A sometimes serious, sometimes tongue-in-cheek look at work, life, dieting, losing weight, getting in shape, getting bent out of shape and getting over it with a dose of humor.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Day 7

breakfast - egg whites scrambled with turkey, 2 slices canadian bacon, 1 apple

mid-morning snack - 1/4 c. Dreyer's No Sugar Added Coffee ice cream topped with chopped walnuts

lunch - tbd

snack - tbd

dinner - tbd

Morning weight: 169.5 lbs

My weight went up yesterday morning but I think that was because of all the salt in my diet on Saturday. Sausages, wings and salty pasta in one day is a bit too much - note to self.

Day 6 (Sunday)

breakfast - 1/2 c. cooked oatmeal

lunch - 1/2 c. steamed broccoli, 5 pc KFC hot wings

snack - 2 morningstar soy breakfast patties, 1 banana

dinner - Dreyer's No Sugar Added Mocha Almond Fudge and Coffee ice creams (1.5 cups total) topped with chopped walnuts (about 1 oz)

Morning weight: 170.5 lbs

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Day 5

breakfast - 2 sausage patties (pork, full-fat), 1/4 c. scrambled egg white, 1/4 c ea. all bran & blueberries

lunch - 1 c. steamed broccoli, 5 pc KFC hot wings

snack - 2 morningstar soy breakfast patties, 4 chocolate covered espresso beans

dinner - 1 serving Bertolli sausage & rigatoni with 1 small zucchini sliced in + 1 small orange

Morning weight: 170.0

Friday, February 02, 2007

Day 4

breakfast - egg white omelette with onion, bell pepper, turkey and 1/2 c. egg whites

lunch - lettuce & turkey rollups (made with 3 oz. chopped roast turkey and approx 1 c. total of caramelized onions, tomatoes and beans rolled in lettuce leaves)

snack - 2 morningstar soy breakfast patties, 1/4 c. ea. all bran and blueberries

dinner - brown rice pilaf (1/2 cup cooked brown rice stir-fried with small pieces of veggies and some spices), leftover salmon

Movie snack - 18 dk. chocolate covered espresso beans -- I got a little carried away with the dark chocolate covered espresso beans as I was watching a movie but it was definitely worth it. Enhanced the whole movie watching experience.

Morning weight: 170.0 lbs

Another Really Long Post (aka Day 3)

The thing about dieting is that you are always in this keyed up mode where one misstep will send you right back to the starting line or worse, off to the bench to nurse your ignominy in silence before you are even halfway through the game. You are no longer one of the dieting elite, you are the dregs of humankind.

While this may be poetic exaggeration, dieting does create a a lot of artificial pressure and the one thing we don't need more of today is stress. It's worse than sugar and white flour combined because stress sends you scurrying for sugar and white flour thus fueling your guilt complex and adding more stress. You overindulge, feel guilty, behave, then misbehave, and the cycle continues. While this may not be true of everyone, I would imagine it's true of a large portion of the population or we wouldn't have so many diet failure stories and fad diets to begin with.

And it's probably even more true for people with pcos, insulin resitance, leptin resistance or any other kind of biological issue that makes it chemically harder to control this cycle in the first place without the stress of added guilt and the pressure to conform throwing us off our balance even more. I know it's not always that simple. Some people need structure. But for me, when structure starts to spell restriction it's a warning sign.

My dietician keeps saying, "If you have to cheat, cheat and then get back on the plan right away." It always freaks me out and I am beginning to think it was perpetuating the same vicious starve-binge cycle I was trying to break out of. But last night was different. I had planned on having pizza for dinner. I remember standing in front of the freezer. I had opened it to take out the pizza when I noticed this piece of salmon that's been sitting there for a week and suddenly thought, "Oh yum! I want salmon!" Normally, at this point, I would have reached for the pizza because the pizza is off limits, I shouldn't have the pizza, the pizza is bad for me and therefore it's cheating and therefore I should cheat so I can then get back on the plan right away. I don't think I have ever thought "yum," "want" and "salmon" in the same sentence before either.

