Thursday, December 31, 2009

Adieu, 2009

Guys, awoke this morning to a beautiful blanket of snow.

How gorgeous is my city?

This is my corner, as I walk to work.

Here, a special treat, is Times Sq, about 2 hours before the crowds start arriving.

The crane is to set up something, but Lord knows what.

The lights shine bright even at 10am on a snowy/sleety day.

There will be deep thoughts aplenty tomorrow about what my goals for 2010 are, and what 2009 has meant to me.

But tonight, there's fresh cod to make, a yam to boil, a glass of wine to pour, and my boyfriend (back in my good graces) to embrace.

Happy New Year, everybody!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

How'm I doin?

Got through the party last night in decent form. Didn't quite make my resolution not to drink, but sipped water for most of the night until it was time for one glass of wine with my dear former colleague, and then I left.

No food, thank goodness. I fortified with a half a turkey/hummus sandwich and a bag of soy chips before I went. Therefore, the bar pizza could not get the best of me. Phew!

Home for a healthy dinner.

But...didn't get the workout in that I wanted. That's got me down, but I'll have to redouble my effort to get to the gym today and make it a serious workout.

Very odd, but I am filled with the desire to go jogging. All the time. More on this later -- I'm pretty sure it's a manifestation of a subconscious longing to regain my lost fitness.

We'll discuss.

For now, everyone have a great day!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Frozen NYC

It is COLD out there today!

Drat, there goes my morning walk to work. Last year it was mild to cold all winter but still easily walkable with a good jacket and bundle.

This temp is a killer -- no messing around with 20 degrees and wind chills below zero.

So, challenge for the day: get in a workout BEFORE I leave work for the day (company gym), because there's a party tonight for a coworker.

I do not want to drink or eat at the party. Really, I don't.

The plan is to start with water, and stick to it. And I'll have a fage yogurt before I go. I'd like to leave by 8:30 or 9, and be home to have a late dinner with the B/F.

Things have gotten really out of hand weight-wise and eating wise. I gained a few pounds over Thanksgiving, and now will have gained several more. I ate a lot over Christmas -- way, way, way more than I needed. And got little exercise beyond a quick morning walk.

If I were to get on the scale right now, it would be very damaging. So I'm backing off and concentrating on regaining my good behaviors. Starting with this party tonight.

We have a trip in the offing -- late January -- and I want to be back at my pre-Thanskgiving weight before we go.

Thanks to Kimberly and Peridot for the humorous and understanding responses to my perfume breakdown. See? I'm not crazy!

Seriously though, one of the elements of weight loss/behavior change for me involves not eating my feelings. And that means letting the crazy out sometimes!

The B/F and I have mended fences. Last night we resumed our interrupted present exchange, once he brought home the right perfume. I explained again how hurt I was that he hadn't bothered to get the right gift.

After he opened the incredibly thoughtful and loving gifts I bought him (if I do say so myself), he felt like a real heel. As well he should. So that's all right then.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Er....emotional fallout

Luckily, this particular meltdown did not involve food.

Transitioning back home was rough. Long day of traveling, a lot of stress, good food choices, but not without a lot of effort. I had to forcibly yank my wandering mind (and eyes) back on track -- it was like being harnessed to a wayward pitbull. Draining.

Got home, found my two presents laid out on the bed from the B/F. Very sweet. Had gotten him some very nice gifts down south, and was excited for him to come home so we could open them.

That's when everything went completely haywire --- like a Freaky Friday kind of scenario, except I don't know who I swapped bodies with.

Before I left the B/F asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I'm not one for gifts and such, so he rarely gets to indulge his love of shopping for me. I told him a specific perfume -- one that I used to wear a long time ago and wanted to revisit.

The name was repeated at least three times before I left, because I know his memory is faulty. On the day he bought the perfume, he texted me and said "The perfume you want is X, right?" Picture me rolling my eyes as I read the text, heaving a long-suffering sigh, and texting back, "NO -- It's Y."

There are two perfumes with very similar names done by the same designer. He kept fixating on the wrong one -- ie, the one I didn't want. I thought the text would clear that up for good.

So ... you can see where I'm going with this.

When I finally got home, exhausted and probably a bit overwrought from leaving my family, I laid out all the presents I'd brought back for him (including gifts from my parents, and also a ton of his favorite t-shirts only found in a certain store near my family's house, and a very carefully selected gift from me -- something he's been wanting for a long time).

When he came in, we settled down for our Christmas together.

And of course, I opened my box and found the wrong perfume. He bought the very perfume I told him three times NOT to buy.

Instant tears. Crushing disappointment.

It sounds silly, I know. It probably IS silly.

It's just a box of perfume. But the message I get is: I couldn't be bothered to make sure I got it right.

This is probably one of those instances where men and women have completely opposite reactions to things.

But as I stared at the little pink box so clearly emblazoned with the WRONG name, I'm thinking to myself, why doesn't he pay attention to what I say? Why doesn't he listen?

And that, my friends, is a real button pusher for me. I don't like feeling like I'm not worth hearing. I don't like feeling like an afterthought. It makes me cry like nothing else, and also enrages me -- a bad combo, I gotta say.

Naturally, the B/F was full of remorse, and wanted to rush out right away to exchange the gift. Which is rather silly at 8pm on a Sunday night.

I cried through the entire "Sound of Music" broadcast on our local TV that night before going to bed.

I'm trying not to get too bogged down in this and not make it a federal case, because generally speaking the B/F is a pretty swell guy, and has been at my side through thick and thin since I met him.

But he's got a terrible habit of not paying attention to detail, and it drives me absolutely crazy. And I tend to personalize it. To my mind, it's not that he doesn't listen in general, it's that he doesn't listen to me.

Ergo, situations like last night's do tend to occur.

But, I ask you (righteous indignation in full force): when your partner, who rarely asks for gifts, requests a specific one for Christmas, don't you bloody well make sure you get it right?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Homeward Bound

Hardest thing about the holidays: saying goodbye.

I hate having to leave my parents and family after just a few quick days of fun and festivities.

But I guess there's no way to avoid that, even if I stayed down here for weeks. Unless I'm willing to relocate (and I'm not) there's always going to be a goodbye.

It's a bittersweet fact of life, I guess. Having far away family makes it more fun to go for the holidays, but much harder to leave.

New Year's Resolution No. 1: More time with family.

Second hardest thing about the holidays: getting back into your jeans after two days of mega goodies. Oh boy! There's gonna be hell to pay when I get home and get back on the scale.

But not really, because I know it's going to be ok. I'll get back on it. Already I have some long-term goals in mind for 2010 that I'm kind of excited about, and they require me to challenge myself a bit more physically this year.

I'm excited to get more fit. And to that end, one of my Christmas present requests was ..... New Rules of Weight-Lifting for Women. And Santa kindly brought it! Yay!

I'm going to read through it on the flight home.

In the meantime, here's a quick look at the kind of airport pitfalls I've studiously been avoiding on my Xmas travels.

This was taken early in the morning, so not too many people in line. Amazingly, or should I say frighteningly, there were people drinking at the bar! I'm no teetotaller myself, but ... ICK! Alcohol at 9am before a flight? Would make me miserable. to walk around a bit more. See you back in NYC!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Hope everyone is fine and dandy and loving life.

I'm soldiering on through the hols. Have some funny pics of the airport to share when I get a moment to upload.

It's a nightmare to navigate through the myriad Cinnabons and Au Bon Pains and so on. There's one every five feet! Airports are a nightmare for me --- kept myself busy by walking, and then by working. I was actually glad I brought the laptop.

Back soon.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Oh, the weather outside is frightful...

and the heat in my apartment has me stifled,
Please no, don't let it snow, I've got to go.

OK, enough with the messed up Christmas carols. I'm a bit stir crazy. So much snow in Nueva York! It's kind of awesome.

But I'm watching the weather veeerrrry carefully. Any threat of a repeat storm and I'm going to change my ticket to get out of dodge a few days early. I do not want to be stuck at an airport the day before Christmas Eve.

Am going to trudge through the snow right now for groceries. Then back home to work on freelance projects.

I'm off these days because I had planned to spend this time with my nephew. Since that plan isn't happening, I might as well use this time to my advantage and get a jump on all the work I've got piled up.

Clear the decks for a stress-free New Year's Eve, maybe.

No good news on the weight loss front. I haven't been overeating, but I have not been at the gym.

I'm in a bit of a stasis right now. But those Thanksgiving pounds are still with me, and I think they really need to go before the New Year.

