A journey in words...

Welcome to my journey in words! A story about health, exercise, weight loss, food addiction, humor, size discrimination, sarcasm, social commentary and all the rest that’s rattling around inside my head...

I now twit, er... or tweet. Anyway, you can follow me on twitter @Aeon1202

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Seasonal Reflection

It’s an old tale that so many of us know well: Christmas comes and ruins the good nutritional intentions of many.

On the upside for me, I wasn’t even on any track to be knocked off of it at this point. The track is somewhere far away, distantly located on the other side the sunlight and chocolate strewn field through which I am currently frolicking while my clothes grow increasingly ill fitting.

So… as the year draws to a close what can I say I’ve accomplished?

I think the best thing I can come up with is my 4.0 GPA in grad school. Two classes into my Master’s degree and two A’s earned. Two wonderful semesters filled with learning new things.

When I’m in school I feel as though all the potential in the world lies spread in front of me. Sure, I may have a dead end job, but I am LEARNING! I’m learning something new and becoming something better. I feel positive, good, I feel as though I am going somewhere.

Also I am grateful to still be a healthy fat person. Thirty six years old and still no ill health effects as a result of being overweight. Doctors continue to tell me I’m playing Russian roulette with my life by not shedding the pounds, I believe them, I will continue to try and not give up. But still, I’m grateful that my sound nutritional knowledge seems to be sufficient to keep me in a state of good health in the interim.

I am happier and happier with my marriage and my husband each year as we grow to know and love each other better all the time. I feel cherished each day, cared for and valued. And I always have laughter and Ted’s “fits of weird” to enjoy. In a year that’s seen the destruction of so much, I’m so grateful for him in my life. We cling to one another like children in a storm.

So will this be the year I finally shed this weight? Will this be the year I become a rare success story? One of the teeny, tiny 5% of overweight people who will make a significant change in their BMI and STAY that way? I’m hesitant to make any promises I may not wind up keeping later. But as always, I continue to walk my road.

What else is there to do?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Who Knew?

Apparently I’ve been shopping in the wrong racial demographic for all these years.

A few weeks ago, Teddi took me shopping at a store called “Ashley Stewart” in Cheltenham. I’d never heard of it or gone in before and was my usual anti-shopping, grouchy, skeptical self as we walked through the front door.

As I glanced around I saw a number of things I thought were cute, but didn’t bother sifting through the racks because the store didn’t say “plus sized” anywhere, so I mentally assumed it was a store for ‘normal’ people, and not for me.

As I followed Teddi morosely through the racks I must have admired something or other because she picked it up and shoved it into my arms, directing me toward the fitting room.

To my utter shock, it fit. I tried on more, it all fit. Everything fit, nothing was insanely priced, everything was decently made, and everything was cute. A lot of it was even sexy. And if shopping at Lane Bryant and Fashion Bug Plus for most of my life has taught me anything – it’s that sexy clothes are a BIG NO NO for overweight women.

Not so here.

What strange, loving wonderland had I blundered into? What was this place?

Apparently the key was that Ashley Stewart is a clothing store for black women.

Apparently designers for black women think its perfectly okay to celebrate the generous curves of a woman’s body and let them be sexy instead of punishing them with cheap, overpriced, poorly designed clothes in horrendous mumu-type fabrics.

Holy crap… who knew this was even possible?

Monday, December 20, 2010

Scary Doll Attack

As of late this blog has been a lot more about whatever I happen to be thinking about today and a lot less about trying to loose weight. This is in all likelihood due to the fact that my attempts to loose weight recently have been entirely fruitless. No there’s nothing wrong with me metabolically, I’ve just been eating too much / moving too little.

At any rate, in the Christmas spirit of psychologically damaging toys, here’s something that set off my weird stuff-o-meter first thing this morning:

No, I couldn’t un-see the horror and now neither can you. Dolls kind of scare me. The closer they are to human looking the more they kind of scare me. On an artistic level I can truly appreciate the amount of work and love that went into making these things, but as a human being I’m slightly mentally scarred now.

They’re called “Puppenjungs” – which translates from German into “Doll Boys”. They’re sort of big too for dolls, about 24 inches tall, just big enough to wield a knife and slaughter you in your sleep while blinking sweetly at you with those overlarge Elfquest-Elf eyes of theirs.

They’re modeled to look like the Kaulitz twins, and part of the problem may be that the likeness is really pretty good. My first thought upon seeing them was: “dear God, I hope the real people they’re made to look like are not aware that they exist.”

Then I blundered over this:

Autographed picture. Which means that yes, they are in fact aware that somebody out there created and is toting their voodoo doll selves about the countryside. To make matters worse the one on the right appears to be reaching for the viewer, as though to collect your immortal soul…

How anyone can sleep at night knowing they’ve got evil doll doppelgangers is anybody’s guess. Yikes.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

30th Anniversary

Today is the 30th anniversary of John Lennon’s murder, I realized this when our radio alarm clock went off this morning and the newscasters on KYW were talking about it.

