Monday, January 23, 2012

Chickens Roosting, etc.. etc...

We are finally home from the wintry trek to upstate NY -- a blissful week without TV, cellphone service or a DVD player on which to dutifully play all the pilates workout videos I had hauled along. But who am I kidding, right? I wouldn't have done them anyway.

Consider this a show-and-tell recap of my vacay and attempts to not gain 20lbs while hibernating in the north country, where it's all too tempting to wrap up in a shawl and cuddle on the couch all day.

Here's what it looked like when we arrived. Definitely wintery -- that's a bit of a flurry going on.
Naturally, my source of entertainment immediately became food. I decided to bake a blueberry pie -- the one I mentioned in my prior post. Of course, I had to make the crust too. It's not a good idea to do that if you prefer to remain ignorant of how much butter is in a crust. Holy crikey, it is A LOT.
What is a pie without a glass of wine with dinner and some cheese? So we had to make the drive to Woodstock to hit up the local shops. You'd think having all grocery-type stores a solid 30-minute drive away would make me eat less. Sadly, that did not prove true.
With all that fat bubbling away in my veins and arteries, it was no hardship to brave the cold the next day for some skiing. Except it was more like mudding, because there wasn't much snow! Everything you see here is man-made, from the snow machines at night. Still, we did some runs.
From this angle you can really see how sad this resort looks -- the mud was ankle-deep in the parking lot and huge brown patches showed up all over the slopes.
On the way home I had to take a peek at this cosy place -- who can resist a smoking chimney and a sign that says "Antiques"? Sorry for the fuzzy image; our windshield was dirtier than I thought.
Had some aches in the knees after my hard day on the slopes (that would be about two hours of afternoon skiing in an extremely laid-back fashion), so I decided on a medicinal soak in the hot tub while the sun went down. The wine might have been flowing a bit freely at that point, too.
Knees were so stiff the next day it was all I could do to hobble around this lake on a flat, 2-mile walk. Cold, windy and unpleasant, but the Catskills light was fascinating; it changes constantly.
To warm up, a drive to the nearest town, one I had never seen before. It was a welcome and cheery sight, with it's brightly-colored shops on a quaint little Main Street.
Found an old-fashioned general store -- built like a log cabin of sorts -- that sold an old memory. We used to get these as treats in the general store in my tiny town when I was a kid. Of course, we'd plunge our hands right in to grab what we wanted, no matter how often the adults told us to wait. Hygiene was not a factor at that age.
It's probably also not hygienic to have a cat sleeping in a box in your general store in the front window, about six inches from where customers self-serve their coffee (and pour the milk, likely spilling drops here and there) but what kind of cat-lover would I be to complain?
Not sure these poor guys get the same loving treatment; saw them on the way home and it almost put me off the idea of our spaghetti-and-meatball dinner. Must rethink trying vegetarianism again.
Couple of Bambi-like creatures showed themselves as the late-afternoon sun warmed up the grassy slope near a busy bridge. Hope none of them tried to cross it later.
The next day we took a loooong walk around the local reservoir -- freezing cold, and blindingly bright. Still could not really use my knees well. The left one in particular was too stiff to bend.
Whatever little bit of walking we did that day wasn't enough to burn off this baby. Can you believe this is just ONE pancake at Sweet Sue's diner in Phoenicia? We have to ask them to just bring one (it's for M, not me), because the real serving is THREE. Can you imagine that? THREE!
The knees are slowing getting better but have been dicey for almost two weeks now. Tonight for the first time I will go back to the gym and have a bit of a row on the machine and see how they handle it. I haven't done yoga since the trip either and am feeling like crap. I'm at that stage in the post-vacation when you can no longer ignore that your pants are feeling tighter and buttons are straining. Time to roll myself back into a regular routine, as much as the injuries will allow, anyway.

Since returning my eating has been pretty good, except I'm too prone to nibbling at night on cheese. A habit from our time at the cabin that needs to go back to the country.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

And a Happy New Year!

Did anyone else happen to read Tara Parker-Pope's long and mostly depressing opus on the dreaded Fat and how hard it is to get rid of it once you've gotten it?

It's lengthy, and goes into detail about the big F, and -- surprise, surprise -- reaches no real conclusion except that losing weight and keeping it off requires constant vigilance, and will always be harder for some people than others (thank you, genetics).

Even as I type this I am in the kitchen making a blueberry pie. Why? Because there's no way I can go through life denying myself the joys and pleasures of cooking, and baking special treats for my family. Yes, I may be overweight, but dammit, that's no reason for me to be perpetually punished!

We are up in the Catskills cabin for a week (yes, a week!) of vacation. We are going skiing, hiking and walking amid the snow and single-digit temperatures. And it is so fun, and so amazing to feel that I can do all these things (neuroma aside) that I could not do 70 lbs ago.

I will always need to eat small portions and count my calories. I will likely always struggle to make working out a DAILY part of my life (I need to work on this most of all). I will always have to remind myself that a blueberry pie, once made, has to last a week and can't be eaten in one or two massive binges.

I can live with that. That, to me, is doable. These are things I can strive to achieve at every meal, every day. Worrying about why my body doesn't want to drop weight isn't going to help me.

I have to believe -- have to! -- that working out regularly, leading an active lifestyle ON TOP of working out, and eating small portions and healthy foods will help me regulate my weight. Probably not where I want it, but better than where it is now. Otherwise, my choices are too much to contemplate: a life of complete restriction and penury (and I can never live long with strict self-denial anyway), or a constant cycle of binge/punish, binge/punish, flavored all the while with self-loathing and shame. It's not going to be that way for me.

So, for those of us lamenting some Christmas gain (hang tough Jenn!), it's time to get back into the regular routines. Forget the naysayers and ignore the articles that tell you it's impossible -- just impossible! -- to control your weight. There are hundreds of people online right now with blogs who are proof that it's otherwise.

Will have pictures soon of our wintry wonderland up here -- it's so beautiful.