whole of its borders. The "donuts" taste like stale hamburger buns with disgusting frosting on them, and anything else they call a dessert is soaked in so much honey its inedible. I've told Holly several times that if we lived in France I'd surely be up to 500 pounds by now. Well, this trip I took was to Tunisia. A country that used to be occupied by France. Tunisia has good pastries. Lots of good pastries. Every hotel we stayed in that offered breakfast (which was all but one, because one of the nights we stayed at Luke Skywalker's house)(my husband is a nerd, and I am nice; what can I say?) had pastries at breakfast, but I made sure to eat fruit and eggs (hard-boiled, since that's the least grease-soaked option they had) before I had any baked goods, and even then I had very few. I didn't fell deprived though, because I was just choosing not to eat them all. I had some--and sometimes more than some--but I didn't have all, and for me, that's big. Plus--and this is another biggie for me--I wrote down everything I ate. Everything. (I didn't worry about amounts or calories; I just wrote down the food.) We also did a lot of walking, a little running (well, me; dh did a little more than a little), and quite a bit of Ancient Roman Ruin Climbing (I like to call it ARRC, you may have heard of it at your gym; it's all the rage these days)(seriously though, they let you roam practically willy-nilly wherever you want to go; it was so cool!). I drank as much water as I could, but the bathroom choices were usually, um, not so great. Usually I would just get in as much as I could at night. Except that night in Matmata. That bathroom was awful.

But today? Now that I'm home, surrounded by healthy food, a gym, and clean bathrooms? I think I've eaten my weight in Oreos. I guess re-entry into real life is harder than I expected it to be. Plus, me = tired.

So I'm giving myself one more day to stabilize a little. I'm still writing down everything I eat, even though today every other entry says "oreo." Saturday I'll be back to controlling my intake more, tracking my food beyond just its name, and real gym exercising. Also, the oreos have to go. And not by way of my digestive tract.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

As you can see, I've been busy

Sorry about the lack of blog so far this week. I have good reasons for my absence, and I'll be back tomorrow (I hope) with more information and lots of blah blah blah. Maybe Sara will appear at some point as well. If I had any short-term memory whatsoever I might remember when she was due back from her trip...

Meanwhile, put down the cookies, dust off the treadmill, and believe that it's possible to lose weight at Christmastime!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

It's not easy drinking green

You may have missed contestant Annie's comment containing a recipe for a spinach smoothie. Or you may have read it, gagged a little and decided she is crazy. She's not crazy (I'm her aunt, and nobody related to me is crazy). Spinach smoothies are good! Not only that, they are chock-full of stuff you need to be healthy, energetic and pimple-free. 

Spinach Smoothie (Annie style)

about 4 handfuls of spinach
1/2 banana
1 or 2 huge handfuls frozen berries
some orange juice

Blend the heck out of it and drink. 

Annie says, "It fills me up, gives me lots of energy and motivates me to eat well the rest of the day."

I admit I haven't tried Annie's version of the spinach smoothie yet. However, a  few years ago my pal Amy from California gave me the following recipe. It's a little more hardcore than the above recipe, but it's surprisingly good. Don't let its green-sludge appearance fool you. 

Amy's Glass of Green Goodness

3 big handfuls of baby spinach
3-4 inches of seedless cucumber with skin
handful of frozen mango chunks (or substitute pineapple)
1 fresh, very ripe banana
1/2 small lemon, peel removed (cuts bitterness of greens--adjust to taste)

Blend the heck out of it and drink. 

Holly's note: my blender is from the early 1980's (no joke) and is just phoning it in, so I have to add a little liquid to get this to blend.  I just use water or a little juice. 

Amy's smoothie has also been referred to as the E coli smoothie, because when she first introduced the recipe to me and some of our friends, there was some sort of scare about e coli and spinach in CA. Or something like that. I'm really bad at remembering stories. 

Are you inspired to drink spinach yet? I hope so! 
If you're a spinach-drinking novice and are a little sickened by the idea, I suggest trying Annie's smoothie first. Even her 1-year-old son likes it! 

Helpful hint: if you have access to Costco, get berries (or other frozen fruit) and spinach there. They are very affordable there compared to supermarket prices. 

Contest Day 10: Lax weekend

Who else weighed in on Friday then ate cookies the rest of the day? Make that cookies and pie. Someone left a pie on our doorstep, with a note thanking us for making his/her (pretty sure it was a her) evening happier with our Christmas lights. Either that was a very sweet gesture from a stranger, or one of you is a saboteur and will go to any lengths to win this contest. The good news is the pie wasn't poison. The bad news is I had two pieces. 

Ah well. Yesterday and today could have been worse. 
Sara IMed me on Friday when I wasn't on my computer and asked me to post her weight: 150.8. I don't know if that's up or down because I'm too lazy to open a new window and check. I think it's down. 
Well, work hard this week all y'all. I promise not to leave pies on your doorsteps. 

Friday, December 12, 2008

Contest Day 8: It's weigh-in time! Also, I'm conceited.

Post your weight in the comments section of this post (please). If you're an e-mailing contestant, send us an e-mail instead. 

Don't run away! Don't hide! We won't laugh. We won't point. Even if we get carried away and do some pointing, you won't see us because we aren't with you, so you'll never know!

Also be sure to read the previous post. It's important. (Do I sound conceited? Is it conceited if I think everyone should read what I write? Do conceited people even know if they are conceited? If I Google "conceited," will it bring me to this post? Do only conceited people Google "conceited"? Am I even spelling "conceited" correctly? You know how when you say or write a word over and over it starts to look fake? "Conceited" is starting to look like a made-up word.)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

How to fail at weight loss...in 14 easy steps!

1. Refuse to ask for help or accept advice from others.

2. Assume your work will be done when you reach your goal weight.
3. Give up at the slightest sign of adversity
4. Decide you can eat whatever you want since you're exercising regularly
5. Decide that weight loss is harder for you than everyone else.
6. Make a number goal (lose x number of pounds by x date) and feel like a failure if you don't reach that goal.
7. Whine more than you work.
8. Constantly criticize yourself and your progress (or lack thereof).
9. Decide you don't need to write down or track what you eat.
10. Go into each day without a plan.
11. Rely only on the scale to measure your progress.
12. Reward or punish yourself with food.
13. Hate yourself.
14. Don't weigh in on Diet Cake today

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Contest Day 6: Brace yourselves

Our official weigh-in is coming up on Friday. Are you ready? Huh? Huh? If the answer is "yes," good for you! If the answer is "no," you're not off the hook. We here at Diet Cake (I love saying that--it makes me feel important) expect all of you here. If you can't make it, you can have a make-up weigh-in on Saturday. 