I'm on guard, gotta get myself in gear.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Family Drama

And so it continues.

Thanks to everyone for their supportive comments. I probably came off as a wee bit dramatic, but really I was gutted by the news when I heard it Thursday night.

Luckily, I haven't drowned my sorrows in a vat of eggnog, or buried my disappointment in an avalanche of Christmas cookies.

That's something, at least.

I was aided by a very busy yesterday at work that had me out in the cold all day, and then hanging out in a coffee shop in Brooklyn. That really could have been trouble. Lots of baked goods.

I survived though. The only things that passed my lips were 2 boiled eggs and a fruit cup in the morning, and a crappy, really foul warm chicken sandwich in the afternoon (the sign said 500 calories -- but I dunno for sure).

Dinner was on plan last night too.

So far so good. Picking up the pieces. Handling the family insanity.

Please let this all be over soon.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


It's really very hard for me to come to grips with this right now, so I'm just going to say it in simple words.

My nephew cannot come to NYC for Christmas.

I am so sad. It was going to be his first Christmas in the big city.

We planned it for months. I had just bought us tickets to the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular show as a special treat.

He cannot come.

He didn't get hurt or anything. He just made a stupid decision to get involved in a fracas at his school -- a verbal exchange, nonetheless. Not your usual playground fisticuffs. Some kids were exchanging insults via Facebook -- I guess that's what tweens do nowadays -- and a parent saw it and was horrified by what the kids were writing to each other.

I have not asked my brother for details. I do not want to know.

I am also horrified. And I'm also angry. A little bit, but definitely angry at my nephew for such poor judgment, and such unexpected and unwelcome behavior. It's not like him.

But kids that age often have a lot more to them then is seen by the adults around them, right?

All I can do is mourn what was lost. Our first big city Christmas together, the lights, the cold, the beautiful shining winter sun in Central Park.

For the past three months all he's been talking about is seeing snow. And I kept telling him it probably wouldn't snow.

Today the weatherman said the forecast for Sunday is snow. And he would have been here with me.

I've never had a family member in the city for Christmas. I've either been alone, or gone south to be with them.

So I guess I'm mourning what would have been his first, and my first. And it would have been a memory we always shared.

And even as I sit here trying to come to grips with this information, my heart bleeds for him. He is going to be absolutely devastated when his dad tells him tomorrow. He worked hard for the whole school year to earn the grades he needed to make this trip.

But I don't see how we can overlook his other behavior. Kids have to learn there are consequences to their actions, right? He has to learn.

This morning as I was rushing to get ready for work he called me and told me a big tale about how he was having problems with some kids at school. He was lying to me, of course. I think he was trying to construct some elaborate problems to explain away what he knew was going to happen later when all the parents found out. He wanted me to call his dad and have his dad pick him up early at school. Escapism starts early, no? I guess he thought if he could stay out of school for the next two days, nobody would find out what was going on until after Christmas.

Are we being too harsh? I don't want to crush his spirit. But I can't see rewarding him with a trip to NYC in the wake of such truly unacceptable behavior.

I can't stand thinking of how he's going to react when his dad tells him the trip is off. I'm so conflicted.

They say that a big part of dealing with weight is to learn to sit with your emotions instead of stuffing them down with food.

I couldn't eat right now if I tried. I think this is the first time in a long time that I have no appetite.

Party Update

I'm groaning away under the weight of seasonal sensory overload.

OK, quick summary of things:

1) Weigh in today. Ack! No idea what to expect. Hope to have shed at least 2 of the 4 lbs I gained post-Thanksgiving. Not so sure that's gonna happen.

2) Finished one of my projects. One down, two to go. Days til nephew arrives and demands full attention: 3

3) Remembered to call mom for b-day. Phew!

4) Parties yesterday: I got through the first one by clutching a glass of water, and making sure I ate a hearty lunch beforehand (turkey sando, fage yogurt, soy chips). I had one small glass of wine just before leaving. Avoided the food.

5) Second party of the night: not so successful. A couple glasses of wine, and everything going on way later than I expected/wanted. But too much fun to leave. So that was cool. Around 10pm everyone ordered pizza and wings. Good news is the pizza was very thin crust, very light on the cheese, really a delicate kind of pizza. With so many hands grabbing, there was no chance to overeat. I got two small pieces, and one bbq wing.

But, with three parties in two days, and wine consumption along with breaks in routine and very little time to workout, one must be realistic.

Maybe if I hold my breath and squeeze my eyes shut really hard the scale with think I'm lighter?

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Swamped in Christmas Cheer

That's me. SICC. Swamped in Christmas Cheer.

It's a good thing to feel rushed and busy and overwhelmed before the holidays -- it means you're gonna have fun, right?

Right now I'm trying desperately to finish a big freelance project before my nephew gets here. And I managed to pick up a few extra book reviews to do for an overworked editor -- great for the bank account, bad for my stress levels.

Around all this, I'm shoehorning in my regular job, and this endless stream of Xmas parties --- oh, and, you know, that little thing called working out.

Oh yeah, also arranging things for my nephew to see/do when he comes here Sunday for a few days. We're already signed up for three shows, including a Rockefeller Center Rockettes thing that he will probably get a kick out of (ha ha -- lame puns calm me down, sorry).

And squeezing in a dinner/night out with the BF, who for the first time in about six years, won't be with me on Christmas. This will be his mom's first Xmas since his dad died this summer, and we feel she can't be left alone. But she's too frail to travel ... so, he stays, I go south to my peoples. I will miss him.

Folks, I'm feeling kind of breathless and sick to my stomach (SICC to my stomach).

Today I have to do a whole ton of things, including a mani-pedi, then go to a party tonight, not eat anything there and come home and have dinner, then finish a book review that's due tomorrow.

Wednesday I have two parties to go to, and then hopefully finish off another book review (but I still have to find some time to read that book). And then possibly do one more, if the editor wants it.

And I just remembered that Wednesday is my mother's birthday. Must call her.

I'm sorry this has nothing to do with weight loss per se....I'm just so overwhelmed that I'm brain dumping everything out.

Good news is: gym on Sunday, gym on Monday. I had a great party Sat night but had to yank myself back on track. Sunday was an alright day for eating, no big screw ups. Monday was ok. I really avoided temptation.

I actually decided not to go to Whole Foods for weekly shopping because I knew I'd end up face first in the vegan dessert section. Bad, bad, bad. We had lots of veggies we hadn't eaten the week before, and tempeh, so I just went to our quickie local grocery store for my cottage cheese (I eat it for breakfast weekdays).

Even there, I had to avert my eyes and scurry around quickly to keep from picking up a little baked good. I did it though.

Came home with my planned snack of a small cottage cheese and a small fage yogurt for later.

Hey -- a Christmas miracle, of sorts!

Listen, I'm hoping you all are having great holiday build up weeks. I've been keeping up on the blogs, if not commenting. Everyone's doing fantastic, and I am inspired, as always.


Sunday, December 13, 2009

Short and Sweet

Party last night was a blast. Great friends, great conversation, great food.

A little too much great food, if you want to know the truth.

It's really hard to eat moderately at a party full of all the things you most like to ravenously devour.

There were a few things that went well.

I steered clear of the deadly marshmallow and pecan topped yam souffle. Definitely a dietary disaster waiting to happen -- the pecan topping alone tipped me to that!

I grabbed a small salad plate and ate off that instead of the huge, dinner-sized plates. I didn't overdo it on the meats and main dishes: pork, chili, beans-and-rice, meatloaf and chicken wings.

But the finger foods did trip me up a bit. Lots of nibbles. Thank goodness they never got around to pulling out the big desserts! Although several chocolate chip cookies made their way into my mouth.

In any case, there was plenty of opportunity for me to truly stuff myself senseless. I didn't.

For as long as I can remember, I've associated a "good time" with a certain amount of dietary hedonism. It's like I can't have fun unless I'm completely unaware of time and space and just eating, eating, eating. (Not that I'd eat too much at one time in front of other people, of course, because that would make me feel funny -- no, I'd invest incredible energy in devising strategies to get me food without anyone being aware of exactly how much I'd eaten. (At least, I'd hope they didn't know.))

There's still an element of that in my life. But it is getting better.

I really wonder what it would be like to be at a party and eat if you are hungry and stop when you are not? And not give the food another thought after that?

Someday I really hope to know the answer to that question.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Time Flies

whether you are having fun or not, apparently!

