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

Friday, December 20, 2013

I Fail At Christmas

I know there are people who enjoy shopping. They say this enjoyment stems from our ancient hunter/gatherer instincts, but I seem to have been born without the gatherer gene. Since I strongly suspect I’d make a lousy hunter as well, I probably would have been one of those tribe members who just got left behind to starve because they were useless. Which may be why my body is evolved to be so very calorie efficient.

I despise shopping. I despise it so much that it’s starting to ruin Christmas for me. If I’m not stressing over what to get someone then I’m stressing over my financial situation or worrying about who might unexpectedly get me a present when I failed to reciprocate whether out of a lack of resources or a simple inability to come up with or find something that might make a good gift in return.

I’m not even a good gift receiver. Due to my inability to shop well in return when someone hands me a thoughtful present I mostly just squirm inside, casting a light over my own desperate inadequacy in this department.

When I enter a store, whatever I am searching for magically vanishes into the ether. My husband, who is a highly skilled shopper, has even noticed this effect. If he goes out alone he can quickly locate whatever he is looking for, usually on sale, but if I come with him then the two of us shuffle endlessly between stores as the black cloud of my bad shopping Karma lingers over us erasing whatever we are looking for from consumer existence. If I’m shopping online it’s out of stock and will be backordered for months (assuming it ever becomes available again). Since finances are always tight I can never even begin most of my shopping until I receive my holiday bonus at work, which always occurs (as it did this year) five days before Christmas. This leads to days like today where the entire day is spent sitting in traffic, searching for parking, dodging cars trying to run me over in parking lots, wandering for aimless hours in stores until I finally concede that I am never going to find what I’m looking for and ask a beleaguered sales associate for help. Then of course I find out that whatever I’m looking for is out of stock / only available via their website / they’ve never even heard of that before.

The end result of which is me sobbing in my car in the parking lot while other shoppers hurry quickly past trying very hard not to notice the woman having an ugly cry in a semi-public place. Hey, at least I made it to the car before breaking down.

Of course, making it home and realizing I was so busy feeling sorry for myself that I quite simply forgot the last stop I was supposed to make at the grocery store doesn’t really make anything much better.

Lastly, after having begged not to be left alone with any of the Christmas chocolates that people insist on giving us during the holidays, I found myself left alone with them anyway and may or may not have binge-ate about 700 calories worth before stopping. It was one of those times that my anger and frustration over what is, essentially, the eating disorder that I live with led me to understand why some might be sorely tempted to just go into the bathroom and quickly reverse the problem.

If I could somehow untangle this horrendous, consumer driven shopping requirement from a holiday that is supposed to be spent celebrating the joyous birth of Jesus Christ I would gladly give back every Christmas present I have ever received.


Status Update: 1.2 lbs. lost, 47 lbs. total

So… this past week.

I’m closing in on the 50 lb. mark and it doesn’t feel all that long ago that I was complaining over it seeming to take forever to reach 40 lbs. – so that’s a good thing. In another seven or so I get another set of pictures as I am having Ted take a set of me in the same poses and outfit every twenty pounds down. I’m not ready to share them yet, right now they’re just for me, but I’ll probably make some sort of incredible shrinking me gif out of them eventually.

People who didn’t already know I was attempting to lose weight have started to notice that I look different – so that’s another good thing. The fact that I’ve started collecting some clothes that fit probably helps.

The best I suppose is that I feel I’m back on track after my Thanksgiving/Birthday derailment, I was very afraid at that point that I’d run out of steam, but I continue to progress.

I can feel myself getting stronger during my workouts, able to do more for longer while still feeling in control of my movements. However it’s obvious that the next piece of fitness equipment I need to invest in is a really good sports bra. I’d like to transition to some higher impact stuff, but when I do there’s a lot of pain and awkwardness when the gigantic (and totally useless) flesh globes attached to my chest slam around. When I’m jogging I actually fold my arms over my front to try and hold them in place. There’s got to be a better way. I’m really not a fan of my huge boobs. They’re so… not streamlined. Meh.

In my weekly class a genius fellow member gave me THE BEST line to give when someone is trying to push holiday food on me that’s not on my plan, I actually used it this week at work. A well-meaning guy was trying hard to convince me to take a piece of the Godiva chocolates he was giving out as he walked around the office, and after my polite, “no thank you” failed to work – I said the following:

“I really can’t, I’m allergic to those. They make me break out in fat.”

Meryl was right, works like a danged charm!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

MY BODY IS BACK! (Er... where did it go?)

Last night Ted and I were on the pre-snowfall bread and milk run (not really, I just needed yogurt and we were out on date night. Date night after eleven years of marriage involves grocery store side trips) and I saw the below magazine cover while we were waiting in the checkout line:

I think this is one of the Cardassian folk who are famous for… er… something I’m not aware of. She’s extremely pretty, and has a figure I certainly would love to have.

My confusion is over the words on the cover: “MY BODY IS BACK!” Was she existing as a disembodied head for the last couple of months and everyone failed to notice? (Holy American Horror Story, Batman!)

