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Archive for August, 2011

I am in a dangerous place right now. I have been eating well and exercising for about six weeks. I have lost some weight (13 pounds, to be specific). But this is often the point where I lose focus.

I have lost between 10 and 15 pounds before (on, I would say, at least six different occasions); I have gone through spurts of healthy eating and consistent exercise. But there is always a point where it falls off. I lose the initial excitement of it, or I lose focus. It becomes a routine and, thus, does not engage me as much. I start to think, “I’m doing great! I deserve a reward.” Or “I’m so good most of the time, this one little time won’t really matter.” Which it won’t, but then the one little times start happening daily, and then they aren’t single times so much as multiple little times; and then it’s just a short slide down to giant festivals of cake and cookie consumption.

I have to find a way to get passed that hump. To stay focused. To believe these goals and these changes are worth more than that donut. I feel myself weakening. Not a lot. Just a little. There was that glass of wine. And then Sunday I had a shot of soju and actual red meat. (Which was sooo good. Kalbi is, in a word, ah-mazing.)

I don’t want to beat myself up or think of myself as bad though. Because that just feeds a downward spiral. It must because that’s what I’ve done in the past and that’s the direction I’ve spiraled.

I want to spiral up this time. The only way I know how to do that is day by single day, which, hopefully, will work. Also, not going out helps. Although it makes me super boring.

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Extremes

Yeah, so I had that glass of wine last night.

But here are some of the things I haven’t had:

*the watermelon-booze punch at a bbq tonight

*homemade cream puffs by a professional chef

*homemade macaroons by the same chef

*s’mores! for god’s sake, s’mores!

*any of the pastries from a frickin’ tray of them out at the bbq

*any of the pastries in the Starbucks where I got my iced tea

*the delicious focaccia bread at Little Dom’s

*also the delicious pancakes at Little Dom’s

*the frickin’ milk for my frickin’ coffee

And that’s just today, folks! So while my many dietary restrictions may seem extreme, what I would have eaten instead, had I not imposed these restrictions on myself (and it would have been about 80% of what I just listed, if not more), would have also been extreme.

PS – The wine was kind of worth it.

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For reals. It’s Friday. I could use a drink. After work, of course. Although at my desk would be kind of fun.

And yes, I know needing a drink is bad. And no, I don’t actually need one. And yes, I feel better when I’m not all alcohol-muted and hazy. And no, getting drunk does not usually lead to me binging on carrots and filtered water.

In fact, I used to do such delightful things when drunk as:

-bake cookies at 2:00 a.m. and then eat them even after realizing I left out the baking soda

-go through the McDonald’s drive-thru years even after reading “Fast Food Nation”

-put frozen fries in the oven and then promptly pass out, waking up the next morning to a lovely new charred stick collection and a thankfully still-standing apartment

So I get it. I do. It’s just that I’m meeting a friend for drinks after work and there’s going to be a porch and a view. And seltzer water isn’t as sexy or as fun as a drink.

And no I don’t want to talk about the benefits of redefining sexy and fun for my personal well-being. I just want to pout.

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For the second time in a week, I got an all-office email about how there is cake in the kitchen for someone’s birthday.

And to that, I say, fuck you, cake.

Because I love cake. And two months ago, I would have waited one minute (so as not to seem obvious in my obsessive devotion) and then bolted for the kitchen and my piece of cake. And after eating it, I would have pondered the reasonableness of getting a second piece (in terms of how people would judge me, natch – reasonableness in and of itself was not of interest to me).

But cake doesn’t love me like I love it, so we are on an extended hiatus from each other. And it’s hard. Every day I have to make the decision not to. Not to eat cake. Not to eat candy. Not to eat a stack of sugar cubes.

This morning, while I was getting my coffee, the goddamn evil bowl of M&Ms in the kitchen was calling to me more fervently than it usually does, and I had to just keep repeating to myself, “There is nothing for you there; there is nothing for you there.”

Because it’s true. Yes, chocolate is delicious, and yes, treats are okay from time to time. But “all the time” is not the same as “from time to time,” and I need to retrain some things before I can make that distinction. And for now, it won’t do me any good.

