Thursday, February 26, 2009


Okay, so I've been claiming my 100-pound loss ever since I hit about 94 lbs lost. But now it's finally official. I never in a million years thought that I would be capable of something like this, and though I'm not usually one to brag about my own accomplishments, I have to say it feels pretty goddamn good.

To mark the milestone, I've written a list of things I've learned on the way to my 100-pound loss. (It was originally going to be a list of 100 things, but let's get real -- who can think of 100 things? and who has time to read all that?) Some of these are just personal observations, some are tips I've used and feel are worth repeating. Most of it could be taken as advice, even though I hate giving advice (because how can I possibly know what's right for anyone else? I have enough trouble keeping my own life in order! But when you lose 100 lbs, people start asking.)

So, without further ado...

If you can only do one type of exercise, do strength training (aka: weight training, resistance training, weight lifting). Building stronger muscles will improve your overall metabolism, so you'll use calories more efficiently even when you're not exercising (you'll burn fat in your sleep, dude.)

Baby steps. You can't go from being a total shlub to running marathons. Seriously -- I started working out for just 30 minutes, two times a week, and worked my way up from there. Now I hit the gym at least 3 times a week (for at least an hour) and I try to get a walk or run in on the days I don't go, or sometimes a yoga class. And nobody was ever a bigger shlub than me.

Love thyself. Seriously, this is HUGE. All the times I started a diet and/or exercise plan because I hated what saw in the mirror or the number on the scale/BMI chart/clothing label, I failed. When I made a conscious decision to take better care of the body I have, so that my body could better take care of me, I was able to make permanent changes.

Shit happens. Nobody is perfect. I make mistakes. I slack off. I eat pizza. I drink alcohol. Monthly hormonal fluctuations occur. Holidays take place. I gain pounds back. It happens. I have to keep loving myself through it, and taking care of my body, rather than letting one setback lead to a total meltdown. As my friend Joe says, "This too shall pass."

Sometimes, you need hand-holding. I can't stress enough how big of an influence my personal trainer has been on my life. I trained with her for a year and a half, and I still go to her for help when my workout routines get stale or when I just need advice or encouragement. She taught me how to exercise, and more importantly, she pushed me beyond what I ever thought I was capable of doing. My Weight Watchers leader is also a huge help to me. She's funny and patient and encouraging, and I look forward to seeing her every week.

If you hate it, it's probably good for you. Not food, but exercise. I was once told that you should find an exercise you like, and do that, because if you're doing something you hate, it's not good for your stress level. Maybe so, but I've found that if I enjoy something, it's probably because it's super-easy (and therefore, will probably have no effect on my body). The stuff I hate, like squats, step-ups and the rowing machine, are the things that really get my heart pounding, my teeth gritting, and my body changing.

If you get stuck, change it up. I think I once heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results? Anyhow, yeah -- it's good to change things up every so often, especially if you're seeing the same number on the scale week after week. Try a new exercise, or try increasing the weight/time/intensity on something you already do. Try a new recipe or a new veggie. Make things interesting :)

I can't not eat pasta! Or birthday cake. Or butter. Any eating plan/diet that tells me I absolutely CAN'T eat a certain food is a setup for failure. It won't work in real life. For me, it only creates unhealthy obsessions with the forbidden foods. I think the trick is making healthier choices most of the time, and saving certain things for special occasions. That being said:

Whole wheat pasta is not bad at all. Neither is low-fat cheese, or fat-free yogurt. (I still don't like light mayo, though!) It helps to make healthier choices/substitutions. When the substitutions taste good, that is ;)

Slow and steady wins the race. It's taken me two years to get to the point I'm at now. but I think slowly developing heathy habits over time leads to permanent change (as opposed to quick fixes, like the cabbage soup diet!)

I have to belong to a gym. I have to have somewhere to go where exercise is all I can do, because otherwise I won't do it. I have about 20 exercise videos at home. Know how many I've done? One. Once. There are too many other things in my house I like to do better than exercise.

Get your thyroid checked. Seriously -- I know more people with thyroid problems than without. If I hear that someone's having trouble with their weight, the first thing I ask is whether they've had their thyroid checked. And if your doctor says your levels are "normal", ask them for the numbers. And then call me ;)

You can do it. Because I did it. I'm not Oprah -- I don't have zillions of dollars to hire a personal chef and a trainer who comes and gets me out of bed and watches me to make sure I don't eat crap. I'm a real woman with a home and a family and a million things to do every day. I'm not naturally skinny or energetic -- my metabolism is complete shit, because I have autoimmune thyroid disease AND hyperinsuliemia. Plus I have endometriosis, which means I'm in pain most days of the month. I have to fight with myself every damn day to get my sneakers on and get out the door, because I'd rather stay on the couch. But there hasn't been one moment when I haven't thought it was worth it. I'm worth it. I did it. I'm doing it. You can do it, too.