Obviously the implication is that she used to be (probably slightly) heavier and now that she’s thinner she once again possesses a body whereas she er, I guess didn’t possess one… before. This leads me to wonder, what is it that fat people have below their necks if not bodies?

People really need to think before they say this stuff.

Also right below the big, strange headline the magazine states that she slams “fat bullies” and yeah, the fact that she was bullied for her appearance just stinks. Whoever she is, whoever you are, nobody deserves bullying for ANY body shape or size. And how is she “getting revenge” by apparently putting her body into the shape that her bullies were telling her she should? She basically just did as they told her to, didn’t she?

All that matters is: does her body look and feel the way SHE wants it to? If it’s this way, then cool (like I said, it’s an awesome body) but if it’s another way then that should be totally cool too – whether that other way is heavier, thinner, or well… whatever she wants. It’s hers and hers alone.

If I ever wind up on a magazine cover for reaching my goal weight (highly doubtful, but who knows) I will never say something like: “MY BODY IS BACK!” For one thing I’ve been fat since I was twelve and I’ve managed to successfully not lose track of my body the whole time, in fact I presume it will actually get less easy to locate as it grows smaller.

No, my title will read: “I ALTERED THE WAY MY BODY LOOKS FOR PERSONAL REASONS!” Because it’s simple, honest, and the truth. I didn’t even do it to save my life or my health, my health was good when I started and I very nearly lost my good health by trying something too drastic. I simply did not like the way it looked. And that’s more than enough of a reason.

I think this cover should read: “I AM CONTENT WITH THE WAY I LOOK NOW AND I DON’T CARE WHAT ANYONE ELSE THINKS!” Because hopefully it’s true, and it would be a refreshingly empowering thing to see a woman say.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Scientific Perspective on Weight Control

I may be many things, but although I do quantify myself as intelligent I'm no scientist.  I am, however, friends with brilliantly science-minded folk who are conveniently also well spoken, well written, and willing to write intriguing guest posts for me discussing the science of weight loss and gain.

To that end, I present my friend Charles and his assessment of human biology with regards to thermodynamics and the conservation of energy (thank you, Charles!)


In every discussion of diet or weight control I see, someone implies it's just a matter of calories in minus calories out; if more calories go out than in, then fat will disappear. To someone who knows nothing of science, this sounds like science. I've heard it referred to as a law of thermodynamics; actually it's the law of conservation of energy. If one attempts to apply it to diet and fitness, one demonstrates one has no understanding of science. While calories in - calories out is a law of physics, it is about as relevant to human diet and exercise as saying runners gain weight due to relativistic mass increase as they approach the speed of light. It's true, but flat-out dumb. It's irrelevant in practice when describing humans because neither variable is measurable. The calorie labelling is barely relevant to what an individual body absorbs, and calorie figures for exercise applied to individuals are laughable. (Even a relatively simple exercise like walking; imagine how much terrain or gait difference would influence calories required for movement.)

To make any kind of scientific measurement of calories in - calories out, you would need to not only burn the food in a calorimeter, but the excretions. You would need to have the individual live and exercise in a calorimeter during the experiment, and you would need to (impossibly) burn the individual to ash in a calorimeter both before and after the experiment to measure changes in their bodies. Fat is certainly not the only potential change, nor the only calorie-relevant one.

Calories in - calories out is probably repeated with the intent of being an encouraging idea, but I doubt it's encouraging now if it ever was. There's too much access to estimated values, which never include any uncertainty data. People follow what they imagine is a scientific system, and it doesn't have any actual predictive value because it was never science.




As a brief afterword, what my friend wrote above puts me in mind of the fact that I can easily check three different online calculators to try and find out how many calories I've burned for my height, weight, age and gender for a 45 minute, 4 mph walk and get as a result: 232 calories, 420 calories, and 556 calories. I hate that. How am I supposed to accurately stay within my desired calorie regimen for the day when it's impossible to say how much I'm burning via workouts? So frustrating.

I had been giving thought to purchasing a heart rate monitor watch that supposedly tracks my calorie burn for an entire day after I've input my biometrics and it monitors my heartbeats and steps taken, but now I'm seriously wondering if such devices are not a waste of money.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Status Report: 2.8 lbs. lost, 45.8 lbs. total

Good news: everything hurts!

Okay I exaggerate, my face feels fine (aside from the humungous zit I’ve sprouted, what is up with that?)

Pretty much everything else though, is sore. It’s the good sore of a good workout, the kind that usually fades in a day or two. Thing is, since I work out almost every day there’s not much down time for healing. There’s probably a flaw in that plan somewhere, but I find it nearly impossible to stay at my calorie goal of around 1,200 per day without a workout to burn some off. I can carve my appetite down to eating around 1,400 to 1,500 but I can’t seem to get any lower than that – so that extra three or four hundred I keep scarfing has to come off somehow.

In the other good news department: I achieved the goal I set for myself last week of chipping off the two pounds I managed to hork down over Thanksgiving and my Birthday – SCORE!

