scarlettina: (Blue)
State of me: There's been a lot going on emotionally lately, things I have a hard time talking about. It's left me feeling tied up, strapped down. There are a lot of things I can't say to anyone ever. I've thought about finding a therapist, but I've spent so much of my life sitting in therapist's offices that the thought just exhausts me. And so here I am, with my . . . stuff. The worst of it is that I'm self-medicating with food. While I haven't undone everything I achieved a few years ago with my weight loss, I've undone a lot of it, which is another source of personal unhappiness.

Work: One thing I'm not afraid to vent about is the day job, the thought of which also exhausts me. When I took this particular job, I had some very lofty goals in mind. Those lofty goals got lost in the minutiae of the day-to-day and in office politics. This team isn't actually very political, but there's one person who's a little bit of a nightmare to work with. Personally, we get along well and share common interests. Professionally, she's kind of a minefield. I've already had informational interviews with another manager in an effort to explore my options outside my team. I hate the thoughts of leaving my team because I like most of them very much, but it's clear that my role is a dead end, and it's clear that if I stay I'll be subject to Miss Minefield's behavior regularly. It's making me anxious and angry. I've spoken with my manager about it; I've spoken with my grand-boss about it. I'm also considering broadening my search.

(As a side note to [livejournal.com profile] allanh, I'm developing a finer appreciation for what you're experiencing at work. This morning, I'm all out of f*cks to give. Today's mantra is, "If they want this sh*tty copy on the site and are willing to escalate to get it, that's exactly what I'll post. And I'll make a point to let everyone know whose responsibility it is. 'Cuz it sure ain't mine.")

Work on an uber-scale: I'm 52 years old. For much--not all but much--of my life, my day job has been that most necessary of necessities rather than a true vocation. My true vocations have been relegated to avocations: writing, art, photography, singing. I lay this at the feet of the loud old voices in my head that have proven harder to shake off than I ever would have believed. Part of it is that I haven't done the necessary work to not just shake them off, but silence them well and truly. It's hard. But at some point, I just have to shut them all up and make some decisions about what my priorities are. Time is growing shorter by the day (a fact which has been hammered into my awareness the last few years and especially lately) and if I want to achieve any of the dreams I had, I've got to get on the stick. Do something different. I've done two things so far: 1) I've started perusing the classes at Coursera.org. My thinking is that if I'm going to make a significant change in direction I need to dip my toe into a couple of different areas before I submerge myself; Coursera is one way to do said toe-dipping. 2) I've picked up some colored pencils and have been coloring mandalas in a Dover Publications collection. I have found it to be meditative and calming. Also quite satisfying. By the time I finished coloring my second mandala, I found myself wanting to do something more original. We'll see where that takes me.

Writing: I am in a tough spot. This is another area where I just can't . . . talk about what's going on. I hate it (being in the tough spot, not writing). I want to write. It's a struggle every damn day.

Edited to add: Here are the mandalas mentioned above. I can't take credit for the designs, but I did the coloring.
IMG_1135 IMG_1134
scarlettina: (All my own stunts)
So, a couple of years back, I lost about 60 pounds. It was a lot of very gratifying, very hard work and I was very proud of myself.

And then I got stuck. I plateaued at about 40 pounds from my goal. I looked and felt better than I had in years, but I was nowhere near my ultimate goal. With my doctor's prohibition against high-impact exercise, I was kind of screwed, because the high-impact stuff is what I was really loving: running and Jazzercise. Now, you can do Jazzercise as a low-impact thing, but I always find myself feeling restrained and like I'm not working as hard as I want to. Other ideas were suggested--swimming, urban skiing. But none of them appealed. Bicycling was suggested; I even have a bike--but it's not proportioned properly for me and isn't really comfortable to ride, so there it sits in my storage unit gathering dust (about which, let me tell you, I actually feel a great deal of guilt).

I quit Weight Watchers about a year ago after a year of being plateaued and being frustrated to tears by it. Despite having lost two thirds of my total--and despite having maintained that loss--I felt like a failure. In the process, I've gained back about 25 pounds. My body feels terrible, my clothes feel terrible, and I think I look pretty terrible. This prompted me to buy a scale and to try to get back on the goddamn horse. There's a particular milestone that I'm approaching. At that milestone, I've placed myself, like Gandalf, saying, "You shall not pass." And I won't. I can't.

We've got this thing at work, the Summer Games, where we organize into teams and try to walk as many steps in 6 weeks as possible. That means strapping on my pedometer every day and trying to bump myself up past 10,000 steps per day. In the games, if you exceed a certain average number of steps, you start earning discounts on your heath benefits. I've earned two-thirds of the full benefit so far. Last year, I earned the complete benefit. I'm hoping that with my effort this week and weekend, I'll succeed in earning the whole benefit. It has the added fillip of getting me moving more.