Me two years ago:

Me now:

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Quick, easy, yummy, and WW-friendly dinners

I like to cook, and so your definition of quick and easy may not be quite the same as mine, but I've come up with a few things recently that fit that category for me, taste good, and (for those who are counting) are less than 10 WW points per serving.

My friend Misty recently requested the pineapple shrimp recipe and gave it a rave review, so I thought I'd post it here in case anyone else wanted to try it:

Pineapple Shrimp

2 lbs. frozen raw shrimp, thawed, tails removed
1 tbsp. oil (I use canola)
1 20 oz. can pineapple chunks in juice, drained
1/2 bottle Lawry's Hawaiian marinade
crushed red pepper to taste (optional)

In large frying pan or wok, sauté shrimp in oil over high heat until cooked through (about 3-5 minutes). Add pineapple chunks, stir. Add marinade (and crushed pepper, if desired*), stir until coasted, lower heat to simmer and cook an additional 3-5 minutes. 1 cup = 3 WW points. Serve over 1/2 cup white or brown rice (2 points) with a side of steamed broccoli and cauliflower (or any other zero-points veggies).

*If some family members like crushed red pepper and others don't, it can be added to each individual serving.


I made this recently on a rare husband-and-kid-free evening, so it serves 1, but it could be easily modified to feed a whole family (assuming that unlike mine, your family wouldn't turn their noses up at the notion of eggs for dinner):

Eggs and Beans

2 eggs (or, for fewer points, use egg substitute)
cooking spray
1 can fat-free or vegetarian refried beans
1/2 jar salsa
1 oz shredded 50% reduced fat cheddar cheese

In small saucepan, heat beans and salsa over low heat, strring frequently. Coat frying pan with cooking spray and scramble eggs (or prepare them the way you prefer). When eggs are finished, add 1/2 of shredded cheese and allow to melt slightly before transferring eggs to plate. Measure 1/2 cup refried bean/salsa mixture onto plate, top with remaining cheese. 6 WW points. Serve with a side of steamed veggies or salad.

Let me know if you decide to try them and how they turn out!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

TMI Tuesday - 2/10/09

Trying out another blog meme (thanks, Anna!)

1. What do you think is the un-sexiest part of the body?

Wow. It really depends on the person, because there are parts that may be cute on one person and not so much on another (toes, teeth, belly, butt crack... lol).

2. Toilet paper: over, under, or what the hell are you talking about?

I don't have a preference, but the hubby insists on "over".

3. Have you ever called in sick to stay in bed with a sexual partner?

Yes, I have. Skipped class, too :)

4. Did your parents have a "birds & bees" talk with you? If so, at what age?

My mom did. I was about 7, and she read to my sister and me from a book called "Where Did I Come From?" Jacob is almost ten, and I still haven't explained the mechanics to him, although I have answered specific questions. This has a lot to do with the fact that, although he is Matt's and my child biologically, he wasn't conceived the old-fashioned way. So it's like, "Well, honey, this is how babies are made, but you weren't made that way." My mom says he doesn't need to know the specifics yet, but I feel like if we're being frank enough to talk about penises and vaginas, we should be able to talk about intrauterine insemination. Wow, this really *is* TMI...

5. What is one thing someone could do to you to rock your world?

Whisk me away for a romantic trip without telling me beforehand.


I just finished reading Goodnight Nobody by Jennifer Weiner. I really enjoy her books. The characters are so true-to-life. And the fact that she's a super-cool mom living in Philly who writes books -- and gets them published, no less! -- gives me hope that maybe one day I can be, too :)

I went shopping for jeans today at Fashion Bug. They've recently instituted the same sizing as Lane Bryant has for their jeans, so there are three different options for women with different body types. While I love that clothing manufacturers are finally realizing that some of us are more blessed than others in the hips/ass department, this also means that they are ordering fewer pairs in each size. And because I wear one of the smallest "Plus" sizes, there are even fewer of that size. Suffice it to say that today, while shopping their "Buy one get one 50% off" sale, I was only able to find one stinkin' pair of jeans in my size.