Many know (and are horrified) by the fact that I’m no fan of Beatles songs, but that doesn’t mean I don’t know of and respect the legacy that they’ve left behind and understand their significant place in the history of music.

Ted was shocked that so much time had gone by since then so quickly. To me it explained why I had no memory of Lennon being killed, I was only six at the time.

It got me to thinking about the nature of obsession. Presumably Lennon was killed by a fan, so was the Latin singer Selena (by the president of her own fan club if I’m not mistaken).

In the case of a political assassination I can almost wrap my head around the motive; perhaps a person doesn’t agree with the beliefs of their target and believes they’re helping the world by ridding it of them.

But why do people kill what they presumably love?

And John Lennon of all people? The man was a pacifist who dreamed beautiful dreams about a peaceful world. I just don’t understand.

But then, maybe that’s a good thing.

Thursday, November 18, 2010


The upside of a particularly nasty stomach virus is that you loose weight.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Punching Bag

Ever have a month where you feel like the world is trying to make you its bitch?

Or more accurately, I think God it trying to tell me something and I need to figure out what that is exactly. It feels like I can’t get through a week anymore without somebody getting in my face in an aggressive (and sometimes completely inexplicable) fashion.

Example the First:

About a month ago I’m having brunch with my son and husband and realized my son didn’t have a set of utensils, so I slipped out of the booth and grabbed him a set off of a nearby table – when I sat back down, the back of the booth moved slightly, jostling the Crazy Woman sitting in the booth behind me.

Said Crazy Woman found this a perfectly acceptable justification to turn and holler at me. Since I did bump her, I apologized and then turned away to return to my meal. However, she felt that wasn’t quite enough and persisted, resulting in the following conversation:

Crazy Woman: “Don’t be bumpin’ me ‘cuz I’m a bitch!”
Me (annoyed now): “Maam, I said I was sorry.”
Crazy Woman: “Are you?!”
Me: “Yes, I really am and I hope you have a lovely day.” Upon which I turned my back on her for a second time.

She complained her way loudly all the way out the door, but thankfully she left and I was able to enjoy brunch in peace with my family.

Example the Second:

Two weekends ago I ran a LARP (Live Action Roleplaying Game) at a gaming convention in Jersey. Since I had brought 24 pre generated characters and had 23 of them cast and in play – I’d call it a smashing success.

However at one point I had a player ask me for something unreasonable and had to tell him no. Gamers can be emotional and a bit high strung, so he got upset, threw something against the nearest wall and informed me he hadn’t wanted to play my game anyway but “they” wouldn’t let him get out of it.

Since there were only two GM’s; myself and another person, and this was the first I was hearing about his mysterious desire to not be involved which seemed to have developed the exact moment he didn’t get his way – I inquired as to who his mysterious “they” were exactly. He pointed to my co-GM as the coercer, and I probably gave him a skeptical look since she’s not the type to force involvement from a reluctant player (both of us would far prefer players who actually WANT to be there), at which point he stormed off.

Not really an unusual thing since, as I mentioned before, gamers can be high strung – but the experience still left me stressed and irritated when I needed to be focused.

Example the Third:

Hands down the most mystifying.

Yesterday I went with some friends to acquire ice cream; and after myself, my husband, son, and friend (who is currently recovering from an injury) went inside the ice cream shop – two other friends remained in their car to finish up a phone call.

As I approached the counter my injured friend inquired as to their delay, and I explained that they were finishing up a phone call with a friend they’d had a problem with at the con last weekend (again, Gamers = high strung). We ordered our ice cream and I moved away toward the window to wave playfully at my two friends in their car outside.

A moment later, I had a strange, slightly scary looking, sixty-something year old man at my elbow.

Crazy Man: “Excuse me, I’d appreciate if you didn’t talk like that about my son-in-law where I can hear you.”
Me (utterly confused): “Um, I don’t know you.”
Crazy Man: “That young man you were just talking about over there, he’s my son-in-law and I don’t want you talking that way about him where I can hear you.”
Me: (very blankly) “(Insert name here) is your son in law?”
Crazy Man: “No… (insert different name here) is my son in law. If I’m mistaken then I’m sorry.”

It took me awhile to puzzle out what happened, long after the incident was over – but finally I think I’ve got it figured out. When I walked in, the Crazy Man’s daughter must have recognized me from seeing me once at a mutual friend’s party. Her husband (a nice enough guy that I don’t know well) was in fact at the Convention last weekend. For some (still completely mystifying to me) reason, instead of saying hello to me when she recognized me, she eavesdropped on my conversation and decided completely at random that the person I was mentioning when I said my other two friends were straightening out an issue with someone who’d been at the Con MUST be her husband, and sicked her daddy on me to put me in my place for speaking so ill of him in public.