Now I've got to get my food into shape. I've been using MyFitnessPal on my iPhone to track my food, though not as vigilantly as I could. I need to get better about that. I also need to read through all my WW materials again and try to refresh myself on the food balance that helped me so successfully a couple of years ago. I don't want to go back to where I started when I first started with Weight Watchers. I can't go back there. I looked pretty terrible and I didn't realize how bad I felt until I didn't feel that way any more. That way lies . . . well, frankly, death, given my family's medical history, and I can't do that to myself. I have way too much to live for.

And I'd never hear the end of it from Sophie and Zeke.
scarlettina: (Autumn)
1) I've been watching Sleepy Hollow, and it occurred to me to post about it mainly because [livejournal.com profile] terri_osborne has been squeeing about it. I think I'm digging the concept of the show more than I am the show itself. I'll be sticking with the show for now, but I really hope they find a way to add a little more substance somewhere because there's something that's still not quite working for me. Maybe I don't buy Katrina. Maybe I don't buy Ichabod's wearing the same damn clothes for weeks on end. (What happens to his colonial authenticity when he finally buys himself a pair of jeans and a leather duster and gets out of the 200-year-old clothes in which he rose from the grave cave?) I'm buying Abby; I'm just not buying Ichabod the way I want to. I want him to be more of a fish out of water. I want him to react more to the things that are unfamiliar, to be uncomfortable with things that would have been unheard of in his time or that look like magic to him. I'm having trouble suspending my disbelief because the script and the performances don't give me hooks upon which to hang it.

2) Work seems to be an endless cycle of being told I should prioritize my own projects but being derailed again and again by little fires that must be put out right now. It's getting a little frustrating.

3) Everything connected to weight and food is challenging right now. I don't know if it the encroaching darkness of autumn or what, but eating well and getting exercise both seem to require a massive effort right now and it's making me a little crazy. I need to find my determination to be consciously healthy again and kick this business in the ass.

4) Tonight I'm attending SIFF's 40th anniversary member event. They're doing their annual member pre-sale for discounted festival ticket packages and passes, and showing Judi Dench's new movie Philomena, which Rotten Tomatoes shows a rating of 97%--a pretty remarkable score. I didn't know a thing about it until I started reading the summary over there, and then decided I didn't want spoilers--but it's looking like it will be an enjoyable evening, especially in the company of [livejournal.com profile] ironymaiden and [livejournal.com profile] varina8.

5) Why is it harder for me to get out the door in the morning when I face a bus commute than it was when I faced a car commute? Is it the darkness? Is it the prospect of dealing with other humans so early in the morning? I wonder.
scarlettina: (Five)
1) I am in the process of cleaning up my bedroom. It's fascinating what such archeology can turn up, especially given my epic levels of clutter tolerance. Here's one thing I've realized over the last couple of days: Leaving things in piles for stupid-long periods of time enables me to detach from them emotionally, making them easier to dispose of when I finally dismantle the piles. I don't think I ever consciously understood this before. It's not a technique I recommend but apparently it's one way I deal with separation anxiety from clothes and other emotionally-freighted inanimate objects. Back in the dark corners of my head, I fear this is the first step toward my becoming a hoarder.

2) Cats are creatures of habit. I have always known this; it's a thing you come to understand after living with them for decades. But Zeke takes it to a whole new level. Mornings are models of clockwork efficiency:
--Wake up human at 5 AM on the dot by confirming that gravity still functions. Method: Knock the glasses case off the night table.
--Meow for breakfast.
--Eat breakfast and then attempt to eat other cat's breakfast.
--Meow for playtime. Ensure that gravity still functions by attempting to knock toy dalek off shelf, thereby rousing human from breakfast table.
--Playtime: chase feather toy. Fetch feather toy.
--Meow for attention.
--Settle into human's lap, knead arm, soak sleeve with drool.
--Retreat to quiet corner and chill.
This pattern occurs every morning. Every morning. There is no breaking it. This is why it's hard for me to write in the mornings. Zeke must be attended to. If I put him in the carrier, it's 20 minutes of piteous meowing, which also interferes with writing.

3) Sophie attempted to rip open my arm yesterday. Actually, she succeeded in a pretty spectacular fashion. As I removed her from the kitchen table, she inflicted upon my wrist a three-inch gouge that, 24 hours later, is still sore, not to mention the lighter, 5-inch scratch further up that same arm. I look like something out of Frankenstein's laboratory. It will most certainly leave a mark.

