Monday, February 27, 2006

Just an Aside...

Whenever I have "issues" with a family member or a close friend, people often ask me why I don't hold a grudge, or why I continue to associate with people who've deeply hurt or angered me. I never really had an answer other than it's just what I felt like doing. However, today when I got my "Daily Inspiration" quote in my e-mail, I found the answer I was looking for in the form of a quote by Hannah More, an 18th century English writer:

"Forgiveness is the economy of the heart.…forgiveness saves the expense of anger, the cost of hatred, the waste of spirits."
And that says it all, really.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

With 3 Days to Spare!

"The tragedy in life doesn't lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach." -- Benjamin Mays

I did it! I DID IT! I DID IT!! I am sooo psyched! When I got on the scale this morning and saw the number started with a 2!! I had to call my sister into the room to verify what I was seeing. I gotta tell you what a boost this is after having spent most of this week gaining weight. Now, I really feel like I'm losing weight. Before, I almost could convince myself it was all water weight and I would somehow put it all back on. But NO!! It's working! And I'm really doing it. I didn't really think I could.

Too excited to write much right now, but I'll be thinking over the next few days about what my March goal should be. I can't wait to get started!! (did I really just say that?!) :)


Friday, February 24, 2006

Learning My Body

As far as the diet itself goes, I had a weird week. I can honestly say I followed my diet and exercise regimen nearly perfectly. BUT, for some reason, not only did I not lose any weight, I gained 3 1/2 pounds!!! I was nearly devastated; it was sooo very discouraging, and I couldn't understand it. I mean, I know about normal body fluctuations and all that, but that knowledge doesn't help that sinking feeling in your stomach when you look at the scale with anticipation, just knowing you've lost weight cause you've been sooo good, only to find that you've actually put on weight. What kind of crap is that??!!
OK, I know I'm not supposed to weigh myself everyday; it's a controversial method, but it actually seems to work for me (for the most part). In a way, it's like by weighing every tomorrow, it's easier to hold myself accountable for what I'm eating every day (if that makes any sense). Analogy: I can't go to the ATM and withdraw however much money I want whenever I want; by checking my balance, I keep myself within budget. Well, my weight loss effort is the same way: by weighing every day, I keep myself aware of how what I'm doing or not doing is affecting my body. Until this diet, I've never owned a scale. Most fat people I know don't own one. You know why? Because if you looked at that number everyday, eventually you'd feel compelled to do something about it--if you give a crap at all about your health. So must of us don't ever have one, effectively sticking our heads in the sand like ostriches.
Anyway, today I finally dropped 3 of the 3 1/2pounds I gained since Monday. I went back over my daily weight log and discovered a pattern. On exactly the same days last month, I gained 4 pounds; on the 24 of January I started to drop it. I wonder if it's a cyclical thing. Women are known to retain water and gain weight during the week of their menstrual cycle. But, in my case, it looks like that actually happens about 10 days before (I guess that's why they call it PREmenstrual syndrome). I know this seems a little TMI, but I've got to express how RELIEVED this makes me. I was soo frustrated giving 100% in my workouts and struggling through personal problems to keep my diet going only to gain weight.

Moral: Keep track of everything!! has a great Excel spreadsheet that allows you to track your weight loss: you enter your beginning stats and weigh-in weekly, and it tracks your total loss, average weekly loss, pounds to your goal and BMI.
Realizing this about my body will help me next month when I see the numbers on the scale going the wrong way. It also will help me set more realistic goals. I just hope I can still make my March 1st goal. 5 more days to go!!

This Change Isn't Just Physical...