Sound crazy? Yeah, believe me it felt pretty crazy too.

I was also really angry because Crazy Vengeful Daddy waited patiently until I’d stepped away from my three tall, male companions to come over and confront me well out of their earshot. What a brave guy.

On top of that, the guy’s a CHURCH PASTOR (as I later found out). So theoretically he, his wife and daughter are all supposedly my fellow brothers and sister’s in Christ. And this leader of the church, instead of taking the “blessed are the peacemakers” route decided it was perfectly acceptable to frighten, confuse and confront a young woman who was a total stranger to him after she’d had the audacity to say: “so and so are working out a problem with someone they had an issue with.”

Even if I HAD been talking about his son in law (which I hadn’t been) I didn’t actually say anything bad, certainly nothing that warranted that kind of reaction.

So… at this point I feel like I can’t get through a weekend anymore without crazy people getting up in my grill. So what is God trying to tell me?

My first thought was that I need to choose how I’m spending my time more wisely; instead of going to a convention I could have spent last weekend helping people who need it for example. But in the other two instances; I was having brunch and bonding with my family and visiting an injured friend who is like a brother to me, I can’t see God having an issue with either of those activities.

Do I just need to learn to stand up for myself? That was one of the things that left me feeling icky, used and angry afterward; I was actually pretty nice to all three of my aggressors when what I wanted was to punch them all in the face. Afterward I felt used and beaten, like people’s punching bag. But would God want me to learn to go with animal instinct and start socking crazy people in the face? Somehow I doubt it.

The best answer I was able to come up with came from my son; who pointed out “maybe it’s not about you. Maybe God is using you to teach something to others.” Like in the case of the Pastor, perhaps the man needed a lesson in humility and how to control his own misdirected anger. Perhaps after he’d realized his mistake, he felt ashamed. He SHOULD feel ashamed in my opinion.

I still don’t know, but obviously it’s weighing on me pretty badly so I had to get these words out of my head and onto the page. Nobody wants to feel like a scapegoat for other people’s anger with their own lives or like a free punching bag – and right now that’s exactly what I feel like.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


I stopped weighing myself a few months ago, but I know the number is up. I can feel it in my joints, in the way my clothes fit, in the horrifyingly round face and figure looking back out at me from recent pictures, and in my general state of extreme self-dislike.

Am I just not able to do this? Am I like a drug addict who just can’t beat it?

I’m so tired of fighting, and the road feels so very long and hard, I just want to curl up somewhere quiet and dark and stay there.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Stuffed Acorn Squash

One of my guest bloggers (Jo) sent me this recipe for Autumnal Stuffed Acorn Squash this morning. I haven't tried it out (yet) but intend to within the next few weeks!

**********2 Acorn Squash

Smidge of olive oil

1 C. Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend

1 C. Veggie broth

1/4 C. Water

1 tsp. Butter

1 C. Onion, diced

1 C. Mushrooms, chopped

1 T. Olive oil

2 Cloves garlic, chopped

1/4 C. Walnuts, chopped

1/4 C. Dried Cranberries (I used the orange essence kind)

1/4 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Cinnamon

Pinch of ground Ginger

Pinch of ground Cloves

Preheat oven to 375 deg. F. Halve each acorn squash and remove the innards. I brushed each half with olive oil (the oil is probably unnecessary) and placed face down in a pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

While the acorn squash is baking, start the stuffing.

Bring 1 C. broth and 1/4 C. water to boiling. [A note about the broth: I used a blend of broth and water only because I had 1-cup pouches of organic veggie broth in my pantry. I didn’t want to open a second pouch only to used a portion of it.] Add butter and grain blend. Bring back to boiling, turn down heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes or so until cooked.

In a separate pan, sauté garlic and onion in olive oil, adding mushrooms after onion has started turning translucent.

Once grains and onions and mushrooms are cooked, mix them together in a large bowl with all other ingredients.

Back to the acorn squash: after baking for 30 minutes, remove from oven. Flip each half but leave in the pan. Scrape out a little bit of squash from each half. This is mostly to make a little more room in each half, but also adds a little squash flavor to the stuffing. Mix the removed squash into the stuffing mixture. Fill each acorn squash half with stuffing; mound it up! Cover the now stuffed squash with aluminum foil, and put the pan back in the oven. Bake for an additional 30 minutes.

[I only cooked one acorn squash last night, so I have half the stuffing left over for lunches and such. It’s fab all on its own.]

Friday, October 29, 2010

Actresses Who Don't Want Airbrushing


The woman they're talking about in this article (Rachael Leigh Cook) is the actress who played Josie in the 2001 movie; "Josie and the Pussycats". Which I have to admit I liked despite myself, I even have a song from that film on my MP3 player.