I always put my weekly and total weight loss up there but I rarely mention how much I actually weigh. I figure it doesn’t matter that much, but this is sort of a milestone so I’m going to mention it.

I began at 290 lbs. and as of today I’m 244. This means that I’m officially closer to 200 than I am to 300.

Small steps, small accomplishments, big goals.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Status Report: 2 lbs. gained, 43 lbs. total

It's really hard for me to face this setback, and to make matters worse I'm having a lot of difficulty regaining control. Thanksgiving immediately followed by my birthday was a one two punch that I need to find a way to recover from. That's why this status report is two days late.

So I'm going to let my husband Ted (also my coach and my biggest fan) speak for me via a message he sent me this morning, because he is absolutely right:

"I just read your most recent blog post.

It's good... it's just that I was looking for a status update. You need to write the update from this week. Your readers deserve to (and need to) hear about your set backs as well as successes. This blog is about the LONG Road, not the easy road. I know it will be hard to admit you gained 2 pounds... but you must tell the truth. It's just good and ethical journalism.

I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-Bee honest"

Note: Fail Snail was not part of the email that Ted sent me.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I miss you, Marion Ravenwood

In 1981, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark was released. It featured a character played by Karen Allen who became such a fan favorite as Indy’s leading lady that when she re-appeared, twenty-seven years later in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the audience with which I watched the movie spontaneously burst into exuberant applause.

Marion Ravenwood was strong, funny, sensibly dressed, intelligent and a true adventurer. She could wield a mean frying pan and drink just about anybody under the table. There’s a scene in Lost Ark where Indy shows up to rescue her just as she’s finishing up rescuing herself. Notably, she also pretty much looked like somebody you might know in real life: the adorable, sporty, quirky girl who everybody wanted to be friends with in college.

A day or two ago, Ted and I were watching Scrooged, a 1988 Christmas movie in which Karen Allen also played a lead. Such a different role from Marion that it starkly highlighted what a versatile actress she is. I also saw her play Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie with a remarkably fragile quality in comparison to the action heroism she’s capable of.

As we watched, and I mentioned that there aren’t any actresses like Karen working today (talented, endearing, but normal looking ones).  Ted commented that if Indiana Jones were being cast for the first time today the role of Marion would probably be played by someone like Megan Fox.

It is no longer enough to simply be average pretty or cute. Successful, non-comedic actresses today are expected to be nothing less than preternatural in their level of beauty.

Yes, there is what I refer to as the “chubby funny girl exception”. This consists of Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson and… well, actually they’re the only two I can think of. They’re both lovely women, but since they are sized like the average American they are relegated to having comedic value in movies and sit-coms rather than getting to play a leading lady.

Case in point: Wonder Woman was just cast (to play a supporting role in an upcoming film about Batman and Superman… *snort*) and the woman playing her is a former model and beauty queen. Not having ever seen her on film I can’t speak to whether or not she’s a good actress – although I am confident that she is good at her job having won the role – all I can say I know about her is that she’s very, very, very beautiful.

For a Superhero that’s pretty expected, all the actors who play them are phenomenal looking people. But as actresses like Karen Allen fade from Hollywood and are only replaced by one specific appearance, I wonder what other talent we are missing out on by being denied the sight of someone up on that big, glittering screen who actually looks like they might belong out in the audience too?

It makes me very sad.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Status Report: 1 lb. lost, 45 lbs. total

I know this is starting to sound repetitive but: another week, another pound.  I'm chipping away at myself like a sculptor with a gigantic block of petrified wood.

On one hand it's tempting to think that I'm currently only losing about four pounds per month, on the other hand at this rate in the course of a year there will be 52 lbs. less of me - it's nothing to sneeze at (well, unless you happen to have a cold).

My primary thought for this week is that working out six days a week means that you're pretty much sore somewhere all the time.  I know this means my muscles are getting stronger, but ouch.  Since it's grown cold I've started indoor power walking, a workout designed by Leslie Sansone.  Aside from the music being horrible these are really good workouts - lots of sweat, lots of movement, no hard impacts and plenty of calories burned.

And tomorrow is Thanksgiving.

My plan is a workout, no second helpings, no dessert, skip the bread basket, and have what I truly want and will most enjoy.  I've got a mean spinach, sausage and asiago quiche baking in the oven right now and I intend to enjoy it for breakfast tomorrow.  My sister makes unbelievable stuffing with craisins in it and I plan to enjoy that too.  I don't really expect to stay perfectly within calories, but nor do I expect to go over by a lot.

Saturday we're celebrating my birthday, which brings cake-related problems.  Since I don't really eat desserts anymore - it's okay to have some cake on my birthday... right?  I mean, it's my birthday.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Come to Dinner, my DEER

Yup.  We ate Bambi.

One of my best friends is married to an avid hunter, which means that when he killed a deer recently they graciously shared some with us, giving us our first opportunity to cook and taste venison burger.