"It's Cairo. It's always the battery" and fleas and stuff

I'm blaming what is sure to be a really lame post on the fact that we're leaving for the airport in 3 hours, and we still need to go grocery shopping (which is a long, involved process here) and do so in a borrowed car, because it turns out ours is dead (when dh called the mechanic he said, "It's Cairo. It's always the battery."), and even though the mechanic actually came to our house after going to buy the new battery for us, it turns out something or other in the car is something something (I am a mechanical genius!) which means he has to come back tomorrow with different tools and another guy to help him.

Have I mentioned that I like run-on sentences? I really do.

So anyway, I found a good article on sparkpeople.com called Lose Weight Over the Holidays! (enthusiasm theirs). I don't think it has a whole lot of groundbreaking information, and most of the tips in it are likely things you've already heard or read, but it's worth reading anyway. For the same reason I like reading magazines and blogs about fitness and weightloss, I also like reading articles about fitness and weightloss, because it keeps me in a fitness-and-weightloss mindset. Reading things like this not only reminds me (have I told you that I have both the attention span and the memory of a flea?) about some of the tips and tricks that help me lose weight, but they also remind me that I actually want to lose weight. Sometimes I forget that. This is most likely to happen when I'm either doing really well with my diet and exercise or when I'm just kind of cruising, not losing but not gaining, and I convince myself that I'm just fine where I am, thank you very much. It's also been known to happen when I'm doing nothing but sitting on my duff and eating fried cheese and chocolate. Basically it happens a lot. But it becomes less likely to happen when I read magazines and articles and the like, because it keeps it closer to the forefront of my mind. And if anything is going to register in my consciousness enough to do any good, it needs to be as close to the forefront as possible.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Contest Day 5: Already?

I can't believe we're 5 days down already. How is everyone doing? Honestly, today is the first day of the five that I have eaten reasonably well. Better late than never, but I don't think I'll lose any weight with 20% adherence to sound weight-loss principles. 

I'm doing my best not to beat myself up for my bad behavior of either the recent or distant past. (See? I listen to my own advice.) However, I'm recognizing the need for better, more consistent effort. Also, I need to eat vegetables once in a while. I have been really bad about that lately. 
See you tomorrow!

Don't be a Judy

It's human nature--we all do it. No, not picking our noses (stop protesting that you never pick your nose--I don't care). I'm talking about making snap judgements about people--people we know, people we don't know, people we're married to, people who need people, people who eat people, etc. I know I do it all the time. I meet someone, I label them, then I put them in a little box and store them away in my purse.  

You know what's nuts (besides driving Hummers)? I'm so often wrong! (Write this down in your journals, folks--I don't often admit wrongness.) I'm not talking about the basics like, "She has brown hair," or "He's wearing his pants below his bum," but about the more subjective judgements like, "She is wearing 20 rhinestone bracelets while shopping at Costco--she must be a crazy-vain pampered princess," or "He drives a Hummer (and isn't actually on duty in the military)--he must be a tool." If I have the chance to really get to know a person, I find out they aren't the person I judged them to be, or even if they are, there's much more to them. Or maybe I've assumed something about them based on our initial contact or where they live or who they're related to (yeah, yeah--to whom they're related) only to find out later I was completely and utterly mistaken. Do you ever do this? I thought so.

(Of course once in a while you find out later that you were right on in your initial assessment of someone. "Wow! He really is a carny with a metal plate in his head and an anger management problem!)

This totally applies to people's weight. People are judged constantly by how they look, and how big or small a person is a basic component of a person's appearance. Not only do we have labels (skinny, fat, fatty, stick, waif, large, hefty, obese, scrawny etc.), but we make assumptions about why that person is fat, thin or in-between, or the character strengths or flaws that they must possess which led them to look like they do. 

For example:
"She's huge! She must eat like a pig. What a lazy slacker."
"Look at that skinny girl over there. I hate people who can eat whatever they want and look like that. She's so snotty."

I submit that this is a lazy and unfair way to look at people. We don't usually know what is behind a person's appearance--even his or her weight. 
That "big girl" at work may eat too much, but she might be a single mom with no time, support or money for healthy food. 
That "skinny-butt snob" you see at the mall may have an eating disorder she developed as a young teenager that she'll be haunted by for the rest of her life, if her life isn't ended by it prematurely.
That "cut, stuck-on-himself guy" at the gym may have been a picked-on, pimply fat kid all through high school who has recently worked very hard to lose weight and get fit.  
That "fat slob" at the bus stop may have to take prescription drugs for asthma that make him blow up like a balloon. 

So next time you start making those snap judgements about a person's size or weight (this goes for judging the skinny people, too), think twice. I'm going to try a little harder myself.
That kind of sounded like the end of the post. But it's not! 

We (and that includes you, too) have to stop judging ourselves this same way. How many times have you labeled yourself as a loser or lazy or a failure for being overweight? How many times have you decided you are an idiot or an impossible case because you keep gaining back what you lose? Seriously--it's not OK. It does NOT help you lose weight, it doesn't increase your motivation. It doesn't help your personal relationships (do you really think the people who love you want you to hate yourself? [if you do, you are so wrong]). It doesn't do anything but drag you down, destroy whatever sense of self worth you still have, and set a terrible example for your kids and other people around you. Whether you say it out loud or just think it, it's bad. I know this is true! 

Honestly, I'm not a big fan of the fat acceptance movement. You know, the whole "we're fat and we're just going to be fat and love ourselves as we are!" thing. I don't think people are meant to be overweight for life (there are health issues to be considered, after all). But, I know we have to have some self acceptance no matter what we weigh or why we weigh it or how long it takes us to get healthy. Loving yourself isn't narcissistic--it's accepting that you have worth that is inherent, and that liking yourself is healthy and an important step in weight loss. 

So, Judy, change your brain! If you don't know how, we can help (if not me, Sara...or someone else here). You're worth it. At least you will be after you throw away that ridiculous lace collar.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Please don't hate me...

...but I'm going on a trip with my husband. For a week. With no children. And we're going far enough away that we have to fly there. This is the first time I will have ever been on a plane with him with no kids. This is also the longest we've ever gone away together (breaking our previous record of 4 days, which broke our previous record of 24 hours. What can I say? We don't get out much).

I am really excited about this trip, but there's something about traveling that I really hate: the unknown. I mean, I just don't know what I'm going to do with myself when I have a whole week without having to break up any Polly Pocket-related fights or get excited about anybody's excrement (did I mention that Sam is potty training?), and I'm really afraid that I'm going to sleep all morning every day. Oh, I'm just kidding (mostly), the unknown that I hate is all the stuff that goes with trying to lose weight. I don't know what kind of food I'm going to have access to, don't know when or where I'm going to exercise, don't know how much water I can drink and when (since I don't know when I'll find a bathroom)(or what condition it will be in, for that matter).