I can't believe we're already through the week. I guess the universe has slipped into that pre-Xmas time warp where everything is super fast.

It's been a whirlwind week since Monday, with a few curveballs.

I haven't been able to hit the gym the way I wanted to, but I have walked to work every morning (in bitter cold temps).

One day this week while working with a photographer we had to go try to talk to a certain family in Brooklyn that's been in the news lately. We were at the hospital where we thought the family was visiting a relative. Then we got word they were at home. We had just gotten an amazing parking spot at the hospital though. Moving the photographer's car was out of the question.

"Maybe it's walkable?" I suggested. I never would have done that before. We looked at a map and it was indeed walkable -- a mere 1.5 miles down the road. We hoofed it, and hoofed it back.

That simply wouldn't have occurred 12 months ago. Or, I'd have been panting and footsore and incredibly exhausted and sweaty by the time it was done.

This time I was actually pleased. My reaction was, "Score! Extra exercise!"

On the eating front, not too bad, but friends have been dropping by every night this week, which meant a little more wine than usual, and more treats. One night there were olives stuffed with feta cheese, another night there was manchego cheese, and those damned mini-fruit tarts made a repeat appearance!

It was all within maintenance portions -- but not exactly weight-loss portions.

Major challenges loom. A big party tomorrow night with lots of food. A party Tuesday and TWO parties on Wednesday.

It's enough to make me long for the dreary social doldrums of January, already!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Plus Four

No, I'm not wearing those fancy kind of golf pants known as plus fours.

I am plus four. As in, up four pounds from the day before Thanksgiving.

You know ... there are times when you gain weight and it's really confusing because you tried to do everything "right" all week and you worked out and all that and still the scale went up.

This is not one of those times.

This is a case of me not eating on plan for a few days and indulging a bit, not working out for a few days and my body deciding it's not going to be a losing week.

Cause and effect. I indulged a bit too much, ergo I now weight a bit too much.

There can be no confusion about that.

The good news is that I was up four pounds. Friends, when I peeked at the gym scale (unofficial number) mid-week last week, I was up eight. So this could be worse. A lot worse.

As my nutritionist says to me, "You know what you need to do."

Yep. Exactly what I've done for the last 70 pounds.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

I Feel Skinny, Oh So Skinny....

Folks, it's all about the positive reinforcement. I don't know what's going on with the scale.

I'm ignoring it. Until tomorrow, at weigh-in. But even then, it's not getting too much importance.

Two major things happened this week that should trump all else (in terms of my own personal world - not the 'real' world):

1) I broke through a major mental block and started jogging, despite my fear of being too heavy for my poor knees. I did it, and my knees didn't crumble instantaneously into dust.

2) I put on a usually tight'ish pair of jeans for work yesterday that are several sizes smaller than what I was wearing last year at this time. And they are loose. I threw on a nice t-shirt, a v-neck sweater in a beautiful azure color, and bopped off to the office.

It was only after I got there that I realized how nice I felt in my clothes. At the risk of sounding like a vain ninny, I really felt like I looked good.

Maybe that's how South Beach Steve feels in his new suit? He totally rocks it, by the way.

I'm not "skinny," by any stretch of the imagination. I'm not even close to my goal weight.

But if you are comparing me to how I was 70 lbs ago, then yeah...I am way slimmed down. A few people even commented yesterday that I looked really great. I think the fact that I was projecting positivity plays a role here, too.

So it's damn the miserly scale, and full speed ahead! Something must be going right, because I do believe the inches are coming off, even if the pounds aren't.

On that note, I want to ask some jogging questions of all you runners out there. I just posted this query on Lori's blog, because she's a kick-butt runner and racer. But then I figured I'd throw it up here for others to opine on.

Here's my question:

Any advice on how to ease into running so you don't irritate bad knees? When I say bad, I don't mean ripped or torn ligaments, etc...Just stressed knees, prone to inflammation. I did tear a meniscus last year and my left knee has never fully recovered, but it's fully functional - just gets a little achy sometimes. But the doc last year said I have good cartilage, no real serious damage, I may just have a few bone chips that float around and irritate me now and again. Obviously, losing weight is the best thing I can do for my knees, long term.

When I jogged last week, I did have pain afterwards -- inflammation and irritation and aches in the knees and hips for about two days. My muscles weren't sore -- my bones were! Is this possibly a sign that I'm still too heavy for running, or should I push through? What say all you runners out there?

Any suggestions and feedback are really appreciated. I'd like to start developing my superhero powers beyond vigilance. I'm also looking for speed and agility. Yeah!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

That Stubborn Scale

I hate that chunk of metal.

It popped up a few pounds after Thanksgiving.

OK -- that was expected, given what I ate.

But now it won't go down.

Wait, it gets worse...

It keeps climbing up!


I've been trying not to panic, because when I stress it only gets harder.

Hence all my positive superhero imagery these past few days. And my sudden interest in Herculean, epic nighttime jogs through Central Park.

I've been trying to talk myself out of a major freakout.

A few pounds were going to register on the scale, that was inescapable. But I figured they'd be the kind of pounds that would go away quickly too.

But they won't leave!

And now they've invited friends over -- and they ALL want to stay.

If anyone of you is a Quentin Tarantino/Pulp Fiction fan, you'll know that scene toward the end where Jules (Samuel L. Jackson) keeps telling Yolanda to "Be Cool."

Not only am I a superhero, and a nascent jogger/marathoner, I am now also Samuel L. Jackson. That's right. When I get nervous, I channel multiple personalities.

Since I saw the damage Monday afternoon on the gym scale, I just keep telling myself to "Be Cool."

And when I saw the scale go UP another pound instead of down despite two days of clean eating, and then up ANOTHER pound the next day, my inner Samuel said, "Be Cool."

So this is me -- being cool.

No more weigh-ins until Monday, when I go to the official scale under the control of the nutritionist.

It'll be ok. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but it will be. Right?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ow. Ow. Ow.


My knees, my knees, my knees are on fire.

Now I remember why I wasn't going to start jogging yet.

Owwwwwwwwww. My poor knees.

To be honest, I don't have really bad pain, like a serious tear or twist or anything like that. It's just some inflammation and stiffness.

I forgot what that feels like. That's what my knees used to feel like all the time before I lost 70lbs.

I'm still basking in the glow of my two mile jog. Whoo hoo! I really surprised myself.

But...that said, I'm not sure I'm ready for regular jogs yet. I am askeered of really banging up my poor little knee joints. Maybe I'll try once a week and build up to more?

I really don't want to injure myself seriously at this point. That would be awful. Better to be slow and safe than rush things and get hurt. The left knee in particular has never been the same since my torn meniscus.

It's so exciting though! I almost kind of wanted to try and jog home again tonight despite my knee soreness.

It was raining though -- a real rain, not one I was going to slog through.

I did manage to walk to work this morning despite getting a terribly late start (really, I swear, it wasn't my fault - the boiler broke at my co-op, so no heat or hot water, which was awful).

I had a couple of rough moments debating what to do. Should I text my boss and tell him I was going to be 20 minutes late?

I'd only be late if I stuck to my plan and walked to work. If I took the subway, I'd get there with time to spare. We don't have to do a timeclock or anything crazy like that at work -- it's fairly flexible -- but he's been on me of late to start getting in by 10:30am. (Amazing that we start so late by most American business standards and yet I still struggle to get there on time!)

The dithering started -- what if he's mad at me, etc etc. I almost ditched my walk just so I wouldn't have to risk setting off his legendary temper.

Then I thought, no, forget that. We're talking 20 minutes -- there's nothing urgent going on this morning, he'll survive. Text him and tell him you are running late but will be in before 11am. He'll get over it.

So I did, and he did, and it wasn't a big deal at all. Come to think of it, my knees weren't that aggravated this morning, but did start to bother me at work after my very fast trek down to the office.

I tried to go extra fast to mitigate the lateness; maybe that overdid it after the jog the night before?

I'll monitor carefully before my next jog.

As for my Vigilance-Girl cape, it's still working! I highly recommend getting one and wearing it AT ALL TIMES. Remember, nobody can see it but you. ; -]

Tuesday, December 1, 2009


But for a totally surprising and unbelievable reason.

I could just tell you straight out, but that's no fun. There have to be photos, of course!

OK, first the update on yesterday. I really was Vigilance-Girl, channeling a little bit of Peridot's Resistance-Girl.