I’ve had venison previously - as a roast, a meatloaf and some fabulous jerky – but this was our first time trying it out in burger form.  Also our first time tasting sans any marinade or other additives since I make hamburgers Alton Brown style: meat solo with no extras.

As always, Ted did the actual raw meat handling for me.  Although I do eat meat a few times a week I greatly dislike handling it so that’s part of his cooking duties as my sous-chef de cuisine.  Let me tell you, that man makes a mean hand thrown meatcake.

As you can see the meat is really red, even after being frozen and thawed out again.  Beef that you purchase in the grocery store has a nasty chemical additive that maintains the bright red color it normally has.  However since this animal went from the park to my friend’s garage to the freezer without ever seeing the inside of even a Butcher shop I have to assume it’s richness is simply due to the meat being very well oxygenated and uber-fresh.  The ground meat has had some fat added since my friends knew we planned to turn it into burgers, but unfortunately I neglected to ask what kind.  Since the deer itself is such a lean animal I’m guessing it’s perhaps a bit of pork fat.

I most often make turkey burgers since they’re so calorie friendly and we often have access to fresh ground turkey from a nearby Amish market, so I used the same cooking technique with these.  That involves rubbing a thin layer of canola oil onto the pan, then heating it thoroughly to just over medium heat, putting in the patties and letting them sit undisturbed for seven minutes per side.

Using that technique on the deer turned out to be a slight error on my part.  Poultry needs to be very carefully cooked through to avoid bacterial contamination whereas deer can be rare, so on the first batch of burgers my cook time was a tiny bit too long.  They weren’t ruined, just a little too close to well done.  I think we nailed it on the second batch by reducing the heat to straight up medium and cook time to six minutes per side.

As you can see, the boys were eagerly anticipating dinner.

I decided to have my venison burger with Dijon mustard, for that refined wild game eating experience.

The taste is definitely recognizable from beef.  It’s rich, flavorful, slightly crumbly, with a hint of minerals to it.  Calorie-wise it was higher than I expected, coming in at around 200 calories for a 4 oz. burger with 8 grams of fat, although opinions on how many calories game animals contain does vary a great deal via internet research so I could be wrong there.  It’s absolutely healthier than beef, or any mega-store purchased animal as it was never mass farmed, genetically manipulated or injected with chemicals.

Overall I very much enjoyed it.  Many thanks to my friends for sharing their tasty catch!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Status Report: 1 lb. lost, 44 lbs. total

At my group meeting they gave me a ribbon for ten pounds lost. On one hand I was like, “Whee! Ribbon!” On the other hand I was like, “Dude – I lost forty four, not ten!” Sadly they don’t count what came off from my previous program, BUT I KNOW THE TRUTH.

It’s slow and difficult going right now with less than two pounds off cumulatively in the last two weeks. That makes it feel as though I’m working pretty hard for really mild results. I’ve been eating an average of 1,400 to 1,600 calories per day and maintaining a slightly hectic six workouts per week regimen. Walks with Ted are an hour minimum, but my solo workouts are a lot more intense. Usually I do a kettlebell/dance combo for 40 to 45 minutes or one of my 45 minute cardio routines on You Tube. If I’m super low on energy it will be only a half hour, but that hasn’t happened in awhile.

It helps a lot to have that small snack when I get home from work and before beginning my workout. The snack boosts my energy and keeps me from feeling too ravenous afterward. Being a creature of habit I stick to the same couple of things in a rotation. If it’s helpful to anyone, here’s my afternoon snack list:

Wasa cracker with laughing cow cheese wedge (95 calories)
18 raw almonds (70 calories)
Chobani yogurt mini – coffee flavor with dark chocolate chips (100 calories)
1-2 oz. of beef jerky (80-160 calories)

Sometimes I’ll have a banana, but I find that something with more protein is really a better choice.

Last Friday I deliberately took the whole day off and ate what I wanted when I wanted it. Since avoidance of the truth helps no one, I still kept track of every bite and came in at the end of the day at around 3,000 calories. I also felt really sick by the end of the day thus teaching me that a full day off is really, really not worth it. A single dinner off plan now and then is really more than enough.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Status Report: .2 lbs. lost, 43 lbs. total

Yes - that is point two, NOT two pounds you see up there.

I admit that since last weeks loss was big I was fearfully expecting to gain this week, particularly since now it's only been five days since my last weigh in.

So yeah, I'll take that less than one pound drop thankyouverymuch.

I am now in the "scary zone".  In the last decade or so, I've managed to get to about the weight I'm at right now, but no further, before I lost heart and began the upward climb again.  As a result I'm on edge these days, dreading that I will wake up one day awash in apathy and utterly unable to continue any further and boomeranging right back to my old habits (and former weight).

Once I break down into the 230's I hope to feel a bit safer because then I'll officially be farther along the path than I've been in as long as I can remember.  Until then, I'm just trying to hang on and focus on one day at a time.  Sometimes one meal at a time.  Sometimes, just the next five minutes.