T.G.I.F. Whew! Thank goodness I made it through this week; I admit, it's been a rough one (I guess Week 7 wasn't so lucky for me). Over the last several days, I've had several "issues" with various friends and members of my family. They started out over trivial things, but seemed to rapidly escalate into heated "talk-uments". I began to feel as though I was in the Twilight Zone. It seemed if I saw something yellow, everyone else said it was green! I've spent several days on edge, cranky, sensitive--NOO I'm WASN'T PMSing (that's next week)--and I couldn't understand why.
I recently spoke to a close friend of mine who helped calm my hysterics and gave me a new perspective. She reminded me that this diet isn't just a matter of less calories & more exercise; it's a whole new lifestyle. And, sure, those of us who've struggled with weight know that the only success comes with a change in lifestyle, but who really ever talks about how that change really affects your everyday? Who talks about the fact that after spending 28 years using food as my main source of comfort, I may not do too well once I take it away? The late night Snickers bar, bag of Cheetos or Taco Bell combo meal wasn't satisfying a physical hunger; I was feeding an emotional need. The very act of eating somehow became a metaphor for filling a void in my life, rather than my stomach. I'm not yet sure what that void is (at least conciously), but identifying that it exists and getting control of it rather than letting it control me is a BIG step.
I've likened this journey to an alcoholic, smoker or drug addict trying to kick the habit. In those situations, the person usually quits "cold turkey". With food, though it is an addiction, I can't quit cold turkey--I mean, I gotta eat! And food is EVERYWHERE!! It's in my face wherever I go, and it's never what's good for me. IT PISSES ME OFF!!! And maybe that's why I've been having issues with those around me; maybe I'm suffering from a form of withdrawl. My body has been used to me stuffing it with junk in order to feel "better"; now, I'm not doing that and deep down under all this fat I'm mad!
{SIGH} So, what are my options at this point? Well, I'm sure there are several, but my approach is one of deprogramming & reprogramming. I have to deprogram my body from thinking Doritos will make me feel better; I have to reprogram it to think a brisk walk would be GREAT! I have to remember that, like an alcoholic, smoker or druggie, life on the "other side" is better for me physically, emotionally and mentally. I just hope those around me will bear with me while I "detox".

Sunday, February 19, 2006

Break a Leg, Sugar Booger!

Just wanted to give a shout-out about my little sister Ashley, my budding star, who is at this moment performing with her school choir in Carnegie Hall in NYC! She's sixteen and is in a magnet program for voice and music (she plays piano). The "Lightning Singers" are performing in one of the nation's most celebrated entertainment venues in the nation and I'm soo very proud. I love her to pieces.


First off, today is the end of Week Six on NS, and weigh-in this morning brings my weight loss total to 19.5 pounds!

I'm soooo SORE!!!! OK, so I ordered these 2 fitness videos: "Dance Fitness for Beginners: Daily Quickies 10 Minutes Workouts" and "Dance with Lisa: Red Hot Salsa Made Simple". I decided to try them out yesterday. First, I put in the Daily Quickies video (I just like the name, heehee). It has 5 10-minute samplings of workouts from various instructors: Raina who does belly dancing for upper body toning; Jayna who does bellydance for the whole body; Suhaila who leads a "bellydance buns program"; and MaDonna Grimes who's an MTV choregrapher and does a cardio workout with a hip-hop dance feel. MaDonna comes up first and gets right into it (remember, it's only 10 minutes so there's no time for small talk). Four minutes into it I was sweating up a storm and my legs were burning!! I stopped 4 and 1/2 minutes into it. I scanned through the other workouts and find they'll probably be quite interesting. Then I put in the Salsa video and this one is GREAT. The dance moves are easy to follow and you really feel like you're doing an aerobic workout, even though you're just dancing. I did about 15 minutes of that (my legs were still burning from my four minutes in MaDonna hell) and went on a 2.25 mile walk with Mosley. Boy, I am feeling it today. I've complained to my mom about it who says only, "no pain, no gain!" But, in my case, shouldn't it be "no pain, no lose"?!?!

Anyway, I went to a karaoke bar last night with RJ (remember "Blind Man" who's not really blind). I gotta tell ya, even six weeks in, it's still a struggle to sit in a bar for a couple of hours and watch what I drink or eat. I had two Bacardi and diet cokes and nursed them the entire night with 3 glasses of water in between. At the end of the night when I thought I'd gotten off ok, RJ orders a batch of hot chicken wings and french fries!! I could have killed him. THEN, he got them to go so I had to suffer through the 20 minute drive with the smell of spicy, tender, juicy, sauce-laden wings calling my name!!! OF COURSE, I ate one. But only one. And I skipped my NS dessert and dinner fat to do it. Was it worth it? HELL, YESS! And I was still down a half-pound today. YAY!!

