Sunday, July 31, 2011

Movin' Along

180.8 lbs. Spike plus plateau broken.

And the blood blister on the big toe is rapidly fading, so the après dance class post on Tuesday night will cover the class from one who can actually finish the damned thing. Order is being restored to my personal Universe.

1.       Torpor: A state of mental or physical inactivity or insensibility.

2.   Lethargy; apathy.

“Endless football + couch + Bud Light induces a state of torpor in Bill every Sunday.”

According to the Law of Attraction, I am calling these spikes and plateaus to myself by virtue of the fact that they bug me so much. I should therefore not take them personally and, “Oh, dear, well, let me focus on something else and it’ll go away.”

This is ME we’re talking about. I do not claim to have OCD but I do know that when something catches my attention, like a spike and plateau, my brain gnaws and paws at it like a Schnauzer with a marrow bone. And neither one of us lets go until the object of our attention is picked clean. I’m an American and I think one of the things that distinguishes an American is that we believe the problem doesn’t exist that can’t be solved, especially if there’s duct tape handy (In my case, over the mouth to prevent food from getting in. Also makes a very cheap facial hair removal system). And, of course, 6 lbs. gained and held for 13 days claims some serious attention.

My conclusions: my exercise program, once at 2-3 hours per day 6 days per week was seriously disrupted and shrunk and I didn’t adjust my caloric intake accordingly. I was also eating stuff that “didn’t agree with me,” not so much in terms of stomach upset, but in terms of adverse effect on my system. I had been feeling “full” all the time, a bit bloated and like things were not functioning at full efficiency. These are indicators that your body is not dealing well with the type of food you’re ingesting.

Time to adjust. Again. Sugar DEFINITELY out and now, all grains are out. We’ll see what that does.

I’ve also started a semi-annual Bowel Cleanse (Yeah, this is gross, but making sure that your gut is in good working order is a FANTASTIC idea). It’s a two formula program (made by a company in Marina Del Ray) that gets the smooth muscle of the intestines working again to (ahem) “move things along” and uses a charcoal, pectin, bentonite clay blend to absorb and remove toxins. This is NOT a weight loss shortcut: I have done this cleanse several times and never had significant weight loss. What it does is make me feel “lighter” (for want of a better word), make me feel like my digestive tract is working better ,faster, more efficiently and make me feel better, not so sluggish and my skins clears up (great barometer, your skin.  It’ll tell you if something’s amiss. Think of a zit as the Sarah Palin version of  Paul Revere shootin’ guns and ringin’ bells. And, in this case, YOU are the British and heed the warning to nip that shit in the bud). Again, no weight loss during the cleanse period (5 days), but getting rid of retained waste is always beneficial. There’s a reason your body doesn’t want to keep that stuff.

I’ve also advocated for adding fiber supplements (Like fiber gummies) and acidophilus/bifidous regularis to the diet. I like a good cheeseburger as much as the next carnivore, but I know that they’re calorie-dense, loaded with saturated fat and hard to digest. Added fiber and “good gut” bacteria (plus drinking those 8 glasses of water per day you’re always hearing about) helps your body cope with the heavier load. (Look, I’m not a scientist or nutritionist, okay? I just know what works for me, what makes me feel better).

I got the chance on Friday to finish my work a lot earlier than usual so that I could get to the gym at a time more to my liking: no issues with getting to weight equipment, no lines for cardio equipment. I had noticed that lately, I’ve been going through the weight training than I had when I started out  (45-50 minutes instead of 60-75 minutes). Same number of sets and reps, but it is my understanding that working more slowly is more of a challenge. I want the greater challenge; my muscles need the extra work. We have about 20 years of torpor (And you thought I wasn’t going to use it in a sentence) to overcome and with the slacking off of exercise, they need to be reminded who’s boss (my brain is such a control freak).  Saturday was welcome soreness (lactic acid burn; drink water to flush it out) and the drop on the scale.

Back on track.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

I'll See Your Zumba and Raise You a Bhangra

Those of you who think Zumba is the latest and greatest when it comes to cardio classes? Yeah, sorry. I tried out a new cardio/dance/fun class tonight that will, I am confident, make your Zumba passe.

Tonight, the gym introduced a Bollywood style dance/cardio class.

First of all, I would have felt bad for the two girls who showed up and started unrolling yoga mats (because the Bollywood class replaced a yoga class) if the sign hadn't been on the door to the group exercise room for two weeks. They hastily re-rolled their mats and beat feet.

The instructor, we'll call her Kali for reasons about to become apparent, is a pretty young lady who looks like she could star in a Bollywood musical.Sweet smile, mean as a snake: she told us to take off our sneakers. Doesn't seem so bad? YOU didn't have your feet swathed in socks and Vitamin D ointment this afternoon. One wrong move and I'd have done involuntary splits. Remember JIm and Pam's wedding on "The Office" and how Andy Bernard injured himself? You get the picture.

Beyond that, I do not do a lot of barefoot. It's California and summer and unless I need more foot covering, I live in my flip flops. This does not make for toughend feet. "I don't understand," you say. Okay, try bouncing energetically barefoot on a hardwood floor doing moves that create FRICTION between the floor and your toes. Like me, you will develop a Jai Ho -normous blister on the bottom of your big toe in about 5 minutes of this activity (It's huge. It's disgusting. And the floor in the exercise room is filthy).

I soldiered on, though. I was not going to let a blister stop me. It did significantly restrict what I was able to do. Shark Week is coming on Discovery and I didn't want to leave a blood trail.

The moves are simple, but tough to do.Kali the instructor made them look so simple; fine, yes, I can cross step back and forth. Oh, you want the arms moving, too. And bouncing.  Energetic bouncing that shifts weight from side to side, arm movements, kicking and steps that are half bouncing and half skipping. We stopped a couple of times for some floor work, but at a brisk tempo. There were moves that I had done earlier in the day in yoga with Lila (Plank, Down Dog, Pigeon), but at much more measured pace. This was more like yoga on meth. We had a room full of people looking like they were trying to rub their heads and pat their stomachs.

I finally had to leave about 30 minutes in, not because I couldn't keep up (trust me, NOBODY but the teacher looked good in that  class), but the blister was threatening to rupture if I continued with the barefoot work (seriously, does this look infected?).

It's a great workout and I plan to return next Tuesday. I'm just going to keep my shoes on, though.


If a Volkswagen Leaves LA Driving East....

183.2 lbs. This simply will not do.

However, the skin and sinuses are clearing up, the mindless grazing has gone the way of the dodo, so I’m thinking the sugar that upset the chemical balance is leaching out of the system and the weight will come off. I have a goal of 125 by Dec. 31, 2011. Two weeks ago, it was easily do-able as I was proceeding. 6 lbs. up and sticking? Causin’ problems. I programmed My Net Diary (or, if you could get cheese over the internet, My Net Dairy) with the goal (although I made a mistake and input Jan 10, 2012 instead of Jan 01, 2012. It’s a happy accident). MND analyzes your goal, where you are, the time difference and gives you a recommended calorie intake. It has cut mine DRASTICALLY over the past few days.

Since I am doing everything I can to get things back on track (Well, let me clarify: everything within reason. I’m not about to quit my job so I can get back to the old gym schedule. I’ve done some wrong-headed and misguided things in my life. That would be one of them), the best thing I can do is focus on my job and keep on keepin’ on, as the saying goes, with respect to diet and exercise. Sugar has been exorcised from the kitchen (“OUT DEMON HYDROCARBON!!!! THE POWER OF SPLENDA COMPELS YOU!!!!”). Lacking the financial means to hire Richard Simmons for this purpose, I did it myself.