It started with my plan to go to Whole Foods. I was going to walk there and go to the gym later. But when I left the house, it very quickly started raining. Ick.

That could have derailed me right away, but I said "No, turn around, go back to the gym, and work out now, since it's raining."

So I did it. It sucked. I hated that elliptical machine. But I could tell I'd gained some weight over Thanksgiving; I felt heavy and flat.

After the gym, I said "To heck with the rain. It's just a drizzle." And I walked the 1.2 miles over to Whole Foods anyway.

On the way through Central Park I decided to alter my route. Instead of walking up the long, slow incline, I decided to hit the stairs that go up the back of Harlem Hill. There's a really cool old gunnery house up there built before the Revolutionary War. It's awesome.

Here are the steps. And guess what? I didn't walk up them. I ran up them!
They are not steep. But there's about seven of them, and I ran all the way up, even the flat parts in between. At the top were two homeless guys hanging out. They looked like I scared them -- which I probably did!

That was yesterday. So today I walked to work, as usual. But I tried to go really fast, like South Beach Steve does, and not get all dreamy and slow when my mind wanders. I was being Vigilance-Girl again, making sure I was really moving and not just coasting.

Work was ... well, whatever. But I got to the gym for some quick weight lifting.

But I had to stay late at work, and that was annoying. It made it too late for me to get to the gym for a night work out.

I decided to walk home instead. It was GORGEOUS!

The park was lovely, dark and deep.

The moon was incredibly bright tonight -- and so full. I tried to take a picture, but it didn't come out that great. Still, here 'tis.

It was dark and crisp as I walked along. Except for the part where I passed this:
These are the lights near Tavern on the Green, a fabu restaurant on the western edge of the park.

Then, as I passed the beautiful Xmas lights, and I realized it was dark and nobody was really around me, and I was coming up on the start of the bridle path that's dirt and not pavement...well, it just struck me that maybe I could start to jog a little bit.

A jog. I used to do it all the time.

I had on a bulky jacket and a backpack. But I figured, what the heck...I'll give it a shot.

So I started.

And it wasn't that bad. Even though I was going slightly uphill all the time, I could keep jogging.

I kept jogging. I passed the footbridge I had originally pegged as my goal.

Still felt good, so I still kept jogging.

Then I got up the definitive hill before the reservoir. I had to run past some people then. I felt slightly embarrassed, then said "To heck with it -- they aren't even paying any attention." I did speed up a little bit though -- my ego demanded it.

Once I got to the reservoir, I kinda thought, "Well, this is the bottom of the reservoir. I could keep going 'til I reach the top of it." That wasn't too hard. And from there, it was only another 1/2 mile or so to the end of the bridle path, and near the edge of the park where I rejoin the paved road.

I still can't actually believe it, but I jogged the whole way. THE WHOLE WAY!

I'm not really sure, but I think it was around two miles -- maybe a little less.

My knees are going to be barking tomorrow, I'm sure. But wow! I can't believe I did it.

By the way, I did use my Vigilance-Girl cape at work today. When I walked by the snack table someone had put out Reese's peanut butter cups. Oh lordy...those are bad.

But I grabbed my imaginary cape and swirled it around my head, and just kept going on.

Silly, but effective!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Searching for the Saddle... I can get back in it. These past few days have been real corkers, haven't they?

I'm having a little difficulty turning the wine spigot off.

I went for a loooong walk yesterday in the bright sunshine and then scooted home to finish my various freelance projects.

It doesn't feel like enough though, given my numerous indulgences over the past few days.

I get weighed again a week from today.

I do not want to see any gain.

What that means is that I have to get right back on the job ... now, today, this very instant. No more extra bites, no more quick nibbles.

Over the past year or so I've gotten much better at shifting back into weight loss mode after a loose couple of days. But lately I fear maybe I've gotten a little too free and easy about things. It's one thing not to stress, another to relax restrictions to the point of self-defeat, as we all know.

If I were to try and pinpoint one thing that has helped me stay on track in the past, I'd say it's the knowledge of looming weigh-ins. Right now I'm thinking about what will come next Monday, when I haul myself up and force myself to go into the nutritionist's office and hold myself accountable for what I've eaten over the past two weeks.

What matters now is not what I ate last week -- that ship has sailed.
What matters is what I eat this week.

Here's to getting back on track!

Last week I enumerated my holiday plans, which included using my small plates, eating slowly, etc. I did do a lot of that, but didn't work out as much as I'd wanted because of the migraine and general malaise. Adding things up in my head, I see days when I ate a lot of food I don't normally eat. Not a huge pie, thank goodness. But still...extra food. Calories galore in the form of sushi, a sandwich or two, an almond croissant Friday morning, and more stuff I'm forgetting but I know I chomped down the ol' gullet.

It's one thing to not work out a lot during a week when you are also really counting calories. But reduced gym visits plus extra eating generally equals big-time scale problem for me.

I know what I have to do. When I visit Whole Foods later today to buy the week's groceries there will be no treats from the vegan dessert section.

I can do it. I can resist them. It's just food, and it'll be there next week when I go back.

Did I mention I also have future food/drink events that I must carefully pick my way around?

Dinner out at a Mexican place Wednesday, then two parties the following week.

If we were all dieting super-heroes, then I would pick vigilance as my super power. I'd be Vigilance-Girl (that sounds really close to vigilante girl, doesn't it?).

For the rest of this week (and holiday season, if need be), I'm going to envision myself as a secret super-hero with a really cool cape hidden under my clothes. And I'm going to have one of those invisible force fields or shield thingies to pull around me whenever I get into a sticky situation.

"Vigilance-Girl force field, ACTIVATE!"

Maybe if I imagine myself surrounded by a force field of vigilance, I can be vigilant in my behaviors at all these parties.

Let's give it a try, shall we?

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Sunday After.....

Time to tally up the damage. It was pretty considerable, but I'm not going to obsess.

First off, hope everyone had a lovely holiday and great weekend.

I was on track for a fantastic Thanksgiving when suddenly everything went totally wrong with no warning -- and there was nothing I could do about it.

A migraine -- a bad one -- came up out of nowhere and smacked me right behind the eye Thursday morning.

I'd woken up early, as planned, cleaned up the house, prepped the garlic, lemon and rosemary chicken we would be serving for dinner later that night, and then gaily tripped out the door to work (very eager to get my holiday double-pay).

Ten minutes after I settled at my desk, I noticed a small white dot on my computer screen. It was most annoying. It kept popping up in the middle of words. I tried to brush it off the screen, I tried blinking it away, I even closed my eyes for several minutes and prayed it would go away.

But, alas...the white dot kept growing bigger, and then it started spinning. And when I closed my eyes, behind the right one, there was a glowing spinning circle of bright colors.

Classic ocular migraine. At the worst moment and worst day possible.

I had to leave work. Not only could I not look at a computer screen or read -- both requirements for my job -- I knew it would not be long before the real pain started, plus nausea.

Luckily another friend at work suffers from really bad migraines (I hardly ever get them -- this was the third of my life, but I know immediately what they are when they come). She gave me one of her potent pain pills, and it was home to lie in a dark room.

I did survive, but it was tough going to wake myself up a few hours later and play hostess. The worst of it was over, but there was nagging, dull pain behind the eyes. But we did it, and we had fun. It wasn't a super huge high calorie meal, and I was too busy cooking to really consume tons of food.

But there's no doubt it was a big eating day -- and a big wine day, if you want to know the truth. I didn't have any at first because of my head, but later in the night I sipped some white, and that was ok, so then I had some red.

I'm sure that is why I felt even worse the next day. Wine, especially red, doesn't marry well with headaches.

Friday was a nightmare. I felt heavy and lethargic, like I was moving through molasses. I was slow to think, slow to respond, and it took all my energy just to focus on doing my job. I got snapped at by an editor for moving too slow! But I can't blame them -- I couldn't shift into high gear to save my life.

Saturday I woke up better, but still with head pain. It had become a nagging sinus pressure and ache that was driving me crazy.

Oh...I should mention my minor (for me) freak out when I couldn't focus correctly out of my left eye. I put in my contact but it wouldn't fit right -- everything was blurry and the contact hurt. I chucked that pair (they're disposable) and grabbed a new set. Same problem -- I gradually got more and more concerned and then became convinced I'd had a minor stroke overnight.

My BF talked me away from full-blown panic, and I went to work armed with my glasses in case the eye got so bad I had to take the contacts out. Sure enough, the bright lights in there irritated me more, so I quickly plucked the contact out and prepared to don my glasses.