And speaking of Fashion Bug and plus sizes, I was on their website the other day and noticed that their "Misses" (regular) sizes go up to 16, though their "Plus" sizes start at 14. So at first I thought, wow that's great! Now that I'm down to a 16 I can shop on the other side of Fashion Bug. Not so fast, fatty! I looked at the sizing charts for each size, and while a "Plus" 16 fits a 36-inch waist, a "Misses" 16 fits a 32-inch waist. And so, as you've already figured out, a "Plus" 14 fits a 34-inch waist and a "Misses" 14 fits a 30-inch waist. Which means, as I continue to lose weight and go down through the sizes, I will go from a 16 to a 14, and then back to a 16. WTF?!

Life is never dull...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

I'm back!

Yay! I got my laptop back this morning. Good as new -- seriously, they put in a new screen and new touchpad (which feels funny under my finger!) All the data is intact. I'm thrilled, and resolve to back up as often as I remember.

My mood has improved a bit. I got out into the sunshine a few days last week, and it helped a LOT. Winter turns me into a really whiny bitch! I'm dealing with my feelings about moving as best I can. Two things that have NOT helped: The fact that yesterday was one year since my favorite tree was cut down, and the fact that my next-door neighbors -- who are renting the house from the people who had the tree cut down -- refuse to shovel snow, take care of the plants/trees, pick up newspapers/circulars from the outside of their property, or keep the front door fully shut (so it opens and slams whenever it's windy.) Even if I do get a chance to move, I'm gonna have a hell of a time selling this house with all that going on next door.

But, I'm dealing with being here for the time being. Philly's not soooo bad, though I really would *love* to leave the Northeast. Someday, maybe...

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


An explanation of why I was so whiny the other day:

Last week, Matt and Jacob and I took a trip down to the DC metro area so that Matt could take a test for a job. He aced the test and we were pretty confident that he would be offered the job. Then we started researching the area and found out that there's pretty much no way we'd be able to afford to live there -- the cost of housing is ridiculously high, and he'd actually be taking a pay cut to start.

Being an all-or-nothing thinker, I quickly plunged into the despair evident in my last post. I feel like I'm never going to get out of northeast Philadelphia, and like Matt is never going to get out of the dead-end job he's been stuck in for the past 14 years. I see this brilliant, talented man I love, wasting himself on a job that any high school graduate could do, when he is clearly meant for more, and it breaks my heart.

And I really, really need a change of scenery. I've lived in the same fucking neighborhood my whole life, and I hate it. Even a different part of Philly would be good, though ideally I'd like to move to another area. Even if I hate it and want to move back, at least I will have lived *somewhere* other than the armpit of the east coast.

Thanks for listening to me whine. Again.

From one of my favorite movies, Groundhog Day:

Phil: What would you do if you were stuck in one place and every day was exactly the same, and nothing that you did mattered?
Ralph: That about sums it up for me.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Stuck, stuck, STUCK!

See how Flick freaks out when he realizes his tongue is stuck to the flagpole? Yeah, that's me right now. Stuck.

I hate my house. I hate this city, and particularly the area of the city where I currently reside. I hate my husband's job most of all.

And every time I take a step forward and try and better my situation, I find my tongue frozen to the flagpole. Can't move, can't change jobs, can't change anything, because we're stuck.

Or maybe it's my mindset that's stuck. Maybe I should just suck it up and deal with the fact that I will always live in a house I hate, in a neighborhood I hate, getting income from a source I hate. Maybe it's all just my own hang-ups and there's really no reason to be so miserable. Maybe it's just the SAD rearing its ugly head, as it tends to do at this time every year. Maybe I don't deserve to be happy -- after all, everyone's miserable, right?

The stench of inertia is slowly choking the life out of me.

Saturday, January 24, 2009


I try not to blog about religion too much, partly because I don't want to offend anyone, and partly because of the flurry of responses it will incite from those whose beliefs differ from my own. However, this incident bothered me so much that I just need to get it off my chest in a public forum.

My parents' vacation home was broken into recently. Nothing was taken, nothing was damaged, facts for which we are all grateful. From what the local police said, it just seemed to be a group of thrill-seeking kids.

Last weekend was the first time my mother had been to the house since the break-in, and she got more details about the incident, which she relayed to me over the phone a few nights ago. (Background for anyone who doesn't know -- I grew up in a "born-again", charismatic, fundamentalist church; while my mother no longer attends that particular church, she still subscribes to that belief system.)

The house is on a cul-de-sac along with two other houses, and all three had been broken into. My parents' neighbors both had things taken (electronics, cash), but nothing had been taken from my parents' house. The police reasoned that the thieves must have gotten "spooked" by something in my parents' house (although I suspect that it had more to do with the fact that my parents don't have many things of value in the house.)

Anyway, the point of all this -- my mom told me that on Sunday, she and my dad went to the church they attend when they're at the vacation house, and she was talking about the break-ins with a woman she knows. When she told her that both neighbors had had things taken but that nothing had been taken from their house, the woman said "well, we know whose house the favor of God was upon, don't we?"