4) Winter is coming. My bedding is in transitional mode. Yesterday I removed and washed the summer bedding and replaced it with summer sheets and a winter quilt. It's not quite yet cold enough for me to put on the jersey sheets yet, though I suspect the time is coming. Must start transitioning the closet as well.

5) I'm starting a work-out routine again. I'll probably write more about this at some point soon, but there's a gym in the basement of my office building equipped with not just the usual gym accoutrements but a full-time manager and trainers. I have an appointment with a trainer today. I'm hoping to kickstart my weight loss again. Should be interesting.
scarlettina: (Five)
1) I have discovered blackberry vines at the end of my street and on one street over. I've been living here something like 13 years and I never knew! I'm going to have free, fresh fruit for the rest of the summer. HAPPY!

2) I need to write about my weight-loss progress or, rather, my weight-maintenance progress. I really want to, but it'll take more time than I have this AM.

3) I've started to wear a pedometer. Rather than just counting my steps, I'm finding myself motivated to up the number of steps I take and to look for opportunities to walk. It's an interesting phenomenon.

4) The ENnie win for the Complete Kobold Guide to Game Design is awesome--but now I feel pressure to ensure that the next project I'm working on for Open Design is better and even more awesome. Is that how awards are supposed to work? (Of course, my writers have it worse; I'm cracking the whip a bit....)

5) As of today, I'm a month away from departure for my European trip and I'm very excited. At the same time, everyone else is getting ready to go to WorldCon and I have The Sad. And then I think: PARIS!

BONUS ITEM: 6) I've just had a story ("After This Life") accepted for Greek reprint publication--my second in that language, in the same magazine (Universe Pathways). YAY!
scarlettina: (Five)
1) Just saw the extraordinary Danny Boyle's Frankenstein at SIFF with EB and was completely blown away. If you have any chance to see this filmed version of the National Theater's production, do not pass GO, do not collect $200--go directly to see it. It's astonishing and you'll never think of Frankenstein the same way again.

2) It is really, really difficult to reassimilate into the real world when you've had a fabulous weekend. I'm still not entirely here.

3) I'm so behind on so many projects right now. I need to fix this.

4) I need to make a post about PostCrossing at some point. I want to share some of the beautiful postcards I've received as a result of my participation.

5) I need to join a gym again. Being diligent about tracking my points isn't enough at this point in my weight-loss journey. I need to start working my body, not just my self-discipline and my head now.
scarlettina: (Creating yourself)
One of the things that I was looking forward to along my weight loss journey was being able to shop wherever I wanted to shop for clothes--no size restriction, no choice limitation. I've begun to taste this over the last couple of months, but this last week, I've been feeling it particularly. This afternoon I was downtown to pick up my birthday dress (a size 14--I don't remember when last I wore this size), and found myself standing in Westlake Center just looking around at all the places I could suddenly shop for clothes. I felt like the richest woman on the planet. I didn't have to shop at any of these places, but having the option felt like opulence. Like a luxury I could never afford--that I wasn't allowed to have.

It's really something.
scarlettina: (All my own stunts)
Yesterday was a tough day for me. I went to Weight Watchers and found myself up 2.4 pounds in the wake of a 2 pound loss last week. I came home to a short story rejection. I wanted to eat myself into oblivion and just be unhappy. And I did that for about an hour.

And then I just got angry. This business of hovering in the same 5 pound weight range for months is just making me crazy. So I packed up a workout bag and headed into Fremont to check out the gym there. I've got a free week's trial membership and I'm going to use it. Then comes the tough part: buying a membership (assuming I like the place after trial). And this is what always slows me down.

It took three months before I was willing to be a subscriber to Weight Watchers. Before that, I paid week by week, even though it cost more, because I wasn't sure I wanted to commit to the program. I didn't think I'd stick with it long enough; I didn't want to spend the money.

After I came home from the gym last night, I got on the phone with [livejournal.com profile] varina8, a veteran gym rat, and asked her to convince me to join the gym. She made a strong argument:
1. A gym membership is an investment in yourself and in your health.
2. Exercise increases bone density, important in women of a certain age like myself.
3. Exercise will help kick-start the regular weight loss again.

[livejournal.com profile] davidlevine, another gym rat of my acquaintance, was also smart and practical about a membership. Among the benefits he counted:
1. Professional equipment helps ensure the right kind of motion for healthy exercise.
2. A commitment to a gym makes it more likely that one will exercise more regularly.
3. A commitment to a professional trainer will keep one accountable to someone else, which equals being accountable to oneself.
4. Exercise will help kick-start the regular weight loss again.

