Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Day 11: You Say You Want a Revelation?

I glanced over my 10 days of food diaries on Fat Secret and — bam! Something hit me, hard.

Let me back up for a minute. For years, I've been lamenting that I have the body of someone who lives on Doritos and Miller, whereas I (mostly) eat fish and vegetables and fresh fruit and whole-wheat bread and all that stuff you're supposed to eat. And I like that stuff! Why doesn't my body respond to the lovely healthy fuel I give it? All along, I've suspected that hooch was the culprit. But temperance is not for me . . . and I couldn't see another option.

And when I scanned my week, that's what I mostly saw: lots of fresh fruit and vegetables (gotta eat my way through a biweekly CSA share!), lentils and beans, whole grains. Mostly. The big exception, and the two days where my numbers were wildly outside Fat Secret's limits, were the two days I ate at restaurants. NOT the day I drank to excess with the sisters Hart, Blogger Dawn, and Brunie! The restaurant days.

(Say these words in an evil hiss, like Mr. Burns would.)

This has rocked my world — and NOT in a good way!

Restaurants are my theater! my haven! my home away from home! They are my favorite form of both entertainment and succor!

AND, as I well know from reading Anthony Bourdain, the secret ingredient that makes restaurant food so very delicious? Is butter.


I have to cut down on my restaurant meals, AND I have to be very, very careful about what I order and then eat.

Crappity crap crap.

But the great happy news?

Wine is not the enemy!!!!! And that is VERY great, VERY happy news indeed.
  • Today's scale reading: 283
It is what it is.

Today I'm taking the kids to the beach; I will walk "briskly" along the shore (I can't walk briskly in sand, but I'll give it my all), brave the icy waves, drink lots of water, and eschew most of the snack bar food. It will be fun.

Oh! Another "thrilling" learning from scanning my Fat Secret diaries: "Desk work" burns FEWER calories than "resting." Well, bugger that, I'm not entering "desk work" any more. I type like a ferret on uppers, don't tell ME I'm not burning calories. Hmph.

The siren song of the ocean calls!*

—Lady C

* Wow, aren't I making this sound like something I really want to do? In actuality, I HATE going to the beach with my kids. I like BEING AT the beach, but the going there — the packing, the gathering, the loading, the parking, the toting — is one of my levels of Hell. HATE. But it's a beautiful day, I know we'll have fun.  


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Day 10: The Demon Rum

Last night I went out to dinner with Nurse Kathy, a drinkin' buddy with whom I regularly put away a bottle of wine and a block of cheese. But she's dealing with reflux and I'm joyfully losing weight, and we laughed at ourselves as we barely made a dent in the INSANELY GOOD mountain of guacamole we ordered (which, I learned, contains almost as much fiber as black beans. How bizarre is that? Fiber is a mystery to me).

I ate half my (unbreaded) chile relleno, and way more salsa than guac, and brought home much of my meal for lunch today, and felt skinny and virtuous — but, oh! the drinks! They were my undoing. One jalapeno margarita, one glass of Chardonnay. (It's mother's milk to me . . . ) And even as I drank the wine, I kept thinking, I don't even want this, really; I'm quite satisfied. And yet. I could no more leave unfinished wine in a glass than I could . . . I dunno, kick a cat or a baby or something equally unthinkable.

In any event! I paid for my excesses:
  • Today's scale reading: 283.5
But remembering where I started, I'm still way ahead of the game.

Tonight my writers group is meeting, and we're having wine and snacks, and I'm making Midnight Cry Brownies, and oh dear I fear another scary scale reading. But I will bring seltzer and cherries as well, and do my best to eat only what I'm hungry for. And spend the day eating mindfully, and make time for some vigorous exercise — though most of my day will be spent in "desk work," alas.

Another Weight Watchers memory:

Instructor:  . . . and stop when you feel satisfiedbefore you feel full and fat and sick!
Member: I always thought that's what "satisfied" meant.

I hear ya, sister.

—Lady C

UPDATE: I just breakfasted on a Trader Joe's Whole-Wheat English Muffin, some almond butter, and a few glops of honey. It was reasonably tasty. Here's what kills me: What I just described contains significantly less fiber than a bowl of Post Grape-Nuts Flakes and some skim milk! I truly do not understand fiber.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Day 9: Happiest Girl in the Whole USA!