So all I can do is plan the best I can. I'm bringing along some portable snacks, exercise clothes, running shoes, and an exercise tube. In my favor is the fact that I never have to talk my husband into exercising (in fact, usually I have to talk him into leaving me alone about exercising already), and with the shoes and the tubing, I'll be able to get walks and modified strength training in, with bodyweight cardio moves to use in case other forms of exercise aren't feasible. I'm also going to try to get some fruit and water to keep in the rental car so that along with the snack I bring, we'll have healthy options available. As for the bathroom thing, I'm thinking I'm just going to have to hope for the best :)

What about you? What do you do when you're traveling? How do you make sure you get your exercise in and have access to healthy food you can eat? Is anybody traveling for the holidays and needs some help formulating a plan to get you through it with your goals in tact? Give me your best healthy-living-whilst-not-at-home tip! Also, do me a favor and try to work the word "whilst" into conversation today.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Contest Day 3: Are we there yet? and a Roster

A few years back, my church women's organization, which is called the Relief Society, sent around a list of names of all the women in the congregation so we could check for correct spelling and addresses, etc. At the top of the page was the heading, Relief Society Rooster. Sometimes typos (spelling errors?) are great fun. My friend and I had a good time with that particular one for a few weeks after. "Who can cock-a-doodle-do-it? The Relief Society can!" You get the idea.

Hoo boy, do we have quite the list of contestants! I'm jumping up and down with glee (in my mind, not physically--that hurts). The more the merrier, I say. Thanks for joining. I hope this thing helps you get through the holidays with a little more sanity and health, not to mention less self-loathing come January.

I compiled the following list of folks who signed up for the contest. If I left you off, it was completely by accident (I can be a flake at times--Sara and I both have fun and alarming stories to tell about that). Please let me know and I'll add you. If I spelled your name wrong or did something else that needs fixing (not in life--just on this list), again, let me know. Feel free to post a comment or send an electronic message to myweightisasecret at symbol g(don't put this space or these words here)mail dot com.

Official Diet Cake Weight Loss Contest Rooster

Awkward Turtle
Joolee (is that you who e-mailed?)
Rachel R.
Andrea N.
Patty W.
Stephanie L.
Mandy W.
Amy Lou Who

Be warned, now that your name is on the rooster, you are committed. We're not letting you off the hook. Even if you wander down the path of forbidden chocolate Santas and eggnog (3200 calories for a 1/2 gallon of the teetotaler variety), you must return! No giving up. No whining that you can't do it. We'll track you down! (Scared yet?)(Don't be; we're really quite nice.)(But we'll still come find you.)(Plus there are prizes! You can't miss out on prizes!)

Again, if I've left you off the list, butchered your name, or you are one of the folks who share a name with a fellow contestant and want to give us an initial to put after your name (or if you want us to use your real name vs. your handy moniker)(in my opinion, everyone needs a handy moniker), please let me know.

Have a lovely Sunday, and PUT DOWN THE BROWNIES!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Little Longer!

We've decided to let people join The Contest until 11:59 Pacific Standard Time tonight, December 6th.

So if you haven't already, and you missed yesterday's proverbial boat, jump on! We'd love to have you, and I'm quite certain we won't capsize. Post a comment to either this post or the original with your name and weight, or send an e-mail with the info to myweightisasecret at symbol gmail dot com.

Some times weight loss means playing tricks on myself

Things that are bugging me today:
1. My next-door neighbors have been doing some sort of renovations in their apartment--I assume bathroom-related because of all the clanging--for over a week now, and the noise, while audible everywhere in our apartment, is concentrated in my bedroom. Ergo, even though for two Saturdays in a row now my teenager has taken all the other kids to the closest-thing-we-have-to-a-park while the 2-year old naps, AND I’ve actually wanted to take a nap (me napping by choice and Haley’s Comet are on equal footing in terms of frequency), I can’t sleep.
2. My kids are after me to set up the Christmas tree, which I’m all about, but the movers were supposed to pack up our little tree and instead sent the big one, which is a pain in the patootie to assemble. Usually I let dh do it, but he’s off camping with our older son and the Boy Scouts. While I could just add this to the already really long list of Ways In Which I Have Disappointed My Children Time and Again, I’ll probably do it tonight after they go to bed. It’s bad enough actually doing it; I certainly don’t want them watching me do it (and by “watching me” I mean “asking me every 90 seconds if I’m done yet”).
3. My thighs really hurt. I mean really really. My husband forced me to exercise with him on Thursday and forced me to do squats and other squat-like things and now I can barely walk, let alone sit or get up from sitting. I’m finding myself hobbling around telling myself “Walk normally” but then I can’t remember how to do that, because the pain has erased all memory of ever having done it. I think I’ve stepped gingerly my entire life. And don’t talk to me about going to the bathroom. Also don’t talk to me about how great church was yesterday with my wiggly toddler and his bony little bum on my lap for an hour. I can only thank my years of worship service etiquette training for keeping me from yelping and/or cursing loudly several times.
4. There’s this character on Bob the Builder that has what I believe is the official Worst Voice Ever. I think she’s the wife of the town building inspector. I don’t know for sure, because I can’t bring myself to pay close enough attention to it to find out. My lands this woman is awful! I thought for sure this title belonged permanently to Henry the Octopus, but she makes him sound like Sting or Bono or any other smooth-talking smooth talker you can think of.
5. My toddler watches Bob the Builder 7,483 times a day.
6. We don’t have real television, only DVDs.
7. Sam's favorite Bob the Builder DVD has Mrs. Building Inspector in every. stinking. episode.
8. Cupcakes aren’t calorie-free.
9. My daughter’s birthday was 2 days ago, and nobody has eaten all the cupcakes yet. That means that besides the clanging and that horrible horrible woman’s voice, I’ve also had to listen to cupcakes chattering at me non-stop. I truthfully can’t decide which one is the worst.
10. I’m having a really hard time making myself exercise today.

Lest you think I’m in a bad mood (Hee, I originally typed that “bod mood.” I think that would either be a time when I’m really excited about working out or how Arnold Schwarzenegger expresses crankiness.), I also have plenty of things that are counteracting all of the above (except for the thigh pain; nothing makes that better). These things include but are not limited to: the Christmas signs and decorations my girls have plastered all over the house (especially the snowflakes that my 6-year old just learned how to make), I spelled “Schwarzenegger” correctly without having to look it up, and no one has eaten all the cupcakes yet.

As for the exercise, I’m going to have to trick myself into it. Usually this involves plying myself with magazines, but I’m all out. So I’m going to post this and then go ride my stationary bike while I watch a show on my computer. Really I am. Really really really.

But this also got me to wondering: how do you get yourself to exercise when you don’t want to? And if the answer is, “I just don’t,” (I think that’s the opposite of WWND--What Would Nike Do), why is that? What keeps you from exercising?

Maybe I should invent an exercise machine that plays Mrs. B.I.’s voice loudly unless you’re working in your target heart rate zone. I’d be skinny in no time!

UPDATE: 40 minutes on the bike. My legs still hurt. Oh well. Also, what is up with Dandrew? How are they possibly still in the race?!