I ain’t happy, of course. I figure if I’ve got a little software program telling me “if you lose this number of calories per day, you will  lose that number of ounces” and I have complied with the little software program, then I expect to see the number of ounces promised deducted from the daily weigh-in. I view it as a contract; I am holding up my end. Or so I think.

And, of course, the Red Sox are not helping distract me at the moment. Kansas City just hit back to back home runs and Terry Francona  is not listening to me yell, “Pull him, Tito!” with respect to the pitcher. Of course, the man is 3,000 miles away, but I am nothing if not loud (or so I’ve been told. Many times. Like it’s a bad thing). (NB. Pitching change. Maybe he heard me).

This will pass. I know it. Do I have to adjust my expectations? Maybe. Probably. What bothers me about the new schedule is that Torquemada told me (and she is a personal trainer, so I listen) that in order to hit my goal, I would have to weight train 3 times a week, yoga and Pilates 3 times a week and at least an hour of cardio 6 days a week. I am absolutely willing to put in that kind of effort. Unfortunately, I can’t do that and get my work done before midnight every night. I will have to sign up for more training and see what she says.

Oh, I still want to hit that 125 lbs. goal, not so much for the number, but for the “I set a goal, I kept my eyes on the prize and I made it” feeling. That’s genuine accomplishment. And then the weight loss project becomes the weight maintenance project. The goal is not the end of the road so much as it is the road map. It’s a landmark, I guess. I’m losing you. Okay: let’s put this in terms of travel, since I brought up journey and landmark language. We’ll call the goal the Empire State Building (and I have been to the top of that, for the record. Macy’s was doing their annual mass tap dancing gathering; they try to break the record every year and it was a blast to see it from that perspective). Okay, so here’s the question and this gets us thinking about what our real priorities are: We know that the Empire State Building is in New York City, so we know where we’re going. But, are we going to just  visit the building and then immediately leave New York because we got what we came to do? Or are we more interested in incorporating that into more time spent in New York? I see a parallel in the weight loss journey (and since I’m committing this to the permanent record, I am soooooo sick of the use of “journey” for every process we undertake as human beings including living. In the future, please limit it to actual travel or the band that sings “Don’t Stop Believing.”)Yeah, I’d like to get to New York and go up in the Empire State Building (the last time I was there, the view south was dominated by a pair of Twin Towers down in the Battery), but I’d like to stay in that area for as long as I feasibly can. The ESB got me there, but the locale keeps me there.

So, 125 lbs. makes a focus point for me; something to aim at. Okay, it sits in the middle of some attractive territory for me: smaller dress sizes, more defined, stronger body, an actual body image that conforms to the picture I have in my mind of what I want to be. I’m not going to hit the number , put on a party hat, take a picture of the scale (although I just might. No confetti, though. I weigh myself naked and you never know where that stuff will lodge) and then close up shop and go back to what I was doing (or not doing) food and exercise wise back in January. This is the decision making I was doing when I came to the end of the HCG protocol (which I’ve decided I WILL do again. You will have a front row seat); I knew if I wanted to maintain my progress and build on it some more, I was going to have to change the way I did things. Gluten is out, exercise and enough water to float a yacht is in. I eat enough chicken that I should be clucking. Beef is a once a month treat.  Sugar and starch are now on the blacklist (I can live without noodles and bread and rice, but this boots potatoes, too. Rats). Chard is in (Good stuff, too. I would have refused it as a kid, but I guess your taste buds change as you age and the bitter or astringent things you didn’t like when younger get more tolerable as you get older. It’s got a great, earthy taste, sautés quickly to tenderness and loves a good dash of garlic and apple cider vinegar) . Bourbon, formerly enjoyed with a good ribeye, is now on the shelf. This is all on the road to 125 or the Empire State Building. This (stupid, effing, lousy, rotten, ding-blasted) spike and plateau that I’m experiencing is the equivalent of a traffic jam (Carmageddon, maybe. Or one of those classic million member herd of buffalo crossing the road ahead of my car) or snowstorm forcing me off the road (I hate winter). Now, I could choose to turn around and go home because of the delay. I am not going to do that. I will not get to see the Empire State Building (unless I’m watching “Sleepless in Seattle”) if I turn around. I will not get to experience the other delights of New York (they exist, they’re just not in the Bronx wearing pinstripes) if I turn around. I ain’t turning around.

I will not be denied.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Are My Tights and Cape Back from the Cleaners?


(If you under 18 and reading this, please stop. While vulgarities are not the best way to express oneself, they are preferable to beating the ever-loving shit out of the first person you come across)

MOTHER FUCKING SON OF A BITCH! What the hell happened? I don’t get it, I do NOT understand this. As my grandmother (who NEVER swore except for once in her life and you are about to hear that) said when something unexpected and absolutely unwanted turned up in her life (namely, my great-grandmother), “Jesus hell shit and damn.”

Was this my fault? Must be: no evidence of ninjas breaking into my home, stuffing a funnel down my pie hole and force-feeding me like a goose (this is how we get foie gras, Kids. Appetizing, isn’t it?). What’s that? “Ninjas don’t leave evidence.” Okay, stop geeking on me and focus.

This is on me: not only because of the highly personal nature of the setback, but also because it is completely on my shoulders to solve. Look, I’ve said this before about victims: they have no power. If you do not take responsibility for your failures and setbacks, you have no right to take credit for your successes. “It’s not my fault because…” gives power to the source you’re blaming. If that or they or he or she (whatever it is outside of you) can control you like that and you allow it to continue, you’re not going to have a wonderful life, especially if that or they or he or she finds out and exploits that weakness. You don’t want to live your life on the end of a chain.

You may have guessed there was an explosion of anger and frustration when I read 183 on the scale (which, yes, is still intact. I’m not killing the messenger on this one). The energy it created could have gone in one of two potential directions, as I see it. I could have 1) screamed “FUCK IT!” and just started stuffing my face. This is a time-honored reaction which has been deployed many, many times in the past and part of the reason I got up to 225 lbs. However, since the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, I doubted this would have cleared the decks of the excess tonnage. Option 2) take that energy and put it to good use on the Rotating Staircase of Death. I grabbed my gym bag and hit the road.

As I was entering the last 8 minutes on the RSoD (Rotating Staircase of Death) and watching the sweat drip off of my nose onto the treads and comparing it to the better curveballs thrown in the major leagues (Seriously, without trying, I can get a truly filthy break on a sweat drop and it will land about a foot away from the drop point), I was still puzzling over the “Okay, so what have I done wrong here?” question. I began making plans to order HCG from my former acupuncturist in St. Louis and hitting Round 2, but I wasn’t enthusiastic about that plan. I think noticed that not only had I completed my workout (45 minutes), but had maintained a faster pace than I had ever done.  Oh, I still look like I’m about to keel over, but I survive to tell the tale. I moved over to the elliptical machine (Remember in
“Stripes” how every time Bill Murray shot off his mouth to the Sergeant, the whole platoon got punished? Same principle). When you’ve got forward momentum, use it, Baby, use it.