Dieting's always an act of such great virtue. You are doing all these really great things for your body but not because you want it but because it's good and wholesome and healthy and all things noble and oh wow, don't you have willpower while you are at it too?!

Don't get me wrong. I am not trying to knock anyone who believes in dieting. For some people it works great. For some people it's right. But that's how it was for me. I always felt like I was making some huge sacrifice and being such a virtuous do-gooder. But that's not being a virtuous do-gooder. Giving up my nice cushy lifestyle to save lives in Africa? Now that would be a virtuous do-gooder act. Not picking salmon over pizza. What I realized last night was that all this time I had been so focused on how I "should" eat healthy that I had forgotten that I might actually want to eat healthy.

Not everyone's the same. In one of the 20/20 group sessions the moderator talked about different eating types. One of them was Intuitive Eater. Intuitive eaters don't follow any eating rules, generally eating treats when they want them but studies show that overall they eat just as nutritiously as those following eating plans and actually have lower body mass indexes and better cholesterol levels than women who watch what they eat. I think, last night, for the first time, I became an intuitive eater. I listened to my body and brain instead of food cravings. I didn't have the impulse to cheat so I could get back on the plan because there was no plan to get back on. There were no off limit foods. Nothing to throw away. That pizza wasn't going anywhere. I had the salmon.

Still no exercise. My knee is not just hurting, it's so sensitive that even pulling on my pjs makes me yelp. The area to the left is tender, soft to the touch and tingles when I brush my fingers lightly across it. And it's not a pleasant tingle. I am planning to do a high intensity session of upper body strength training and core moves today to make up for the missed cardio and lower body work. Next week, I start physical therapy.

On another front some good news. My morning weight was down another 1/2 lb. I don't know if there is any significance to it yet so I will keep monitoring for a few more weeks before I draw any conclusions. I am not doing this to speed up my weight loss so much as to find a reasonable, sustainable, balanced way of living that doesn't require me to be constantly tied to a scale and calories and frees me up to enjoy life more.

Day 3:

breakfast - scrambled egg whites with canadian bacon; all bran, blueberries and 4 oz skim milk

lunch - turkey-lettuce rollups (turkey, onion, tomato, chickpeas, a little cilantro and low-fat mayo rolled in lettuce); 4 dark chocolate covered espresso beans

snack - 2 morningstar soy patties, 1 small apple

dinner - 1/2 c brown rice, cut up mixed vegetables, salmon; 1 oz tiramisu (leftover) + 1/2 glass skim milk

Morning weight: 170

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Day 2

Yesterday when I went to Whole Foods to get some tiramisu I also picked up a couple of Fontera pizzas that were on sale. Incidentally, while I am balancing my diet maybe I should also try balancing my checkbook. Last night I walked out with 2 frozen pizzas, a carton of milk and a single slice of tiramisu for $27, and that was with the pizzas being on sale. At least it wasn't like the time I bought 2 lamb chops, a small onion and a candle and they handed me a bill for $50. Now that was a surprise.

This morning I woke up and thought, "mmm.. pizza." Now that I am officially on a "diet vacation" where I can eat anything I want it's actually kind of fun to do the exact opposite and not eat anything I want. I have a good feeling about this. (And a bad feeling about myself. What does it say about me if I am constantly rebelling even against myself?)

I sat for a while with a small pen and paper. Since starting the program, actually, since starting dieting at 100-something lbs some 6-7 years ago, I think this is the first time I have thought about food with any kind of pleasure. It's fun the way planning workouts for the week is fun. There are a lot of things I want to do and I know I can't do them all this week and I should get at least two days of strength training and some cardio in no matter what so figuring out what I am actually going to do is a bit like solving a very interesting puzzle. If all I had to do were power drills that I hated - kind of like the protein shakes - then it would take the fun right out of it.