Woo! Day 2!

You should know that both excitement and rhyming hurt my head.

When I was in high school I was in an improvisational theater troupe called, ironically enough, "Improv." It was kind of like group-therapy-through-drama (which, looking back now, I think "How is that effective?" and also, "Boy howdy did we take ourselves seriously"). We acted out different scenarios of problems teenagers face (well, faced in the late 80s/early 90s, that is; I'm awfully glad I'm not doing this sort of thing nowadays!), and we'd always leave the dilemma open-ended which then enabled the counselor who lead our group to talk with the audience about how best to resolve the problem. This part was called "processing." I hated that part, but that's mostly because I've always hated talking about feelings. I was raised by a therapist, see, and while most people may have what they call an "inner child," I have an "inner therapist's child," which means that I tend to run the other way when faced with anything that even resembles a discussion of feelings. I have a very patient husband.

Thankfully for him (and I guess my own emotional well-being, blah blah blah), I've gotten much better at it over the years. I've found, however, that while I'm still not totally hunky dory with talking about how I feeeeel, turns out I kinda like problem-solving. I like stewing things over in my mind and coming up with possible solutions.

Holly and I would like for Saturdays to be the day that we process our week (btw, I'm totally making fun of my teenage self by using that word)("process," not "week") and make our plans for the week to come. What was hard about this week and why? What was easy? What can you do to replicate your successes and minimize your missteps? This is also a good time to brag on yourself, since I really believe that focusing on the positive is what does the most good. I think that the negative is useful for examination purposes only--"why did this happen and what can I do to keep it from happening again" sort of thing, and after that we need to move forward.

Since we've only just begun (cue Carpenters) and can't really examine this past week in terms of What Will Bring Us Closer to Winning Our Own Piece of Egyptian Trash, let's look for some positive things that we did this week. Like I'm sure somebody's t-shirt/bumper sticker/piece of flair says, it's not bragging if it's true. What good thing(s) did you do this week?

Also, if you haven't already, make up your plan for this week. Make it as detailed or as vague as you want, but at least consider what's going to happen in your life. I almost never plan my food out in advance (though in my defense, I pretty much eat the same stuff all the time), but I always plan my workouts. I may not actually do the prescribed workout, but at least I've considered what's going on that week and when and what type of exercise I'm going to do. That not only helps me set it in my mind that I am going to workout that week (whether or not I "want" to) , it also makes it easier to come up with a Plan B if something unexpected crops up. So think about your week, look at a calendar and figure out when you can exercise, check to see if you have Your Food in the house--what can you do to set the conditions for success?

In a not-related-to-bossing note, Holly and I are both so happy to have so many participants! Thanks for joining up, and we're looking forward to getting through these holidays together smaller than we started!

P.S. The picture at the top is one I took surreptitiously at the Pyramids.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Join the Contest: Contest Day 1 and official weigh-in

This is where you can post your name and weight. First names only, please.

See previous post and this post for more contest info. Don't see the information you're craving? Just ask! There are no stupid questions...only stupid answers.

If you want to e-mail your weight to us instead of posting it, still post your name and your intent to participate and e-mail your starting weight to myweightisasecret put that little at sign here gmail dot com.

Here we go!

P.S. Cut-off time for joining is 11:59pm Pacific Standard Time tonight! Join the fun now while you can!

Are you ready for some WEIGHT LOSS?

Do they still use that song for the NFL (was it the NFL?)? Do you even know what I'm talking about? I've never been much of a sports fan and I'm married to a guy who watches History Channel shows about salt (not making this up--click the link) instead of sports. So, I don't know what ditties the NFL is using these days.

Which leads me to what I do know. It's time for me and Sara and you (yes, you) to defy the odds and lose some weight. According to this study, the true average weight gain during the holidays is a mere pound. But...BUT...people who are already overweight or obese are likely to gain more. I know I'm in that group. I'm already off to a bad start. I made an 11x17 pan of pecan pie bars last Saturday for a family party and I'm pretty sure I ate at least half of them. There was a lot of butter and sugar in that recipe.

I need a contest. Perhaps you need a contest, too? We're both in luck! The Diet Cake, still-unnamed holiday weight-loss contest begins today, December 5th.

Click HERE for the rules.

To clarify a few things:
-rule number 6 requests that you don't participate in the contest if you're below the healthy weight range for your height. This means it's OK if you're in that range now and want to go lower in that range. Go ahead, enter the contest! But, if your weight is already below the lowest weight in that range, don't try to lose more! Please!
-friends and family of Sara and Holly are welcome to join in. However, we will not favor you--you have to win fair and square if you want a fabulous prize. Sara and I will be joining in also. If one of us wins, I guess we'll supply our own prize.
-You MUST weigh in to participate and you must do it today (December 5th). We understand that some of you don't want to post your weight for all to see. So, we offer you the option of e-mailing your weight to us. You still need to post to let us know you're participating, and in your e-mail make sure you tell us who you are. We promise to keep your e-mail private and your weight even privater.
-The contest winner and the two runners up will receive prizes. We still don't know exactly what those prizes are, but they will include items from Egypt! Sara, as a person living in Egypt, has access to lots of very interesting Egyptian stuff, including Egyptian garbage. There is no cash alternative to the prizes. If you win and you don't want your prize, I guess we'll just donate it to charity and you get nothing (but why wouldn't you want your prize? It's free and you earned it!)
-We'll have a weekly weigh-in. If you can't make it on the specified day(s) (TBA), just make sure you post at some point during that 7-day period (Friday-Thursday) so we know you're still participating.

Don't post your weight in the comments of this post. There will be a separate Join the Contest post after this one for that purpose.

We're excited to have you on board! Good luck!

We will post daily during the duration of the contest (December 5th 2008 to January 15th 2009) and give you tips, motivation, and plenty of drivel and poorly-constructed sentences. We're here to help!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Name it! Another contest post.

My dad is trying to name his new English Setter. My husband and siblings suggested "Timber," "Fire" and "Look Out." (Go ahead--yell for your imaginary dog using those names and see how awesome they are.) But my dad is more of a traditionalist. He had a name picked out, but then I said if I ever had a boy (human, not dog), I might want to use that name. I'm cool with having a son named after an English Setter, but my dad thought maybe he wouldn't want to call for his dog and have his grandson come running too, so he's still working on finding a name. 

But this post isn't about my dad's dog. It's about our incredible holiday weight loss contest! I feel like our contest needs a name. How is it supposed to feel comfortable with its peers if it doesn't have a name? I want our contest to be properly socialized. Wanna help?

Here are some ideas (let me know what you think):

*Lose Your Bowl Full of Jelly   (reference to The Night Before Christmas, you know)
*Be Thinner on Christmas Than You Were 20 Days Earlier!
*Put Down the Fruitcake
*Big Fat Holiday Loser
*Ho Ho Ho...We're Fat
*Santa's Stuck in the Chimney and So Am I
*Help! I Can't See My Feet!  

