Monthly Archives: February 2012

Running to Stand Still

This week’s progress:  +2.4 pounds

Total loss:  87.6 pounds

Last week, I decided I’d go meatless for a week, just to see if I could do it.  I did.  I made it through the entire week, but it was not without its difficulties.

I had a difficult time feeling full all week long.  To me, the feeling of fullness after eating is important, because that’s my body’s physical signal to stop eating.  Even on days where I ate foods full of fiber and drank lots of water, I couldn’t get full.  Consequently, I ate more. 😦

I had a tough time managing my blood sugar due to all the starch I ate.  There were a couple of times during the week where I could feel my bg dipping, and there was little I could do about it.  It was an unexpected side effect of my change in diet, and the main reason I will not go meatless again for a prolonged period of time.  Because I teach and have to be “on” all day for 8 hours each day, I can’t have periods of time where I get dizzy, foggy or otherwise incapacitated.  I don’t want to scare my students, and I don’t want to be out of commission for any period of time during the day.

I was getting bored with my food choices.  You can only eat oatmeal or eggs/papas for so many breakfasts before it gets old.  I’m pretty sure I’m going to swear off those things for a bit so that I can regain my taste for them.

I didn’t eat all that I’d planned to eat due to lack of time management.  I thought my meal planning efforts would pay off in the end, but they didn’t.  I ended up working way more hours at school last week than I’d intended to, so that meant a lot of late nights at school and not as many early mornings at the gym as I’d have liked.  I am not a “cook-ahead” type–I prefer my food to be hot and fresh as soon as I eat it.  I don’t want to warm it up in the microwave to eat it if I don’t have to.  There is just something better about a meal that’s been prepared and assembled prior to you eating it.  It’s one of the reasons I’m not a fan of leftovers or microwave meals–I refuse to eat Lean Cuisines or suchlike.

This week will be better, and I will get back on the horse and ride.  To celebrate my week of meatlessness, I’m fixing ribeyes with zucchini planks, brussels sprouts with walnuts and a baked potato for me.  The potato will be one of the last starchy foods I eat this week, as I’m cutting back on my white starches this week in order to see how cutting back on my processed carbs helps/hurts me.  I am fixing zucchini and caramelized onion pizza tomorrow night, so truly that will be the last of the processed carbs I eat.  I think the biggest part of my problem was that I ate quite a lot of starchy carbs in an attempt to feel full, and didn’t exercise as much as I’d have liked.  When you consume a lot of starchy carbs, your body stores the excess as glycogen in your muscles and liver.  After about 72 hours, if you don’t use that stored glycogen, your body figures, ‘oh hey, you’re planning on keeping this around a while.  let’s make it into something you can keep a long time.’ and begins converting it into fats.  Perhaps that’s what happened.  It could also have been water retention due to the excess glycogen storage.  Who knows?

Weight loss is one big science project, and I am an ongoing experiment.  There are times I get tired of being a lab rat, and today was one of them.  I feel like I’m running in place just to stand still, and it’s so frustrating.  Maybe this is the first real plateau I’ve hit in this process.  I just wish there was something I could do to break through it, but I’ve got to consistently and constantly experiment to find out what the hell it is.

This week, the plan is to cut back on meat to 4-5 days a week.  That’s something, right?  Also, I am walking in my first race.  Saturday, to begin my BirthWeek, I’m participating in the Eagle Run 1-mile fun run/walk that my school district is holding.  I figure I am doing a 5k in May, so I should prep by doing smaller races first.  I have been road testing two pairs of shoes I bought 3 weeks ago:  a pair of Asics Gel Fortitude, and a pair of New Balance Minimus Multi-Sport Shoes.  I think I’m going to be doing my 1-miler in my NB’s.  I absolutely love how I feel like I’m barefoot in them, and I can feel the ground directly under my feet.  I feel more sure-footed in them, and hey, they look awesome!  I’m going to give them a try at this race next Saturday morning.  I’ll be sure to report back on how I did in them.

I also bought a Groupon for boxing classes.  I told myself when school started that once I hit my -100 pound goal, I’d take classes.  I’m not close, but why wait?  If I like it, I’ll go back and take more since the gym I’ll be going to offers a package deal:  10 classes for $65.  Not a bad deal!

Hopefully this week will be better than next…it has to be.

Week Without Meat

This week’s progress:  -3.4 pounds

Total loss:  -90 pounds

So I lost nearly all I gained last week, save for 2.2 pounds.  Eh, you win some and you lose some.

