Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Many Happy Returns

Well, time's up.

And I've still got 37 pounds to go.

By the numbers, this was a total bust.  There are a hell of a lot of stones still in that jar, and I'm still wearing my stretchy pants.  Per the scale this morning, I shed an average of 0.56 ounces per day*, which is not exactly going to have people clamoring for my weight loss secrets.  If I was being graded, even on a curve, 26% progress would be an "F" for sure.

But I'm not going by the numbers.  I'm going by the results.  

Thanks to this project:
And best of all, I eat well. 

Not just in the way my husband meant when he said it.  I truly eat deliberately these days.  I choose the bread and butter when it's really good bread and butter.  Otherwise, I choose the salad.  I enjoy a cocktail or glass of great wine and skip the Skittles and the caramel corn.  I'm just as avid to try new restaurants, a fabulous blue cheese and bacon burger, or a noted hot spot in a city I visit for work. But I pack almonds and fruit for my flight instead of cheese and crackers, and hit the gym in the hotel.  I bake cakes and cookies and pie and sample them all happily, but then I tote the rest across the street to work or ship a package off in the mail.  I feel, at last, in control.

For example, I chose to enjoy a nice big piece of this cake today, because it was awesome. I mean, Chocolate fudge cake with cream cheese frosting? No way I wasn't diving in.

Food and me.
We are in a healthy (well, healthy-er) relationship now.

I still want to be stronger, and slimmer, and in much better shape, so I'm giving myself an extension on my project, and my grade is...incomplete.  

After all, I am going to be 50 for a little while longer.  

* The equivalent of getting rid of 16 paper clips or six pennies every 24 hours.  Honestly, my cat sheds more than that.
** I carry my own "vat" around, and am roundly ridiculed for it by my family.
*** Especially my family. When they are not making fun of me, that is.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Going out swinging

It was March 1st today. We woke up to one of those mornings in between rain storms when LA is at its absolute best.  My husband usually goes for a long run on Sunday mornings, and I decided to go with him and walk the hills while he ran.  As we got out of the car, we could smell the fresh wet leaves on the breeze.  Early bright yellow wildflowers popped up on the side of the fire road, and the sky was full of great, puffy clouds moving swiftly across the valley below.  Some were edged a deep menacing gray, others were a brilliant white.  I couldn't stop stopping to look at the view. Soon enough, we arrived at the trailhead.

Bye honey, I called, as he took off down the path. I put in my headphones and set off on my own. The slope went down steeply in places, rose gently in others, but was mostly downhill all the way. The sun shone and I was sometimes hot in my oversized sweatshirt but there was plenty of shade and the air was still refreshingly cool.

There were mountain bikers and couples with dogs and runners and girlfriends out walking and talking with big hats and sunglasses.  I nodded and smiled at them all. The chapters flew by in my audiobook and the ocean appeared behind impossibly green hills.

Almost three miles in, I saw my husband, at first a small moving figure far below me, growing closer as I followed the trail down towards him.  He wordlessly signaled to a side path that lead up to a crest, and we met at the top, grinning.

It was glorious. We took photos and he looked at my sweat-covered face with a hint of concern. It's a long uphill from here, he said. I'll run to the end and come back and get you, he said.

I'm fine, I said.
And,  this time, so unlike last time, I meant it.

Off went the book. On went the music. And back up the hill went me, arms swinging in time to the beat.


Thursday, January 29, 2015


I've been avoiding this post.

Months of work, nearly erased in the span of a few weeks.
My lofty goal now so far away, and time so short, that it is, for all practical purposes, impossible.

What happened?

I chose to celebrate the holidays with my whole heart. I threw open the house and filled it with extraordinarily treats made from real butter and chocolate.  I spoiled my kids and my niece.  We had our traditional Christmas meals and tried new recipes. I said yes to dinners out at brilliant restaurants with friends and cheerfully toasted them with cocktails.

I travelled for work to a city full of outstanding places to eat, and I didn't hold back.

But I also made it to the gym. I logged tens of thousands of steps every week on my Fitbit. I drank gallons of water and stayed off of caffeine.  I never cleaned my plate, snacked on vegetables, skipped the fries and sent dozens of cookies out of the door.  I knew I wouldn't make progress, but I was mindful of not going backwards. Yes, I ate, but what I ate was far from junk.  It was delicious, wonderful food.

It didn't matter. Being partially good was obviously not good enough.

I am ashamed. I am sad. And I am mad.

I rage at the unfairness of feeling punished for letting myself relax and savor eating for just a little while. All that happiness wiped away because the scale makes me miserable*.  I feel caught right back in my original trap.

I am so tempted to give up. To recast my objective as unrealistic and silly. I could give myself permission to claim this ten pound victory.  I can, after all, take pride in my healthier heart and stronger legs and hydration habit.  The pull of acquiescence is unbelievably strong.