(And who among us knows all the words to that little 1972 gem? Why, I do! "It's a zip-a-dee-doo-dah day!" Sigh.)

The reason for my crazy giddy mood swing:
  • Today's scale reading: 280.5 !
At this rate, I may be in a new "decade" next week. Which would be fantastic.

It's funny: I'm logging what I eat on Fat Secret, so I'm eating much more mindfully — but I'm not on a particularly stringent diet. Yesterday's main dish, cooked by the mister, was smothered chicken, featuring Campbell's Cream o' Mushroom soup. This is not nature's diet food! I also ate a brownie, baked by Li'l Martini. (The secret ingredient is love!) And while I've toyed with the idea of buying fat-free half and half and trying a non- and full-fat combo in my coffee (I'm a coffee fiend, and I like my fat-filled cream!), I haven't done that yet — and I drink four or five big mugs a day. Fat Secret is allowing me 2400 calories, which I have yet to hit — doesn't that seem like a lot to you?

What I really think is that my body was pushing its outside limits and was ready to shed some excess. It's not always going to be this fast — I do know that. Nor should it be. I'm aiming for one to two pounds a week, max.

I've also stepped up my exercise and dutifully log that on Fat Secret as well, but I don't understand what Fat Secret then does with these data. Like, yesterday I vacuumed (338 kcal an hour!) and did "desk work" and took a 45-minute walk in the wind (remembering what my doctor says: that one should walk as if hurrying to catch a bus) and held Mr. Lady C's ankles while I did my new core exercise (OUCH! I have no core), and Fat Secret says: 3896 kcal!

Huh? I don't know what that number is. I did the math; it's not the total calories burned of all my activities. It seems like they should subtract the calories burned from what I ate, but they don't. Unless I'm reading it wrong.

Anyway. I'd been convinced that my metabolism was on its last legs and that my body had forgotten how to lose weight, so this is indeed gratifying.

In other news, it looks like karate teacher's daughter is going to keep running the school, so Mimosa doesn't have to quit. We love karate daughter, and this is wonderful news. Mimosa is only a few months away from her black belt and recently decided that she wants to keep going and take adult classes, and this thrilled us — me, because it's such good exercise and a great confidence-builder, and Daddy, so babygirl can take down any thug who messes with her. Potato, potahto.

New eating goal: Increase fiber intake to 25 grams. I've been averaging 18 grams, and I want to see if it makes a difference in how full I feel.

Memory from a Weight Watchers class of a few years ago:
  • Weight Watchers Instructor: And make sure that all your grains are whole!
  • Smug Ellen: I always have whole-wheat pizza crust.
  • Me: Yeah, I've tried that — not for me.
  • Smug Ellen: You actually prefer white crust?
  • Me: Um (who doesn't, you freak?) — yeah?
  • Smug Ellen: Then you might as well eat the cardboard box it comes in.
  • Class: (titters mindlessly like the sheep they are)
I'm not what you would call a . . . people person.

Whole-wheat pizza crust sucks, but Trader Joe's is advertising whole-grain croissants, and that? I will try.

—Lady Chardonnay, open-minded and loving to all, except the morons

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Day 8: Eye of the Storm

We've all been agog, simply agog, I tell you, waiting for Irene to hit. The kids are both scared and excited, and my own mantra of calm ("There's plenty of wine!") isn't doing it for them. But the hurricane was just downgraded to a tropical storm, and I think the worst is past. And today is Carole Lombard Day on Turner Classic Movies, and Mr. Lady C is cooking dinner, and I'm a happy kitten — despite this:
  • Today's scale reading: 284
But I'm chill. Frankly, I feel so bloated and sluggish (thank you, ovaries!), I wouldn't have batted an eye if it were higher.

(I've had a hormone-releasing IUD for the past five years, which has made my periods almost non-existent — light, snappy, easy-breezy. But I just hit the expiration date, and Auntie Flo is sooooo happy to be back. How I enjoy being a girl!)

I have to do some "desk work" now (that's what Fat Secret calls it — and I'm burning 205 calories an hour doing it, whee! burn, baby, burn!), but I'm determined to get outside and take a walk in all this wildness.

(Watch me get hit by a flying tree limb or something. Well, that'll be one to tell the grandkids.)