Friday, February 17, 2006

On My Own

TGIF!! And a 3-day weekend, too, woohoo! But that's really all I have to be excited about right now. I'm in a bit of a mood. For those of us struggling with weight loss, there are soo many issues to address in addition to eating the right foods and working out. So, how do you handle it when people close to you aren't as enthusiastic about your journey as you are?! I mean, I know it's not my friends' or family members' weight problem. I don't expect them to be thrilled at every half-pound lost or chocolate bar left uneaten--those are my little victories and I'll take each and every one of them as fast as I can get them. But sometimes I'd like--I NEED--support from my friends. One close friend said to me that while he's happy I'm on this diet, he's "waiting for the finished product" before he says anything. Doesn't he realize that I need the support NOW, not when I've reached my goal?!! Another friend scolded me, telling me that my weight loss should be for me only, and I shouldn't need encouragement or acknowledgement from my friends. He's right to a certain extent. The weight loss is for me and my health; but am I the only one who needs a friend to lean on when they're going through something drastic in life?! Why should my needing support for my weight loss be any different than if I needed it to kick a drug or alcohol habit, or if I was depressed over a dead-end job or a dream career that hasn't panned out or a breakup with a boy/girl friend? Obviously, I have an addiction problem, a self esteem problem and a coping problem--otherwise I wouldn't have this weight problem!! The worst part is that the problems I'm having with my support network are coming from those closest to me and that's the last thing I would have expected. Thank GOD for the NS profiles and blogs (and, of course, my dog Mosley--HE loves me)! At least they offer a means to connect with people struggling with my same issues, who are willing to discuss how much they hate working out or how yogurt seems to be seeping out of their pores, or how anyone can eat those NS muffins--they taste like sawdust! I must say, though, my family has been GREAT. Most of us have a weight problem, and I think it's easier for them to see where I'm coming from and how much losing this weight can improve my quality of life. Also, my co-workers have been exceptionally supportive (even though one gave me Hershey's kisses for Valentine's Day. I ate only ONE and gave away and threw away the rest--yes, I said it: I threw away chocolate, and don't you dare repeat that)!

Bottom line - this journey is my own and the ultimate reward is how I am going to feel about reaching my goal. I put the weight on alone, and I'll take it off pound at a time.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Three Amigos

As I continue to fill out The World According to Cass, you'll become familiar with the cast of "zany" characters I surround myself with. Introducing "Blind Man" RJ Walker and "Angry" Danny, respectively! (RJ's not really blind--but he does usually look like this.) The best part is that I can pretty much say whatever I want to about them cause they never read my blog! LOL! Together, the three of us make up a band we call Domino! Now, I use the term "band" verrry loosely. Other than a few open mic nights and more than a few drunken nights jammin' in a studio, living room or back yard, we haven't had much exposure (unless you count the indecent kind, and that's mostly RJ).

Maybe I CAN do this!

Today was a good day: I had no hunger pangs or cravings; I walked 3 miles and actually enjoyed it (partly due to the fact that I treated myself yesterday and bought a really cool walkman--I was walking and jammin'!). Could it be that I'm actually beginning to enjoy what's known as a healthy, active lifestyle? Nahh...couldn't be. I mean, I've failed on practically every single one of the million and two diets I've been on before. How do I know this will last? What's different now??! (Maybe I am...)

Oh, and "Hello" to my new NS friend Amber who's lost 11 pounds!!
(Even this picture looks better than the "before" pics I took 3 weeks ago--see January 27th post)

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Goal Oriented

This is an every day, every meal, every hour struggle sometimes. I even wake up hungry sometimes. Some days are better than others. Yesterday, I breezed through and I don't think I had all my allotment of food. I just gotta not quit! I've decided to break up my total task into "bite-sized" segments of 8-10lbs at a time. I've been pretty good about walking daily, whether it be a brisk 20minute walk during my lunch break or taking my dog Mosely on a 2-mile trot around the 'hood in the evenings. My legs hurt though. I ordered a dance fitness video to see if I can break up the monotony of my workouts. I've found that in the past, this is one of the reasons I've often quit; I simply get bored. If I can slowly begin to identify my pitfalls and work hard to overcome this, could I really be one of those NSers whose "results are not typical"? I hope so.

Hope you all had a great Valentine's Day (I really did enjoy my processed chocolate) and the sweetest surprise was being down another 1/2 pound today! I'll take it!

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Happy ValentiMe's Day!!

glitter graphics

Hope you all are enjoying your day of hearts, flowers and chocolate! Me? I'll be holding my annual pity party tonight, during which I lament over the fact that I don't have a valentine, gorge myself on candied hearts and chocolate-covered cherries and wistfully watch Valentine's Day episodes of tonight's sitcoms. Great...I can't wait (that was sarcasm, by the way). And this year, I can't even enjoy the chocolate part because of this diet--But wait!! I have the answer: Nutrisystem chocolates! Eight pieces of brown pseudo-chocolate that NS tries to pass off as the real thing to sweet-starved fat people on diets! They taste like melted Milk Duds that have re-hardened and stayed on the movie theater floor overnight. I'm sooo looking forward to them (unfortunately, that was not sarcasm! Enjoy your day!!