I decided a while back that I wanted to try a week without meat.  A friend of mine went the entire month of February last year without mammalian flesh on his menu, with great success.  I decided that I’d give total meatlessness a try, rather than go without mammals since that meant I would not be eating cow or pig–two things I don’t eat a heck of a lot of anyway. I decided I’d do this the week that Lent begins, as Christians all over the world get ready to celebrate the sacrifice that Jesus made by giving his life for them by sacrificing something for the approximately 40 days the season lasts.  Mind you, I’m not a devout Catholic (I was raised as such), but I decided that this year I would actually give up something (Coke Zero, may God help us all) and be meatless on Fridays (like I’m supposed to during Lent).

To get ready for my week of meatlessness, I pinned a ton of vegetarian recipes to my Pinterest board set aside for such things, and cut back my beef consumption to two meals last week in total that had beef in them.   I also cut back my Coke Zero consumption to 3 whole sodas all week long.  Not bad compared to my usual consumption of the drink.

I did the shopping today, and filled the cart with all sorts of fruits and veggies in preparation for my week of vegetarianism.  I’m actually a little excited by the proposition, because it will shake up my eating a bit, and maybe, just maybe give my metabolism the boot it needs to get me off this damned plateau I seem to be on.  So here’s the menu for this week:


Brunch:  huevos con papas y refritos (eggs and potatoes with refried beans), flour tortillas, chips and salsa, spoonful of guacamole, rice

Dinner:  Big green leafy salad with shredded carrots, a bit of cheddar cheese and a few croutons, whole wheat bread slice with teaspoon of Nutella for dessert

Monday breakfast:  steel-cut oats with pecans, vanilla extract, Splenda and a handful of chocolate chips, milk to drink

Mid-morning Snack:  baby-cut carrots, pistachio kernels

Lunch:  it is a workday at school so I will likely go out to Chipotle and get a vegetarian burrito bowl with brown rice, black beans, grilled peppers and onions, corn salsa, guacamole, cheese and a ton of lettuce.

Dinner:  summer veggie stir-fry with zucchini, corn, cherry tomatoes and caramelized onions over rice, strawberries with a bit of nutella for dessert.

Tuesday breakfast:  same as Monday, since I’ll be eating on the oatmeal a couple of days, as I’m making it in the Crock-Pot

Tuesday mid-morning snack:  pretzel sticks with almond butter

Lunch:  leftover veggie stir-fry, strawberries dipped in sugar-free Jello pudding

Afternoon snack:  94% ff microwave popcorn

Tuesday dinner:  bean burritos, leafy green salad, calabacitas (zucchini sauteed with onions, corn and a bit of garlic topped with a little cheese)

Wednesday breakfast:  egg and cheese breakfast tacos on whole wheat tortillas

Wednesday mid-morning snack:  carrot sticks with bean dip

Wednesday lunch:  bean burritos and green salad

Wednesday afternoon snack:  pistachio kernels, clementines

Wednesday dinner:  broccoli-lemon soup, grilled cheese sandwich on whole wheat bread, broiled grapefruit sections with honey for dessert

Thursday breakfast:  egg and cheese breakfast tacos on whole wheat tortillas

Thursday mid-morning snack:  pistachio kernels, clementines

Thursday lunch:  cheese sandwich, orange slices, carrot sticks

Thursday afternoon snack:  pretzels and bean dip

Thursday dinner:  baked potato with marinara and broiled mozzarella, green salad

Friday breakfast:  egg and cheese omelet, milk

Friday mid-morning snack:  almond milk, pretzel sticks with nutella

Friday lunch:  clementines, bean burritos, carrot sticks

Friday dinner:  Spanish tortilla (egg and potato omelet), quesadilla on whole wheat tortilla, green salad

Saturday breakfast:  broiled grapefruit, egg and cheese burrito, milk

Saturday lunch:  trip to Genghis Grill, where I’ll make a vegetarian bowl with zucchini, onions and roasted tomatoes over Udon noodles

Saturday dinner:  zucchini-spinach pizza and salad

Sunday:  celebrate the fact I made it an entire week without meat!

One step forward, two steps back.

This week’s progress:  +5.6 pounds

Total loss:  -86.6 pounds

Back to square one.  I decided a few things today, though:

1.  Stairs only at work, unless I’m wheeling in my cart of stuff.  Then I’ll take the elevator.  I don’t care how winded I am at the top of the stairs, I’m dragging my chunky butt up the two flights to get to my classroom.