While on the elliptical, mentally grumbling and snarling (and actually flipping off Alex Rodriguez every time ESPN shows his smug mug. Both hands. I don’t like the guy), the grumbling and snarling included such entries “My sinuses have been congested for over a week” and “Why is my GD face breaking out?” and “How the fuck am I going to get back on track?” as well “Thanks a lot, GOD! Way to pull the string when I’m on the brink of 50 down!” (Okay, so I wasn’t in my “I Am Woman, Hear Me Roar” mode at that moment. Hey, everybody goes to the zoo now and then). The TVs were showing Comic Con coverage and  John Mayer’s cover of “Route 66” (“Cars” soundtrack and a FINE rendition. I highly recommend it for your cardio mix) popped on the headphones. The feet kicked in, the tempo kicked up and I was distracted from the problem to solve…Freeze frame (another good song, but this is not the context): I do the New York Times Sunday crossword puzzle and find that when stuck, if I put the puzzle down and do something else for a while, when I return to the puzzle, suddenly, the answer I seek just pops into my head. This is problem-solving. Okay, back to the machine….So, I am lip-synching Route 66 and pedaling away like crazy on the machine when it hit me…

My old arch-enemy. Sugar. And his evil henchman, Starch.  (I can’t decide if we’re talking tights and capes or more of a black fedora and trench coat, but this is what Comic Con images will do to an oxygen-depleted mind)

Suddenly, it became clear: the inability to eat just a measured amount of wasabi almonds (they contain sugar), the constant, compulsive grazing that was getting worse, the bloated feeling, the sinus congestion (with slightly bloody nose, low grade fever and annoyingly crappy feeling. No, there is no better way to describe not actually sick. You feel CRAPPY). The emotional downturn. Oh yeah. Sugar had invaded my Fortress of Solitude/Bat Cave/League of Justice Headquarters (Comic Con, remember) and had begun to use my tools and weapons against me.

Here’s the thing with sugar and me: it starts and perpetuates an eating cycle. The more I have, the more I want. Sound like an addiction? It does to me.

I had allowed some sugar back into the diet, isolated intake, but not made it a part of the everyday meal. The coconut I had been craving: all of it was sweetened and I had started eating it regularly about the same time my metabolism had been thrown into reverse. And the zits had started. And the eating had gotten out of control. And those jeans I’d worked so damned hard to get back into didn’t fit. And I was feeling crappy because SUGAR IS INFLAMMATORY TO YOUR ORGANS. Bastard tricked me again.

Upon returning home, I rounded up all of the coconut products I had left as well as any brown rice or granola (even the gluten-free stuff. Gluten free, yes. Starch free, no) and gave them to some friends who think I’m somewhat nuts, but they also like pina coladas, so it’s win win.

We’ll see what the scale says tomorrow morning and for a few days after that (I don’t know how long it’ll take for it to work its way out of my system). 6 lbs., I’ll give it 2 weeks to self-correct, sticking to protein, vegetables, fruits and nuts in the interim.

And in the meantime, Sugar and Starch have jumped into their evil motorcycle and sidecar (with a sugar molecule painted on the side) and driven off in search of an actual victim.

Take that, you little molecular mother fuckers. You won’t destroy MY world.


Friday, July 22, 2011


180.6 lbs. Since Monday, the 18th. Want to play Mad Libs? “Given the weight spike and subsequent plateau, Susan has been feeling ___________ (emotion).”  If you’re accurate, this game gets a PG-13 or R rating.

“The Doldrums”: Certainly, you’ve heard of the Doldrums. Let’s have a little education session here. It originated as a nautical term meaning  “the area encircling the earth near the equator where winds originating in the northern and southern hemispheres come together.” (Thank you, Wikipedia). How does that translate into a term that has come to mean “the blahs”?  Back to Wikipedia: “Early sailors named this belt of calm the doldrums because of the inactivity and stagnation they found themselves in after days of no wind. To find oneself becalmed in this region in a hot and muggy climate could mean death in an era when wind was the only effective way to propel ships across the ocean.”

So, a sailing term that refers to an area where forward motion is slowed considerably, even stopped, is probably the most accurate term to describe the current state of 50 lbs. to normal BMI. I am becalmed at 180.6 lbs. and it can be deadly.

Not deadly in the literal, physical Monty Python parrot sketch sense. No. These doldrums sap the forward motion and the will to stay strong and stay on the program. In other words, they have the potential to kill the whole project and that scares the bejesus out of me.

Whereas I could have food in the house and not be tempted, I find myself emotionally eating (bored grazing). I’m still trying to figure out the raging coconut obsession (and yes, that’s getting fed). The slippage of control has me substantially worried.

Yes, I have a job that permits me to work from home HOWEVER, right now, it’s time consuming and I miss the freedom of being able to hit the gym when I wanted and avoid crowds and weirdos. Unfortunately, I’ve been hitting both this week and my routine has suffered. I tried going to yoga on Monday night (Lila’s class at a different facility) and that didn’t work too well. Smaller space, bigger crowd and I was next to the wall getting a good look at my flesh slide downwards and gather under my right cheek as I was in Triangle Pose. Not attractive. I just left the gym for tonight (got there at 9:30 PM) hoping to avoid crowds. Crowds, no. Zombies and vampires, yes. There was the woman who was tweeting or texting between sets (Sweetie, no. I’m the secret sauce reporting on the gym, not you), dark lipstick, black fingernails, spider web tattoo on the shoulder. Five’ll get you ten she’s Team Edward and jonesing for the next Twilight movie. There was the group of big, buff guys who weren’t working out so much as clustering around a machine and chattering like magpies (and you thought women were the big gossips. Please. I was in a co-ed by alternate rooms dorm in college. The walls were thin. Not intentionally, I got to hear the list of every woman in the dorm who gave blow jobs and their relative skills at same). There was the woman whose workout consisted mostly of staring into space. Now, she could have just received news that was jolting and shocking and caused her to go catatonic. I’m not unsympathetic unless…I have completed three sets on two different machines in the amount of time you’ve sat on your dead ass just staring into space on the one machine, THE ONE MACHINE, that I need to finish my lower body workout. Up the dosage, Honey. Zombie.

The net effect of these inconveniences is that I’m finding my motivation greatly lessened. Again, a point of substantial worry. I’m already out of the Calvin Kleins and 501s that I was able to fit into again and back into the Not Your Daughter’s Jeans that preceded them.

These are issues that need to be addressed forthwith. I have a plan of attack, but it costs money and that, while the flow has been re-established, it is not a flood of money. I think another round with Torquemada is in order, more acupuncture (deal with sleep, appetite, sinus congestion coming on again and metabolism boost). I have restored my supplies of n acetyl cysteine, tyrosine and alpha lipoic acid to get those neurotransmitters fed and happy again. That SHOULD address the grazing/overeating issues. And I have not ruled out going back to HCG for Round 2. I had great success with it the first time and frankly, I’d be a lot happier dealing with the plateaus and spikes at a far lower set point.

I have also come up with a list of benchmarks and rewards for hitting those benchmarks. Carrot and stick philosophy, but given my behavior lately, I’m more likely to eat the carrot and beat someone with the stick.

I DID accomplish something this week on the Rotating Staircase of Death: in a fit of pique, I hit the button for a faster rate than I had done before. I didn’t make it to 45 minutes (I felt like I was going to pass out), but I did sustain the greater pace for over a half-hour. Okay, so I can still do this. I can still push and feel good about it. There’s hope.

Now, if I could only figure out the coconut obsession…

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Ten HUT!

180.4 lbs. Extended commentary to follow          

Dear Whatever Parts of the Body Feel the Need to Shelter Excess Weight,

Okay, so potato chips were consumed, as were Jello shots (SUGAR FREE or so I was told) and Mandicakes (DAMN THE GIRL! KEEBLER ELVES SHOULD BAKE SO WELL!). There were days without hitting the gym because of the low level sinus bullshit going on and trying to get up to speed on work. You made your point.