Sunday, November 10, 2013


This is exactly why I write down what I'm going to eat BEFORE I eat it and why I have been routinely skipping any and all desserts.

I went to an Indian buffet for lunch, had a single plate of food and two triangles of naan which I knew would total around 650 calories.  Then like a total moron I got some of my favorite Indian desert: these little doughnut balls called gulab jamun.  I ate them blithely guessing that one of them had maybe around 50 calories.

No, those teeny tiny doughnut holes are 150 calories EACH which means I spent 600 calories on FOUR measly bites of food that were not worth it and I am now at 1,260 calories total for the day after having only eaten ONE meal - lunch.

Crap crap crappitty crap crap.

That's how freaking easy it is to eat too much, and that's yet another reason why people have a hard time not being fat.


What 600 freaking calories looks like

Friday, November 8, 2013

Status Report: 5.4 lbs. lost, 42.8 lbs. total

A couple of things went through my mind simultaneously when I got weighed in this week.
The first was: YES I’m finally over the 40 lbs. lost mark!
The second was: YIKE that’s too fast!

However I wasn’t able to make my normal meeting time on Wednesday, so the 5.4 lbs. I lost this past week was the cumulative amount of nine days worth of work, not just my usual seven. Additionally I’m coming off of the two week period before and after high tide so the water I was retaining must have shed.

Either way, I’m trying not to make too big a deal out of it.

I felt particularly hungry and out of control this past week, as though the stomach shrinkage caused by being on a liquid diet has totally reversed. I didn’t do terrible though, just had a few days when I was closer to 1,600 calories than the 1,300 I desire. Maybe being slightly higher really did stave off a starvation-induced metabolic shutdown?

Who knows. Good week though, I know that much. Good enough that I sang all the way home from my meeting – I really only do that when I’m feeling particularly super heroic.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Conquering my Fear of Bleach

Anyone who’s seen me close up is aware that I’m a big fan of non-traditional hair color. I am happiest when my head most closely resembles an azalea bush in springtime. A few years back now, for various reasons, I stopped being afraid of what other people thought about my hair and started asking myself what I most wanted with regards to how I looked. Rainbow Brite hair color has been the result, and I can honestly say I’ve never been happier at least with regards to the appearance of my head.

In order to achieve these colors my natural, light dirty-dishwater brown color must first be exorcized like a pesky, unwanted poltergeist. This takes chemicals. Scary, scary chemicals. This means that in the past I’ve gone to a swanky professional salon to receive double processing: having all my natural pigmentation first removed, then replaced with the bright candy colors that I adore. This process is excruciatingly expensive.

Since I frequent the stores that sell salon grade hair products I knew that the actual items required to perform this procedure would cost maybe twenty to thirty bucks, so for a while now I’ve been kicking around the idea of conquering the task at home. What decided me was this tutorial by my favorite You Tube beauty-Guru, Cora from Vintage or Tacky (you should check out her site by the way, she is all forms of awesome at what she does).

And dangit if she didn’t make the whole thing look so easy, I had to give it a shot. Going it alone, however, did not seem wise on my first time out, so I brought in an intrepid team of hair dyeing assistants:

Jr. Assistant left, Sr. Assistant Right

My friend, the Sr. Assistant, is an Environmental Engineer (and she was nice enough not to fine me when I dumped excess bleach down the sink). I figured what the heck, if you don’t have access to a Stylist – go with a Scientist instead. Her adorable daughter, our Jr. Assistant, provided moral support, and also brought the Kinex for us to play with while we waited for our dye to set. Sweet!

Here I am before we began. The night previous I had scrubbed with a clarifying shampoo and then gone to bed on wet hair, so I started out sporting the ever seductive finger-in-electrical-socket look. As you can see I had roots – sad, sad looking roots.

First we bleached. I got a kind of bleach that claimed to have a “fresh green apple” scent. I suppose there was a faint apple-like whiff to it, assuming you were currently soaking your apples in lye. We kept the bathroom window open for ventilation, so nobody passed out and we stayed refrigerator fresh in the process.

Then, we wait. We put a couple streaks in the Jr. Assistant’s hair as well – because Sr. Assistant also doubles as awesome Mom who lets kid have pink and purple streaked hair.

After twenty minutes I hopped into the shower to rinse, thinking it would be simplest to remove bleach in the normal showering fashion rather than my trying to hang my head over the side of the tub. It only occurred to me after I was shampooing to stop the chemical reaction that I’d just rinsed bleach all down my naked back, so I quickly scrubbed with soap as well. I don’t seem to have suffered any negative reaction to the bleach though – no chemical burns whatsoever.

Next a quick blow dry, and I sadly neglected to get a shot of myself with yellow-white hair. It’s a bad look with my skin color, but entertaining at least. Sr. Assistant then painted on three layers of color: a dark plum for the bottom layer, bright candy pink for the crown of the head, and I added a few bright purple streaks right in the front. Then we stuck a bag over my head. According to our instructions, you shouldn’t let the bleach dry if possible and the bag does the trick nicely. Plus it allows your husband and friend a laugh when they get to refer to you as “bag-head” for the next hour or so.  Ah the irony of how silly we make ourselves look along the road to finding beauty.