Then I read this:

“Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes it is the little voice at the end of the day that says 'I’ll try again tomorrow.'”**

Sometimes, courage does roar.

So here I am. Trying again tomorrow.

Not to do the impossible. Just to be brave enough to keep going down this road a little longer, and to be satisfied with wherever I wind up, whenever I get there.

* Step 1:  Bought a new scale. Happier already.
** From this link.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Go the F*** to Sleep

T minus a week 'til Thanksgiving.

Such a minefield, this time of year.

For all the obvious reasons*.  But, thanks to these months of training myself to indulge sparingly and exercise often, the tempting aisles of butter, sugar and flour are probably not going to be my undoing. If I can keep these 15 pounds off and be ready for a sprint to the finish next year, I'll be declaring victory.

What may still derail me, though, is not sleeping.  I've always been, to put it mildly, a night owl. My bed time is perpetually deep in the wee hours of the morning.  Sometimes I stay up because there truly aren't enough hours in the day to get my work done.  More often, though, I'm up out of habit, puttering and browsing, making lists and paying bills, shopping and pinning and planning.  When the house gets quiet, some deranged part of me decides to start a new project, binge watch Scandal or sort through a pile of paperwork.  Already insane, this tendency gets even worse as the holidays approach.  The to do lists get longer, the rituals more elaborate** , and my nocturnal rest becomes, at best, a nap.

Like my food mania, this sleepless productivity thing is externally miraculous*** and incredibly unhealthy.  My first Fitbit was completely flummoxed when it tried to track my sleep****  so I just stopped wearing it at night.  We were both much happier after that.

Not so much anymore. You'd think after all these years, I would be thoroughly adjusted to this not-so-new normal, but lately I'm craving sleep, and dreading the annual dive into insomnia.  I can't tell if I'm finally just cumulatively exhausted, or newly aware of how little restorative time I give myself. All the brisk walks and kale in the world won't do any good without a solid block of time overnight for my body to absorb the work.  On the rare night that I do sleep, I wake up lighter in the morning every time.  Yet even that tangible incentive isn't breaking the habit.

Caffeine is out, and has been for a while.  I had high hopes for that change*****, but so far it hasn't made a bit of difference.  As of today, I have a new Fitbit, and I am going to wear it at night. And my mantra for this holiday season is not "Deck the Halls", but, in the fine, fine words of Mr. Samuel L. Jackson:

I will, of course, be starting this program tomorrow, as this blog post was composed at 2:11 am.


* Pie.
** Clever rhyming Christmas card poems anyone?
*** How does she do it? Easy! She is a zombie!!
**** Typical report: "You have slept for 2 hours and 35 minutes and walked 42 steps.  I have no idea what day it is anymore.  Here is a flower picture for you."
***** Because it was f***ing painful as s*** to give up.

Friday, October 24, 2014

For the record, live tweeting does not burn calories

Last Saturday, something truly unusual happened.

I did a 5K.

I know, right?

Before you get too excited though, I must admit that by "did", I mean "walked briskly, jogged a little on the downhill part, took photos and tweeted" a 5K.

But I finished.*  Hooray!  

* I was a little extra motivated after a week in NY on business.  Business that included the world's greatest French onion soup, Little Pie Company apple pie, wine with dinner, and other assorted indulgences, along with work duties.  To make up for all that I'd need to live tweet the Iron Man triathlon.  Which is SO not going to happen.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

The bearable heaviness of being

I've been shedding a lot of things lately.

A son, by design.
A dog, by a cruel, vicious disease.

Somehow, though, with all the loss, I feel immensely heavier.  The weight of this much-emptier house. The sadness pulling at my heart like extra gravity.  Most days I'm walking around like I'm made of stone.

Fortunately, I got my heavy, sad, stone-feeling ass to the gym and ate a lot of jicama this week.

Might as well get back on track while I'm moping right?  Less than six months to go!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

This couple walks into a bar...

A few days ago, my husband and I walked over to our neighborhood steakhouse to grab dinner at the bar.  The restaurant itself is a little stuffy and a lot overpriced, but the bar is exactly right.  The food is good, especially the bar-only items that are easily half the price of entrees in the main room. The wines by the glass are delicious. Plus, we can show up in our tennis shoes and be greeted with a gracious smile and a handshake by the gentleman bartender, as if we made his whole night by stopping in.

After the warm "Hello!" and genuinely pleased "Haven't seen you in a while!" he says:

"Hold on.  Have you lost weight?"


"Yep.  I could tell as soon as you walked in.  Lookin' good, man!*"


*  To be fair, my husband had picked up a nasty stomach bug on a business trip, so he was looking a little peaked.