She's the one in the middle...
She's as tiny-skinny as any Hollywood girl, in fact she kind of reminds me of an Elf because her eyes are really big for her little face. But I really appreciate her sentiments on this topic and willingness to attend the 2010 Healthy Media for Youth Summit. Kudos also to Geena Davis for being there.

Geena stopped working as an actress awhile back now, which is a shame - I always liked her.

I think if the women who are the ones being subjected to ridiculous photo shopping stand up and speak out against the crazy practice it might make a difference. They have control over what's done to images of themselves, don't they? I just assume they're signing something somewhere the fine print of which reads "we can stretch and morph you until you look anorexic if we want to." Okay, it probably doesn't read precisely like that, but you get the idea.

There's actually a lot of actresses complaining about this in the media right now. The question is do they have the spine to actually refuse to be in these photo spreads (and consequentially not get paid for them) unless magazine publishers agree not to do crazy alien slim downs to their images?

Time will tell.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Anniversary Reflections

Today is my eighth wedding anniversary. Eight years married to Ted. I figured I would reflect on what I started out knowing and what I’ve learned along the way.

Unfortunately the first thing that comes to mind is the same advice that George Burns used to give when people asked him what the key was to a long and successful marriage, he always said: “Marry Gracie.”

For me it’s: “Marry Ted.”

I’ve said to him more than once over the years that there would be a lot more happy women in the world if they were just married to Ted, but unfortunately for them I’m not willing to share.

So instead I’ll start with my Mom and Dad. They’ve both offered me good marriage advice over the years and after nearly fifty years together I think they’ve more than earned the right to be listened to on this point. My mother’s was to remember not to fall into the trap of thinking it’s all going to be perfect hearts and flowers every day, if you want it to work you have to work at it. My Dad’s was simpler; “pick your battles” or more succinctly “know when to shut up”.

It’s true that it’s not always easy, but to be honest I don’t find it hard either. Ted is easy to live with, easy on the eyes, loving to the heart and stimulating to the mind. I looked at him last night and realized he’s even better looking now than the day I married him (the jerk).

We’ve had fights, sometimes really nasty ones, but it’s never for one moment entered into my mind to even consider quitting.

I truly believe that Ted and I make one another better people. We are stronger, smarter and more productive as a whole than either of us were apart.

In eight years we’ve been through two job losses, friend deaths, financial crisis, spiritual and emotional renewal, depression, anxiety, family meltdown and numerous disagreements about how exactly is the best way to raise our son. We’ve turned from a guy with a kid and that guy’s wife into a true blended family (and that does take a long time).

It took almost eight years to turn me into an actual mom.

I don’t know if any of this is helpful to anyone else, but here’s my point: choose wisely. Do not ever expect that the issues that get brought into a marriage will magically be fixed or go away later, most likely you’ll both have to live with them. So it’s extraordinarily important not to make the decision of a mate impulsively or blindly. Look twenty, thirty, forty, fifty years down the road and try to think about whether the quirks you find endearing now will be driving you mad then.

And, if possible, marry Ted.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Size Discrimination Comes In All Sizes

This is Bill (with and without the makeup he usually wears, and with his slightly less flamboyant brother):

As the frontman for the German band, Tokio Hotel, he might be simultaneously one of the most loved and hated people in all of Europe from what I can tell. Despite being relatively polite (he bows when shaking hands, it’s quite adorable) people find him dreadfully threatening, or they totally love him. There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of in between ground. I kind of suspect the problem is that he isn’t gay; if he was it would be like “oh, okay then, wear makeup – you’re fine!” But he actually has the audacity to be straight and still mess with people’s heads like that, which seems to piss them off, and amuses me to no end.

As always, people who can’t easily be crammed into one box or another get roughed up a bit.

I enjoy his band and their music a great deal; they’re like a throwback to everything I loved about the late 80’s and early 90’s in pop rock and roll (oddly, it was totally okay for rock stars to wear makeup then, I’m not sure why it’s not now).

I also think that Bill is one of the most beautiful human beings I’ve ever personally seen.

I am not alone in this opinion; there are a LOT of people who agree with me. This kid gets away with turning his hair into a giant palm tree, dressing like a disco ball, dancing like a scarecrow and wearing more makeup than Tammy Faye Baker and girls still throw themselves (and their underwear) at him on a regular basis.

Despite all that I strongly suspect that his self esteem actually isn’t all that great.

The world frowns deeply on two things: women who are too big, and men who are too small. And Bill Kaulitz, despite being over six feet tall, is a small guy. He’s a VERY thin guy. Observe:

I don’t think he’s unhealthy, I’m pretty sure that’s just the way he naturally looks. He’s been famous since he was about thirteen and he’s always had the same body type so if he had an eating disorder I doubt he’d still be alive. Also he lives with his identical twin brother (yeah, there’s two of them that look like this) who would undoubtedly have done something by now if he was starving himself.