This is not wartime Amsterdam and that adipose tissue is not the Frank family. You have been to the gym every day since Saturday. The water intake has gone back to where it belongs, as had the sugar consumption. You’ve been getting as close to 8 hours a night as possible and yet, no. You decided to gain and hold. This is NOT an option. Either you can release the additional pounds or we’re going to consider some other options, such as intermittent fasting (Meaning no eating outside of a 5 hour window) or we’re going to play HCG Round 2. 500 calories a day for 3 weeks? 40 days? Want to play that game again? Purge the sugar, starch and oils from the diet and the system? I can do it standing on my head, which means you get to play, too.

Your choice, Body. You can play nice with the 6 days per week of exercise and 1200 calorie intake and get me past the 174.6 lbs. (aka 50 down) mark within the next 14 days OR we can contact Dr. Fit back in St. Louis and get some more HCG and do it that way. Oh and in case you’re considering protesting, I have a memo from Alberto Gonzalez that says I can pursue any of these options, God bless America.

You wanted coconut, I’ve given you coconut (curried chicken salad dressing: ¼ cup non fat Greek yogurt, 1 tablespoon Coco Lopez, 1 teaspoon curry powder. Stir together, refrigerate overnight and allow flavors to get to know each other. 200 grams of grilled chicken, cut or torn into bite sized pieces, ½ cup shredded coconut, ½ cup raisins and 1 apple cut into bite sized pieces. Makes 3-4 servings). Ralph the Renegade Sinus is holding the right inner ear hostage and demanded wasabi for ransom: I ponied up with wasabi almonds. You wanted chicken, chicken, chicken after tonight’s workout; what did I just give you? Did I exceed the recommended caloric intake to satisfy you? Yes. The least you can do in return is to turn EVERYTHING that’s been given to you into muscle and energy  and healthy organs.

So, here’s what we’re going to do: starting tomorrow, we’re back on the N acetyl cysteine, alpha lipoic acid and tyrosine to get the cravings back under control (While I am willing to indulge you up to a point, macaroons are not allowed. Sorry) and get the motivation geared up again. We’re going to figure out a way to make a wasabi/yogurt dressing for more chicken salad adventures (what else would go in such a salad? Cucumbers, definitely. Sort of like a kappa maki roll without the rice. Avocado? Maybe). What’s that? No. No mayonnaise, even it if endangers our street cred as a white Protestant. Mayonnaise is only good as edible mortar: all it does is bind the more interesting ingredients together. And that includes a tomato sandwich.

We’re back to pounding down at least 10 – 12 glasses of water per day. We are no longer going to eat unless there is an actual physical sensation that needs to be addressed and I am pretty sure reinstituting the amino acid regimen will reinforce this.

No alcohol. Water or tea or black coffee, that’s it until and unless you get with the program.

Chocolate almond horns? Not so much. Clearly, sugar is not your friend. You want sweet? Have some stevia.

So, Body, either you show me that you’re back on board with the weight loss project or the floggings will continue until morale improves.


Friday, July 15, 2011

Metamorphosis of a Sort

177 lbs. Okay, it’s not 176.4, but it’s not 178.4, either.

Payday! Yes! Such a beautiful thing! The base of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs ('s_hierarchy_of_needs  let Wikipedia explain it), food, clothing and shelter, are covered. Yea! I am not sure where Dr. Maslow would fit “cover overdrawn checking account” in there, but that’s been cleaned up, too.

I also had to fill out and get notarized paperwork to prove that I have the right to work in this country. Since the President had to run the same gauntlet, my theory is that in 1961, nobody was born in the US.

Somebody, some evil, ill-intentioned person, gave me a cold this week. Given the amount of time I spend on my own (I work from home.  There’s no one else physically in the home, okay? I had to fill out a form promising I wouldn’t commit sexual harassment. How? I just want to know how?), this seems improbable, yet, here I was with the raw throat, blocked up ears, low grade fever (and it’s just so much fun when the little bastards pair up with hot flashes) and wimpy sniffles. In the middle of a phone conversation, a fever blister had the nerve to pop out on my lip and invite company.  And I since I take a daily dose of lysine, it was doubly insulting. In case you’re wondering what I recommend for dealing with viral invasion: bore the little bastards to death. Get in bed and just sleep until they go. Half a bottle of Nyquil should do it.

Today is the third day in a row I have not been to the gym, partly because I didn’t wish to infect anyone with this and partly because I wanted to focus on mastering the new job (PAYDAY! Did I mention I got paid today?) and I did feel cruddy.  And that makes me feel shitty. Not physically (the physical symptoms are more annoyance than anything else), but I feel anxious and edgy because I’m not exercising.

It’s wonderful. It’s a kind of backdoor confirmation of motivation (sorry if I sound like Jesse Jackson).  This means I’m on the right track.

Another sign that I’ve changed my couch potato ways is that I signed up for the President’s Active Lifestyle Award ( Yeah. The kid who did so miserably on the President’s Physical Fitness Challenge in grade school (and NIXON was the President), this a 180. I have to be active for at least 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week for 6 out of 8 weeks. If I succeed, I get a certificate. It’s not quite the sew-on badges that they had in grade school (my older sister earned a couple of those, I think), but it’s a start.

So, in addition to the weight loss (WHEN THE GREAT WHITE BELLY CHOOSES TO COOPERATE), the body shape I like better and feeling stronger and healthier, I will get a an award for making these changes. Now, there are folks who will sneer because of who the President is and will sneer at the program but you guys can just go straight to hell. I don’t care if I come across like an 8 year old striving for a gold star (and I got one of those on my work the other day), I am doing this. I’m going to get a certificate for physical fitness. Who’da thunk it?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Cost Benefit Analysis

178.4 lbs. NOT A BLOODY WORD!!!!! It was the South that was supposed to rise again, not my GD weight!

2 lbs. spike after Sunday (well, I was sure of the spike, just not the amount. We could start a pool on these things). Pizza is the Devil’s creation; you heard it here first. However, the spike decided to hang around. Bastard.

After last night’s attempt to get in a full workout (notice the use of the word “attempt.” Its presence implies that I was not successful) at the later 7-8 PM hour, I was reminded of a joke by Steven Wright (Great deadpan BOSTON comedian). One of his lines: “I got arrested for scalping low numbers at a deli. I got 50 bucks for a 3.” There were LINES for the more popular machines and I could see myself with a velvet rope and a clipboard saying, “I’m sorry, you’re not on the list” and quietly accepting a twenty to admit them. I could make a fortune.

Please explain to me, why, more than 30 years after graduating high school (I have the dated diploma to prove it), I am still subjected to adolescent attitudes and behavior from people who also have high school in the rear view mirror. Case in point, last night, I saw an open machine, hopped on and started to work. I was then subjected to a prolonged stink eye from the friend of the woman who was on the machine next to me. Apparently, they wanted to work their thighs side by side and I thwarted that ambition. No, she wasn’t standing by the machine when I got on; nobody was near it who could make a legitimate claim to being next in line (I would have yielded. I’m not an asshole). Nope. She just glared at me; didn’t ask to “work in” or otherwise share the machine. She just went the passive aggressive route and stared. Sorry, kids, but you are rank amateurs compared to the manipulators who trained me. Ask me directly, I’ll cooperate and then some, if feasible. Use hints or body English or guilt, sorry, no hablo. I had my fill of that bullshit during the first 40 years of my life.