I can't believe how easy it was to draw up a plan involving egg whites and bran flakes, spinach, tomatoes & chickpeas and lean turkey and lettuce with one slice of pizza thrown in to keep things interesting. Planning the 20/20 meals, even during the honeymoon phase of the first few weeks, was never fun.

But then, food hasn't been fun in a really long time. Sure, I believe we should eat to live and not the other way around but life is too short to not take pleasure in the things you do. Ironically, this used to be my philosophy. Up until a few years ago. Somewhere over the last few years as I got busy trying to adapt my carefree spirit to a staid world and mimic the grown up sophistication that I felt I should aspire to I lost a lot of what used to make me, me. I don't care for rules and truth is, I have never really cared much for manicures either.

In the end, I did not exactly follow the menu I had drawn up this morning but it turned out okay.

Day 2:

8 am - 1/4 c scrambled liquid egg whites, 2 slices canadian bacon, 1/4 c blueberries, 1/4 c all bran, 4 oz skim milk

1 pm - 1 c steamed broccoli, 5 KFC hot wings

4 pm - 2 oz tiramisu + 1/2 cup skim milk (4 oz)

7 pm - turkey-lettuce salad, small apple or pear (planned)

Since I already had wings today I am keeping the pizza for tomorrow. I don't feel the pressure to have it so I can finish it and get back on a diet because there's no diet to get back to. Oh, and when I stepped on the scale this morning, it read 170.5 lbs. I know it's too early to tell if this is working but considering I have been at 171 lbs for weeks now I would say that's not a bad sign. Worst case scenario, I will find out that it isn't my new way of eating so much as changing up the routine that is working but at least, I will be smarter than I was before.

Morning weight: 170.5

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Day 1

I am pretty happy with today. Here's how today went...

Day 1:

7 am - 1/2 c blueberries, 1/2 c all bran, 6 oz skim milk

1 pm - 1 c steamed broccoli, 5 KFC hot wings

7 pm - chicken and veggie stir-fry (3 oz chicken, 1 c mixed veggies, 1 T teriyaki sauce)

8 pm - 2 oz tiramisu (yes, I did weigh it - some of the 20/20 lessons stuck!) and 4 oz. skim milk

The KFC hot wings weren't the most nutritious choice but I did get my 5 fruits and veggies. And the tiramisu was yummy if a little too sweet, I didn't overindulge and I remembered to balance it out with milk. So, yay me! I need to be careful about going too long between meals though as I got really hungry just before lunch and then again at 6 pm. Other than that, I think I did good. Sadly, no exercise today as I am nursing a knee injury back to health. It hurts so much to walk right now that anything strenuous is out of the question but I really hate missing my workouts. So we'll see. Maybe I will go for a light swim tomorrow. Like Jessica said on her blog I too feel silly swimming at 1 mph when everyone else is ripping through the water. But they probably don't even notice.

Morning weight (start weight): 171.0

100 Day Project Stats and Guidelines

Over the Christmas week I went to Paris, didn’t calorie count, ate anything I wanted and lost 2 lbs. I tried to practice moderation and balance my meals. E.g. A piece of fruit with the piece of cheese, a salad sans dressing with a piece of chicken floating in a delicious, creamy sauce, skim milk with a slice of tiramisu. But other than that, I didn’t restrict myself.

I didn’t workout either although I did walk just about everywhere averaging over 10,000 steps a day. That might have helped a bit particularly since it was so cold. I read somewhere that working out in the cold you burn more calories as your body has to work extra hard to warm you up. But I wasn’t expecting to lose weight. All I was hoping for was that I averted a huge gain. And then I stepped on the scale and found I had lost 2.8 lbs, my biggest 1 week loss to date. Granted some of it was water loss since I had just come off a long flight but the rest was real weightloss and it didn’t come right back the next day. In the end, I was still down 2 lbs at the end of that week.