These are all smart, practical reasons to commit to a gym membership. I spend more per month on internet service than I would on a gym membership; why is one worthy of the expense and not the other? Why am I being so tight-fisted with myself?

It's part of a larger question, I think: Why do I find self-care so hard? I have worked really hard the last couple of months on dental care because I've neglected it over the years. I have not been good about taking care of my damaged knee, even though I went to a physical therapist specifically to get it attended to. This sort of thing has always been challenging for me. It's always too much work, or not as important as They say it is, or not as important as whatever else I may have to pay attention to. It makes me wonder why. It makes me wonder if I'm alone in this.

And here's the thing: when I work out, I feel like a bad-ass. (In fact, one of the trainers last night, when she saw me in my head-to-foot black workout gear, said that I looked bad-ass.) Who doesn't want to feel that way: powerful, in control, smart, and sexy? Why is it so easy to forget that feeling? (Perhaps the trouble isn't remembering it so much as believing in the feeling about oneself.) And why is it so easy to pooh-pooh taking care of myself? Doing Weight Watchers has been a big deal for me in terms of self care. I've succeeded in very specific, measurable ways. Now I have to work on the rest of this stuff.

So what's your experience been as regards self care? Thoughts?
scarlettina: (Five)
1) Recently, when I told my doctor that I've been much more sensitive to the cold over the last eight months, I asked if she had any ideas about why this might be. Could it be oncoming menopause? Could there be something else? What might it be a symptom of, I asked. "Weight loss," she answered. Oh.

2) On this same subject, my bed isn't as comfortable as I thought it was. I have been told that it's not because the bed's not as well padded as I thought. It's because I'm no longer as well padded as I was. These are the things they don't tell you about weight loss.

3) Yesterday was stressful due to the conflict mentioned in my last post. Today was stressful due to a project at work. Tonight I came home to another stress-inducing thing. Actually, it's a stress-enhancing thing, because it's the result of new stress that manifested late last week and that I'll have to continue dealing with for another week or two. I am, officially, exhausted.

4) Check your credit rating. Seriously. Right now. Get a credit report and check it. I wasn't checking mine regularly and just got a nasty surprise. Really. Do it. You'll thank me.

5) Big plans are being made. Big. Plans. When I have more elements in place, I'll talk about them. But for the moment? For the moment I'll just say that it's going to be a pretty awesome autumn.
scarlettina: (Fork You Back)
Haven't posted much about weight loss lately, mainly because progress has been slow this year. (It's been a bitch of a year, frankly, and so I'm cutting myself some slack for the slowed-down momentum, but it's been hard--which is part of the point of this post.) As of last night's weigh-in, I'm down 56.4 pounds and at a weight I haven't seen in a decade or more. This doesn't make me a sylph, but it's a vast improvement over where I started, and I'm generally pretty pleased with my accomplishment. That being said . . .

During my first year of weight loss, I was averaging a pound per week, more or less. It was enormously satisfying and I felt like I was substantially accomplishing my goal. This year, with the stress, the loss, and the physical uncertainties keeping me from exercising the way I did last year, the weight loss has just been harder. It's come in tiny increments, a quarter to a third of a pound per week. This week, I lost more weight than I have in months--and it was only half a pound. But I also overcame the pain I've been experiencing in my left knee to get out the door and walk. I need to get my knee looked at. Also, I changed my menu--that always makes a difference. The body responds to change.

It's been discouraging to have my weight loss slow down this way. If I do the physical math (portion control plus exercise), then it makes perfect sense; curtailed ability to exercise means slowed progress. But it's really challenging. Staying the course is absolutely imperative, however. Imperative. I won't go back to where I was. And that's what keeps me going, even when I'm feeling bad.

I always told myself that someday I'd be slim and beautiful. (A kind and beloved friend told me recently that I was already beautiful, bless him. My perspective is different from the inside--but I couldn't have been more grateful for the compliment.) But with a landmark birthday coming this year, I'm very aware that I'm running out of somedays. It's now or never--and I'll be damned if it's never.

My to-do list:
-- Get the knee checked out (which means finding a new doctor due to insurance changes).
-- Figure out a way to exercise that doesn't hurt the knee. (My WW leader has suggested swimming. I don't even own a bathing suit at this point, and I'm little uncomfortable with public pools--and with being seen in a bathing suit.)
-- Stay the course.