My point is this; when you’re overweight people are at least a little delicate about your issues. For the most part, they still try to be discreet when telling you that you could stand to loose a few pounds. When you’re thin, especially if you’re a thin guy, especially if you’re a thin famous guy it’s pretty much a free for all. According to European press Bill has been in imminent danger of death from “Manorexia” for… well… I guess most of his life. They analyze they criticize, they demean.

You never, ever see this kid with his shirt off, from what I can tell he never wears shorts either – and gee, I wonder why? The flurry of obnoxious feedback would probably be more than even he could deal with. And despite one entertainingly John Lennon-esque moment I saw where he got fed up and simultaneously smiled pretty, accepted an award and cleverly verbally body-slammed the media into submission he seems to take it all with pretty good humor.

I often champion the cause of the overweight and healthy but in this instance I have to give some attention to the other side of the coin. Skinny girls get bad feedback too, but heck help you if you’re a slim guy. Especially here in America that is just a no-go.

When will it be possible to simply accept people the way they are? When will it ever be enough?

Solve All Problems

Sometimes I have to remind myself that thin people still have problems, even medical ones.

I was born with a bad hip joint; it didn’t form correctly in the womb. And my doctors failed to diagnose it until I eventually tried standing up and my upper thigh bone started jutting alarmingly out of the side of my body under the skin. My mom knew something was wrong, I was a quick baby otherwise – she said I started talking early, but I didn’t seem to want to walk and she knew there had to be a reason why. They finally diagnosed the problem (obviously) and fixed it with a lower body cast that I fortunately don’t remember wearing, though I’ve seen relatively horrifying pictures of it.

As a result; yay, I can walk… but the joint isn’t great. It’s not as good as a joint that formed while I was still on the inside so to speak. Sometimes it hurts… a lot, like this time of year when the cold damp of October and November are settling into my bones. On the upside, I can predict when it’s going to rain. As my Stepson is fond of saying “the hip never lies!”

I always tend to fall into the trap of thinking; it would all all all go away if only I were thin. The joint would magically not hurt anymore, ever again. But honestly that’s kind of stupid… the stress on the joint would be less for obvious reasons but I will always have hip displasia from an improperly formed ball and socket. A lack of body fat cannot fix that fact.

I used to do this when I was a kid too. I thought the only reason I was unpopular was because I was fat. Forget the fact that I was shy, awkward, frumpy and sort of strange – no if I was thin it would all be totally perfect, always. I’d have a boyfriend, countless friends and perfect skin too.

Getting skinny will make me healthier, especially long term – but I have to keep in mind that there’s no magical single fix for all my problems. Even beautiful people can be dreadfully unhappy; just look at Brittany Spears.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Huge Cancellation

Well, the ABC Family TV show “Huge” has officially been cancelled, it will not be returning for a second season and we’ll never find out if its lovable cast of rounded teens achieve their goals.

It was a sweet, cute, funny show – I admit I’m going to miss it.

I also can’t help but notice that another new ABC Family show that premiered at the same time “Pretty Little Liars” was renewed for another season.

Gee… wonder why it was renewed instead of Huge? Couldn’t have had anything to do with the words ‘pretty’ and ‘little’… could it..? Naaah…

I guess people still aren’t interested in watching TV about people who look a bit like the rest of us look. And if the viewing public isn’t ready for shows about heavier folk that entirely focus on the fact that they’re heavy, then they’re certainly not ready to see them simply living out normal lives, are they?


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Farmer's Market Report

As we move forward into a gorgeous and temperate Pennsylvania Autumn season the local farmer's market has started bringing in their annual harvest of apple varieties.


I got honeycrisps today - the Sweet Tart of the apple kingdom. They're crisp, huge and tart with a sweet honey aftertaste. Very very good.

The best find for today though were the Asian pears; shaped like an apple, crisp like an apple, but with a juicy, extremely light sweet pear flavor and a papery brown skin. Wonderful and refreshing!

Today was 'green day' at the market so all the solar panel and other local environmentally friendly businesses were out and about. I'd absolutely love to get solar panels - but they are so expensive!

So... wonderful morning, gorgeous weather, a walk with my absolute best friend in the world (my husband) - and Asian pears!

A good day.

They kind of look like hugantic cherries.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Unattainable Beauty

Teddi sent me a rather fascinating article about unattainable standards of Hollywood and fashion beauty that is well worth a read. It’s about the photographic retouching scandals (some of the worst of them) that have been perpetrated by various magazines in the past couple of years. It’s well worth a read, and here is the link for your viewing pleasure.


Men are made bigger, women smaller, and any hints of the approach of middle age are air brushed away. It should make us feel a bit better, I think, that even the perfect are nowhere near perfect anymore. No one is perfect enough.

People even do this on their own these days. If you go to You Tube and type in “photoshop makeover” you’ll find a number of fascinating tutorial videos that make fat people slim, young people old and ugly people beautiful.