Plus, it’s pretty gross to ALWAYS have highly processed candy out at work. I mean, who, actually needs that? I want to tape a sign to the bowl that says:

WE ARE THE DEVIL’S MINIONS.

or

WE NUMB THE PAIN BUT DO NOT MAKE IT GO AWAY

or

LIKE DRUGS, BUT NOT AS GOOD

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This is the chat conversation my friend and coworker Laura, of nocturnalknits, and I had right after the more recent treats-in-the-kitchen office-wide email:

Laura: ALMONDS ARE JUST AS DELICIOUS AS CUPCAKES

right?

me: Hahahah!  this is most funny b/c it’s EXACTLY what i’m saying to myself right now. while eating almonds.

paired with a piece of fruit, it’s just like dessert – better even! right? right?

Laura: though, I remember the last time they ordered cupcakes, I had one, thinking it would solve all my problems  and amazingly, it did not solve all my problems.  it didn’t even make me feel better

me: that’s a very astute point.

i was just thinking about how eating a cupcake is absolutely an awesome experience, but it’s an experience that only lasts about two minutes and it’s only awesome while the actual eating is happening. Once the cupcake is gone, things get significantly less awesome and stay at a lower point of awesomeness than pre-cupcake consumption levels. So it’s not really all that worth it for the short term spike in joy. Much like with heroin.

*             *              *             *               *

I used to think being the kind of woman who ate nuts over cake was lame, especially being the kind of woman who admitted it. Now, I just remind myself that the cake never made anything hurt less.

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More than a month, almost six weeks – that’s how long I’ve been eating like a motherfucking saint and working out with a reasonable amount of consistency. And I have lost 12 pounds. Which is pretty good.

So what did I have to do to lose 12 pounds in 6 weeks?

Not eat any refined sugar. At all. Zero. Zilch. And also, no artificial sweeteners (that shit is practically cancer in a packet anyway) or agave. So that pretty much took away 3/4 of everything I love to eat. At least. Along with my security blanket for life and my best and favorite way of stuffing down my emotions/tuning out/not engaging with the world.

Not eat any fried food, red meat, eggs, cheese, butter, or refined carbs. Yes, it is intense. No, it has not been easy or “fun.” And it has also been surprising because it’s not like I never knew that this is what I should do before. I knew. But I didn’t want to. So why am I doing it now? I made a choice. I put down money (for a trainer) and used that action to give all the subsequent actions weight and importance. Also, when I thought about all the things I wanted to eat but couldn’t (which was OFTEN), I was left to confront this notion: what was my other choice? I have spent 15-plus years finding excuses and ways to cheat, thinking I could do it better, thinking it didn’t count, refusing to look at what I was doing. It never got better by itself. So it’s my choice ultimately: how long do I want to let this shit show continue? And the answer is that I don’t want to continue it any more. I’m tired of it. So.

Eat mostly vegetables, fruit, lean protein, and complex carbohydrates. This is what we should all be doing. Seriously. Read some Michael Pollan. What we’ve turned food into, what we’ve turned eating into – it’s gross. We’ve bastardized one of the most enjoyable, delightful parts of life, one of our most sacred rituals. Most of the time we’re not even eating food anyway. We need to get a motherfucking grip. Seriously. Me as much as anyone, and more than a lot of people.

Exercise. A lot. With the help of a professional. I’m still struggling with this. I’m willing but not eager. Some day, I’m going to want to climb a mountain though, and not just watch the scene about it from “The Sound of Music” (although it’s a great fucking scene).

Be present. It’s the hardest one of all.

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And then I got sick. Apparently, that was the immediate side-effect of dumping sugar and all those other toxins from my daily intake routine.

And then I was sick for a week! And it sucked! But at least it gave me less energy with which to fuss about not getting cookies.

While sick, I managed to consume no sugar. Well, except what was in the NyQuil. Because, come on. A grown-ass woman whose head is an ever-inflating balloon of snot and pain can only be so much of a stickler.

Then I got better, and I started going to my personal training sessions regularly. I have had six so far. They are HARD. But also good. Even though once I thought I might vomit. I have also not consumed (at least not intentionally): sugar, eggs, whole milk, cheese, red meat, refined carbs (okay, there was one piece of bread at a dinner party, but mostly!), or alcohol for the past three weeks.

I just looked up how much time it’s been exactly: three weeks and one day. IT SEEMS LIKE IT HAS BEEN LONGER.

I still would very much like a goddamn evil cookie (which is not by itself evil and is reasonable in the greater arc of life I KNOW, but it’s just kind of evil for me now because I have an unhealthy? yes… very unhealthy relationship with such things).

But it’s also good. It’s good because I don’t feel as sluggish and lethargic. I sit in my chair at work and am less constantly consumed by a feeling of heaviness, of my own weight pressing down on me. I am also tired. But it’s the good tired that comes from having expended energy instead of never really waking up.

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