2.  Going to give the low-carb eating another go.  I didn’t buy any bread or starchy stuff at the store tonight, so that’s a step in the right direction.  I’ll be fixing an omelet tomorrow morning for breakfast, and drinking some almond milk to go along with it.  I’m packing some pistachios to eat as a snack a couple of times tomorrow during the day to stave off the hunger pangs I know I’ll get.

3.  I didn’t buy any diet soda when I went grocery shopping tonight, so I’m going to move to drinking water with fruit cut up in it.  I already drink nearly a gallon of water a day anyway, but I need variety.  I figured cutting up fruit and putting it in there might give me that, plus fruit servings.  I need to cut back on my caffeine intake anyhow, so here is one way to do it.

I’m determined to hit the -100 pound mark by my birthday, which is less than 30 days away.  Hopefully incorporating these things into my days will help tremendously.  I’m just tired of the stupid gains and losses, and wish it could just be all losses.  I know that gains are a part of the process, but I’m frustrated with the process and to be honest, on some days, just want to chuck it all and say “f this, I give up.”

But then I look at the photos from 2 years ago, and from my starting week and remember how awful I looked and felt.  Then I give myself a boot to the ass, and keep going.

It’s just a series of kicks to the ass, this journey is.  Swift, hard kicks.

What does thin feel like?

Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.

That quote has to be the biggest crock of shit ever, especially if you’ve never been thin.


I was always a big kid. Thin has never been something I’ve ever felt. Thin is not something I can really even conceive of, because it’s something I’ve never been.

Likewise, if you’ve never been fat, you have no idea what it’s like. Sure, you may have put on a few pounds here and there so that your favorite jeans don’t fit, and so to you, that’s fat. Or you may have eaten a little too much at your birthday dinner, and so you feel the need to exclaim, “oh my gah, I’m soooo fat!”

As a fat woman, I can tell you, that ain’t fat.

Try being the 13 year old kid who has to shop in the women’s department for a size 18W pair of pants, or being the 9 year old whose PE teacher exclaims, “Oh my God, you’re 100 pounds” as she reads your weight off the scale in front of everyone on the day of Presidential Fitness testing. Try being the woman who gets told minutes before takeoff that she must purchase another seat on the flight because she takes up more than her designated space.

To be those people is to put yourself in my shoes. Until you’ve actually been fat, you have no idea what it’s like. Which brings me back to that inane saying above. I’ve never been thin, and I know that based on my body frame alone, I will never be truly thin. I only know that I will be thinner than I am now–something I am continuing to work toward.

I also know that the food I put into my mouth tastes good, and that it is just food–neither good nor bad. It just is. I refuse to deny myself things that taste good in the name of being thin. To deny myself the things I love to eat is to set myself up for the inevitable massive bender, in which I eat those things in great quantity uncontrollably. I would much rather have small bites or amounts of those things rather than cut them out of my life altogether. I think that life is much too short to eat the things you don’t really enjoy, so why not just control how much of those things you consume? It’s worked for me so far, but I’ll admit, there are still some times when portion control is a challenge for me. It is something I struggle with daily, much like an alcoholic struggles with whether or not to drink; I struggle with how much of something I should or should not eat.

Eating got me to my heaviest weight, and eating has gotten me 100 pounds away from it. I still have quite a bit to go, and when I get to what I think my goal weight is, I still won’t be considered thin by all the standard measures–in fact, I’ll still be considered obese. I do know that it is thinner than I’ve ever been as an adult, and that once I get there, I will certainly celebrate because I will finally know what it feels like to be thin.


This week’s progress report: -2.4 pounds
Total loss: -92.2 pounds

At left, me in August 2010 when I began this road to health. At right, me today, -92 pounds lighter.

Not going to make my Valentine’s goal of -100. I’m okay with that. If I can hit -95 by Valentine’s, which I think I can, I’ll be happy. I want to hit and exceed -100 by my birthday in March, though. If I can get there before my birthday, even better.

Increasing my cardio workouts helped, I think. So that’s what I’m going to keep on doing. This week: 20 minute walks on the treadmill every time I go to the gym, coupled with my recumbent bike riding and strength training. Guess I need to get up a tiny bit earlier to fit it all in.


