Tuesday, February 26, 2013

2013/2003: Week 6

In my quest to re-lose the weight I took off in 2003-2005, I've decided to document each week, comparing life now (first post) with life 10 years ago (second post). My hope is that I can find the momentum that carried me through those two years by looking at what worked for me then.

WEEK 6: 2013 
Beginning Weight: 264.6
Last week's weight: 252.6
This week's weight: 250.6
Week 6's weight loss: 2
Total weight loss: 14

No time to write this morning, but, yes, I am super happy I was able to lose this week, especially after having gone rogue off my eating plan.

I do wish -- like 2003 -- that I was seeing a difference in my clothes, but that's not the case. Jeans still the same tightness they were six weeks ago. Bah.

WEEK 6: 2003 
Beginning Weight: 317
Last week's weight: 299.6
This week's weight: 2
Week 6's weight loss: 2.2
Total weight loss: 19.6

Published 3/18/03
“Don’t you dare give up!” the letter began.

It was from a reader who, having read last week’s update where I gained a pound and fell into a bit of a depression, didn’t want me to stop, didn’t want me to give up on the dieting, or myself.

Her note made me smile.

She would be happy to know I did not let the weight gain keep me down – at least for more than a day or two.

This week, the scale showed progress, a loss of 2.2 pounds. And while I love seeing that number, there was an even more exciting moment for me this past weekend. I pulled out that brown jacket (the one that was inches from buttoning a month ago), and it fit! It was a thrilling, thrilling experience.

An interesting note: Grocery store shopping has never been exciting for me. When I ate what I wanted, it was a depressing trip – wondering what the clerk thought of me as she rang up the fattening foods. And as a new dieter, I would buy the veggies and light meals, all the while thinking, “Oh, who am I kidding?”

But that changed for me this weekend. I shopped with a new attitude. I was excited to buy healthful ingredients for new dishes. I was excited to pick out the best looking grapes and new flavors of hot tea. I was excited – because I knew I had entered a new lifestyle, and this shopping trip represented how I’d be eating the rest of my life.

Here’s a recipe for those who need a little something sweet (though I recommend freezing half of them and individually bagging the others so you don’t eat too many).

Chocolate Pumpkin Muffins
15-ounce can of regular pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling)
1 box of chocolate cake mix
Mix pumpkin and box of chocolate cake mix. Put the mixture in a muffin pan sprayed with nonstick spray and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes. This makes 12-18 muffins that are 2-3 points for each (for those Weight Watcher folks out there).

Monday, February 25, 2013

The Real Me

So I always sigh a little inside when I log on to my blog and see that photo of me from 2008 -- all thinner, cute in pink with pigtails and having just completed the Cherry Blossom 10-miler.

I realized a few weeks ago that I needed to update the photo to have something that was a little more representative of who I am today.

When I was away this weekend, I had my friends take a picture of The Real Me. We were out at their neighborhood track, where I was about to take on my first seven-miler in I don't know how long. It took nearly 2 hours and 28 laps but I did it. And it felt great.

I definitely didn't eat as well as I wanted to this weekend, but I kept my portions decent-sized and the scale rewarded me this morning when I checked in. Unfortunately, today I had too much (nothing bad, just hearty meals -- both lunch and dinner -- from the Protein Bar) and I have a feeling tomorrow's weight will be more than today's. In fact, I'm sure of it. But gosh I sure would like to see a weight-loss from last week. Here's hoping.

So up there in that little corner is The Real Me in all my full weight glory. (Note the big fleece -- my savior during winter runs b/c it hides the tight running clothes underneath.)

I hope to hit the track again tomorrow, propelled by this weekend's great accomplishment.

Friday, February 22, 2013


I am facing two weekends in a row where I'll be without my fresh food delivery, and today was Day 1 without it. Naturally, I've been a little scared. I don't want to mess up what I've accomplished by eating the wrong thing.

So instead I haven't really eaten much today.

I had saved a snack from earlier in the week (yogurt with mangos) and had it for breakfast. And then I kinda slept most of the day (not good! so much to do!). I just got back up and decided I needed to eat. So I opened my freezer (for the first time in five-plus weeks) and looked at my options. Lean Cuisines, Trader Joe meals, and some Tyson chicken breasts. Lightly breaded but low in calories and fat and packaging that says "all natural ingredients." Which I hoped meant no preservatives.

I made two and just sat down to eat.

Two or three bites in, and I have to throw it away. The salt is overwhelming. I used to eat these as my version of eating healthy and they tasted great. I guess I was used to the sodium. But now, after having eating such fresh food all these weeks, I can't stomach it.