But that’s not why we’re here tonight.

A dear friend wryly observed the other day (during a Harry Potter and Satan’s snack marathon. Did I mention that pizza is evil? Write that down) that the Universe was teaching her lessons in “extreme frugality” and we compared notes on the challenges of nutritious, healthy eating on half a shoestring.

What it comes down to is this: When you have to choose how to spend a limited amount of money on food, whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re making the decision as to which has the higher priority: your money or your health.

Since this is my blog, you get my opinion: I will go with my health.

Part of it is that I’ve been working too damned hard to undo the good I’ve done by embarking on a lousy diet simply because the crappy food is more plentiful. Ramen noodles abound but 1) the noodles are made from wheat and the gluten will have an adverse effect on my system and 2) the sodium from the bouillon packet will screw up my body chemistry as well. Sure, the meal costs pennies, but I can’t afford the other costs: bloating, elevated blood pressure, skin issues, sinus infections. The 59 cents spent on the meal is more than offset by the costs of medicine needed to correct the side effects (Sudafed, cortisone cream, etc.). Pass.

Organic food costs more than conventionally grown. Cost benefit analysis: some folks will go with the conventionally grown because the food dollar will go further and the organic generally isn’t as pretty. Other folks will buy less organic with the same because the cost THEY don’t want to pay is that of the possible effects of pesticides and fertilizer on their body chemistry and also believe that the organic is more nutritious (No judgment or opinion on that one from this corner. I’ve heard the arguments for pro and con).

I am also more likely to buy meat or vegetables rather than starch. Starch may be a LOT cheaper and more filling, but my unscientific opinion is that I get a better benefit from the protein or the veggies.

(Again, flogging My Net Diary. After Angry Birds and Fruit Ninja, the best money I’ve ever spent on a phone app) Since I’m recording everything I eat and weighing and measuring in order to get the calorie count accurate, portion control has become my ally. Years ago, in this kind of situation before (Yeah, it’s taken this long to learn), I would give in to panicked eating and wipe out the food stores I had in short order. (For the record, I’ve never starved) Now, the food is getting stretched because I want to stay within my calorie budget.  I have grilled chicken breast from Fresh & Easy. I weigh out 100 grams at a time, whether I’m blending it with lettuce for a simple salad (I’ve become very meticulous about getting in my green vegetables) or brown rice, ground garlic and green beans or some other green vegetable for a quickie rice bowl. The 100 grams is a habit from the HCG protocol where your 2 meals per day consist of 100 grams of protein, 2 cups of a vegetable, a fruit and Blue Diamond Nut Thins (my choice because – say it with me – it’s gluten free). It may not sound like much, but 100 grams will fuel you pretty nicely. A package of that chicken costs $5.49, I get 4 meals from it this way.

A couple of weeks ago, I was feeling prosperous and beef-deprived, so I bought a package of frozen Kobe beef burgers from Trader Joe’s (and doesn’t My Net Diary scream at me about saturated fat). 1 patty is 660 calories. I also have a bag of brown rice pasta and a jar of Trader Joe’s organic marinara. I grilled a patty on my George Foreman  (and was amazed at the amount of fat that ran off, but that’s why I cooked it on the Foreman), broke it up into crumbles and added half the patty to 2 cups of cooked pasta and a half cup of sauce. By dividing THAT in half, I have two meals, 400 calories each and the pasta is filling. American chop suey or goulash or whatever you want to call it. Comfort food at a somewhat healthier level.

I drink a lot of water and I generally buy bottled water, including highly alkaline water at $2.00 a gallon. This is not as extravagant as it might seem because the price of bottled water is just about there.  I paid $2.29 for a gallon of bottled water from Trader Joe’s when I  bought the beef. The Trader Joe’s in Tarzana has a bottle filling station that costs $.39 per gallon for reverse osmosis (very highly filtered) water. However, this week, even that was a bit too much. I don’t like the taste of Los Angeles tap water. However, water is 90% of what I drink (the rest is iced tea). I grabbed my bottles, filled them out of the tap and stuck them in the fridge. You know what? Chilled, LA tap water isn’t so bad. America has the best, safest drinking water in the world and it is incredibly abundant and cheap. And I’m hydrated.

If you’ve seen “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” (you love Johnny Depp, don’t you? It’s the eyes and the cheekbones, I know) and remember it, there’s the moment when our hero, Charlie Bucket, is torn between cashing in the Golden Ticket himself and having the adventure of 10 lifetimes or selling it to help out his impoverished family (Charlie’s a nice kid). Charlie’s Grandpa George hauls the kid to his side and says, “There’s plenty of money out there. They print more every day. But this ticket, there’s only five of them in the whole world and that’s all there’s ever going to be. Only a dummy would give this up for something as common as money. Are you a dummy?”

Money comes. It always does. Maybe not as thick and fast and immediate as we’d like when we’re really scared financially, but it does show up. Like Grandpa George says, “There’s plenty out there.” Good health, on the other hand, once gone is not quite so easily re-established. I’ve done the research.

My momma didn’t raise no dummies.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hang in There, Baby

176.4 lbs. I’m  1.8 lbs. away from being 50 lbs. down. You bet what’s left of my ass I’m happy.

I just signed up for HEALTH INSURANCE again! Frabjous joy (? From “The Jabberwock” by Lewis Carroll) It’s group health so, unfortunately, I didn’t get to test my new BMI vs. the health insurance company algorithms to see who would win, but hey, now I can get my blood chemistry tested without a) having to do it myself because b) I don’t want some dopey doctor just looking at me and prescribing Lipitor. Fuck Big Pharma. And before I start hearing about “well, they do this and they do that” [imagine sound of air horn]: They are in the business of selling pills and will do whatever it takes to make you a customer and a lifelong one at that. You know those ads for a “Drug Free America”? Did you ever notice that they never address prescription drug abuse? Chew on that.

“Bless me, Father for I have sinned.”

“Go talk to Richard Simmons or Oprah or Doctor Oz. Leave me alone.”

“Oh, you’re just crabby because Andre Ethier’s talking about going to the Red Sox.”

“He is?”

“Yes and I would welcome him. JD Drew is just a little too fragile. When he’s good, he’s great, but when he’s not, as thunder follows the lightning, he’s going to be on the DL list.”

“You didn’t come here to talk baseball. Spill it. I have to listen to Mrs. Mulroney every week talk about impure thoughts about Tom Jones. She’s been having those thoughts for 50 years.”

“Hey, he’s still got it, but that’s not why I’m here. I cheated.”

“You’re not married.”

“Not that kind of cheating, Father. I broke my discipline on exercise and eating this week.”

“You know, maybe if you got yourself a boyfriend, you’d leave me out of it.”

“You’re encouraging fornication?”

“I’m encouraging ‘leave me the hell alone-ication.”

“I’ve not maintained my schedule, Father.”

“And why not? Have you been fornicating? That’s lust, one of the Big Seven.”

“No, Father. You know better.”

“Have you been sleeping until noon? That’s sloth, another one of the Big Seven.”
“No, Father. In fact, I’ve been getting up early to work every day.”

“You got a job? That’s good. Earned income is a beautiful thing. So have you been stuffing yourself? That’s gluttony. Big Seven.”

“And my particular favorite for years, but only tonight, Father.”

“Why is this night different from all other nights?”

“Is that a Jewish joke, Father?”

“Huh? Oh, right. Passover questions. Rabbi Greenberg thinks he’s George Carlin. No. Let me rephrase: why did you break your discipline tonight?”