Sara likes The UC or The Unnamed Contest. 

Any other suggestions?

On a semi-related note, if I ever have another daughter (or get a really awesome dog), I'm totally naming her Amy Lawson

Don't forget...the contest begins tomorrow! Dig out that scale. 

Kid Vitamins Are Delicious (and other reasons I'm still fat)

When I give my kids their vitamins each day, I eat one too. I think of them as more of a treat than a nutritional supplement. I like the purple ones.

 Sometimes I'll have another one later in the day. I really want to eat the whole bottle, but I'm held back by fears of vitamin poisoning. I guess they have built in portion control that way, unlike Sweetarts or Smarties. 

You know what else is delicious? Those chewy chocolate calcium supplements. 

I really need to be more of a food snob. That's my problem. (Well, one of my problems.) Yeah, I like fine food--I like it a lot--but I also like hot dogs and Cheetos and the fried cheese at Arby's. I am a regular halfway house for food--I welcome all the foods that aren't acceptable in polite society. 
Develop more discriminating tastes. That's what I have to do. 'Cause I just can't go on like this--eating anything that comes along. I almost never eat food out of the trash anymore, though. And I hesitate before eating old pretzels from my preschooler's car seat. I think that's a good sign. 

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Making Holly's Dreams Come True

(Did you think that because November is over we dropped off the face of the blogsphere?)

(Odds would have been in your favor, you know.)

Did you know that reputable scientific study after reputable scientific study says that when you're sick you should rest, read, and eat copious amounts of friend cheese and chocolate?


Oh, wait...dang. Sorry, Hol. The general rule is that if the illness is from the neck up, go ahead and exercise (gently, yes, but you can still do it), but if it's below the neck, rest your bootay. This is Holly's situation, see. Poor sick Holly.

Unfortunately when you've significantly reduced your physical activity that also means you need to reduce your caloric intake. I'm no expert (though I should be for the amount of magazines I read), but I think that "reduced caloric intake" means the opposite of chocolate and fried cheese (unless you go with the low/no fat/calorie/taste chocolate/fried cheese)(and if you do, two questions: 1. Why? and 2. Why are we friends...?). Old wives will tell you that you need to feed a cold, but then please consider that they'll also tell you that you shouldn't read in dim lighting, and that's just plain crazy. (Please, like anything other than pitch black is too dim to read. And even then there's a good chance you can find a cell phone or iPod to use for illumination.)

Eat good, healthy food, and drink lots of water. Oh, and call me.

Love, Mom

P.S. Here is the IM conversation that precipitated this post (also from which I stole all the jokes in it):

H: that article said
H: gentle exercise is fine when you have a head cold
H: but to avoid strenuous stuff
S: what I've read is if the sickness is from the neck up, so ahead and exercise gently, but if it's below the neck just rest
S: go, not so
H: but you'll likely prolong your illness by exercising if you have bronchitis or anything goopy in your lungs
H hey
H: same thing!
H: I might try pilates in a few days
H: but
S: rest
H: I'm afraid even that would wind me
S: and eat well!
H: I'm so out of shape!
H: lol
H: crap
S: neener neener
H: you caught me
S: sorry the articles don't say anything bout feeding the cold
H: lol
H: with fried cheese and chocolate!
S: I could write one for you
H: but then at the end I'd have to add "NOT!"
H: there you go
H: your next blog entry

I have a feeling Holly's never going to IM with me again.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A Contest! An Unnamed Contest!

You know how people eat too much during the holidays and gain 5-15 pounds in approximately 30-35 days and then find that it takes 3 months to 35 years to lose that extra weight? You know what I'm talking about, right? Well, let's not do that this year. I'm talking to you. Yes, you. You! Tell those visions of sugar plums to stop dancing around your head right now. (now!) I have a proposal. A proposal of the losing kind. I think we (this still includes you, by the way) should not only avoid gaining 5-15 pounds before the year is out, but we should also lose some weight. You heard me. Forget maintenance. Forget the status quo. We're talking about real live weight loss here. As in, pounds of fatty excess gone from your body. 

Rather than have a vague notion of doing this thing (remember "hope is not a plan?"), I propose that we have a little weight loss contest with prizes and everything. We at Diet Cake care about our reader. Oh wait. I'm seeing a problem here...um...I'll get to that in a moment. 
But first, let's talk about the contest itself. 

I think the grand prize should be $100,000. However, I'm a little short on $100,000es today and I think Sara might be in the same boat (please correct me if I'm wrong, Sara). Also, all our major corporate sponsors have either backed out or outsourced their blog weight loss competition sponsorship to India. 

But all is not lost. We will still offer a prize to the person who loses the most weight (as a percentage of starting body weight) during our competition. It will (brace yourselves) be worth dozens of dollars. I can't tell you what it is yet, because I don't know. I promise you will not hate it (unless you are incredibly picky, in which case you probably shouldn't be hanging out with me and my blog because I will undoubtably annoy you a great deal) and that you may or may not be the envy of everyone you know. 
How about some rules?

Weight loss contest rules:

  1. Contest is open to anyone, including me and Sara. We only ask that all contestants be real people and over the age of 18. I don't know why they have to be over the age of 18, but it seems like something I should put in contest rules. 
  2. Contest will begin on December 5th (there is a reason for this--be patient) and end on January 15th (of course).
  3. To enter the competition, all you have to do is leave a comment on December 5th's post with your name and starting weight. If you don't want the internet to know what you weigh, let us know and we can make other arrangements.
  4. Contestants must check in at least once a week to let us know they are still participating.
  5. Contestants are requested to refrain from using extreme measures (e.g. fasting for the entire month of December, chopping off a limb) to lose weight. Please try to be healthy. If you don't know how to lose weight in a healthy manner, I'm sure there are people who could tell you (don't look at me!) As the restraining order forced us to remove our hidden cameras, the honor system will have to do.  
  6. Contestants are also requested to refrain from being contestants if they are already below a healthy weight range for their height. We want to encourage good health!
  7. Grand prize will be awarded to the person who loses the highest percentage of his/her body weight. There is a possibility that second and third prizes will be awarded, but don't count on it.
  8. Sara and Holly reserve the right to disqualify any contestant who seems fishy, dishonest or non-human. We'll try to be fair, of course. 
  9. We also reserve the right to amend these rules at any time during the contest. 
I'm sure I'm missing something...

Oh yes. Back to the fact that we get maybe 10 hits a day (I'm not counting hits from me and Sara) on this blog and many of those hits are from people looking for pictures of Igor (I'm not even kidding). We have a few faithful readers (thanks guys!) and one very faithful reader (thanks Wendi!), but it would be far more exciting if we could recruit others to join in our weight loss fun as well (of course it will be fun! what's not fun about eschewing cookies and pie all month?) Plus, I don't think Wendi needs to lose any weight. 