After foiling in some streaks on Jr. Assistant’s hair we stuck a bag on her as well so that I wouldn’t have to suffer alone.

Now we get to play with Kinex!

As a side note, this is why one should always wear gloves when applying hair dye.  Sr. Assistant's hand wound up resembling blueberries, which horrified me and which she found very amusing.

Don't try this at home!

Half a movie later (Paranorman via Netflix) we were ready to rinse, dry, and view our result!

I’m beyond happy with this! It’s only our first attempt and we managed to annihilate my dark root problem and bring up a really fun pink color on top with that playful purple accent in front that I just adore! The plum under layer shows from the back, but it’s subtle because I don’t have a haircut that really displays it well. When I go in for my trim on Friday I believe it will show through better afterward.

My heartfelt thanks to Jr. Assistant, Sr. Assistant and Vintage or Tacky for helping me to conquer my fear of bleaching at home! With a little research, a lot of help and an adventurous attitude I am pleased to discover that this is an entirely doable process without painfully expensive salon trips!

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Status Report: 1.5 lbs. lost, 37.5 lbs. total

I was kind of expecting to stay the same this week due to my 11th Anniversary dinner involving gnocchi, cream sauce, bread dipped in olive oil and wine - not to mention it currently being my personal high tide.

So bonus!  I lost a pound and a half!

Perhaps this also means that the plateau I hit last week will be mercifully brief.  I am hopeful.  It also feels annoyingly like I've been this close to reaching forty pounds forever.

In other news: tomorrow is Halloween.  The game plan involves having bought a type of candy I don't like (candy corn) which I am leaving in a big bowl on my porch while Ted and I go take a long walk among the Trick or Treaters.  Sure, some punk might come and take the whole bowl, but I figure that's their parent's problem.

Three parties this weekend that I'm still planning strategies for.  Two of them are at friend's houses who are aware of my dietary needs and will most certainly have health-friendly foods.  The work related one will be the hardest.  I have no idea what I'm walking into there so it might be wise to simply eat before I go.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Happy Liver Report

According to MedicineNet.com, normal values for liver enzymes are as follows:

AST: 5 to 40 units per liter of blood serum.
ALT: 7 to 56 units per liter of blood serum.

I know that before I began the liquid low-calorie diet plan my levels for both of these fell into the “normal” range. I also now know that only five weeks into the program, I had shot up to around 450 AST and 270 ALT. No, those are not typos – so you can see why my family Doctor was both concerned and emphatic that I quit the program immediately.

As of today, I am back down to around 50 AST and 70 ALT respectively, so in the three and a half weeks I’ve been working on my own to heal through healthy eating (and many prayers from many people) my liver has managed to heal most of the way, which is super good news! I’ll have one more test in another month just to be sure.

I have also, as of today, lost another ten pounds on my own since quitting my previous program.

The Endocrinologist who was administrating my liquid diet program (not to be confused with my family Doctor) insisted up to the day that I quit that what was happening was not the fault of their products, but was instead the result of my having fatty liver disease because I was a fat woman.

My family Doctor found this claim to be suspect considering the very sharp numeric rise while I was solely consuming their food substitutes and also based on the fact that in the ten years she’s been caring for my health I have never once shown a single sign or symptom of fatty liver disease. She believes I was having a vitamin toxicity reaction to the extremely high levels of artificial vitamins in the products I was solely consuming as food. Also their refusal to acknowledge even the possibility that I was having a bad reaction to the products convinced her that I should, under no circumstances, return to their care.

So here I am. Returning to health and hopefully the wiser for my experience as I continue on this very long road.

My family Doctor (to whom I will be sending a thank you card for possibly saving my liver) told me that she wants me to take one very important thing away from this whole experience: that I should listen to my body, know it, and trust what it’s telling me.

There are no easy answers, no magic pills (or protein shakes) and no quick solutions. Every day of my life that remains I will fight this fight and walk this path.  Even once the numbers on the scale read exactly what I want them to read.

I should send one of these to my family Doctor

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Status Report: Nix! Nada! Nothing! The big EGG

Well, it was bound to happen eventually. This week I lost a whopping zero pounds!

This is an excellent opportunity to illustrate the ways in which the simple “calories in vs. calories out” math regarding weight loss that smug people like to toss in your face to illustrate how easy this is supposed to be does not always work.

I will fully admit that I had two high days this week: Friday and Saturday. Friday I went overboard on a popcorn munching fit and hit 1,800 calories for the day. Saturday is the day I deliberately decided to have dinner out and not fret over calories, but I was unable to fully let go so I still avoided two different dessert trays and skipped a pasta side dish I really wanted to try. Being careful in these ways I managed to stick to 2,000 calories that day. Since my calorie goal is around 1,300 calories per day, I obviously had 500 and 700 calories too many on those days.