“I was at a gathering with friends to watch the last three Harry Potter movies and I indulged in a bunch of things I’ve been able to resist eating for quite some time.”

“For example?”

“I had two Mimosas and an English muffin with light butter.”

“Well, I don’t think the alcohol will hurt you too much, but we’ll wait and see what the gluten does to you. That’s penance enough. Was that it?”

“No, Father, I had some pizza, too.”

“Oh, great, more gluten And sodium and saturated fat and all that stuff that puts you in a panic when My Net Diary gives you the thumbs down on intake.”

“See, I cheated there, too, Father. I didn’t input all that stuff.”

“Well, you’re going to feel like crap. What did you weigh this morning?”


“So you won’t be shocked at a spike, right?”

“No, Father and I figure the gluten intake should do it.”

“This close to 50 and you had a field day. Sabotage?”

“I don’t think so. There was fresh melon there and I stuck mostly to that.”

“Well, that’s not a big deal. But the pizza…and you said you’d been breaking your gym schedule. Hmm. Okay, this is not good. Tell me, are you keeping up with your brain chemistry supplements.”

“Yes and no. I just ran out of a bunch of them.”

“For how long?”

“A few days.”

“You know you’re crediting that stuff with controlling your eating habits and helping you stick to the exercise routine.”

“Yes, Father, but money has been tight lately. That’s $210 for a three month supply right there.”

“Right, but you’re working again and you’ll buy things as you need them and rebuild. Get the N aceytil cysteine, alpha lipoic acid and L tyrosine first. Keep your dopamine and serotonin levels up or get them back up.”

“What did you do, rifle my purse?”

“That thing? Honestly, I don’t know why you feel you need to lift weights with that thing. What do you have in there, bricks? The thing’s a lethal weapon!”

“Back on track, Father.”

“Okay, here’s the deal: you slipped. And yes, I know about the flourless chocolate cake. And before you jump on that. I know because I was in Whole Foods when you bought it. The only time I’ve seen anyone with a more crazed look in her eyes was Mrs. Mulroney at bingo when the prize was an all expenses paid weekend in Vegas with a Tom Jones show thrown in. I thought she was going to strangle Mrs. Whitehead when she won it.”

“Your point?”

“And yes, I have one: You’re back on duty as of right now. Re-establish your focus, get your eyes back on the prize. Speaking of which, what is the prize?”

“Feeling better?”

“You don’t have a more material reward in mind?”

“Depends. Do you have George Clooney’s phone number?”

“No and I’m not about to go get it for you, either. Why don’t you come up with a non-food reward for your next milestone. That’s the 50, right?”

“Yes, Father.”

“Something moderate, like going to get your nails done. I know you have that salon you like. And figure out something for hitting the big jackpot. I want you to come up with rewards that you can picture. In fact, cut pictures out of magazines and make a vision board, you know? For each reward, write the weight on the picture that’s the point where you’ll reward yourself. And start putting away money for it. We live in a day and age where every kid gets a trophy just for showing up. Well this is more than just showing up and you are earning the recognition. If an annual sales trip to Hawaii makes people sell cars or insurance, then why can’t you have mark your milestones?”

“When I hit the 125, I could go to Vegas.”

“Only if you take Mrs. Mulroney with you.”

Thursday, July 7, 2011

What to Do?

178.2 lbs. Hoo Wah! And has remained so for two days.

Loss despite ingesting flourless chocolate cake. However, since I finished said cake today, it’s anybody’s guess whether or not it’s loss, spike or plateau. Place your bets!

In an act of supreme sacrifice, I finished off the flourless chocolate cake because I didn’t want it distracting me from my goal. Not exactly throwing myself on a hand grenade, but it had to die.

It was supposed to be weight training and cardio today, but I didn’t have it in me. For starters, I got to the gym too late and it was crowded, jittery and I could smell 5 different kinds of body odor, each funkier than the last one (Guys: soap, water and deodorant do not make you a girlie man. And, surprise, surprise, washing your gym clothes has not yet proven to be lethal).

I lasted about 20 minutes. The legs got worked. The miasma of body odor, Axe, Aqua Net and Calvin Klein Schizophrenia was too much, as were the vultures waiting for each machine.

I also have a nasty blister on my heel. That was from my cheap sneakers going zombie and snacking on my heel/ankle (hankle?). This will not stop me. This is why God invented Band Aids.

Just to be sure, I called the front desk today to make sure Lila was actually going to be conducting yoga. I was told I was the third call asking the same question. AND I wasn’t the one who told her that we didn’t care much for the vinyasa class. The little devil (she is on the petite side) said, “I think I’ll teach vinyasa next Tuesday.”

Oh, HELL no.

However, one of the secrets of success is learning to adapt. We have the above case in which someone has put a bug in the ear of the yoga teacher and now, Tuesdays and Thursdays are going to get far more interesting if she carries through on the vinyasa threat. It’ll force me to get better.

My Net Diary has started reducing my recommended maximum calorie intake and giving me a smaller calorie burn for the exercise I do. Little electronic bastard. So now, I have to work harder and eat less to get the same results. More adapting.

And I’m working, which is excellent, but it also means I don’t have the same free time during the day to allow marathon workouts (hour plus of weights and at least another hour of cardio). So, we have the big question: do I change the time I go in or change the amount I work out and when? I found out last night that I don’t like the 8 PM weeknight crowd. Emphasis on crowd. And I’m not really enthusiastic at the prospect of getting up at 3:30 AM to get in a workout before I sit down in front of the computer. And giving up Lila’s class isn’t s great prospect either; it’s been hugely beneficial. Reducing the amount of time I spend working out isn’t a happy prospect either; I’m afraid that if I cut back, I’ll lose ground and the plateaus will be even worse. And you know how well I handle those.

 I’ll have to figure this out. Anybody got a Magic 8 Ball?