[livejournal.com profile] jaylake says that success at writing takes psychotic persistence. Weight loss, too.
scarlettina: (Default)
Sunday Summary:
--Brunch at my place (the cheese and veggie fritata was a smash)
--Archie McPhee for silliness
--UW Campus for cherry blossom viewing
--Sleep-over with niece

Monday Summary:
--Picked up the family and headed east to Snoqualmie for waterfall viewing, lunch at the candy factory, and a visit to the Northwest Railroad Museum
--Split up for the afternoon. They did the Underground Tour. I came home, finished reading The Sleeping Partner by our own [livejournal.com profile] madrobins about which more anon, and took a nap.
--Dinner at the 5 Spot
--Board game (specifically Mancala) at the hotel

Exhausting days, but good quality time.

My food program is completely blown. I want so badly to get back on the program but there's been so much eating out, and I find that I'm having a terrible time with discipline. I think that stress has just been getting to me. My bad old habits seem to be asserting themselves something fierce. I keep telling myself that after the family departs I can get back on the program--which is true. I also want to investigate some sort of fitness program, but my left knee worries me, and there won't be medical coverage until May to get that sorted out. ::sigh::

One thing at a time. Get through this week.
scarlettina: (Blue)
1) I will not be attending Norwescon this year. Family will be visiting from the far-flung East Coast and I will not subject them to the annual madness. Hoist a drink for me in my absence, will you please?

2) I was up a pound at Weight Watchers tonight. I've been plateaued most of this year and I'm really frustrated. I'm cutting myself some slack because, well, it's been a shitty month and I haven't been eating very well, but this trend has got to stop.

3) Today's the fifth anniversary of the passing of [livejournal.com profile] dochyel. I hope there's a rock'n' roll heaven and that you're jamming with the house band. By the way, fella, say hello to [livejournal.com profile] markbourne, will you? You guys will get along famously. The puns alone will last for days.

::sigh::

On Comfort Eating

Sat, Feb. 18th, 2012 08:33 am
scarlettina: (Fork You Back)
Recently, I mentioned my reach-for-food-for-comfort habit as part of a larger entry on being in maintenance mode. This self-medication with food is a lifelong habit, and one of the subgoals of my weight loss has been to learn other comfort strategies, other ways to deal with stress or sadness or boredom than by reaching for food.

Yesterday, I received news that didn't make me happy. As I said to [livejournal.com profile] overratedomac, I couldn't even really feel sad about it; I just felt numb and frustrated. As I wrote in the above-linked entry, I thought long and hard about going to get myself a sweet treat that would pack a significant calorie and fat-count hit to comfort myself. Somehow, though, it wasn't a very appealing prospect, mainly because I wasn't hungry. Putting more food inside me when I already felt full just seemed like an unpleasant prospect and not terribly comforting at all. I just let myself feel bad, planting myself on the couch and watching episodes of the History Channel series, UFO Files.

This is the first time I can ever remember consciously rejecting food as a self-medication strategy. It's the first time I can remember thinking that food would actually make me feel worse. That's a remarkable thing for me and I feel like I need to mark it as a milestone, because it's a major turning point in my changing attitudes about food and in my behavior.

Now, in the past I have turned to exercise instead of food for comfort. It's always been a conscious effort, and not always one I did willingly or with enthusiasm. This event feels different because it was almost instinctive. It was, "Bleh, food will make me feel worse," not "It's not good for me to eat because it's a bad reaction--but I want to eat--but I won't." I have turned to sleep instead of eating, but in some ways that's just as bad, because it turns off my head and I don't deal with whatever it is that's upsetting me, at least not consciously.

So I guess where I'm going with all of this is that yesterday I chose to just feel what I was feeling. I didn't numb myself with overeating, and though I thought about comfort eating, I was actively repelled by the thought. That's really something.
scarlettina: (Fork You Back)
The last few weeks have been a very challenging time for me in terms of food and my weight loss journey. I find that, with the stress of job hunting and interviewing, all I want to do is feed my face. With the pain I've been dealing with in my left knee, I've been averse to impact exercise even as I miss it in the extreme. And so my weight loss has slowed.

All this self-medication-by-food behavior has been modified considerably by how I've been living this last year. Where I used to reach for sweets, breads, cakey goodness, or handfuls of cereal, I'm reaching now for grapes or applesauce or hummus and carrots or popcorn: all high-fiber, low-fat snacks. And in the mix, I've still parsed out a Theo hazelnut crunch chocolate bar (at 10 PointsPlus values for a whole bar, a quarter a day over four days is a perfectly acceptable--and tasty--points hit). So I have tools available to me when I'm craving a chew. One of those tools is more clearly recognizing what my behaviors signal. I still need to work on modifying the reach-for-food-for-comfort reaction, but at least now, when I do, I'm reaching for better stuff. For a while, I was reaching for exercise instead of snacks, but see above re: bad knee. Need to fix this . . . but one goal at a time.