And lo and behold..what did I notice but TWO contacts stuck together in my left eye. I have no idea how I got two contacts in my eye, it's a confusing mystery, but I was so relieved to not be stroking out that I didn't even question it. I just heaved a sigh of thanks, peeled one off and slapped it back in. Worked fine.

That solved one problem, but I still had that nagging sinus pain. I finally gave in and ran to a drug store and bought one of those sinus saline rinses. I've always heard they are great for chronic sinus sufferers but have been too scared to try them. I am not a fan of shooting water up my own nose.

Thank goodness desperation drives us to try new things. I will spare you all the gory details, but let me say that it was FANTASTIC!

The pain was so bad I didn't even wait to get home -- I tried it in the bathroom at work right away, and the relief was immediate. The pressure eased by half within minutes, and I could breathe again.

It has only improved since then, and I think I'm addicted to it now because I did it again last night and first thing this morning. Love!

So...soon I'll be heading to the gym. I did eat a piece of red velvet cake last night (half a one, but they are so huge that half equals a whole serving, I'm sure). And there have been many manchego cheese bites over these holidays.

But like I said, I'm not obsessing. I ate a lot more than usual -- but I didn't binge or gorge -- and I enjoyed myself. I'll deal with the fallout, like I always do.

It's just a relief to not be in pain for the first time in three days. Hope you are all well.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Who Wants to Buy a Bridge?

I've got one I can sell you -- cheap. Welcome to Brooooooookkkkkllllyynn!

For those of you who have not had the pleasure, a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge is a real treat. I got to visit it yesterday afternoon for a work project. I could have just gone back to the office with the photographer in his car. But instead I decided to zip myself over the bridge and then get on the subway.

An extra mile of walking to add to my 3.5-miler to work Tuesday morning. Yay extra exercise!

Nothing puts me in a good mood like this bridge. You just have to watch out for the psycho bikers (and I say this as a biker) who get angry at the pedestrians who stray into the bike lane. It IS annoying when walkers do that (there are clearly labeled lanes for people and bikes), but most bikers realize the Brooklyn Bridge is not a great place for a sprint. You bike across and soak up the views and air, and weave your way around the people.

Bikers who scream and yell at folks because they can't maintain a blistering pace across a crowded bridge may be a bit tetched in the head, I think.

Here's two more I snapped from my weird cell phone, which always makes pictures in bright lights look like fake postcards.

It takes me about 15 minutes, I'd say, to power walk my way across to Manhattan. These pics were taken from the Brooklyn side, after I climbed onto the walkway from the DUMBO access steps. This required me to bypass several tasty food places that I love, including Grimaldi's.

That's the best pizza. Thin crust, spicy, so good. But pizza is a trigger food for me (holla Beej!). Can not have just one slice. So I trundled on by on my springy legs and concentrated on how good it felt to be moving along at a good pace instead of what was behind Grimaldi's door.

So I got in a lot of extra walking yesterday, which turned out to be a good thing. I ate on plan all day, and had a very light lunch -- more by accident than design. Just didn't have a ton of leftovers to bring and didn't have any extra veggies at home to bulk it up.

At Whole Foods later, buying stuff for Thursday night, I got a small assortment of fruit tarts for one of my guests, who loves them. Yeah...those did not make it through the night. I sampled one, and then another, and then all of them were gone.

So...I did not eat 100 percent on plan. I had three unplanned fruit tarts. Luckily, they were very small. Lesson learned -- don't buy any treats in advance for friends. Buy them RIGHT BEFORE they will be served.

Strangely, the mini-apple pie I bought (5 inches) for the boyfriend and guests Thursday night is sitting in the kitchen, untouched, and very easy to resist. I like apple pie. But I can stay away from it. Don't know what in those fruit tarts triggered me.

Maybe their cuteness? They were so sweet and mini. And the fruit was fresh and delicious. Raw blueberries and strawberries.

Dinner out tonight. Already picked out what I'm going to eat from the menu.

Have a great day everyone!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Weigh-In Results and Thanksgiving Stats

Somebody's been hitting me with a lucky stick for the past two weeks.

The scale went down another 2.6lbs at the nutritionist's today. So something is going right. I just can't figure out what it is.

I suspect two possible factors.

1) Right now, for whatever reason, my stress levels are low. I'm not stressing all that much when I don't eat perfectly. Nor am I allowing my binges -- really more like slip ups, I guess -- to extend too long. They're like a blip on the radar, mostly. Last week I was sliding into a series of days of bad and/or overeating, but luckily that pattern snapped when I returned to work.

2) My portions are smaller. Whether I'm eating on plan or off, I just can't consume as much as I used to. And I don't like feeling disgustingly full anymore. It hurts. Consequently, my slip ups are nowhere near as large as they used to be. Could be mitigating the damage somewhat.

In anycase, I'm feeling like a lucky little sod for having eked out a loss despite some fairly frightful decisions last week.

Now, on to this week. I've got two dinners out coming up (Wed and Fri nights) and then the all-too-tempting Turkey Day itself to contend with.

My nutrionist gave me some very eye-opening information today. Last year she and her co-workers at the Look Ahead Study ordered in a Thanksgiving Day Meal for one from a local deli. They measured and weighed and calorie-counted everything that came in that meal -- again, ordered for ONE PERSON.

I photographed the sheet she gave me below (sorry, no scanner) and hope the picture is clear enough to read. It should be if you click on it and get the blown up version.

The pecan pie dessert is scary! I'm so glad I didn't buy that pie last week. By the way, both desserts came as 3 oz portions. But when they weighed them, they discovered they were really six ounces each!! It's illegal in NY to short anyone on a weighted amount, but you can throw extra in without any problem. So I guess this deli owner is really generous.

If you can't see the total here, it's 3,705 calories for the dinner as it was packaged and sent by the deli.

My nutritionist wanted me to have this because on Thursday, when I'm at work, there will be a Thanksgiving feast available for everyone, courtesy of our local deli. Forewarned is forearmed, as they say.

She also gave me this handy tip sheet on coping mechanisms for the holidays. I'll upload it, and again, hope you all can read it if click on it and get the bigger version.

I took a close up of the one box that lists some helpful food substitutes to lighten the calories. This should be legible, I hope.

Notice that choosing pumpkin pie instead of pecan pie saves you 225 calories. Sigh. Goodbye, pecan pie.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

This Week

These are the times that try dieters' souls.

I'm talking about the holidays, of course.

It always pays to have a plan, so here it goes:

This week I will:

1) Walk to work every day, except possibly Friday. I will walk to work on Thursday, which is Thanksgiving Day.

(I volunteered to work the Thanksgiving day shift because a) I have no immediate family here to do the whole big feast thing with and b) I always take off Christmas week to be with my family. So I'm happy on Thanksgiving to give someone else a chance to enjoy a family holiday. Plus, it keeps me from hanging around at home stuffing my face. )

2) I will not eat any of the holiday treats that will be in the office that day. I will bring my own lunch. We will be having a small dinner with friends after I finish work -- a dinner that I will have prepared in advance, and consisting of lots of veggies and other light fare.

3) I will get in a gym workout on the elliptical at least three times this week.

4) I will keep up with my Hot 100 challenge and lift weights in the corporate gym on Tuesday. It will be closed on Thursday, but open Friday.

5) I will eat slowly and mindfully all week.

6) I will eat on plan all week.

7) I will do two Tabata sessions (eeeeeekkk).

These are my goals. So let it be written. So let it be done.

Gorgeous day in NYC today. Hope it's lovely where you are too!

Friday, November 20, 2009


Folks, tonight I feel blessed. As we head into the Thanksgiving holiday, I am a grateful woman.

Strangely, I think this sense of well-being comes from returning to work.

I went back in today after ...well, a somewhat lackluster effort from myself on both the dieting and freelance projects this week. I did get a lot accomplished, but I also moped around a bit and was, frankly, a bit whiny.

On the way to work today it struck me just how lucky I am to have a job to go to. A job that is far, far from perfect, but surrounds me with wonderful, positive colleagues.

I am grateful for the structure it affords me -- financially and in other ways. It gives me a living, and to a degree, a purpose for every day. And I need purpose in my life. I flounder all too easily when left to my own devices.

I'm grateful for the rude, robust good health that rarely fails me. I have my problems (frequent colds, begone!), but lack of mobility is no longer one of them. I think this is maybe how the first astronaut on the moon felt when he hit the dirt and bounced back up. I may not be at zero gravity, but 70 pounds later, I feel a huge difference.