Monday, February 13, 2006

Back to Work

I can't believe how great my first hour back at work has been (no matter that I haven't actually done any work yet)! I was dreading having to explain why I didn't go to TN a dozen times; up til now I've explained it four times 'cause I was fortunate enough to catch a group of 5 co-workers in the copy room at one time. For a Monday, everything has gone much better than expected: first, I've gotten great compliments on my weight loss by nearly everyone! I guess the week away has given everyone a chance to compare the "new" me to the me of just 5 weeks ago (did I mention today starts Week Six on Nutrisystem?). Second, though I expected to see my desk buried under a mountain of work, my desk was exactly the way I'd left it last week save one piece of a paper - a note from one of my bosses hoping I had fun on my vacation, telling me she'd left my work on her desk and she'd see me next week! I couldn't believe it! I gotta tell you, coming back to work after a week's vacation to an empty desk (and not having been fired) is a real positive boost psychologically. Wow. I guess I'll sign off now and go get some work done!

Sunday, February 12, 2006

Vacation's Over...

I realize that I should not admit this, but...I'm actually happy to be going back to work tomorrow. Why??!! Because I'm tired of moping around my house all day (though, if I won the Lotto this week, I'm sure I could get very used to it).

Today is the end of my 5th week on Nutrisystem. To date, I have lost a total of 17 pounds, which is just over 3lbs a week. Not bad. I've been walking about 2 miles a day for the last week or so; I'm trying to implement the exercise phase of my weight loss program. I know it's only been 5 weeks, but sometimes I feel like I've been suffering on this diet FOREVER. I just have to keep in mind that it didn't take 5 weeks to put the weight on so I'm damn sure not going to be able to take it all off in that period.

But tomorrow's the start of a new week, and I feel it can be a good one. Hope you all have a great week too!

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Confession's good for the soul?

OK, OK. I confess: I ate Taco Bell food last night. :-( I know, I know. I'm on the verge of a bout of self-flagellation. I'm ashamed to admit it, but I succumbed to my craving for a Crunchwrap Supreme and nachos & cheese. And the best part? I'm up 2.5lbs today. That's what I friggin' get! [but it was sooooooo friggin' good] I just hope I've gotten it out of my system. Like that Dwayne Wade commercial "fall down 7 times, but get up 8" or something like that. Success will only happen if I'm able to overcome obstacles covered in guacamole, sour cream, refried beans and a tortilla shell fried to a light & crispy golden brown. Enough on that.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Hump Day on Vacation

I have a new mini-goal (even though I haven't reached my last one, but this is just an extension of the first one): I'd like to reach 280lbs by my 31st birthday (May 8th). That would be the day before my 4-month mark on NS (God willing I last that long) and would be a loss of 10 pounds a month!! I KNOW I can do it. (Obviously, I'm banking on the power of positive thinking!)

The other day I got an email from a fellow NSer who'd checked out my profile. She had very encouraging words to share and I truly felt she KNEW what I am going through. I want to thank her. The NS profiles, diary, bears and other tools are just as important as the food and exercise in terms of the success I've already had and know it's the key to reaching my goal. I have got to get some pics on this thing...I'll do that soon.

I wonder what they're doing in TN right now...wish I was there. :-(

On another note: as a result of the Pittsburgh Steelers kicking some Seattle butt in the Superbowl, I am the winner of the First Annual Perv's Choice Award! What does this illustrious award include, you ask? A whopping 69 cents!!! [These are the kinds of bets poor people make.]

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Canceled Vacation Tough on Diet

It's Tuesday evening and while I should be sitting in front of a fireplace in a beautiful cabin in TN, I am here at home in front of this computer trying not be depressed. I had to cancel my trip at the last minute--and when I say last minute I mean it: my bags were packed and my ride was on his way...unfortunately, something came up and I've got nothing more to say about that.
So, my week off has me at home, moping and wondering what my friends are doing in TN. This depression seems even worse for my diet than the week away would have been; I'm trying desperately not to let my cravings get to me. Unfortunately, since I've been home with nothing to do, I've been thinking about food more and more. It's a constant battle. I haven't yet gained any weight; we'll see how I fare the rest of this week...

Friday, February 03, 2006

Super Weekend

I'm going on vacation next week; actually leaving just after the SuperBowl. That in and of itself is going to be quite the challenge: having to ignore the chicken wings, chips, dips, cookies and other great snacks! Then, I'll be in Pigeon Forge, TN for a week with a group of friends. I'll be sure and post photos when I get back.
Thus far I've lost a total of 11.5 pounds in about 3 1/2 weeks, and I'm pretty pleased, especially since I hadn't really started any exercise program. The first week was pretty tough: NutriSystem portions are soooo SMALL!! Now, I realize that those are simply normal portions. Little did I know. I've started walking during my lunch break--just a 20-25 minute brisk walk around downtown. I come back to the office a little sweaty, but it seems to be working and so far it's the only time I can find to squeeze some exercise in to my hectic day. My next mini-goal is to lose 9 pounds during the month of February. Baby steps...