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Tibetan Twister


So, in anticipation of a calm, stress-relieving yoga session emphasizing breathing to activate the para-sympathetic nerve (or something like that. Look, usually, I ‘m upside down looking at the view between my thighs when we’re told about this breathing. You want I should be taking dictation?) which calms and centers the breather. That and the gentle stretching that goes on (not pushing too hard because there’s a difference between stretching and tearing and boy Howdy, you can feel it instantly) were what I needed.
Did I get them? Not so much.
No Lila. The Universe, as it is demonstrating today, has a particularly cruel sense of humor. The rise of Sarah Palin is proof.
NO, instead we had the Yoga Nazi (not to be confused with Col. Hans Landa. THAT instructor would have been infinitely preferable).
The music was the first hint that something was amiss. It wasn’t the usual quiet, meditative background sounds. In fact, I found it was damned annoying, but it raised a red flag.
First of all she started off with “I trained the trainer, so I know what I’m doing.” RED ALERT!!!! DANGER, DANGER WILL ROBINSON!!!! SHIELDS UP!!!! (Thereby referencing two 1960s science fiction shows to make my point) When the instructor starts off by giving you her credentials, you are in for a world of hurting because her ego is in the driver’s seat.
Then, we hear “I teach a multi-level class.” Oh yeah, right, I just bet. “But you should really push yourself to advance.” Loose translation: “I’m used to teaching advanced and I am not about to change my ways for a bunch of newbie losers like you. I’m only here to pick up an extra paycheck.”
We (the usual suspects. Actually, the class was like a great paint job: NO DRIPS!!) were expecting our usual session of hatha yoga (combine breathing and pose/movement). Nope, Ilsa the Yoga Nazi hit us with vinyasa, in which you are constantly moving. Don’t get me wrong: vinyasa is fine and a great workout, but it’s like attending a concert expecting Yo Yo Ma and getting The Sex Pistols instead (with a live Sid Vicious).
First of all, Ms. “I Trained the Trainer” didn’t have the Sanskrit terms for what we were doing (Lila always does) and she was hitting us with “Sunflower” and “Crocodile.” WTF??? We’ve never heard of these terms. Crocodile was her term for the low end of a Chadaranda push-up right before pushing up into Upward Dog. It took us a minute or two to figure that one out. Since Lila has told us several times that she  was trained in the Sanskrit terms, the sub’s credentials just got questionable.
She hit us with push-ups. Two times it was “Give me 10.” Lady, would you like to know where I want to put your 10 push-ups?  I did them to the best of my ability, mindful that back East, my friend Annie has thrown down the gauntlet for me to complete push-ups as she believes this is a key way to strengthen. I suck at them, Annie, okay? I can do a ton of other stuff, but so far, the push-up just plumb evades me.
And, and, Ilsa had the gall to refer to a couple of the poses (when we were allowed to stop) as “yummy.” UUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! PEOPLE OF AMERICA:  The ONLY time it is appropriate to use the term “yummy” is when you are trying to con a six year old into eating broccoli. It is a kid’s word (so is “tummy”). Can those of us over the age of, oh, I don’t know, TWELVE, de-infantilize our speech? Jesus, people, no wonder there are so many rug rats over the age of 2 with pacifiers clamped in their jaws. GROW THE FUCK UP.
But I digress. When you are dripping so much sweat that your footing on the yoga mat becomes precarious, NOTHING is yummy unless someone’s waving a Tanqueray and tonic in your face. Not that we got to stay in those positions for so long, mind you.
How do I know this woman was a bad fit for the class? The “big” guys, the young men of carefully built muscles who have the strength to pull off the more challenging moves off the bat, were FALLING OVER. Trust me, when they hit the ground, you hear it. I got a peek behind me in Downward Dog and they weren’t happy. I know, fellas, I know.
I tried to mentally change gears to go with the (vinyasa) flow because, after all, it’s yoga and it’s good for me and it’s something new, maybe I’ll like it. I should have applied the mindset I have for things like eating frog’s legs and snails: I don’t have to try it to know I don’t like it. However, as the class progressed, I was so stressed and wound up that if she’d laid a hand on me to adjust, I would have snarled at her at the least. As it was, I was actively plotting her death.  Untraceable to me, of course, but prefererably something  where she was found tied in a inexplicable knot lying in a pool of her own sweat and a sign saying, “So is THIS yummy?”
However, I am not a savage.
I overcame my urge (several of them, in fact) to roll up my mat and leave. I was there for an hour and by the Great Horn Spoon (no, I don’t know what it means, either), I wasn’t going to wimp out.
The hour ended with Shivasana (the Corpse Pose. You have to earn it) and then, the usual sitting up and hands to heart center, she thanked us and “Namaste” (Yeah, I’ve got your Namaste right here, Bitch), then blew out of there like her ass was on fire.
Lest you think I am a minority of one and just plain bitter, there was no small amount of satisfaction in hearing the other Usual Suspects voice their dissatisfaction with the class and instructor, among other things, the class was not meditative (If I’m getting increasingly pissed off during class, then no, it’s not meditative).
However, it was an hour, it’s over and everybody survived. Should her body turn up somewhere twisted into a pretzel, you didn’t hear it from me.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Buk Buk Buk

 178.4 lbs. Yeah, yeah, yeah, dynamite, blah, blah, blah, hate plateaus, yada, yada, yada, did a monster burn today, etc., etc., etc. You know the drill. I’m thinking

Still having an inexplicable craving for coconut. And horseradish. Just not together; I mean we’re not talking about an Almond Joy coated in wasabi. I’m wondering what the nutrients are in each substance that are creating these cravings.

Today being a holiday (paid for me. Yea!), I was able to hit the gym fairly early and put in one of my Monster Burns (1600 calories or more). Today was an hour and a quarter of weight machines (Dear Trapezius Muscles: the more you pull this “we’re going to lock up and make you miserable” shit just for me sitting at a desk and working, the more machines designed to work you I’m going to hit. EVERY TIME. I figure you do it because you need to be stronger and what better way to improve your strength? You might want to rethink your position), an hour on the elliptical and an hour on the treadmill (the Rotating Staircases of Death were all claimed). Just give me a “Law and Order” marathon and I’m good to go. Yesterday, while I was on the Rotating Staircase of Death prior to Pilates class, VH 1 was showing “The Blues Brothers.” You give me Jake and Elwood to distract me and the time positively flies. Naturally, during the concert at the Palace Hotel Ballroom, my feet were trying to move along with Jake and Elwood. Yeah, not such a good idea or easy task. I’ve done the legwork. There was a delightful lady on the next RSoD who was working just as hard as I was. We fist-bumped over our hard work and she told me she was putting in an hour (you go, Girl) in preparation for eating ribs later. Mmmm, ribs…

Nope. Must...resist… keep eyes on the prize, even if it means eating chicken so often, I’m ready to cluck. By the way, the George Foreman grill is a healthy eater’s best friend. AND, if you have a Cost Plus World Market nearby, you’re in luck: they have a selection of hard to find spices at great prices (forgive me). I just grilled a chicken breast that I’d treated with granulated garlic, smoked paprika (I’d use it sparingly. The flavor can overwhelm the other ones you use, but it’s wonderful), salt (sea salt for lower sodium content) and black pepper. If you’re avoiding sugar, beware of flavored salts. I was disappointed to find that the garlic salt, bacon salt and other flavored salts I looked at contained sugar. Very tough stuff to avoid.

I got several “gifts” on Saturday at a Fourth of July party (yeah, two days early). A couple of people, remarking on my weight loss, said to me, “You know, I never thought you were fat.” Casting directors did and one sketch comedy show director who was trying to discourage me from losing weight because “Roseanne lost her power when she lost weight.” (I respectfully disagree. Roseanne lost her power when she married Tom Arnold and began aligning herself with every non-violent mental disorder that came down the pike). I chose keeping all of my toes and avoiding Lipitor addiction (by the way, an announcement came out last week stating that Lipitor created a “slightly increased” risk of Type II diabetes in users. I was right). It doesn’t matter anymore because now, by Hollywood’s standards, I am a beached whale that’s been dead for years. Even John Goodman and Drew Carey have reduced significantly for health reasons. I don’t see anyone telling them “You’ll lose your power.” America: Land of the Free, Home of the Double Standard. What so proudly I hail.

Be that as it may, I’m much happier with what I see in the mirror than I was at this time last year. And that’s what matters. Except for yesterday’s nap attack (I took that from an old, old, old Garfield. So old, my mother applied the term to our dog, Max and he died in 1984), I’ve had more energy lately than I have in years. And my legs look fabulous. Just ask my yoga classmates.

I figure I’ve reached a tipping point where the weight will not come off as easily because I’ve burned the easily accessible stuff already (Again, no medical degree) and from here on out, I won’t see the rapid progress I have up to now (unless I do a second round of HCG and that is not off the table). Here’s where the mental/emotional challenge comes in. If I’m not seeing the forward progress that I’ve been getting, how do I keep myself motivated to keep going? And exactly what do I have to change up in order to bring about progress? Adjust the diet? Add more exercise (time wise, not really feasible with the new job)? We’ll see. I’m looking forward to figuring this out.