I just heard a crash without. Probably one of our trash cans broke the neighbors' window. Man, it's a jungle out there.

Gotta go burn those 205!

—Lady C

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Day 7: Plateau!

Ha! Just kidding. But once again:
  • Today's scale reading: 282.5
And it is indeed my womanly time, so the next few days' numbers will be meaningless.

It's been a busy couple of days, and I haven't been logging my food on Fat Secret. I wondered what would happen when I got busier. On the flip side, I've been very aware of what I put into my mouth and have not been eating mindlessly, so it's almost like I logged it. But I'm sure I've neglected the protein wedge of the nutrient pie.

One-Week Progress Report:
  • It looks like I've lost at least a couple of real pounds. Say, 4. (Yay!)
  • I'm in the habit of daily blogging.
My plan is to now send this URL to some of my besties, to further keep me focused.

Today is another busy day, but I'll do my best to be mindful.

—Lady C

Friday, August 26, 2011

Day 6: Stress and Worry—The Dieter's Friend

Our community is reeling from some terrible news: My daughter's beloved karate teacher has been arrested for the sexual assault of a minor child.

Of course, my heart goes out to the child. That is a given. But I don't know her. I do know the teacher, who's been in my family's life for almost a decade, and I adore him. He's been an important mentor and friend to my daughter, and I am 100 percent grateful that we chose his martial arts studio — even knowing what we know now.

All I can do is pray for everyone involved and make sure that my own kids are okay, and that is what I'm doing.

In the meantime, I haven't been able to eat much. I take a few bites, start thinking about the whole thing and where we go from here, and that's that. Done.

But tonight we all needed some comfort, so it was sausage and corn fritters for supper, several episodes of "Modern Family" on DVD, and a glass of sangria for Mommy. But I held myself to three fritters and one smallish glass, and I ate a big handful of cherries and some fresh strawberries. So — not my best diet day, not my worst.

Today's scale reading: 282.5. It is what it is.

I think my womanly time is near, so that will definitely mess with my numbers. Not to mention my aching boobs and raging moods. Oh! the five-day drama!

On tomorrow's docket: a bat mitzvah. My first! Done the bar, never the bat. I will eat a protein- and fiber-full breakfast and enjoy a worshipful morning, celebrating my friends' lovely, lippy daughter. Nothin' but good times ahead.

—Lady C

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Day 5: Tote the Weary Load

Yesterday was just ridiculous. I spent the whole day recovering from the previous night's indulgences, and ate only Saltines for most of the day. My dinner was half a plate of Mexican leftovers (half a plate!) and a dark chocolate brownie. I drank a jug of water and little coffee, and I worked out with my children. And despite all this:
  • Today's scale reading: 284.5
This is why people say not to weigh yourself daily — it's too easy to get hung up on the weird fluctuations of our bizarre bodies (water, hormones, and the like), and I do understand that. But I don't get hung up on it — the scale reading does not change my daily behavior. When it's lower I get a lift, and when it's higher I slog grimly on, determined to improve. It's part of my morning routine and has been my whole life.

So don't bug me about it.

The exercising-with-kids thing was quite fun; Mimosa and I did something called The Lazy Woman's Workout, which promised to work every muscle group, while Li'l Martini did bicep curls and walked on the treadmill. (Mr. Lady Chardonnay continues to ride his stationary bike while listening to inspiring arias on the iPod. He refuses to try our ab exercise. Big baby.) I hope we stick with this, we're all enjoying it a lot so far.

Today I'm polishing Chapter 1 before sending my novel to the agent who requested a full. I also need to work on the short story I'm entering in a contest by September 1, also have a big editing job due Monday, also just realized that first day of school is in two weeks and as PTO president I should be getting a back-to-school packet ready. So: a little anxiety.

But. All will be well, and all will be well, and all manner of things will be well.

It will all get done. I will survive. And I need to breathe.

And one thing that I have one hundred percent control over is what goes into my mouth. That's my watchword for today.

See ya!

—Lady C

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Day 4: Whuh?

My Food Diary tells the whole story:
  • Last night's dinner: 3 pomegranate margaritas, 1 glass white wine sangria, 1 glass red wine sangria, and a few tortilla chips
  • Today's breakfast: 18 Saltines and a Diet Pepsi, over ice, sipped through a straw

Actually, I feel fine, though my stomach is a tad jumpy. And I swear I'm still drunk. But my head doesn't hurt, which is a small miracle. I did drink a glass of seltzer for every glass of alcohol, I'm sure that helped.