Allow me to reiterate that the calories necessary (according to Science!) to simply maintain my current body weight without adding or losing anything is currently 2,550 per day – so even on my absolute worst day last week, I was still running a calorie deficit of around 500. All the other five days I stayed within my goal and ran a nice, respectable calorie deficit of between 1,450 and 1,700 calories per day. This means that according to Science! I should have lost around 2.5 lbs. last week.

But instead I stayed exactly the same weight.

The temptation is there to freak out totally, to assume my weight loss is going to halt forever no matter what I do, but I’m staying calm. I know this happens, and I know that it is not a personal failure or character flaw on my part. I know that in many ways the Science! we’re talking about here is a total crock.

I am having my 11th wedding anniversary this weekend and I am going out to dinner and that dinner is going to involve gnocchi in a decadent cream sauce. For the rest of that day, and this coming week, I am going to plan, track, and workout very hard, and I will be okay.

I will resist the temptation to punish and berate myself and simply move forward.

In the good news department: my thirty pound reward has arrived!

Yes, that is in fact a purple Labyrinth t-shirt with David Bowie on it. BE JEALOUS.

I’m sparing you the picture of it with me inside because although it does go on my body I look a bit like a purple stuffed sausage while wearing it. Since it’s a 3XL we can safely assume that the company who made it are not fans of sizeable folk.  I’m guessing their 3XL equates to around a women’s size 16 or so. Although I could have ordered myself a men’s, the men sizes never fail to look like a frumpy dress on me so I figured I’d just shrink into the women’s one instead. This stands a good chance of morphing into my 50 lb. reward before I’m actually able to wear it in public.

In the amusing news department: all of my everyday clothing is starting to make me look like a little kid dressed up in an adult’s outfit. EVERYTHING is too big.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Why Weight Loss Fails

I have figured out why ninety-some-odd percent of people trying to loose weight fail at it.  I have cracked the code.  It's actually pretty simple: they just get tired.

This is because you can spend every single hour of every single day for two months straight doing absolutely everything right to remove excess fat from your body - and at the end of it... you're still fat.  You can do this for three months, maybe four, maybe ten... and possibly still be fat.

When you quit smoking, the minute after you quit you're no longer a smoker.  It's a very different thing from quitting cold turkey all the behaviors that made you fat and then having to wait.  And wait.  And wait.  And then wait some more - until you finally get to reap the rewards of your hard work.

And it's not that I don't see improvment and appreciate those pounds off every week, I do.  But I'm just feeling particularly tired of waiting tonight.  It's not just a lack of instant gratification we're talking about here - it's delayed gratification to an insane degree.

So that's why people fail, the overwhelming majority of us (understandably) just aren't that patient.  It's difficult to tolerate the extreme discipline and hard work it takes for long enough with the fruit of your hard-won labor constantly dangling just off over the horizon.  So people break.

No, I'm not giving up.  Yes I'm fine.  Tonight I'm just... tired.  Really tired.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Status Report: 3 lbs. lost, 36 lbs. total

It’s kind of a letdown the way the weigh-in ladies at my group meeting do their thing. They will not say a peep aloud about your gain or loss, they won’t even smile. Writing down numbers in complete, expressionless silence does tend to make a person think they’ve done poorly. We don’t even get a, “good job!”

Regardless, I did do a good job and took off another three pounds this week, so I’m patting myself on the back!

Since I’m doing a lot of cooking I figured I’d share a creation that I loved this week. Living about an hour from Kennett Square (also known as “The Mushroom Capital of the World”) I have an exotic mushroom dealer at my local farmer’s market who I’ve been purchasing from on a weekly basis. This week I sautéed up a beautiful, bright green pile of mushroomy goodness. See below!

Exotic Mushrooms with Greens
  • ½ lb. exotic mushroom medley (lobster, maitake, shitake, etc.) 
  • Bunch of fresh green beans 
  • Bunch of fresh snow peas 
  • 2 cloves of garlic 
  • 2 tbsp. really good olive oil 
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce 

Heat the olive oil. Smash and fine chop the garlic and toss it in. Add the beans and peas and sauté around for a while until things begin to lightly cook. Add the mushroom medley and sauté until everything looks tasty and ready to eat. Remove from heat and add the soy sauce, tossing to coat.

Makes about four servings.


Friday, October 11, 2013

Status Report: 5 lbs. lost, 33 lbs. total

On Wednesday I did something (again) that a couple years ago said I would not do any longer: that being pay someone to help me lose weight. I joined a certain very popular, mildly-successful and slightly-cult-like weight loss organization who, like the previous one I was using, will remain nameless on this blog.

I didn’t want to transition out of the last program and just freefall through space with no outside help. That seemed like a recipe for regaining the hard earned pounds I’ve recently lost. I need community, commiseration, support and the threat of a public weigh in each week motivating me forward. Also, my health insurance company is perfectly willing to help out with this one whereas the last program… not so much.

There are things about this organization I do really like – such as the way it encourages you to eat regular food in the real world like a normal person for long term sustainability and the focus on wholesome nutrition and plenty of activity.