A empezar

I heard the thud from the storeroom. The sound of someone falling down is an unmistakable one. I got up from my desk, where I’d been working on tweaking my class’ website posting curriculum materials for my students for the upcoming week. I went into the storeroom to find our custodian on the floor on her hands and knees, wincing in pain. Communication was going to be difficult, as her grasp of English was tenuous at best, and my grasp of Vietnamese was nonexistent beyond the word pho.

I asked her if she was okay, and she nodded. I asked her what happened, and gingerly she reenacted it for me, minus the tumble. She’d tripped over the permanently affixed doorstop as she entered the storeroom and had fallen hard on her knees, using her hands to break her fall. Now, our custodian is not a young woman, and I feared she’d really hurt herself. I helped her to a chair, had her prop up her legs, and gave her a bag of ice from our freezer. I then poked my head into my colleague’s classroom to see if she was there (she was) and to ask her what I should do next.

After we talked, I decided the best course of action would be to go find a principal and then proceed from there. I asked my colleague to keep an eye on our custodian (in case she needed anything) and I went in search of a principal.

I walked as fast as I could to find someone. In the average school, this task would not take long. However, the campus I work on is not your average school. It’s a sprawling million-square foot building, and everything is very spread out. Additionally, there are multiple principal’s offices, so I went to the one closest to my hall.

I found the principal there, explained what happened, and he said, “Check with the Aramark office downstairs, someone should be there. Let me know how things turn out.” I hurried off downstairs, taking the elevator as 38 years (and two knee dislocations, plus torn ligaments) of being overweight have taken their toll on my knees and stairs at any speed are generally a bad choice.

No one was in the Aramark office, but I noticed that in the distance, one of the supervisors who is always on my hall was headed to the Performing Arts Center. I tried to keep up with his pace, but couldn’t. At that moment, I felt helpless because I couldn’t run after him to get his attention.

If you’ve ever had that feeling, it’s not a good one. It’s even worse when your helplessness is the result of your obesity.

I walked fast enough to catch one of my students and asked him if he could run after the supervisor, which he did. Long story short, we made it up to my hall with the building’s custodial services supervisor, found our injured custodian back on her feet and determined that she was okay and that an incident report would need to be filled out.

I’ve had wake-up calls about my weight before, but this one cut deep. Someone needed my help, and I could not run to get it.

  • The first wake-up call came in the summer of 2002, when I was diagnosed with high blood pressure.
  • The second was in the summer of 2005, when I had two cousins under the age of 30 die of massive heart attacks. I freaked out enough to get to a cardiologist’s office, where I had a stress test and blood work done. It was determined that I had high triglycerides (hereditary, based on family heart history) and that meds would be the best treatment.
  • The third was in the summer of 2007, when I was diagnosed as a type 2 diabetic.
  • The next was in April 2010, when at my 6-month check-up, my doctor spoke these words: if your a1c keeps going up, I will have to put you on another medication, which is even more expensive than the two you already take, and it will make you gain weight.

That last one was the straw that broke the camel’s back. I was not about to have to take another medication, and I damn sure wasn’t going to PAY for another one. So what did I do?

I decided that it was time to reclaim my health. I’d let it slip out of my fingers, and I’d allowed other people and things to manage it for me and it was very obvious that this particular strategy wasn’t working for me. I couldn’t walk from my car in the parking lot of my building to my classroom without stopping to rest because I was in so much pain. I was getting to the point where I couldn’t even buy clothes in brick and mortar stores any more, because the sizes I was fitting into weren’t on the racks. Worse, the style choices became extremely limited. I couldn’t stand up to teach all day long, and sat nearly all day while teaching from my lab stool. Walking across my classroom got me winded. Using wall-hung toilets were a no-go.

I’d had enough. I spent that summer getting into the right headspace to start the task of taking charge of my health, formulating a plan of attack, and most importantly, building a support network. The latter two have proven critical to my success so far.

In August 2010, I joined Weight Watchers online. I’d followed the WW plan 4 times before, and had been successful, but I despised the meetings aspect of it all. I find it tough to be sympathetic to the common cause of weight loss when no one else in the meeting looks like me or has a significant amount of weight to lose, as I do.

I’ve had good success with the plan so far, losing 90 pounds and counting. What I haven’t done is fleshed out the thoughts that have been through my head as I’ve been working through this. So here I am, blogging about what I believe to be a just war–the battle to reclaim my health. I’m not aiming to be thin, because I’ll never be thin. My bone structure and body type won’t let me.

I just want to be healthy.