So, that's why we're not starting officially until December 5th. We need time to find contestants!

Anyway, if you're reading this, and you know of someone (or someones) who might be interested in losing weight over the holidays and possibly winning a not-so-valuable prize, please send them over to Diet Cake. 

Stay tuned for more information! 

Saturday, November 29, 2008

It's times like these I wish Santa really existed

Since the Christmas shopping season has officially commenced, I'd like to share with you what's on my fantasy health-related wish list.

An unlimited supply of shoes, for every activity. Whether or not I actually participate in said activity.
An unlimited supply of Nike athletic clothing of every kind. Specifically, this jacket. In pink.
Every piece of home exercise equipment my little heart desires. (Please note: my hoe gym will not have a namby-pamby elliptical like the one pictured. No, ma'am. Mine will be a pimp-tastic Precor.)

And of course, since I'll be properly outfitted and have all the equipment I'll ever need at my fingertips, I'll need someone to yell at me while I use it. Enter Jillian. And Bob. But Bob will just be there to teach yoga and fetch me drinks (But he won't be allowed to have that expression on his face. What is up with that?). Jillian will be the one training me. And hurting me. And I will love it.
And since losing weight is 90% about the food, I will of course need a personal chef.
I also want a Garmin 405. I have an earlier model of this and luuub it, but this one is better. Personal GPS is actually illegal in Egypt, so I'm hoping that by next Christmas the 405 will be cheap enough that I can realistically put it on my wish list.
Now this is the one item on my list that I'm actually getting this year. We are crossing over to the dark side and getting a Wii. I have always vowed that as long as there is breath in my body, there will never be a video game system in my house, but apparently my strong convictions cannot withstand the siren song that is the Wii. So that will be for the family. Dh is getting Guitar Hero, and I'm getting the Wii Fit. (I am also getting the Jillian game for it, so yay!)
And since I'm at it, I might as well add one of these to my list:
Mine's going to need to grow larger denominations though.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Would I eat pumpkin pie if I couldn't have whipped cream on it?

Answer: probably not.

Thanksgiving was a lovely day. 

Guess what! Guess what!

I totally didn't pig out--and it didn't kill me. 

Now, to be honest, I can't say that I ate entirely prudently, but I don't have any regrets. I didn't eat seconds of any of the dinner items (though I had two pieces of pie when we had dessert later.) All my portions were quite reasonable--I even cut back on the things I didn't care as much about (mashed potatoes, for instance) so I could have a little more of the stuff I really wanted (stuffing). Best of all,  I wasn't sick at the end of the day. 

Joel is the dieting king--he is better about sticking to a diet/healthy eating plan than anyone I've ever met. Yesterday, however, he just let go and ate with abandon. He logged all his WW points, though, so I guess he wasn't quite as wild 'n' crazy as he might have been. 
He used 37 points on pie alone. For those of you not up with the Weight Watchers lingo, that translates to roughly 1800 calories. I'm not entirely sure why he didn't descend into a diabetic coma during the night. 

As promised, I took a picture of one of my mother-in-law's enormous Thanksgiving plates (see above). As always, I made sure this picture was as flattering of me as possible. 

I hope you also had a very nice holiday. If you, along with Joel, ate a day's worth of calories in pie alone, please forgive yourself as soon as possible. Just be on the lookout for the diet dangers that December will be bringing your way shortly: fudge, fruitcake (ha!), chocolate Santas, frosted sugar cookies, eggnog, schnitzel with noodles...etc. 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Insert Your Own Clever Title Here (cuz I got nothin')

As you can see, my ability to think is still about where it was two days ago, so there's no possible way I could come even close to producing a list like Holly's. I do have a few ramblings to share though. Lucky you!

I was thinking today about gratitude and health/dieting/body image stuff, and when it comes right down to it, I am just plain grateful to have a body, even though I'm not entirely happy with how it looks. I am grateful that I'm healthy and that my family loves me no matter what I look like. I'm grateful that my children and husband are healthy, too, and that we have plenty of everything we need. Technically, I don't think sanity is a need, per se, because we're a little short on that.

Last year I had a malignant melanoma removed from my arm. It was caught early enough that the only treatment I needed was the one surgery, but my risk for skin cancer to return is what they call "elevated." I recently reconnected with a friend I lost touch with several years ago and found out that last year she was diagnosed with Stage II breast cancer. She went through 5 months of chemo and is currently in remission. In April, my grandma was diagnosed with Stage IV breast cancer and 2 weeks ago was moved to Stage V. She's not expected to live much past the new year.

None of us can control whether or not we get cancer, but we can mitigate the risk. None of us can control what happens to our loved ones, but we can control what we put in our mouths, how (and how often) we move our bodies and whether or not we wear sunscreen (p.s. wear sunscreen). We don't know what's going to happen in the future, but we do know that how we live today can influence it. Influence it for good, ok?

Because this post isn't very funny, I'll try to redeem myself by posting a homework assignment my Kindergartener did. I feel the same way she does.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Chock Full o' Thanks

Sara has blogging duty (like guard duty, but with fewer weapons) on Thanksgiving day, so I'll have to settle for a pre-Thanksgiving gratitude fest. 

(Who am I kidding? I'm happy to spend tomorrow doing nothing but eating simple carbs and watching other people do dishes--there will be no time for writing a Post-It Note, let alone a blog entry.)

I feel like making a numbered list. Please note that the list items are in random order (I don't want you to worry in case I happen to list Cheetos before my children...or something like that.)

Holly is thankful for:

  1. Cheetos
  2. My children
  3. Cinnamon toast
  4. Rhinestones
  5. Indoor plumbing, especially toilets
  6. Finding a good deal on a new furnace (not as good as the furnace not dying in the first place, but still...)
  7. A husband and father-in-law who are relatively qualified to install a furnace
  8. Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
  9. Grocery shopping with my sister tonight
  10. Eggnog ice cream 
  11. Weight Watchers
  12. Fresh salsa
  13. My best in-state friend: Wendi
  14. My best friend: Sara
  15. My best friend who is also my husband: Joel
  16. Cinnamon toast
  17. Books!
  18. Jim Dale and his performance of the Harry Potter audiobooks
  19. Hot rollers (not to be confused with high rollers)
  20. Coupons
  21. Thai food
  22. Our parakeets
  23. My mannequin
  24. French doors
  25. Office supplies
  26. People who know how to sew
  27. My mom
  28. Your mom
  29. All the moms
  30. Sunscreen
  31. Lockets
  32. Clementines
  33. Post-it notes
  34. Those pens I love (what? I'm not going to get off the couch to find one and look at the brand.)
  35. Clifford the Big Red Couch
  36. Good haircuts and the people who give them
  37. Shop vacs
  38. The Hotties
  39. My siblings
  40. England
  41. Footy pajamas on little kids 
  42. Hot oil treatment
  43. Health insurance
  44. The USA
  45. New York City
  46. 50's dresses and vintage clothes in general 
  47. Etsy
  48. Apple computers
  49. Cupboard space
  50. It's a Wonderful Life
  51. Shoes
  52. People who spend their lives helping other people
  53. My mother-in-law's homemade macaroni and cheese
  54. Cheese
  55. God and all the good stuff that goes with
  56. Being free to worship Him
  57. Our DVR
  58. Jeans that aren't too tight or too loose
  59. Lotion
  60. Excedrin
  61. LASIK
  62. Flowers--any kind, but not calla lilies as much as the others
  63. Silk
  64. Wrap dresses
  65. People who are thrifty but aren't snotty about it
  66. Savings accounts
  67. Player pianos
  68. Digital cameras
  69. Red
  70. Cousins
  71. People who like me anyway
  72. Anti depressants
  73. Teachers who are really patient
  74. Tweezers
  75. Lysol wipes
  76. Heating pads
  77. Cetaphil
  78. Christmas trees
  79. Christmas
  80. Scottish accents
  81. Dangly earrings
  82. People who are smart but would never call themselves intellectuals
  83. (Parentheses)
  84. Sesame Street
  85. Houseplants that just won't quit
  86. No-iron fabrics
  87. Food banks
  88. People who get up early (how do they do it?)
  89. People who do jobs I don't want to do
  90. Trees
  91. Polite children
  92. My husband's insane but wonderful Christmas lights
  93. Kind neighbors
  94. Hotels
  95. Hiking (as long as I can stay in a hotel when I'm done)
  96. Hot baths
  97. Air conditioning
  98. Digging in the dirt
  99. Gas stoves
  100. Google

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Yeah...sorry...I got nothin'...

I've been trying all day to think of something to blog about, and I think I thought of some things, but they got lost. In my brain. Which means they are irretrievable.

I'm pleading the fact that as of today my husband's been gone for 5 weeks, and there's still another week before he gets home. I have officially turned into a wuss of a Marine wife. Last time he was gone for longer than a scout campout (which is pretty much the longest he's been gone since he got home from his last deployment 3 1/2 years ago), it took me until Month 5 out of 6 before I hit this level of No Rational Thought In Here. Plus my 2-year old was on a rampage today. Let me rephrase: my potty-training 2-year old was on a rampage today. There was so much pee to clean up today.

So really all I have for you is that I exercised twice today, both at home, because I had errands to run this morning and wasn't able to get to the gym. I spent an hour walking the length of my apartment after I got home from the errands and then tonight I rode my stationary bike for 40 minutes while I watched a TV show on my computer. I also drank all my water and recorded all my food. Most importantly, I did not eat all of the cookies I made for my Kindergartener's Thanksgiving party. That was probably the hardest part of the day.

I apologize for the lameness of this post. Probably what I should do instead of whining about the wolves that are chasing me (luckily I dn't have a hangnail; that would just be the last straw) is point you toward the comment of this post so that you can see how awesome Wendi is. You probably won't believe that I have an opinion about this, but I believe that real change comes through making small changes and then being consistent. Her trip to the store on foot for her very heavy appples (sorry, Wendi, couldn't resist) and not buying caramels for said heavy appples is what it's about. Go, Wendi!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Let's Talk Turkey...

and stuffing and yams. 

First, let's talk about yams. They are nasty. Don't waste calories on tubers smothered in marshmallowy ooze. 


We're having Thanksgiving dinner with my in-laws this year. Somebody help me! (Just kidding--I love my in-laws. I especially love any of my in-laws who happen to read this blog entry. I love them SO much!) 

My mother-in-law has special plates just for Thanksgiving dinner. And by "special," I mean, "bigger than my hair in the 80's." You could feed an entire third-world nation off one of these plates. I'll take a picture of one of them (the plates, not a third-world nation) on Thursday and post it on this blog.

This post is not about big plates or big hair--it's about food. Specifically, it's about the big calories in your Thanksgiving dinner. 

If you want to eat until your belly button pops out like a Norbest turkey timer, go right ahead, but I want you to be informed first. Here's a veritable feast of information (tasty, tasty information) for you:

Thanksgiving Foods: Calories and Weight Watchers Points

*turkey, white meat 2 ounces (approx. weight 111 cal 2 WW pts
of an obese parakeet)
*turkey, dark meat 2 ounces (see above) 125 cal 2 WW pts
*turkey gravy 1/4 cup 68 cal 2 WW pts
*mashed potatoes 1 cup 233 cal 4 WW pts
*stuffing 1 cup 300 cal 6 WW pts
*sweet potatoes 2 1/2" x 2" section of 151 cal 3 WW pts
casserole dish
*green bean casserole 1/6th of 1.5 qt casserole 410 cal 11 WW pts
*cranberry sauce 1/2 cup 209 cal 4 WW pts
*dinner roll 1 average size roll, white 111 cal 2 WW pts
*butter 1 tablespoon 102 cal 3 WW pts
*pumpkin pie 1/8th of a 9-inch pie 323 cal 8 WW pts
*whipped cream 1/2 cup 207 cal 6 WW pts

This information was gleaned from the fertile fields of the internet. The caloric values of your Thanksgiving foods may vary. 

What are you going to eat on Thursday? How much of it? How many new feuds will you start with your siblings? 

(my answers: everything but the sweet potatoes, not enough to make me throw up, 2)

Photo notes: 

1) It was taken in 1990, not the 80's, but for our purposes it works.
2) I don't know what's most horrifying: my hair, my pleated white pants, my facial expression or the lasers. What do you think?
3) In my defense, I was reluctant to be photographed in front of the laser background. The photographer talked me into it. "It looks really good in the finished pictures!" he gushed. 
4) The pants were my idea, and there is no excuse for them. 
5) This picture will probably come back to haunt me someday. 

Sunday, November 23, 2008

What a Middle-Aged Surfer Can Teach Us About Thanksgiving

I thought about writing about how tonight when I was walking on the track at my kids' school I kept a really great pace because I was trying to make sure I stayed way ahead of any other people who were also on the track because I had gas. 4.52 miles in 71 minutes, thank you very much.

But (get it? Butt? Hee. I slay me.)(As a side note, something you should know about Holly is that when I first met her she was so refined that she wouldn't even say the word, "butt." It took me two years to wear her down.) I figured that that wouldn't be the most interesting post. Maybe it would, but that's sad. So instead I'm going to talk about Thanksgiving.

A couple of years ago I read a book by Anderson Cooper that I really liked--it was a good story well told, which is my main criteria for me liking it--but what I liked best was a phrase I took from it. I wish I were cool enough (or had enough brain cells, for that matter)(it is my time-tested hypothesis that placenta is made of brain cells) to remember the context of this phrase, but that doesn't make it any less good. Holly actually referred to it a few posts ago, because, well, I do say it a lot. "Hope is not a plan."