It was a REALLY fun party. If I ever sober up, perhaps I'll recap some of the highlights. But for now, here's some surprising news:

Today's scale reading: 282.5 !

Alcohol abuse is clearly the path for me.

Off to seek more Diet Pepsi . . .

—Lady C

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Day 3: Dieting ROCKS!


Today's scale reading: 282 !

There's that big water weight loss I was looking for! I know it doesn't mean that I've lost five real pounds, but nonetheless. It does give a girl a lift.

Why tomorrow's scale reading won't be as awesome:
  • Last night, I didn't really have dinner; instead, I dined on wine and bad news.
  • Tonight, I'm entertaining four dear friends, and sister, they can put it away. I will do my best to fill up on fresh salsa and sparkling water, rather than chicken enchilada dip and pomegranate margaritas, but . . . we'll see how it goes. I'll do Kegels the whole time we're gabbing, how's that?
The "bad news" to which I refer is . . . well, I'm just an idiot, that's what it is. In addition to my glamorous life as a freelance copy editor (my brother says this is a perfect job for me because I LOVE telling other people what they're doing wrong), I'm an aspiring novelist and am shopping around my first YA novel.

Yesterday, I heard from two agents: One didn't like my opening chapters (she thought they read like a summary of the action, rather than letting it unfold), and the other is interested and wants to read the full manuscript — i.e., The First Response We All Dream of Getting.

So, guess which one consumed me, darkening my entire evening?

I am an idiot.

The problem is that I suspect Agent 1 may be right — my first chapter is definitely my weakest and probably could use more of my loving attention. So, do I delay sending it to Agent 2 (someone I'm rather excited about) and keep working on it (I've worked on it A LOT already), or do I send it as is? That is the $64K question.

But in other news from yesterday, I did call the gym near my house and was told that they don't offer membership to 10 year olds. My son, Li'l Martini, was crushed. So that's a no-go, we all want to be gym rats together.

Instead, we spent a half-hour working out in our own basement; Mr. Lady C rode his stationary bike, and Mimosa, Li'l Martini, and I lifted hand weights, did wall push-ups, and held each other's ankles while we worked our cores. Mimosa does all this stuff twice a week in karate, and she is one strong girl, let me tell you. Me, I have a core of margarine. It was embarrassing. The kids and I then took a brisk half-hour walk and came home and stretched. All told, it was a solid hour of exercise, and we are inspired!

On the shopping list:
  • More weights of different sizes (and "Not hot pink," requests Li'l Martini) (Mimosa and I love our hot pink weights, but whatever)
  • Better sports bras for the shapely Mimosa
A learning: Having my skimpy dinner (one slice of pizza, one glass of wine, one cup of coffee, lots of water) was easy because I took a long hot bubble bath, and I'm never hungry when I'm in the tub. (Tub book: The Penderwicks at Point Mouette. Charming!)

I ate more protein yesterday but am still eating too much fat. I've decided to stop caring as much about this. I'm well within the calorie limit Fat Secret has set for me, so that's what I'm going with.

(And yes, I'm still having fun.)

—Lady C.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Day 2: Bemusedly Pensive

(Comedian Hal Sparks — (love!) — said that mood rings don't work for him because he's such a complex guy and a mood ring can't capture, for example, "cynically upbeat.")

So this is how my morning began:
  • Scale reading: 286
  • A follow-up mammogram appointment, in this case, an ultrasound

And it's True Confessions time: Yesterday, I also weighed in at 286. The shocking 287 was the previous day's weight, but I thought my sure weight loss on Day 2 would be even more dramatic if I started at the higher weight.

So, in other words, I didn't lose a freakin' ounce and I may have breast cancer.

OK, I probably don't have breast cancer. I have these benign hooties in my left breast (some word that sounds like "adenoid," but I'm blanking on it), and one has gotten bigger. It probably means nothing, but it's their job to care, so they care. Which is a good thing, I know. I have several options for what to do next, so I'm choosing the one that involves the least effort on my part: scheduling yet another follow-up six months from now. (I could also have a needle biopsy or have the growing hootie removed. Wow, have I faced harder choices! Yeah, I'm going with Door Number 1, please: a phone call! Thanks.)