Um, what?

That's one of the creepiest things I've ever heard one Christian say to another (and I heard a LOT of stuff like that in my almost 30 years in the church.) Seriously? God, who these people claim loves everyone and has control over everything, favors my parents, but not their neighbors, and so decided that my parents' neighbors should have to deal with petty theft and the emotional stress of having their property violated. Was it punishment? Trying to teach them a lesson? Just fucking around with them? Yeah, that sounds like a loving deity to me.

When I was a Christian, I heard all the time that we were supposed to be humble, not judge others, love your neighbor as yourself, etc. Then in the next breath, we heard about how we were a holy remnant, set apart for God's purposes, that other religions were wrong, that people in other churches were spiritually dead. Guess which message went down easier? Seeing oneself as superior to others is the character trait I notice *the* most in Christianity.

This is not meant to offend, or point fingers at anyone. I just found it so incredibly revolting that instead of compassion, the emotion this "Christian" woman felt towards the victims of a crime was self-righteous superiority. I'm sure I'll get messages and comments pointing out that this is just one woman, that not all Christians feel/act this way, that "Christians aren't perfect, just forgiven!" That's fine, but the fact is, this is my experience of the Christian attitude more often than not. And why my mother chose to pass this along to me is difficult to fathom -- she knows I'm not a Christian, and that fact pains her, but she couldn't see beyond her own arrogant self-satisfaction to recognize that what she was saying could only serve to push me further away from her warped belief system, not back towards it (like, gee, I'd better go back to Christianity so none of my stuff gets taken if my house gets broken into!)

I have my own belief system. It's constantly evolving, as am I. Every life experience I have and every person I encounter helps to shape my outlook. It changes as I change. One thing I can say with absolute certainty will not change, however -- I will not and cannot believe in a God who favors anyone over anyone else. That's a human trait, not a divine one.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Offline for a bit

So once again I'll be failing to update this blog, but this time it's because I'm going to be without internet access for a bit. My computer bit the dust on Wednesday night. (I'm typing this on Becca's computer -- she was gracious enough to lend it to me for a few hours! Thanks again, Bec!) I'm hoping to be able to retrieve the data (essentially, my whole life is on that machine) and maybe even get it fixed, but it will at least be a few weeks until everything is up and running again.

Hope it's sooner rather than later!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


So far, so good on the New year's goals. I still haven't found a job -- who can, these days? -- but I'm not giving up hope, and I'm looking for ways to budget more efficiently in the meantime so that it at least feels like we have a bit of extra income. Fortunately, we only have three payments left on our car, so that will eliminate one of our biggest monthly bills. And I'm trying to reconcile my love of all things organic and locally-produced with my need to save money. I'm loving this site right now: Living on a Dime.

Matt and I just spent a very nice weekend in New York (travel is our biggest splurge, but we tried not to spend tooo much!), just being together sans enfant. We had some yummy food and saw a movie (Revolutionary Road -- it was pretty good), but otherwise just stayed in ;) And when we came home, we found out that his shift change went through -- so I finally have a hubby who's home with me at night, after twelve years of night shift! Yay!

I started cleaning my bedroom, which is a huge undertaking, but I'm making some definite progress. I filled 4 trashbags with clothes that are too big, which felt pretty good.

Now, if I could just make time to get some writing done...

Monday, January 5, 2009

Is blogging dead?

I keep reading that people aren't blogging like they used to, that Facebook has taken the place of blogging, that people are sick of reading bloggers' self-centered egocentric slop. Is it true? Is blogging dead? I know I haven't kept up with mine like I intend, but I still read others' blogs regularly (though I don't comment as much as I used to). I do notice that some people I read aren't posting as often, and many aren't posting at all.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

In the New Year

Some plans/goals for the new year. I hate to say "resolutions," because it sounds so definite... plans and goals are more of a "work in progress" sort of thing. Anyhow...

Spend a lot more time with Matt.

Find a part-time job that pays decently and doesn't suck.

Clean (and maintain cleanliness of) our bedroom.


Incorporate more structure into our homeschooling routine, and begin to prepare Jacob for the possibility of school.

Lose the last 38 lbs. I need to reach the goal weight I set for myself. (92 down, 38 to go!) At that time, consider whether or not Weight Watchers' suggested goal for me (another 39 lbs. below my own goal) is realistic and/or healthy.

Choose, on a daily basis, to use my WW points for more healthy protein and less sugar.

Finish writing something. This is my goal every damn year, and yet somehow... *sigh*.

That's it for now. I may add to this list as I see fit!