I’m not totally innocent of this either, I once uploaded a picture of myself in a bathing suit into Photoshop and tried to make myself slim. Unfortunately, I’m so bad with Photoshop that all I succeeded in doing was to distort myself into a shape not recognizable as human. Which in it’s own way was sort of fun but not the goal I was looking for.

It wasn’t just an exercise in self flagellation, I wanted a picture of ‘future-me’ for inspiration. Something I could look at and go – yeah babe, I’m comin’ for ya. In that sense I don’t think it’s entirely a bad thing.

I’ve heard it said that society wants whatever is harder to obtain; so in times of famine the rounded, chubby woman was ideal because food was hard to come by and it wasn’t easy to be bootylicious. Now that unhealthy, fatty food is so much cheaper and easier to get than healthy choices it’s slimness that we prize.

Looking at the pictures in this photo editorial though it’s easy to see that we’ve gone way too far. I think my favorite is Kate Winslet’s outrage over GQ erasing the curves of her stomach. One of the things I love about Kate is her comfort with her own natural, stunning, curvaceous beauty. Good to see that she loves that too.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Food and Sleep

Two very basic necessities which are inexorably linked.

I’ve had insomnia for as long as I can remember. As a child, my mother would creep upstairs with laundry baskets at midnight trying not to wake anyone only to find me reading in bed, or before I could read just looking at the pictures.

I attribute my sleeplessness most often to a busy head; I have too many thoughts to fall asleep. When it’s time for rest, my imagination would far rather play – usually with happy things but as I grew older and matured that imaginative trait would turn into cruel worry more often than not.

Sometimes, I simply don’t want to sleep; because life is too short and I have too much else I’d rather be doing.

Sometimes the very concept of sleep kind of freaks me out. I mean – think about it, when you’re focusing on falling asleep you can’t. So when does that strange twilight moment happen when your brain distracts itself enough to not be paying attention to… well… anything? And then you loose consciousness. I mean if you really really think about it, sleep is a very strange thing.

Thinking about that will keep you up at night.

There’s also the fact that I don’t ever sleep peacefully; I have nightmares. When I’m not having nightmares I have very vivid dreams. Sometimes they’re a lot of fun, but sometimes they’re confusing or I wake up wondering; is someone trying to tell me something? Sometimes I dream things that happen later. Could be pure coincidence or just the natural trait of thinking about and thus dreaming about things that my conscious mind knows are probably going to occur – it all depends on what you really believe about sleep.

But my metaphysical dream journeying aside, I have at varying points in my life had no less than four separate conditions that doctors classify as ‘sleep disorders’. Insomnia is the chief one, but in addition to that I have woken up in places other than where I fell asleep (very disconcerting), had mind scrambling nightmares and also suffered something called ‘sleep paralysis’; where the conscious brain wakes but can’t make the connection to the body, causing me to suffer a paralyzed state until I could shake it off. That one is easily the least pleasant. Back in medieval times they used to refer to it as ‘having a hag on your chest’; they believed it to be a supernatural attack of some sorts by a nasty critter.

And speaking of nasty critters I often wake up with what appear to be fingernail scratches all over me. The logical conclusion would be that I’m scratching myself in my sleep, except they frequently appear on my back where I cannot possibly reach. Again, looking forward to waking up with claw marks all over me is yet another in a long list of things that make me less than thrilled with the prospect of closing my eyes at night.

I also sometimes dream ‘lucid’ meaning that I’m aware of being asleep and control the dream state. That one is actually pretty fun, so I don’t classify it among my disorders.

So how does this connect to diet? According to most of the learned researchers I’ve been able to read, an average person trying to be healthy needs seven to eight hours of sleep per night. A person trying to loose weight needs that even MORE. Apparently there’s some kind of stress hormone that builds up when you don’t rest that causes your body to hold onto fat more tightly. And then there’s just the obvious; the more you’re asleep the less time you have to wander the house Midnight snacking.

I average five hours of sleep per night. When in vehicles I fall asleep almost instantly because I’m so exhausted all the time that the moment I’m still and undistracted I’m out like a light. Plus I guess I like the soothing sound of a car, or something like that.

Somehow I need to make peace with my personal sleep-demons… because this constant deficit of tiredness is making my long road seem that much more like a slow, upward incline.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Weighing In - 266 lbs.

I'm down three pounds this week. Thank heck!

If I'd had a second hard work / no results week in a row I would have gotten really really hard to live with.

I have a dinner off tonight, so I'm eating really sparingly all day in preparation. I'm really hoping there's shrimp on the menu...

Happy Saturday!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Pretty Things

One of the things that inspires me is people I find really, really attractive. They can be male or female, and they’re usually so totally off base from both my appearance and personality that they may as well be aliens from another planet. It’s not necessarily about me being attracted to them in a romantic way (though sometimes I definitely am), it’s about being attracted to something in them that I want to be closer to in myself.