Also, my complete inability to read an ultrasound continues unchecked. When I was pregnant, the ultrasound chick would wax rhapsodic over the lovely images of my baby-to-be, and I would beam back at her and think, "Yeah, not a clue what I'm looking at." During today's scan, she could've told me I had a fetus in my left breast, and I would have believed her.

Back to the scale. Remember the good ol' days, when you went on a diet and lost three pounds the first day? Yeah, it was all water weight and would come back in a heartbeat, but still. THAT was some motivation, I tell you.

Losing not even an ounce . . . it makes a girl discouraged.

But! I am not giving in to discouragement! I am optimistic! Positive! Joyful!

Joy Fact #1: Yesterday's menu was on the high-fat side. Today I will make skinnier choices.

Joy Fact #2: Yesterday I watched an entire movie (Random Harvest with Greer Garson and Ronald Colman — splendid! How have I missed this one?) and read an entire book (Alice Bliss by Laura Harrington —so good! Highly recommended!), so, in other words, despite the hour of sawing it was a pretty sedentary day.

Joy Fact #3: Despite Facts 1 and 2, I did not gain weight!

That should carry me through today.

Tonight I'm having dinner with a dear friend at a new Mexican restaurant, so we'll see how my new steely resolve plays out in a public venue. Stay tuned for that exciting report!


—Lady C, about to breakfast on fat-free yogurt and pistachios — mmm-mmm, good!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Day 1: Optimistic and (Slightly) Obsessed

I thought I ate quite well today; I also logged every mouthful (and was aware of not snacking while bored because I knew I'd have to log it, so that was cool) and spent an hour sawing wood,* which burned a surprising number of calories. We'll see what the scale says tomorrow.

HOWEVER, I am quite dismayed to find that after a day of burger patty with no bun, lentils, fat-free yogurt, and all sorts of fruit and vegetables, my desired nutrient ratio is WAY off.

This is the desired ratio:
  • 40–45% Carbohydrates
  • 30–35% Protein
  • 25–35% Fat
And this is my completely wrong ratio for today:
  • 44% Carbohydrates
  • 13% Protein
  • 43% Fat
Color me dismayed! What's a nonfat protein snack — edamame? By the freakin' truckload, apparently. I guess I'll research this, too.

But I remain upbeat!

—Lady C

* This is not a euphemism. Last week, the husband and I cut down three small trees, and today I sawed them into bits that the children could put into leaf bags. I LOVE sawing.

However, I did saw my finger a little, and good lord did it bleed.

The Journey Begins

Gentle Readers:

Yesterday I weighed in at 287 pounds — a new high! Woo-hoo!

So not.

If I were 10 feet tall, this might not be cause for alarm, but I am 5'8", and this weight puts my BMI at 43.6 — in other words, MORBIDLY OBESE.

"Zaftig." "Voluptuous." Even "full-figured." These are not unattractive words.

For God's sake, even "fat" is prettier than "MORBIDLY OBESE."

Also: My mother is diabetic.

Also: My 14-year-old daughter has a higher BMI than she should. While she truly is only "voluptuous" at this point, I see where she's headed.

Also: I am 49. My metabolism is hibernating, I believe.

The very good news is that my general health is fine. I have so far dodged the other bullets aimed at the OBESE, i.e., diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

We are a mostly inert family. We like to read. And eat. And sit. And recline. It is time to add some movement to our lives.

So — what am I going to do?

I'm going to blog daily. My hope is that this will keep me honest and focused.

I'm going to use FatSecret to record what I eat. My zumba teacher says that great abs start in the kitchen, not at the gym, which I find very interesting.

Zumba! I'm going to sign up for every zumba class I can find. (Though I call my version of it "Creaky Geriatric Zumba" — I'm the only girl who can't reach my foot from behind for our final stretches. But the others are kind, and the teacher smiles with gentle pity.)

I'm going to investigate the gym down the street from our house and see what a family membership costs.

And: I'm going to be positive. My goal is to lose almost half my weight (my dream weight is 149), and it won't happen any time soon. This is a journey, and if I'm not having fun, it is going to SUCK. So I'm going to have fun.

If it freakin' kills me.

Thanks for listening!

—Lady Chardonnay