In the meantime, neither rain nor snow nor fucktards at the gym will stay this sojourner from her appointed task.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Fat Apartheid

178.4 lbs. Well, hello old friend. I see the sugar-free Jell-O shots didn’t disturb you. (Yes, I was doing Jell-O shots at a party yesterday. I’m 50, not dead).

By the way, I saw the Fucktard, star of yesterday’s blog, at the gym this morning as I was waiting for Pilates class. (He does NOT have a mustache. He also does NOT have any idea of how to dress). I was extremely surprised to see him simultaneously walking and chewing gum. He stopped and stared for a moment, then continued on his way, wherever the hell that may be. That was the extent. He’s still a sorry-ass motherfucker.

I am going to get retro and preachy in this space. I found something I’d written in 2007 and it ties into yesterday’s “fatty” encounter. (Look it’s a holiday weekend and nothing extraordinary happened today in the weight department, nobody cut the cheese in Pilates class although I was clenched the whole time – all the core work seems to get the intestines stimulated and the most interesting thing today was that I woke up from nodding off with an intense craving for coconut. Not worth a lot of blog space).

I give you “Fat Apartheid” (from November 2007)

I just got my nails done which, if you don't speak Vietnamese (and I think I'm learning "My God, this woman has big feet! Make sure you charge by the acre!"), you spend your time leafing through old and new magazines, mostly of the gossip/celebrity news variety, with the occasional Time or Newsweek from 6 months ago. A letter to the People editor regarding Queen Latifah caught my eye. After two other letters that praised her for accepting her body as is and showing "the cardboard cutouts" of Hollywood that you don't need to be size 0 to be successful, the third letter said that with obesity being epidemic in America, it was Latifah's duty as a role model to promote "a healthy body" - shorthand for "lose weight."

A short essay in Time was devoted to "inter-facial marriage," that is marriage between one homely spouse and one "hot" spouse (what makes someone hot? Nobody has the rules). Whereas, it stated that an unattractive man marries a gorgeous woman, it is likely he's rich or a rock star. If an unattractive woman marries a handsome man, though, the whisper is that he must be gay or have some terrible deformity hidden by clothing. I read Vogue. After the Jennifer Hudson cover (which surprised me because I had doubted Anna Wintour would put someone on the cover who isn't built like her), among the letters lauding Vogue for putting a plus-sized woman on the cover, there was one complaining about it.

In a previous blog, I related an incident where another Myspacer didn't like what I posted and referred to me as a "fat fucking whore." What I find interesting about that particular insult is that it goes to the body type first; one would presume because the first cut should be the deepest. Also, I have related the Trader Joe’s parking lot incident where, after a woman nearly hit me head on in the parking lot of Trader Joe's in Studio City (the one on Riverside) and I did my Boston "Lean On the Horn" thing to express dissatisfaction, she told me that I was excessively angry because I was "big and always would be." Direct quote. Granted, this came out of the mouth of someone whose voice sounded like a stereotype for a dumb, self-absorbed woman.

We live in a society that hyphenates race and ethnicity (African-American, Italian-American. Can't we just be Americans together?). Various states have statutes punishing hate crimes (with which I don't agree. Very un-American to attempt to regulate thought). Within the past 2 years, various Hollywood figures have been pilloried for using racial and homophobic slurs. Yet there are not repercussions for taunting or abusing someone who's overweight. Fat is not a protected class.

And yet, most Americans are overweight by scientific body mass index standards, damned near none of us can fit into designer clothes (let alone afford them) and we criticize (including me) Britney Spears for wearing an outfit to the VMAs that showed a soft (but not convex) belly. "Curvy" in Hollywood terms means a 5' 9" woman who weighs 125 lbs. One of the pictures I’ve shown here is me with George Clooney. One of my first thoughts on meeting him was "My God, he needs a good meal." And when I displayed the picture at work, a thimbo asked me "How come you got your picture taken with the handsome man?" (I kid you not) We have been trained to worship sticks with bumps; big head/slender body for men, big head/slender body/relatively big boobs for women.

Most of us don't look like that. Go to a clothing store like Old Navy and head for the jeans/slacks section. Okay, you'll see that there are far more 2s and 4s hanging or folded than the 14s, 16s and 18s. Why? There are more double-digit people buying clothes than low single-digit.

We the people are being dominated and controlled by an underweight minority and it's a very small minority. We the people have been trained to feel inferior for our size, that we have no compensating factors for excess weight. I write, I have a law degree, I've always been able to get and keep work "from the neck up" and earn a good living. I'm known for my wit, my intelligence and (usually) my kindness. I have naturally blonde hair, blue eyes and a nice, even smile, but I've had blind dates turn and leave me at a restaurant because I was overweight (even though I'd been honest about it). Luckily, my grandmother is gone because I got sick of hearing "You have such a pretty face, you need to lose..." coupled with a sigh. I've had a long-term membership at 24 Hour Fitness and gone 4-5 times a week (when I could. Travelling job makes it difficult), toning up legs, arms, strengthening my back, but the belly never moved (turns out I have a thyroid in need of a swift kick. It's getting it). I'm part of the majority and yet, we're barraged with ads for weight-loss programs, the only "plus sized" woman on TV was Roseanne and she was portrayed as borderline white trash paired with John Goodman as a husband (John, you kept me tuned in, but they didn't pair Rosie up with Jimmy Smits or the aforementioned Clooney). And neither of the characters had college degrees or white-collar jobs. There's no problem with spongy blue-collar guys having hot wives on TV (Jim Belushi, Kevin James, Jackie Gleason, even), but we don't see the reverse. Where are the large lawyers and doctors? We know they exist in the real world.

"Shallow Hal" dealt with seeing past a person's exterior but coming from the Farrelly brothers, the message was mostly lost. Thin people are beautiful (doesn't matter what the face looks like) and beautiful people are automatically good. Anybody remember Ted Bundy? Dead serial killer? He was able to lure in his victims because he was considered "handsome." OJ Simpson? Considered a handsome, attractive man until he was accused of murdering two people. And let us not forget: Angelina Jolie, the blood-wearing, brother-sucking, home-wrecking tattooed freak show. Skinny body, big boobs, she's hot and nothing else matters (the humanitarian work came after the blood-wearing and brother-sucking, probably at the behest of her desperate publicist).

Interspersed with the weight-loss programs and pills are ads for deals on extra-large pizza, carbohydrate-laden snacks and instant family-togetherness dinners that consist of fats, sodium and starch (That's you, KFC, Hamburger Helper and Betty Crocker). Not a green vegetable within a mile. High-fructose corn syrup permeates processed foods, damned near everything from ketchup to soda, Doritos, Wheat Thins and soup (Campbell's). Read "Fast Food Nation," folks, especially the part about the companies in New Jersey that manufacture flavoring. This is how the skinny minority maintains oppression over the heavier majority, by lulling us into carbohydrate-induced energy crashes. And, oh yeah, there's a pill for that. Or a Red Bull.

It's not youth we're obsessed with, it's appearance. The high-school dropout with the hot body stands a better chance of landing a successful man than the size 12 Harvard summa cum laude.

I have an idea for a TV show that will probably never fly: it's called "What Does He See in Her?" about a hot-looking guy, local TV anchor, married to a not-as-attractive college professor/successful author. The laughs come from bimbettes mistaking hubby's lumpy best friend for the college professor's spouse and people refusing to believe that two such people could have a happy/successful marriage.

As long as fat apartheid continues, it'll never be aired