They inspire me…

When I see certain people I don’t feel jealousy I but see something in them, some quality that I want to emulate. I see a tiny fraction of the person I want to be inside myself – the person that is currently too blanketed by fat layers to be visible to the outside world.

I see them and I think; yes – that’s it, that’s how I will be. Whether it’s a gracefulness or a self confidence or sexiness or simply fabulous eye makeup.

Sometimes when I’m feeling discouraged and I want to go binge; I instead go into the folder of pretty things on my computer and I look at them.

And I think – I’m getting closer to you, to the you that is going to be a part of me. Every single day I’m getting a little bit closer. Tiny steps closer on a very long road.

Here are some of my ‘pretty things’ – I hope they inspire you too.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Making Pickles - Part 2

Okay last night I tasted the half sour pickles that have been fermenting on my countertop for the past three days and I have a few things to note:

1) My salt solution is way too strong, no wonder it was burning my skin whenever I splashed it on myself. If you attempt making pickles; ½ cup of salt to 6 cups of water is TOO MUCH! Next time I’m going to try ¼ cup or so and see how that works out. Since I’m also pickling some banana peppers I immediately watered down their solution when I realized this, hopefully I didn’t ruin them.

2) You really do need the pickling spices. My end result didn’t taste bad but something was absolutely missing, and I’m pretty sure that was it.

Here’s the positives; the flavor really wasn’t bad. I dumped out most of the brine and am cooling them in the fridge in a mostly water solution now which will hopefully desalinate them enough to be eaten comfortably. Ted of course is willing to eat them anyway (he says they’re very good with cheese) but I’m somewhat concerned about pickling HIM if I let him eat something that salty.

Also the color, texture and consistency were all spot on; just like the half sour pickles I’ve had at good Jewish delis. So I’m very close to the secret of half sour pickles; I can feel it lurking just out of my grasp…

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Making Pickles

At the farmer's market this morning I found these cool multi-hued peppers - I'm including a picture simply because they're pretty.

My find for the week though was actually these cute little Kirby cucumbers that I noticed are the exact same size and shape as the delicious, crisp, garlic soaked half-sour pickles I like to buy at the Amish market near work. So I grabbed a pint intent on making them myself at home.

Cucumber shown here with my hand for size reference:

Looking up a recipe online I found there really wasn't much to making half sours, considering how much they go for when purchased on a store. The instructions said to dissolve 1/4 of a cup of kosher salt per 3 cups of water. I did 6 cups of water, thus 1/2 cup of kosher salt. The salt, thanks to Alton Brown, is something I always have on hand.

I made sure all the salt was well dissolved in the water before proceeding by stirring the crap out of it - then took a quick taste to make sure it was salty enough. Boy howdy, it reminded me of the salt water my mom used to make me gargle when I was a kid to ease sore throats - just not disgustingly warm.

The recipe called for six garlic cloves, which I sliced to make sure all the oils could get out into the brine. It also called for pickling spices which I don't have in my kitchen - so, I just didn't worry about it. I tend to be an off the cuff cook, diversion from recipes does not scare me.

I packed my Kirby's into a glass jar that used to hold (surprise surprise) pickles. I frequently argue with Ted about his need to keep every glass jar or foam mushroom container that makes it's way through our kitchen, so before he'd give this one back to me he made me say "Ted I'm so glad you kept this glass jar so I can use it now."

Anyway I packed in the cucumbers and loaded the sliced garlic into the jar - then poured the brine I'd made over top until the jar was full.

The problem is that the little buggers float - so I filled another small plastic container with plain water, capped it and used it to weigh them down. The smallness of the container still leaves room around the mouth of the pickle jar for my tiny green monsters to breathe.

Now? I wait. About three to four days. The instructions said to just leave them out on the counter uncovered so they can ferment. I admit this made me slightly nervous but I know what a good preservative salt is, so as long as they stay submerged I think they should be fine.

Come Tuesday after a chill in the fridge, I should have my own home made half sour pickles!

Weighing In - 269 lbs.

Saturday morning weigh in put me a pound UP from last week.

I had two days (Wednesday and Thursday) where I went slightly over on calories, ending both days at around 2,100 to 2,200 - but I'm still a little puzzled about the gain as on every other day this week I was several hundred calories under where I needed to be each day.

I'm trying not to get upset, but - well, everyone knows what a disappointing week feels like. Bad enough that I didn't loose, I actually gained.

It's pretty depressing.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

A Bad Day

I’m hardly the only person I know fighting what feels like a never ending battle against their own body. In my office alone there are probably between seven and ten past and current Weight Watchers members.

So when I hear one of the naturally slim slamming one of us as weak willed, laughing at us for saying we want to eat healthy when we never seem to get anywhere, it’s really difficult not to rage or cry.