I am grateful for the means and methods of communication that allow me to express myself here and in other forums. I am tremendously appreciative -- more than I can say -- of all of you who come to check up on me, urge me on, and commiserate when I'm down.

New battles loom, other doldrums will come. I know this.

But for today, I can say I ate on plan -- fantastically on plan. And it felt so great.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Food Network is the Devil

It's Satan in a sweet and savory form. And it goes on and on and on, one recipe after another. It's enough to break anyone's resistance down.

And do they really think that we think that their photogenic chefs actually eat what they make?

The only ones who look like they know what a cake tastes like are Paula Dean and Ina Garten, the Barefoot Contessa.

All the others yip and chirp and flash huge grins over their "yummy" food and then take little bird bites. I find all the eye rolling and over-the-top mugging really absurd. I think they're like professional wine tasters and spit out what's in their mouths -- once the cameras are off, of course.

I'm a bit cranky, I think, and the FN is working my nerves a bit with the constant food porn. For my sanity and safety, I've switched to the Tennis Channel.

Soldiering on through my project. About halfway through the first big chunk. Miles to go before I sleep, though.

Cold better, but still phlegmy in the lungs. YUUUUUCK already. I'm ready to end this.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


It's relatively minor, but still .... better than the alternative.

I did finally stop loafing about yesterday and put in three hours of prep work toward my freelance project. That's not a ton, but it's always hardest to get started. There are lots of details to get sorted, and research to organize before the writing can begin.

Then I simply had to go and close my eyes for a few minutes. This cold is really taking it out of me. Of course I fell asleep, and if someone hadn't called and woken me up a few hours later, I think I might have slept the whole night through! Probably I'd have woken up at like 2 or 3 am and been furious at myself.

This morning we were up and out early, in part to make room for our bi-monthly cleaning lady (I try to clean, really I do, but there are just things that she does way better than me and I hate a dirty house, so I caved in a few months ago and hired her). We took advantage of my not having to be at work to have a quick breakfast together.

It had been a long time since the BF and I sat face to face over eggs and toast in a New York deli. For obvious reasons (financial and dietary) we rarely do that sort of thing anymore.

Kind of romantic. Like we were dating again. Plus, the BF did the unexpected and instead of sitting across the table from me, in the busy NYer way, slid me over so I was next to him on the wall banquette. Awwww. Like we were in Paris, almost!

It is nice to be face to face with your darling, and it's doubly nice to be tucked in next to them, sharing some personal space. It was a sweet and cozy breakfast.

I hadn't planned out what to eat beforehand but when the waitress stopped by I didn't allow myself even a second to dither. I also purposely avoided the menu -- no flapjacks for me, thanks.

"Coffee, wheat toast, no butter, two poached eggs with no butter, and raw tomatoes on the side please instead of homefries," I said. There -- that was handled. And there's nothing I love more than a piece of crisp toast with fresh tomato on it, covered with a warm egg after I pierce the yolk.

It's my version of the traditional British fry up my Nana used to make for us, which had black beans on top of everything else, and of course some big ol' bangers (sausages). She did throw in tomatoes too, but they were fried in the leftover sausage fat. It never ceased to amaze me that my Nana never gained weight (she wasn't 'skinny,' but she definitely wasn't fat). But then again, her idea of a portion was about a third of what mine is (er..was, I mean).

I'm back home now and about to get to work again. I do feel like I could use another nap, but it will have to wait.

This reminds me of what my life was like when I used to freelance almost full-time. I ate a lot -- A LOT -- just to keep myself sitting at my computer working. It takes tremendous self-discipline and energy to do the work, and be creative with it. And often I just didn't have the ooomph (I thought) to get it done without giving myself a carrot, so to speak. But it was never an actual carrot -- often bags of chips (big ones), take-out and delivery diner food, lots of Indian delivery, and so on. Anything that would keep me nailed to the machine and producing. I would lull myself into writing with a few bites of this and a few bites of that, then write a few more lines, nibble some more, and before long, everything was gone.

I would say I put on a good portion of my current extra weight during that two year time frame -- and it's taken me about 5 years since then to start losing it. Ugh. Not anything I want to repeat.

I'll keep this in mind as I push through this project over the next few days. Luckily this is now an occasional occurrence for me and not a lifestyle. As much as I often dream of being able to work from home, I'm quite unconvinced that it would work for me -- I think I would eat my way through the day far too often.

No gym yet, still too stuffy and it's hard to breathe deeply (lungs hurt) but did walk about 10 blocks after breakkie. That's not much, only half a mile, but it was something.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Ho Hum

Guys, I'm in some dangerous territory here, methinks.

I had arranged to take these next few days off because a) I'm owed the time and b) I have a freelance project I want to get done before the holidays start in earnest.

Then I got sick. So now I'm sitting at home, which would be ok if I were working on my freelance project. But I am not.

Yesterday I did do some research on my afternoon meander. Today I had to get up early for a dentist appointment. Didn't feel great, earaches and sore throat, but decided I should get up and go, or I'd sleep the morning away.

I grabbed a coffee post-cleaning (no cavities!) and returned home. Am now so tired I can barely stay awake. I want to take a nap -- but I haven't even started work yet and it's noon.

Worse, I'm getting in that I-don't-want-to-work-let's-see-what's-in-the-kitchen mode. Not good. There is stuff in the kitchen (good stuff) but I don't want to eat just because I'm bored.

Had cottage cheese for breakfast and orzo soup for lunch just now. So I'm not hungry. I really want to download a good book (or a trashy one) on my Kindle and zone out. But I can't. Must work. Had to turn off Food Network because Paula Deen was going on about "pumpkin-cheesecake, y'all" and it was seriously giving me binging urges. Visions of walking to the corner and buying something illicit were threatening to take over.

Last night we experimented with supper, by the way. I got a packet of pre-made saag paneer to try for dinner. Not good. At all. The B/F refused to eat it and spent the night looking a bit sulky. He still had the wheat cous cous, organic beans and chicken soup I made. But he didn't appreciate my foisting green stuff on him. He's a bit hard to convince on some things. Took forever to sell him on the tempeh -- now that's all he wants every night for dinner (unless he cooks, then it's lamb or fish or chicken).

I've told him that from now on Monday night will be experiment night -- as in a vegan experiment. He's quite unhappy. Too bad.

Right, I'm buckling down now to do some work. That's why I'm not at the office, after all.

And just to show that I do sometimes venture out of my beloved Central Park, here's a quick shot of Madison Ave, around 45th St in Midtown Manhattan. I'd just come from the dentist and bought a coffee on the street. I'm looking south, a/k/a downtown in Manhattan-speak. Note the bundled up pedestrians. It's cold today!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Three Posts in 24 Hours

That may be a sign I'm getting a little compulsive.

But in reality I'm just a bit bored. Better to blog than to eat, n'est-ce pas? Am home sick, as I mentioned earlier.

I canceled my weigh-in this morning so I could stay home and rest. But a photographer friend who was at an early morning shoot down the street ended up dragging me out for coffee.

We went here, to a small little patisserie on my corner (that skinny person in the pic is not me, unfortunately). I studiously avoided looking at the tarts and croissants and pain au chocolat.

I took advantage of our surprise get together to give him the gifts I brought back from Jamaica. Coffee and rum. Yum.
Then I was feeling well enough to go for a walk. Gorgeous day today. Warm, sunny, crisp. I walked around for hours and ended up seriously exhausted by the time the sun set (about 4pm here!). Definitely overdid it, but fresh air was so wonderful.

Behold the pics, taken of Central Park as I headed south down Central Park West. I'm on the outside of the park looking in. I tried to capture the soft afternoon light in trees, but didn't succeed in mimicking its true glory, more's the pity.

After my walk I stopped at Whole Foods to shop for the week's goodies. I was so wiped out by then I felt like I could have curled up among the squashes and napped. But they frown on that, I suspect. So I soldiered on through the crowds.

There was one moment when I actually stared deeply into the abyss of a pecan pie. I love me some pecan pie. But it was huge. And as I looked at it, what was uppermost in my mind was that fact that I would definitely get sick if I bought it -- even if I only ate half, or a third. It just looked too treacly and sweet.

So (yay!) I walked on with nary a look back. I love it when this whole eating thing is easy, breezy, beautiful to do. Hope it stays easy for a while!

Sick. Again.