Then I went back on my 20/20 diet and I have been stalled ever since. I was stalled for several weeks just before I went to Paris too. This, more than anything, is what led me to wonder if the diet is working as well for me as it does for some others. I’s not all the program’s fault. I am not good with rules. I don’t like being told what I can or cannot do. When faced with restrictions I either become apathetic or rebellious and that has been happening. I have gone offplan a few times and at other times struggled to even get to my 1200 calorie requirement out of boredom. But that still doesn’t explain why I can lose weight eating all I want in Paris but not when I practically kill myself over a diet here.

So, this - this question - forms the basis of my 100 Day Project. I have read up more on the effect of insulin on people with pcos since being diagnosed last year and I have found that food pairing more than the type of food seems to have an effect on blood sugar. My goal over the next 100 days is to find balance - that elusive balance I had in Paris when I was taking in the sights and enjoying life instead of obsessively watching every morsel that passes my plate or working out to the point of blowing my knee out. Who knows, maybe loosening up and more general awareness is the missing ingredient to my success.

Project stats:
Start date: today January 30, 2007 *
Start weight: 171 lbs
End date: Wednesday May 9, 2007
End (goal) weight: 130-140 lbs
Current red light number: 172 lbs (the weight I absolutely cannot and will not go over again)

1. Meal track daily.
2. Eat everything in moderation (try to make more healthy choices).
3. Find balance.
4. Stay active.
5. Have fun.

* At first I was going to start tomorrow but then I thought, why not today? What better time than the present? And since my general theme is everything in moderation I can get started right away. So, today it is.

Phase 1 Wrap Up & The 100 Day Project

Wow, I have been gone a long time. It wasn't until I logged on and looked at the date on the last post that it hit me. But I did stick to the program, for the most part anyway. And now it is end of Phase 1 and on to Phase 2, the maintenance.

So far I have lost 18 lbs which is both a good and a bad thing. On the one hand, it's still 18 lbs. On the other, it's only 18 lbs. That, in a nutshell, sums up my attitude about the program, the diet and my lifestyle in general at the moment.

It's good but is it good enough? In the case of diet the answer is most resoundingly a no. Over the weeks my dietician added a lot more dairy, fruit and grains and my cravings came back with a vengeance. I wanted to go back to a more structured regimen but I was discouraged and I wanted to give the program the benefit of the doubt by sticking to it as closely as possible. Sadly, for people with PCOS and insulin resistance I don't think the diet works as well because it fails to take into account that our reaction to certain foods is much stronger than that of people with poor nutrition habits but otherwise generally normal metabolism. The other reason I am convinced the program does not work as well for everyone is because I recently came across someone else with the same medical conditions as me who only lost 17 lbs overall. Since I would prefer not to become yet another failed statistic it's up to me now to tweak the program and make it work.

So, that's really the reason I am back. I have a lot of things going on as always and I need a mode of accountability that is fairly easy and accessible. Blogging is it. My plan is to start on what I have affectionately named "The 100 Day Project." This has the dual advantage of being a nice round number that makes me smile and ending just 1 week before my birthday thereby giving me ample time to cook up a proper celebration. More on that in the next post.

I am happy with what I have learned in 20/20. I am swimming regularly now, I can do a whole hour on the elliptical whereas I could barely hold my own for 20 minutes in the beginning and I know more about nutrition than I ever did before. My sugar is also down quite a lot (I was right on the borderline of diabetes with 125 when I started) and I have an increased awareness of what constitutes a healthy lifestyle. So, on the whole the program was definitely a success even if the results bring up mixed emotions. But I couldn't be happier that I am working out and planning meals more on my own now. This is the fun part. And I get to do it for the rest of my life!

Monday, October 23, 2006


I survived 3 days with family and my first day back at work and only escaped with minor scathes to my ego, a .7 lb gain and 1 giant pimple. Seriously, what is going on with my face? It's not flawless but it doesn't usually look like that of a hormonal teenager's either. Now, every time I blink I see it. I see it even when I close my eyes. I see it in my imagination! Okay, so it's not really that bad but it sure does feel like I am carrying mount rushmore around on my cheek. This is not how adult skin is supposed to behave.