One of the Weight Watchers receptionists, as well as my leader, has observed that sometimes you have to just maintain rather than lose and deal with the other stuff life is throwing at you. It's hard for me to remember this, because I want so badly to reach goal as soon as I can and to get with the business of the rest of life. But the truth is, sometimes you lose and sometimes you maintain. Your body is going to do what it's going to do. So I've been trying to think of myself, in the midst of all this self-medication-by-food behavior, as being on maintenance until I can find my focus and kickstart my weight loss again. That means cutting myself a little slack when I indulge, staying aware that my weigh-in will show either a negligible loss or gain, and remembering not to give myself a hard time about it. Thinking of myself on maintenance reduces my predilection for judging myself as bad or undisciplined. It is, in short, living life at my new weight with awareness and acceptance--and that's ultimately what reaching my final goal and maintenance weight will be like. So, in the end, this is practice for what I hope the next 40 years are like once I reach my final goal. It can be seen as a goodness.

As it happens, I went to my meeting last night and was down 1.2 pounds for a total of 55 pounds lost (or five-and-a-half cats). I was pretty sure I'd be up this week, so it was a delightful surprise. But that's been after a few weeks of fractions of a pound lost here and there--which is what got me thinking about maintenance in the first place.

And so we go. It's hard, it's a struggle, but it can be done. I've already proven it to myself. It just may all take longer than I want it to. At the same time, we learn by doing, and the longer I do this, the more I learn. I don't have any appointments to keep so I can do this as long as it's necessary. My hope is that I'll reach goal my year's end. Whether I do or not, I'll get there eventually, one forkful at a time.
scarlettina: (Huh?)
. . . but probably won't:

Restaurant Bathrooms: Why are restaurant bathrooms invariably cold? It's the one place in a restaurant where you will remove clothing to function. It's like you're being penalized for being human. And then the water from the faucet for handwashing is also, invariably, cold. Why? In the dead of winter, WHY?

Living with a Young Cat: I spent so many years living with geriatric cats that I forgot what it's like to live with a kitty who wants to play and interact. I love being with Sophie, and I love playing with her. She is athletic, imaginative, and inventive. At the same time, every now and then I just want to sit and read or sit and work. As much as we'd all prefer it, not every minute can be playtime. There's nothing so plaintive (or occasionally so grating) as a cat who keeps asking why, why, why aren't we playing now, now, now? And yet she is hard to resist.

I had a Tough Food Week: A week ago today, my goal was to have a good food week--and I did, but not in the way I meant. I ate out a lot--some wonderful meals--had a meringue cookie binge, and didn't track my food well. Consequently, I chose not to weigh in at Weight Watchers last night. I start this week with the same goal as last week: eat on program, track my food, and be active. Next Tuesday, I weigh in, come hell or high water, and hope for the best.
scarlettina: (Five)
1) Saw "The Artist" last night--perfectly delightful. It's part "A Star is Born" and part "Singing in the Rain," and there's nothing gimmicky about it. Dujardin, depending upon how he was being shot, reminded me of both Clark Gable and Gene Kelly. I hope we see more of him in the US. Nice performance. And Berenice Bejo was adorable. Just a terrific movie all around.

2) Had dinner last night at The Hi-Life and had forgotten how good the menu is there; the food was just wonderful and that drinks menu is to die for. Between the food and the movie, it was a terrific evening all around.

3) Going to the Aquarium today for their Hawai'ian day. Will be dressing in my aloha dress, sufficiently augmented for cold weather. My companion and I must be crazy; I think it'll be lots of fun.

4) Downloaded Scrivener late last week and have been organizing the novel using its features. I'm already seeing the benefits of using the tool, and I suspect it's going to give me exactly what I need to get back on track and get rolling again (because, frankly, it already has).

5) I've had some marvelous meals over the last few days in most excellent company, but the fact is that I've been more off the wagon than on in terms of my food program. I need to really get back into the swing of things in a serious way. There's been a little more indulgence than I've done in a while and I'm feeling it. As delightful as it's been, I need to fix this.
scarlettina: (Crankyverse)
1) Spent most of yesterday working on a skills test for a job. I understand the purpose behind tests like this and worked hard at it to do well, but I couldn't shake the feeling that I was having to take the SATs all over again. At my age, well, one hopes to be done with that sort of thing.