17 years ago, my husband was in Florida serving a mission for our church, and he was teaching a man named Greg. Greg was a nice guy--a typical surfer dude type--who was really interested in living a good life, but had a few addictions that he wasn't quite ready to give up. The way he said it several times to my dh was, "Man, I hope I repent." This has now become a saying that Holly and I use quite often when we're referring to something that is entirely in our power to do but that we may or may not actually get done. Such as, "Today I want to exercise and eat well. I hope I repent," or, "I really don't want to eat too much candy at my in-laws' house today. I hope I repent."

You get the idea.

With Thanksgiving coming up, you need a plan. You can't go into one of the most caloriffic days of the year saying, "I hope can control myself." Want to know why you can't do that? That's right, because hope is not a plan.

Your Thanksgiving plan can be any kind you want it to be. You can plan out everything you're going to eat and the exercise you're going to do that day and when. You can also plan to eat everything in sight and make sure there's always someone nearby to fetch things for you so you never have to get up. You could also take a more moderate approach and set yourself some guidelines, such as "Only a small piece of the dessert(s) that look really good," or "No thirds." Knock yourself out figuring out what's best for you. But while you're thinking of your plan, think about how you want to feel--physically and about yourself--that night or even the next day, and think about how you can best plan to make those feelings reality.

Now, I know that there's a school of thought that says, "It's the holidays! You should just relax and enjoy yourself!" You should know that I do not subscribe to that school. I do agree that the holidays are a great time of year and should be fun. However, I also believe that one day of gorging yourself and sitting on your duff (that's a term pre-Sara Holly would likely have approved of) all day is not going to do you any favors. You've tasted it all before. You will have another chance in your life to taste it again. This year make the decision to eat sensibly, make a plan for that, and follow through. The holidays are not about the food. They're about the people we love and getting in touch with our better selves. Thanksgiving in particular is about remembering the many things with which youve been blessed and expressing that gratitude, whether publicly or privately (personally, I am not a fan of having to go around the table and share something you're grateful for for every M&M that's in a little cup at your place, and I love that one year my brother-in-laws last gratitude was "I'm grateful that this is the last M&M.").

I do not, however, believe that the holidays are meant to be spent stressing out over every calorie and every morsel, or feeling guilty because you overslept and didn't get your workout done before it was time to start cooking/leave for Grandma's. Be realistic. You know you, and you know what challenges you're going to face on Thursday. Take all that into account, and do the best you can. You don't have to be perfect; just do your best. Eat three pieces of pie instead of your usual 5? Great! Just think about what you want to happen and then make a plan to make that happen. Want eat with wanton abandonment and just get back in the game on Friday? More power to ya! Plan it out!

Think it through. That's all I'm saying.

I hope we all repent :)

That picture up there is because when I entered "turkey" into Google Images, that map of the country, not the bird (though a map of a bird might be both gross and fascinating) is one of the first results that showed up, and it made me laugh, and since I am all about the humor, I went with it. Photo credit: shunya.net

Saturday, November 22, 2008

If I knew you were coming...

Those in my inner circle are aware that when I'm not clubbing, playing high stakes poker or committing random acts of macrame, I dabble in cake decorating. ("Ah ha!" you say. "That must be why she has 45 pounds to lose!" No, not quite, but this hobby may have contributed to the need for others to drop a few pounds.) 

I enjoy cake decorating like I enjoy giving birth: it's a big, messy pain, but the results are pretty great. (Don't go too deep with this analogy--I have yet to consume one of my children.)

I decorate maybe 10-12 cakes per year. That's about all I can handle at this point in my life. Keep in mind that some of these are wedding cakes and take 40-50 hours from start to finish. Also, keep in mind that spending 40-50 hours on anything, ever, goes against my very nature. 

Today is a cake day. In fact, I'm taking a break from making my 3-year-old nephew's birthday cake to write this post. It's close to midnight, but I still have at least 2 hours of work before I can go to bed, and that's being optimistic. However, I'm grateful that this cake doesn't appear to be an all-night project. 

It helps that I'm making a cake shaped like a rock. (The picture above is of a previous cake I made for the same nephew, which was much more elaborate and large than the planned rock.) One of my nephew's favorite pasttimes is lifting up rocks in his yard in order to unearth the bugs beneath, then smooshing said bugs. So, his cake is going to be a bug-covered rock. It won't be one of my prettier babies, that's for sure. But I hope this cake will teach Ethan that bugs are for eating as well as smooshing.

This post doesn't have much at all to do with dieting. That's OK--we've warned you already that cake will play a part in this blog. At least I'm trying to create an association in your mind between cake and bug smooshing. You're welcome!


Friday, November 21, 2008

Honk Honk

That's me, tooting my own horn.

(I guess this could be subtitled, "I Can't Think of Anything to Blog About, So I'm Going to Tell You How Great I Am Instead.")

Today marks 6 weeks of tracking my food. Everything I ate. Every day. 6 weeks. For me, that is huge. I think to this point my record is 3 weeks, maaaaaybe 3 1/2. But probably not. Today is also 3 weeks of drinking 100+ ounces of water everyday. And in 2 days, my 12-week chart will be 3/4ths of the way full. So yeah, I'm pretty awesome.

I will pause whilst you go hurl.

But that's really not my big deal this week. I am so grateful that the tracking and the water and the exercise feels commonplace and that, while I'm pretty pleased with myself about my consistency (usually me and consistency, well, we are not friends), it's almost so normal that it's almost no biggie. (I say "almost" because I'm trying to be better at giving myself credit for the good stuff I do.) No, my big deal this week is that I didn't quit.

I really wanted to. The combination of the scale jump and the abysmal running experience--along with a bunch of other junk going on--really did a number on my head. I would not have been surprised if my period had shown up this week, even though it's a week too soon, that's how bad my brain was. In fact, I was almost hoping for it because then I'd have some explanation other than "Crazy." But alas, it was just me.

Yesterday in particular was really hard. All day long I just wanted to stuff myself with whatever I could find. Yesterday just happened to also be the day I did my weekly grocery shopping. It's truly a miracle I didn't leave the store with nothing but a cart full of Oreos and Pop Tarts. I am so not kidding. But I didn't. Stuff on my list only, thank you (though I did buy a bag of really giant ziploc bags, because you never know when you might need a really giant ziploc bag, and around here if you don't buy something when you see it, you're not likely to ever get the chance again, so that was an impulse buy, though thankfully an inedible one). I spent the evening talking myself out of making cookies, a task made harder when a friend updated her Facebook status to read "is making cookies." Even Facebook was against me!

I didn't quit though. I even exercised 3 times yesterday. And after spending all week higher than last week's weigh-in, the scale was down 1 pound this morning. Still not caught up with last week's gain, but it's in the right direction, and I'm pleased.