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.