2) I have had a difficult week with food. I think it's probably the weather and the season that's making me want to eat more than I ought to. Also, I've eaten out a lot this week, which always makes managing food a little more challenging. I've been working out with a new exercise DVD I purchased to help offset the eating, especially given that it's been so cold that I haven't wanted to run. Still, I feel like there's just been a little too much eating this week, and I'm trying to decide whether or not to weigh in tonight.

3) This morning I found myself having to deal with some last bits of accident administration that should result in a compensatory payment of some kind. We'll see what happens there.

4) Have I mentioned that my left knee has been giving me some trouble? It's running-related and makes me unhappy. I need to go to the doctor and get it looked at but, well, what with unemployment and all, I'm not really feeling the love for doctor-going. ::grumble::

5) Snow is coming. Last night, broadcast news was full of dire reports of the snowmaggedon yet to come. The local papers are full of predictions of the end of the world as well. They made me so paranoid that last night, past 11 PM, I inventoried the house, then ran out to pick up some supplies in case of being snowed in for a couple of days. My biggest concern, frankly, is that I have an interview this week on the day that the heaviest snow is predicted to fall. I find myself wondering when I became such a PNWer that snow would scare me. I suspect it was when I tried to drive on snow-covered hills at 30-degree angles. That could do it. Yes.
scarlettina: (Five)
1) The Trip (my trip to New York to visit family and friends for the holidays) doesn't start until next Wednesday, but this is, technically my last Friday in Seattle before 2012. How...weird. The sky is grayish lavender this morning, giving the whole world a peculiar glow. I'm guessing it's cold. What an odd morning.

2) I have a headache. I've had one for at least two days now. I suspect that it's one of three things: stress, poor sleep, or dehydration. I'm working on the dehydration theory for the moment, and drinking a lot of water this morning. But poor sleep may be the culprit, too. Wednesday night's poor sleep was the result of too much caffeine too late in the day. Last night's poor sleep wasn't poor, really, just short. The next-door neighbors have taken to leaving their dog out at night (or letting him out before sunrise), and he barks five times, usually around 6AM, sometimes earlier. That was today's alarm clock. As for stress, well, it's December, I'm unemployed, and I'm about to travel. 'Nuff said.

3) In the wake of my weigh-in victory on Tuesday night, I've had several very difficult food days. I think, rather than hoping for more weight loss before my departure, I'm going to look at my holiday maintenance goal as having already started. I may not even weigh in next Tuesday night, just attend the meeting and get the pre-trip, pre-holiday support I need and start over again on January 1 with weight loss efforts. I don't have to be perfect; I just have to persevere and do the best I can.

4) Went to ACT theater last night to see a holiday frivolity called "Wisemen" with some of the usual suspects. It's about three Jewish detectives investigating the peculiar circumstances behind the mysterious birth of a child to a virgin mother with a reputation, a case involving a suspicious character in a red suit, a rap-star rabbit called E. Bunny (throw gang signs, please), and a nebbish named Joseph. The silliness was epic and we all had a good time.

5) Status of the To Do list posted several days ago:
--Get a pair of good walking shoes. (My sneakers may end up having to suffice. A girl wants to be stylish when in New York, but a girl has neither the budget nor the time to indulge such a desire.)
--Get a nice wool sweater. Sweater acquired. Thank you, Nordstrom Rack.
--Write at least one article, possible two, for The Elongated Collectors newsletter. (Frst draft of one article written but not yet polished. Thank you, insomnia. Must still either photograph coins or scan images for inclusion.)
--Pitch an article about the 1962 World's Fair and its related elongated coins to The Numismatist.
--Polish up "Skippers" and put it in the mail.
--Polish up "The Monster Option" and put it in the mail.
--Polish upFinish "The Opinions of Invisible Strangers" and put it in the mail. Didn't realize that I hadn't actually finished this piece until I looked at it a day or so ago. Oy.
--Finish up writing my holiday cards.
--Register for at least one class on a new technique at Fusion Beads.
--Find a couple of new places for distance walking.
--Join a gym.
--Mail off a big box o' stuff to my brother.
--Call the plumber about a long-neglected project.
--Call an electrician about a long-neglected project.
--Added: Make packing list.
--Added: Do pre-trip cleaning.
--Added: Contact relevant parties about the Space Race Challenge video. Oy.

Halfway there!

Tue, Dec. 13th, 2011 07:47 pm
scarlettina: (Awesome me)
Went to my Weight Watchers meeting tonight, weighed in, and found that I was down 1.6 pounds for a total of 50.6. My year-end goal was to be down 50 pounds before I left for New York--DONE! This gets me halfway to my total weight loss goal. If it takes me another year to get there, so be it. I'm pleased and proud that I've come this far so successfully.