They do this right in front of me while I blink in shock – wondering if they really think I don’t know that they’re talking about me in addition to whoever is in their targeting sights at present. That those fat slobs over there also refers to this fat slob right here.

Mid September will be a year since I started this blog and this quest and I am currently at almost the exact same place as where I started.

Does that make me want to scream, kick, cry, hate myself? Yes, of course it does. Some days, many days, I do all of those things. I could have nearly been done by now. Except I failed, like always.

Sometimes I feel this incredible self righteous anger – how dare they judge me? Some days I think they’re right, I’m simply too weak and too much of a glutton to ever succeed. I’m as beneath them as they believe me to be.

Then there’s the fear; what if the day comes like so many days before when my will simply fails me and I don’t care anymore. When I can’t get up anymore and plan, parcel, evaluate, weigh and measure every morsel of food I consume that day. When I can’t any longer deal with the nearly constant hunger.

This will never be over, I won’t reach my goal weight and go: WHEW! Thank heck that’s done! This is going to be with me every meal, every day, for the rest of my life.

What if… what if… what if…

Monday, August 16, 2010

Defining Your Limits

I’ve spoken on the topic of needing to be selfish when in a weight loss process in the past but I think it’s something that bears review.

For a food addict, walking into a crazy-crap-on-the-walls, exercise in excess, 12 to 15 oz. greasy, cheesy, bacony hamburger joint is roughly the equivalent of a recovering alcoholic heading into a bar just so they can sniff the vodka.

Don’t do it.

If your well meaning friends invite you because they love you and want your company, don’t do it. Politely refuse.

If they tell you that you’ll be fine because you can just “have a salad” I give you permission to hurl heavy objects.

I guarantee you, sitting in the burger joint sifting through salad leaves while everyone around you chows down on 1,000 calorie plus fat-burgers and grease soaked fries will leave you cranky, unsatisfied, and downright unfriendly. Just don’t go there. You will not be good company at that point anyhow.

As a side note, the salads in those kinds of places are no help to a weight loser either; generally they’re soaked in things like cheese, sugared nuts and dressing thickened with as much fat as possible. Sometimes they’re as bad as the burgers or WORSE. So you’ll feel deprived and have eaten way too many calories to boot.

This is just one of those situations where you have to do the selfish thing. You say no, you plan activities that do not revolve around food you shouldn’t eat, much less have to smell for several hours.

I no longer set foot in fast food restaurants for just this reason. Sure they sell salads and sad, dry baked potatoes these days – but who wants that? I go in and smell the double fried fat burger dripping with bacon, greased mushroom and cheese and that is exactly what I want. The fact that these things make me feel quite sick later on is moot at that point. I’m no saint; I love vegetables, I love fruit, and I also love the fattiest, most sugar laden foods out there. I love food period.

So why would I even put myself in a situation where I have to want and suffer?

No thank you.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Weighing In - 268 lbs.

Three pounds down this week, not too shabby. I'm slowly but steadily crawling back out of the hole I dug myself into.

Today I tried cooking quinoa, which I've eaten before but never cooked from it's dry state. Note to self; it gets really gummy really quickly if you overcook it even a tiny bit.

Overall I liked the end result; I made a salad out of it with scallion, cilantro, cucumber, craisins and pecans (recipe at bottom). The dressing, however, needs to be doubled. Quinoa is like potato salad - it sucks up the dressing almost immediately so it can be really dry, in addition to gummy.

Okay this is sounding worse than I intend. It really was okay, and it's a grain with an amazing amount of protein in it which is good - because I don't think I'm getting enough protein in my diet. I need to ensure somehow that I don't loose too much muscle along fat, and yes I realize rejoining the gym would be helpful to that end.

Quinoa, Cranberry & Pecan Salad

Serves 10 / This hearty salad has a zesty combination of textures and contrasting flavors. Plus, it's loaded with fiber and nutrients. Prep time: 15 minutes Cooking time: 25-30 minutes

3 1/2 cups water
1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 bunch green onions, finely sliced
1/2 cup dried cranberries, diced
1/3 cup cilantro, finely chopped
3/4 cup cucumber, finely diced
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
1/2 tablespoon sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of cayenne pepper

1. Bring water to a boil. Add quinoa; stir, cover, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook until quinoa is soft and water is absorbed — about 25-30 minutes.
2. Add green onions, dried cranberries, cilantro and celery to a large salad bowl. Toast the pecans in a small skillet and add to the salad bowl (optional). Add the olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, sesame oil, salt and peppers to the bowl. Stir to mix.
3. Stir in the quinoa when it has cooked and cooled slightly. Set aside for an hour if possible to allow flavors to marry; serve at room temperature.

Calories: 197

Fat: 9 grams

Fat Calories: 42

Cholesterol: 0

Carbs: 25

Protein: 4