Other than the horror and stigma of being a grown woman with a zit my weekend wasn't a complete wash thankfully but it wasn't as good as it could have been. For one thing, I found out on reaching Chicago that the surprise birthday party was actually at a restaurant and the menu had already been set. If I had known before I could have planned better or if it had been at home I could have had something else. Instead, I was pretty much at the mercy of the delicious but greasy choices at the buffet followed by the sugary treats. I was able to restrain myself to only about a third of a slice of the birthday cake and vegetables and chicken and then on Saturday and Sunday I stuck to the snacks and shakes for the most part which was good. Main meals were harder as I was staying with my aunt and food was paninis from Panera or sweets from the Indian market. Yikes! Scary to think that I used to eat like that every time I went home. Scarier still that I didn't really start gaining weight until the PCOS.

Seeing my cousins and relatives again was great though. We stayed up until 3:30 pm on Friday just talking. And then on Saturday we got back from dinner and spent hours watching old movie clips and talking and laughing. It was nice to get all the hugs and to have people look at me like I just waltzed down from the sky. When you are overweight and your self esteem has started to take a hit from other people's and sometimes even your own neglect of yourself some days it is easy to forget that you are worth being loved.

I deliberately don't talk too much about my relationships here a) because it's private and b) because I post under my own name. But let's just say there's this guy I had kind of started to like over the last few weeks. Normally, before, he would have been very interested but this time he kind of blew me off. And I don't know what's worse - knowing why he did what he did or knowing that if things change, that if I catch his eye again after I have lost the weight, I won't be able to see him the same way.

But the thing about a weekend with family is that even when they make you feel bad, make the occasional jokes at your expense, ignore your nutritional requests, give you a giant zit and make you gain .7 lbs, you know that at the end of the day they still love you, they still think you are pretty special and will always be there for you. And you realize you are not willing to settle for anything less from anyone else. As weekends go I can't think of a better one.

As for the rest, as Scarlett said, tomorrow is another day.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


All last week I have been struggling on the weight machines. I still love them as much as always but it was hard getting through the set of 20. Heck, it was hard completing 10 sometimes. It was easily my hardest week so far. And then, yesterday, I ran through machine after machine - Leg Extension, Leg Curl, Double Leg Press, Row, Lat Pulldown, Chest Press, Overhead Press, Seated Crunch, Back Extension - at higher weights and they felt light as feather. Go figure!

Okay, so light as feather may be a bit of an exaggeration but it took me about half time to do 20 reps on each machine at higher weights than all last week.

I think I also broke through some kind of personal cardio threshhold. Typically my heartrate jumps up to 150-160 pretty quickly but both last night and then this morning, my heart rate stayed much lower even though I was working out at the same intensity as before. I also felt a lot less tired. This morning I did 50 minutes on level 6-7 and my heart rate stayed at around 145. Even when I pushed really hard it didn't go over 170. When I first started the HRM would read 170 within minutes and that was only at level 4. It's pretty cool.

Now if I can only muster up the same amount of enthusiasm for the diet part. I am flying out in a little over 24 hrs and I still haven't given much thought to what to do foodwise during the trip.

I did come to a rather startling realization though which could qualify as a breakthrough of another sort. I have always had body image issues, even at my lowest adult weight of 98 when I was probably too thin to be serious, and somewhere inside my warped commercial-driven, unrealistic standards of beauty-addled brain I have always held 99-100 as the magical number where I would feel "comfortable" with my weight. Looking over the program documents last night I came across the number for my lean body mass: 108 lbs. Which means if I were to go down to something like 100, not only would I have 0% body fat - probably not healthy - but have to lose muscle definition.

I think this is the first time since starting the program 5 weeks ago that I looked at the ideal weight range of 130-140 and felt that I might be okay with that.