This nasty little throat/lung thing I've had off and on this year is back -- spurred no doubt by a very late night Saturday (I was reading a book and could not make myself stop and go to bed).

I've canceled my weigh-in at the nutritionist today because my lungs hurt and I'm coughing and feeling, overall, like crap.

But I will likely meander down to the gym later and hop on the scale. Just to see what my week of light workouts/light eating has wrought. Or unraveled.

A clarification: when I got back from Jamaica I lost 4.4 lbs. Yay! But I haven't updated my total weight loss number. In fact, I've lowered it. Why, you ask?

Because it turns out there's a bit of a discrepancy in my numbers. If you take my starting weight and subtract my current weight, you have a -70 lb difference. If you add in the weeks that I had gained some weight, and then lost those pounds too, you'd have 76 lbs. I'm not quite sure why my nutritionist tracks it both ways or how I first started confusing the two, but in any case, I'm sticking with the first method as my official count.

So, I'm at 70 lbs. Hopefully to go a little higher soon!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Makes Sense to Me

Bored at work today, trolling the web, I found this on Yahoo.

Normally I don't find their "expert" articles all that informative. This one I liked.

In fact, I think I'm going to post it all around my apartment.

I don't know about you guys, but in the past I've always gotten extremely irritated by people who offer me unsolicited advice on weight loss.

It's partially the rude assumption that I need to lose weight. Of course I do (and have for a while) but it's nobody's business to draw that conclusion for me. It's also the superiority factor that bugs me -- just because YOU don't have a visible weight problem, it does not qualify you to tell ME how/what to eat. Or anyone else, for that matter.

If I had lost 5lbs for every idiot suggestion given to me by some well-meaning (and I use that term loosely) person I'd be a size 2 right now.

Some of these are debunked in this Yahoo article, which may be why I like it.

I meant to paste the article here, but for some reason my browser is not cooperating.

Clicky-clicky here to link to the article in question, then.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Just Kidding Beej!

My last post had Beej thinking I was giving up on the weight loss journey for good.

Thankfully, no. I'm still on the right path, even with the odd foray down temptation trail.

It's clear, however, that I need to work on handling my emotions around eating and weight loss/gain.

When I'm in my home routine and habitat, things zip along on auto pilot most of the time, and I'm very happy with that. My weight loss has been rather slow -- if you compare me to many others out there in the blogosphere -- but 70 lbs in a bit over a year is certainly nothing to sneeze at. But going slow (ish) has a couple of advantages: less shock to the body's skin (I hope, at least) and more time to ingrain good habits.

The good habits have, for the most part, taken hold for me. I surprise myself at times with what I now do without second thought. Things I'd never have done before, or had to grit my teeth and force myself to do. Like refuse bread/crackers at the soup store when I get low-cal soups. Or remove the top layer of the bun if I order a burger or big sandwich somewhere. I like bread, it's just too much for me to eat now.

I still have to work on not letting my demons take hold. Demons for me are boredom, frustration, loneliness, depression (not anything serious, just a spot of the blues now and again) and food lust. You know, when you look at food and give it so much power -- I have to have it! It's so good! O my goodness, I can't resist that!

All those thoughts are just tricks of the mind. The food is never (rarely) THAT good -- worth sabotaging yourself for. And it's JUST FOOD. And I can resist it. I often do.

But I've figured out that my binges come when I flip switches in my head. Most of the time I am now able to operate in long-term mode. Meaning my long-term weight goals are uppermost in my mind and I act accordingly -- those come first. But when I lose control, it's because I've flipped a switch and gone into short-term mode, when all that matters is handling whatever emotion I'm currently gripped by.

Ergo, I'm working on how I can flip that switch back -- immediately -- when I realize it's changed into the dangerous position. This is what I need to remember going through the holidays. And every day, really.

HOT 100 update: haven't been back to corporate gym in over a week, but that's high on my list for today. Gotta get back in the saddle, so to speak.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I Give Up

On trying to understand weight loss.

So I get back from my peanut-eating, french-fry consuming, wine drinking trip to El Caribe, and learn I've lost 4.4 lbs.

Friends, I'll take it. But I Do. Not. Understand. I just don't.

What's even more confusing is that I came home and binged on Monday. A bad one. After I got weighed in.

I don't quite know what happened ... was it the release of learning that I hadn't gained weight over the weekend? A way to compensate for studiously avoiding the pastry table at the resort all weekend? I really wanted to eat some.

In anycase, I blatantly binged on Monday, as I went shopping for the week after my visit to the nutritionist. Along with my sensible veggies and tempeh, I got a pack of bite-size pecan pie treats, a small carrot cake and .... there was something else, another pastry type goodie. Can't even remember. But it was consumed.

The result was a terrible stomach ache Monday night and a horrible bloated sick feeling. I couldn't eat another bite all day.

Today was better. I ate normally but lightly. Fighting off a slight cold, and so I just took a break. No gym, no TV, no news, no work. I read. All day long. It was heaven. I just wanted a break, I think.

Back to the regular routine tomorrow.

And it was nice to realize I was missed! Thanks for reading, guys!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Unexpected Travel

I'm back! And who even knew I was gone?

A sudden work trip had me running to catch a plane last week to a Caribbean island.

I had to stay at the Ritz-Carlton. Poor me, right?

Actually, it was almost zero fun, and deadly for the weight-loss plans. This was a wild-goose chase work trip (the person I was looking to interview never showed) and so I spent three fruitless days in a very nice but incredibly bland resort.

It's one of those places that are gorgeous but completely devoid of character. I could have been anywhere in the world that has palm trees and blue skies. And huge buffet breakfasts, of course.

Here's a picture from the grounds. It looks a bit fake, I think, but I swear it was real -- snapped with my cell phone. The sun had just dipped behind a cloud, hence the overcast light.

So, a summary:

1) I did work out every morning.
2) I did not plan well, and got terribly hungry every afternoon when I didn't have time to eat lunch.
3) I compensated by eating a huge can of peanuts each day -- easily 1,000 cals a can.
4) I drank wine every night.
5) After a decent breakfast in the morning, I would overdo it on peanuts in the afternoon, and then have dinner late. A dinner I didn't need.
6) I did successfully avoid the pastry table every morning, and the dessert tray. That's about all I can say that's positive.

Going to get weighed today. Expect bad news.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Very quickly this morning -- because it's voting day here in NYC -- I've got some low-res pics of yesterday's adventure in Chinatown.

This enclave is actually a Little Italy-Chinatown-Little Vietnam hybrid. The Italians were here first (well, around the same time as the Eastern European Jews who lived cheek-t0-jowl with them along the Lower East Side), and they've hung on to a few tiny blocks on Mulberry and Mott Sts.

Now it's a colorful and chaotic intersection of many, many worlds. The predominant notes are Italian, Chinese and Vietnamese, but there's so much going on under the surface -- Taiwanese, Korean and then tiny areas dedicated to specific Chinese provinces (Fujian, etc etc).

I was there because the NYC courts are right behind Chinatown. And I got tapped for jury duty. A murder trial! Scary stuff, to be honest. Very daunting to think I'd have to sit in judgment on another and make such a heavy decision.

Luckily, I got booted in the second round!

Below, some pics of Chinatown I snapped when we got released for lunch (and more on that lunch at the bottom).

This is Colombus Park (note the name from when Italians dominated here) and those men are playing poker. I didn't want to get too close and take pics like they were some strange exhibit, but they looked like all retired Chinese/Asian workers, betting like mad on the three players you can't see. They're sitting down, but surrounded by all the betting onlookers. So the players are betting, and then everyone else bets on them!

The women get in on the action too, but a bit more discreetly.

Vendors in the street:

Now, on to my lunch. I love steamed veggie dumplings. Luuuuurrrve them. So when I find myself in Chi-town, I always order some. I went to a Vietnamese place for lunch and asked if they had them (many places cater to the diversity by carrying staples from all cultures on the menu).

The waitress told me to get their steamed ravioli -- that's their equivalent dish, apparently. She said it was small, so I also got a small rice and chicken curry (brown rice, on the side please). This is what I got:
I dove in straight away (hungry) and was already half way through it when the raviolis came. Right away red lights went off in my head: Too much food! Too much food!

There is something about me that I need to remember: I like to eat. I like to eat a lot. And I often order more than I need. I am working on that.

Yesterday, I ordered more food than I really needed to eat at that moment. Even before the raviolis came, the chicken and curry was filling me up.