At our meetings, whenever a member passes milestone of any kind--five pounds, ten, and so on--our leader will ask her, "What's working for you?" So I thought that at 50 pounds down, I'd write a little bit about that.

The first thing that's working for me understanding what I'm putting in my mouth, and how much and when. I do that by tracking my food, and I've been religious about it this fall. Tracking helps me to stay aware, and staying aware helps me make better choices. One really big thing it did was help me kickstart my loss after my summer plateau. I reviewed my food tracker and realized that I wasn't eating enough of what are referred to as Power Foods--whole foods that are high fiber, low fat, with balanced protein and carbs (balanced in some propriety WW way that I'm still learning about). As soon as I started eating more Power Foods (more fruits and vegetables, more lean meats) I began to lose again.

The second thing that's working for me is leaning on my support system. Every week when I get back from my meeting, I post my progress to Facebook, regardless of whether I'm up or down. It's wonderful to have such a supportive community. It's meant so much to have support regardless of my status. And over the last year, I've gotten to know some of the women in my meeting--not well, but enough to form a bond, and their support has meant a lot, too. We've run 5Ks together, and talked pretty frankly at our meetings. Another woman in the group who started the same week I did also made 50 pounds tonight, and I was delighted we could celebrate together. I know that not every meeting in the country is like this one; I feel very fortunate to be with such a good group.

The third thing has been setting small goals, deciding what I'm going to work on each week and focusing on that. These last couple of weeks, I've been focused on losing the last 2.5 pounds to achieve my milestone before I leave for New York. My goal for the two weeks I'll be in New York is to maintain--not to gain or lose, but just keep the success I've achieved. And after New Year, I'll be working on the next five pounds--and also, getting ready for that next 5K.

So that's what's working right now. And there have been small victories along the way: discovering that I've weirdly lost at least half a shoe size; discovering that a choker I made is actually no longer a choker; and fitting into clothes I thought I'd never wear again. My cholesterol is perfect. My blood pressure--always good--has improved even from its goodness. And I have a kind of stamina I haven't had in a very long time. This I could live with. :-)

In the Silverstein scale of weight loss, I have lost five cats. Five more to go!
scarlettina: (Default)
It's been at least a week since I did any real exercise and, wow, I can tell. It's not that I'm sore or feeling out of shape. I did fine on my walk/jog today, and completed the Green Lake trail faster than I usually do, about which I'm quite pleased. I can tell because I feel much better physically and emotionally than I've felt in days, and the exercise is the big difference. Well, that and the sunshine. But here's the thing: I feel energized, I feel confident, and I feel like I can get a lot done over the next several hours. I need to remember that this is what exercise does for me on those days when I'm feeling blue and sluggish.

I think some of this is habit and training. As I observed after completing the Turkey Trot, I sometimes don't recognize this person who goes out and exercises because she wants to. There have been times in my life when I've been regularly athletic, two times in particular: the period I did aerobics and studied taekwondo, and the year I trained to go to the Middle East, when I went to the gym and hiked regularly. This feels something like those times. I have a specific motivation and goal to achieve, I've been focused, and I've done the food work and the exercising enough to establish some habits and some regularity about it all.

But old thinking dies hard. There are days, especially now, in autumn and with winter oncoming, that I look at the gray skies and simply don't want to leave the house. I let myself get intimidated by the cold, as if I don't have cold-weather clothes to go out in. There are days when I'm blue and I'll go looking for food for comfort rather than getting myself out of the house to take a walk or go be out among people. ("Be out among people," as though it were a strange, alien thing...) I just forget to use my resources; it's not like I don't have them.

My Weight Watchers leader and I talked about it while we were doing the Turkey Trot, about how it's easy to change behaviors but it can be much more difficult to change ways of thinking. It's strange to think of myself as an active person, but I am. A year ago, it would never have occurred to me to train for a 5K much less complete one, and now I find myself trying to find the next one to do. (Looks like it's the Love 'Em or Leave 'Em Valentine's Day Dash at Green Lake on February 11.) But I still have trouble thinking of myself as someone who gets out there rain or shine, or in the cold, to do the work. I need to change that thinking. Obviously, it's easier to get out when the weather is nice. But I won't melt if I go out in the rain.

We are creatures of habit and comfort. Getting out of the comfort zone can be really challenging. I need to remember how this feels--how this post-exercise goodness feels--so that I'll keep doing it. With the holidays and my trip coming up, it's especially important now. I have to bear this in mind: that I'm an active person, that I don't let things stop me. I have goals to achieve, and I can't let weather, food-focused holidays, or travel get in the way.

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