There are also things about them I flat out disagree with – like their insistence that members drink milk (humans are the only animal that insists on eating the baby food of another animal past infancy, it’s fairly ridiculous) and perpetuating the myth that eating too little will make you gain weight. So it’s a trade off.

I’m still using the Daily Plate tracker as well, and when I stack the two plans up against one another for calorie content the Daily Plate recommends a 1,300 calorie per day regimen for me to lose two pounds per week and my new program recommends almost 2,000 calories per day. For now I’m sticking to my 1,300 – if I hit some kind of metabolic road block I’m thinking of trying the zig zag method, which is where you eat 1,300 one day then maybe 1,700 the next then back down to 1,300 etc. Supposedly this tricks your metabolism out of shutting down due to perceived starvation. We’ll see. So far I’m still so big that I haven’t had to worry about it, the pounds continue to come off.

As you can see above, I’ve lost another five pounds since my last weigh in at the clinic – so far I’m doing pretty well on my own. We’ll just call this most recent step my insurance policy against losing that forward momentum.

Saturday, October 5, 2013


This is a difficult post to write because the temptation to feel like a failure is there.

I have mentioned before that I’m not well in touch with my body and the messages it’s trying to send me.  So for the past few weeks that I have been feeling slightly off (vaguely nauseated, weird burning sensation in the vicinity of my intestines, and a roller coaster ride of bathroom unpleasantness) I have been chalking it up to either anxiety or just me feeling sorry for myself over not being able to enjoy autumn apples.

Last week at the clinic the endocrinologist overseeing my weight loss mentioned that my liver enzymes were “elevated” but that it was probably something to do with my birth control pills and it was fine for me to continue the program.

Concerned and confused, I called my family doctor and asked them to review my blood work and explain to me a bit more clearly just what “elevated” means.

Last Wednesday morning the nurse practitioner called me at work and told me that the numbers for my liver enzymes had gone from textbook normal the week before I began the liquid diet program to four times higher than that.  They also strongly recommended that I cease consuming all products given to me by the weight loss clinic immediately and resume a normal diet.  They said that the reason I’ve been feeling off is because my liver is sick – and whatever I’ve been consuming needed to stop.  Right then.  That day.

This resulted in what I can best describe as a disagreement between the endocrinologist at the weight loss clinic and my family doctor.  The endocrinologist argued that in his 26 years of experience this result is something that happens with some overweight patients, our livers are unhealthy to begin with because of our excess body weight and as it begins to shed the numbers go high, level off, and then drop if we just continue the program.  My family doctor strongly advised me not to take the chance that he was wrong since my liver showed zero signs of being unhealthy before I began consuming nothing but the liquid diet and vitamin pills provided by the clinic.

That Wednesday afternoon I stopped the program.

I lost my gall bladder trying to become slim on Jenny Craig, I absolutely cannot take the chance of something happening to my liver as well for the sake of this vanity.  I was numerically healthy before I began, and now I am not.  There has to be a way to achieve healthy weight loss without sacrificing any internal organs in the process.

I’ll probably never know what really happened.  The endocrinologist could very well be right and in a few more weeks the numbers would have begun to drop off to normal again.  He asserted that a “woman my size” must have had a fatty liver to begin with, and for some reason the test numbers just weren’t showing it.

Maybe I had vitamin toxicity because all the vitamins in the food plus two big extra pills a day were just more than my liver could deal with.

Or my body was really choking on a diet consisting only of pills, protein shakes and saccharine chemical sweetener and its cries for real, fresh food that grows from the ground or off of a tree could no longer be ignored.

So I’m back on real food, but I’m not giving up.  I’m using the Daily Plate again to keep my daily calorie consumption in control at around 1,300 / day as I try to figure out what to do next.  Since I think I need the pressure of a weekly public weigh-in I’m leaning toward going back to Weight Watchers.  A bunch of the ladies I work with go so there would be friends with me at the meeting and people to help and be helped by the entire time I’m at the office.

I’ve immediately quit all caffeine and chemical sweeteners again (which is a huge relief) and begun a daily regimen of lemon cleanses and liver-healing foods.  A lemon cleanse is basically just the juice of one whole, fresh lemon squeezed into a 16 oz. bottle of very cold water and chugged first thing after I wake up.  Tart, but refreshing.  Liver-healing foods are things like grapefruit, apples, garlic, Brussels sprouts, leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables… basically all the foods I’ve been dying for during the last month anyway, so that’s not a tough prescription to follow.

In another four weeks my family doctor will test me again, and hopefully my body will have begun to heal itself.

I need to make it clear that although the diet I’ve been on is extreme, I still don’t consider it “bad”.  It absolutely works for some people, it worked for my father and my sister – that’s how I found out about it.  The good, caring folks at the clinic have helped many, many people to achieve their health and weight loss goals.

Something not being the right plan for me does not mean I think it’s not the right plan for anyone.  Every body is different, and one size does not fit all.

My answer is out there – I’ve just got to keep on searching until I find it.