I forced myself to stop. Down chopsticks, down!

Got the waitress, asked her to please box up the remaining chicken curry and rice, and then concentrated on the raviolis for the rest of my meal. I probably still ate more than I needed to, but I am very happy I was able to break the grip of desire that took hold of me as soon as the dishes began to appear.

I had the leftovers for dinner. Yum. And the B/F was jealous!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Marathon Sunday (special update below)

Hey guys! I'm adding a special update to this post at 6pm NYC time, in honor of South Beach Steve! Steve, congrats on your weight loss this week, and the pictures I've added below my original 10am post are for you. (But everyone else feel free to look too ;-)

(10am) Who doesn't love the fallback hour? It makes this Sunday my favorite day of the year.

The NYC Marathon is today! This bruiser of a race comes right by my house and I get an up close look at the runners. The pros are pretty darn impressive --- NO WAIT. All the runners are impressive, actually.

But the pros are just Machines. Zero body fat. They don't jog, they sprint. And with every movement (especially since they wear so little) you can see muscles and tendons pulling and releasing under their skin. It's so clear, it's like looking at a moving anatomy drawing.

It's not unattractive, per se. It's just not something one often sees. Most of us -- even high-level athletes -- have some degree of fatty tissue between our skin and muscle layers. Some more than others, of course!

These runners have nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. And I've realized that it's not a bad thing to have a little adipose material on the ol' frame. It really is much more pleasant to behold when you can't see every vein twitching!

I'll probably post some pics later when they run by. I'll try to time my visit to the gym to the runners approaching Central Park. Then I can see them zipping toward the finish line as I slog on the elliptical.


Pictures! It is so amazing to watch the humanity flow down Fifth Ave that I stayed on my elliptical machine for 90 minutes. Yes, I felt kinda like I was out there too -- but with much, much, much less pain and stress. That race is no joke, and although everyone laughs and has fun, every once in a while you see a face of real suffering in the crowd of runners. The heart bleeds for those poor souls! Usually they're limping ... probably had a fall somewhere between Queens and The Bronx.

Here's the view from the east side of Fifth Ave.

That's a view up Fifth Ave. These are the "regular folks." The pros go out early.

And the view down Fifth Ave.

Now the challenge for me was to somehow get across that street to my gym -- it's the building with the purple awning and the words NY Sports Club. That was not easy, believe me. The runners do not appreciate pedestrians ambling into their path.

The runners fed me amazing eye candy during my extra long elliptical session. Then I walked about 1.5 miles to have coffee with a friend, then a pit stop at a grocery store.

It was a bit too cold to bike, but I walked home through Central Park. My soy sauce was uncomfortably pressing into the small of my back, but other than that I was able to carry the groceries in my backpack fairly easily.

The park was gorgeous, of course. Two bonus pics for you all tonight: sunset at Harlem Meer.

That big building in the back is a new luxury condo that went up a few months ago. Ick. The view was much better without it.

And so, adios October, hello November. Did a gym weigh-in today. Two more pounds gone, never to return. Good riddance!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Beautiful Day Today

Am still hating the fact that the little orange cat got hit by some random stranger in a car who was too busy/drunk/indifferent whatever to see that he was trying to cross the street.

But am trying to let it go. I just hope he didn't suffer.

It was lovely in the park this morning. In fact, it was so beyond gorgeous in one particular part that I had to whip out the cell phone and take some snaps, despite knowing my camera phone can never do my light-filled park justice.

Northern Ramble of Central Park, approximately 9:34 am.
And just one more.
I'd upload more but the computer is super slow tonight. Enjoy, and I'll be back with more.

Oh...right, how's my week going in regards to weight loss (the reason I started this blog, after all!). Um. Not great.

For a variety of reasons, this has turned into a boozy week. Alcohol is kind of ever-present in my career, and I have to be very careful to avoid office gatherings, which tend to be beer-fueled.

Normally that's not hard for me. While I do enjoy a nice hoppy beer, I really prefer wine. I often just skip the the drinks with no effort. But this week was different.

Wine over the weekend, beer on Wednesday night because of a totally random (once-in-a-lifetime) chance to swap stories with a legendary columnist at a local bar.

Eating has been spotty. Not weight loss portions for dinner, and yesterday I even took a cookie from the snack station at work. I have not sampled anything from that station for over a year.

It was only one, but it worried me. I'd broken that habit. Do not want it coming back.

Also, fighting a cold, and somehow hurt my knee. Thursday morning's walk to work was my only exercise this week.

So I'm not looking forward to weigh in.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Sad News

Hey guys,

Remember my post not too long ago about a little orange cat who ran across my path as I tried to get to the gym?

He'd been cruelly tossed outside by someone who no longer wanted him, and I and a friend have spent the past two weeks fruitlessly trying to trap him. Sometimes he wanted to come closer to us, but other times he'd stay away. It depended on his mood, I guess, and the weather and his hunger.

He died today -- hit by a car.

I'd actually set out the cat trap we borrowed from a local shelter -- we've been doing it periodically on days when one of us was going to be around to check it every few hours. Today my friend was free, so I brought out the trap on my way to work, baited it with some fresh sardines, and crossed my fingers.

She checked it at 3pm and found our little orange guy in the street, the victim of a careless driver. Nobody stopped to help him.

I'm ridiculously maudlin about these sorts of things. But it's made me very sad.

I can say that I didn't run to a store to stuff my face, which I always used to do when confronted with a strong emotion, particularly sadness.

So now I sit here, and I'm sad, and I wish I'd done a million things differently -- starting with not letting him get away the first night I saw him. And setting the trap more often. And working harder to get him off the street.

I wish I could have helped him find a safe home. Don't worry, I'm not going overboard here and getting all crazy. I see lots of street cats here in NYC, and most of them -- when not victimized by twisted humans -- do just fine. I've got no illusions about how miserable many cats are when they are brought to shelters and stuffed into cages for the rest of their lives. That's no fun for them.

But I hate to see cats out on the streets who don't know how to safeguard themselves. They're not born to it, and some rediscover their wilder instincts too late. Those are the ones I try to pull into a safer environment, when I can.

I'm so sorry this one couldn't be saved. He was sweet and winsome, and would have blossomed if he'd gotten a home full of love.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Girl with the Curl

Right in the middle of her forehead.

Did you guys ever hear that nursery rhyme growing up?

"There was a little girl,
Who had a little curl,
Right in the middle of her forehead.
When she was good,
She was very good indeed,
But when she was bad she was horrid."
---Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

This is how I feel about dieting.

(And it may actually be how I feel about myself, since my parents recited it to me endlessly and I did indeed have strange curls around my forehead, largely due to two unfortunately placed cowlicks that gave me the appearance of devil horns sprouting from either temple.)

When dieting is easy, it is very very easy.
And when it is hard, it is BLOODY INTOLERABLE!!!

Now, I'm going to indulge in what my British rellies (relatives) would call a good whinge (whine), but only for a brief second.

Here's my complaint: there are times when it's the easiest thing in the world to get up, do my exercise, eat right, follow my food plan, and just do all the things I know I need to do to achieve my goals. Sure, there may be a rough moment or two, but they're generally swept aside with a minimal effort.

It may be an overstatement to say that it's "easy." It's that it seems right. And it's easy to do what's right. It feels strong and powerful.

Then there are the days when nothing feels right, everything is a chore, and the only way to possibly feel even a little bit better is to eat. Because food makes me feel better (briefly).

And even though I know it's an illusion, a mirage, a trick I play upon myself, I find myself yearning for the fantasy. I wish it were always easy. I wish the days when it sucks SO MUCH and I feel so drained and exhausted and weak never came.

Emotional eating is like the big bad hero in a typical bodice-ripping romance novel. It comes to you, bare-chested and long-haired and oozing allure, and it sweeps you off your feet.

You fight, you resist. Put me down, you cad!!

But your own desires are your undoing. Emotional eating seduces you, pulls you closer, offers you that luscious kiss of oblivion.

Of course, in a romance novel, the hero has multiple redeeming qualities that surface over time, you fall truly in love, and everything is just fan-bloody-tastic.

In real life, we're left picking the crumbs off our lips, staring around at our unchanged surroundings, still needing to confront whatever it is that we're putting off doing.

I'll repeat my whine one more time, and then I'll banish it for the day and move on to the next thing: Why can't it always be like it is on the easy days? Why can't I ever -- once and for all -- learn that food is no magic elixir. It. Is. Just. Food.