Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A Dark and Terrible Discovery

In the dank, foul laboratory where I labor to produce elfin elixirs that will make me skinny, (ie..the kitchen), a most heinous realization occurred: if I dip my organically-sourced fair trade dark chocolate into my all-natural almond butter, a stunning treat emerges that tastes EXACTLY like a Reese's peanut butter cup, the one type of candy that I have never been able to resist.

Friends, this is why I stay out of the kitchen. Nothing good can happen there for a fatty like me (and I do use that term fairly lovingly, since I have learned to accept and even chuckle at my inner fatty, a harmless and happy-go-lucky creature that just adores to eat good and creamy things.

I don't want to *be* fat. But I don't hate my inner fatty).

It's been quiet of late in Ishland, and that's because I've been .. well, sort of figuring some things out. I did mention briefly that I'd switched jobs of late. Perhaps I didn't mention that this has set off an explosion of identity crisis and existentialist hand-wringing. (Yes, I am prone to that, aren't I?)

It's just that I'm one of "those" people who strongly identifies herself through work. It has been a surprise (not a pleasant one) to see just how much I have defined myself by my work label all these years. Now that it's been taken away, by my own choice, what am I? What are my new boundaries? What terms do I use to describe myself? None of the ones commonly used appeal to me. I liked the label I had, but not the lifestyle I was forced to follow with it.

This has produced much second-guessing, as you can image. Have I made the wrong choice? Is my career effectively over? Will I spend my days obsessing over the mythical "What might have been?" question and drive myself into a bitter, lonely and likely deranged dotage? (All of these have been answered with a resounding YES by my inner control freak, who throws a few cookies at my inner fatty to distract her and then takes command of my head space.)

To survive all this insanity, I've adopted an alcoholic's approach to work. I just get through one moment at a time, one day at a time. I remind myself this choice wasn't about a short-term gain but a long-term gain. I swapped a demanding, unsatisfying, fairly underpaid position -- that had bursts of adrenaline and fun and great colleagues -- for a slow, easy-going, overpaid position that doesn't challenge me, never will challenge me, and makes me feel like I'm working with dullards.

You see the problem there, don't you? It's in the "no challenge" perception I have of this job. So, ok, it's not a job that will last a lifetime (please God no).

I need to hang tough, and remember that I did this for my long-term choices (ie, being debt-free in the next three years).

What does this have to do with my weight-loss? Well, I am able to tell you that I have not drowned my fears and worries in the grease of potato chip bags, or the comfort of a good creamy custard.

Despite my inner tensions and worries, I still make my low-cal breakfast every day, pack my lunch of mini-kale salad with 5 oz of lean protein and lots of veggies, my snack of fruit and sometimes a small cottage cheese/yogurt, and I eat sensibly at night.

There has been a bit of an uptick in the Pinor Noir consumption, but really, is it my fault that there is a darned fine wine store right next to my office specializing in French wines? It's been my guilty pleasure, but now I need to acknowledge it may also be a bit of a coping mechanism as well.

The only thing lacking has been a commitment to exercise. I have walked the 3+ miles home several nights these past weeks, but my dedication to working out ebbs and flows. Some days I can, others I just can't muster up the will to make the right choice for myself.

Friends, all I can say to you is that I am aware of this, and I'm struggling to address it. I am no longer willing to try and shame myself into working out, nor am I going to try and falsely hype myself into it with forced cheer and bravado. It is what it is. At this moment, at least.

I'm ever-so-slightly depressed these days, but I'm coping. I'm coping.

Apropos of nothing, a friend sent me this video the other day. If you've got 20 mins to spare, take a look and then tell me what you think. I'd really like to know.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Volleying with Myself

You'll forgive me, I hope, if I indulge just momentarily in a whinge.

Why, dear readers (as Peridot would say), are some people able to lose weight merely by changing what and how they eat? And not starvation changes, but just simple and basic alterations to their regular habits. Why don't they have to slog away on torture machines for hours every week and go to bed hungry every night to see results?

This whine has a back story, of course: It's really really hard for me to lose weight without working out. A lot. AND watching what I eat very carefully. I am not alone in this, but sometimes it does feel very lonely.

So it's Friday night, I made it to the gym ONE TIME this week, which is not sufficient, of course, and I'm tired. Oh so tired. There is no reason that I should be so exhausted -- if I had to guess why I'm so pooped at the end of the day, it's probably my weight!

Today I made three good decisions not to talk myself into buying things that I did not need to eat: chocolate covered almonds, a double-serving of ricotta and tomato quiche (it's supposed to be a single serving but really...who am I kidding? It was easily enough for two) and a "healthy-style" organic burrito.

Despite avoiding those temptations, I still overate at lunch. I got healthy food, but still....I ate too much.

Classic example, in tennis terms, of a player who wins lots of points, but can't producer the big winners. I'm doing some things right, but without getting in the workouts, I'm not going to see the results I so desperately want.

When I was doing really well with weight loss, I had a firm equation in my head: effort = reward (ie, a good scale #). Now I'm back in fantasyland, where I think I can make a few piddling food sacrifices, and still take home the trophy.

Slogging ahead, we are skedded for beginner Ashtanga yoga on Saturday, and when I say we I mean that M has agreed to come under duress. This class is closer to home than my usual one and the teacher promises it won't stress the knees.

I will report back!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Resetting the Point

As any observant reader of this blog will have noted, I have several obsessions/hobbies: wine, cats, my bike, hiking, reading and tennis.

The tennis craze was what led me to weight-loss -- well, it helped, anyway. I decided to learn to play after Serena came back from knee surgery and won the Australian Open in 2007, I think it was. She was about 15lbs overweight, at least, and the commentators could not refrain from talking about it, even right up until the day she finally won the tournament.

I was so jazzed by her determination that I ran out and signed up for private lessons -- and promptly ruined my left knee about six weeks later while playing with a friend on a hard court. Sadly, I was really too big at that point to be doing that kind of activity -- it was just so much strain on my joints. But being stubborn -- and, quite frankly, hugely in denial over just how huge I was -- I ignored the warning signs and kept pounding away when I should have found a less competitive friend to bat the ball around with until I dropped more weight.

This past weekend I watched the Australian Open again -- this time rooting for Andy Murray, who struggles mightily to crack into the Top 3 in men's tennis, but he just can't get by Rafa Nadal, Roger Federer or Novak Djokovic.

This year, Djokovic -- who is basically unbeatable after adopting a gluten-free diet about 18 months ago -- took him out, but Murry fought back harder and more effectively than ever before. Martina Navritalova, the sports commentator, kept talking about how Andy was able to "reset the point," on Djokovic, just when the Serb thought he was going to win. Djokovic would have Murray on the run, and he'd somehow come up with the just the right shot to buy himself that extra second to get back on court, find his position and be ready for whatever Djokovic threw back -- and often, Murray wound up winning those points.

It's time for me to reset the point in my own Grand Slam against the Fat. Like Djokovic, my opponent appears to be unbeatable. It makes my strengths work against me, it covers all the angles, it knows my shots too well. And I, like Murray, find that no matter how many times I produce a winner, Fat always takes the damn game!

But I welcome the official start of the Grand Slam tennis season, and my goals are linked to the upcoming tournaments: For the French Open, I will have lost 10lbs. And by Wimbledon, I'll be working on 15.

These are modest and achievable goals, and I need to impose some markers in my life or time slips by all too fast. As Murray prepares for his next chance at glory, so will I.

You can all tune in for the Grand Slam weigh in on May 27th, start of the French Open. Until then, I'll keep you updated on my training regimen. May the best tennis player win!!