(I just went back to the freezer to make sure I read the label correctly. Turns out there's a little tiny asterisk next to "all natural ingredients" that says "minimally processed." Of course.)

I think, though, this is a really good thing. It means what I've been eating has been so much better for my body. I must admit, though, I'm a little worried about how to eat the next three days. Luckily I will be with people who are very healthy eaters, so perhaps it won't be too bad. But trying to find all fresh foods -- that is harder than it seems.

Luckily for right now, I have an option for dinner. A new place opened up nearby called the Protein Bar, and it has all the kinds of foods I got in my weekly meals. Going to have some quinoa for dinner and maybe a smoothie. I certainly need to eat more, as I've probably only had 200 calories so far today. And it's 5:44. Not healthy. Not smart. But the result of being terrified about what to eat!

I'm not sure why it has to be so hard. But no wonder we have such health problems. I'm kind of freaked out by what I've been ingesting all these decades. If it's not fresh...what is it?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

2013/2003: Week 5

In my quest to re-lose the weight I took off in 2003-2005, I've decided to document each week, comparing life now (first post) with life 10 years ago (second post). My hope is that I can find the momentum that carried me through those two years by looking at what worked for me then.

WEEK 5: 2013 
Beginning Weight: 264.6
Last week's weight: 252.6
This week's weight: 252.6
Week 5's weight loss: 0
Total weight loss: 12

I'm more than upset right now. Typically, when I don't lose weight or I gain, I can point to reasons why. I haven't exercised or I snacked more than I should have. But that's not the case here. Or is it? I did buy some nuts on Sunday and had a serving or two. And I probably had too many Diet Cokes last week and not enough water. And technically I only exercised three times since the last weigh-in (two 3-milers, one 6-miler).

Oh the second-guessing and frustration caused by the damn scale.

Furious and slapping together this blog post with angry typing fingers, I had to laugh (though it was the sarcastic laugh) when I saw the 2003 post.

Ah, perspective.

WEEK 5: 2003 
Beginning Weight: 317
Last week's weight: 298.4
This week's weight: 299.6
Week 5's weight loss: +1.2
Total weight loss: 17.4

Published: 03/11/2003
Yes, you’re reading that number right – I am 1.2 pounds heavier than last week. And believe me, seeing that weight gain written in ink on my chart was heartbreaking.

No, I didn’t eat pie or pizza or indulge in anything bad. I think that’s what made it feel worse.

No matter what I heard this week – reminders that there will always be weight fluctuations, that my body could be experiencing a plateau, that I had been losing too much and my body’s trying to hold on – I still felt like I had failed.

As a result, I didn’t walk. I entered that “why bother?” phase. I cursed my fat body in the mirror.

I know I’m doing good – the proof is in how my eating habits have changed, how the pizza man no longer makes weekly trips to my home, how I’m saving money by not stopping for take-out lunches, dinners, midnight snacks.

At the same time, I worry that this bump in the road will make me regress.

I’ve got to stop that from happening.

Saturday, February 16, 2013


I don't know if it has anything to do with running again or stress or a three-day weekend, but all I want to do is eat. And preferably a cupcake or something sweet. The desire is so strong, it's disturbing my concentration.

I (foolishly) thought I had already (it's only been a month) reached that point where I was immune to cravings of bad food. My preplanned meals were filling me up and I stuck to my schedule of eating them and nothing else. I had no desire to eat what others were eating in front of me. I had crossed over!

Or so I thought.

No, the cravings hit some time earlier this week. I found myself noticeably hungrier after my Monday and Tuesday runs. And yesterday and today, all I could think about is food (and not the kale/carrot combo on the menu for dinner).

Luckily I have fought the urges. Honestly, this meal-delivery service has helped a lot in that regard. Not just because I only eat what they give me and nothing more. But, because it's so costly, I refuse to buy other food -- and I refuse to do anything (like eat a cupcake) that will make that money go to waste.

I know how lucky I am to have this available where I live, and that I have the money to buy it. And I know by doing this, it makes me much less relatable to others in my situation. One of the hardest things about dieting is the buying, preparing, thinking about food. And I've been able to eliminate those hardships.

But if I'm to succeed right now -- at a time in my life where work is all-consuming and me-time is nearly nonexistent -- I know it's something I need to do. I know it's not a permanent solution. I will eventually need to figure out how to eat healthful foods while living a busy life. Why does it have to be so hard?

I am facing two challenges coming up: back-to-back weekends where I'm going out of town and will likely pause the food delivery. My hope is that the patterns I've established this past month will travel with me.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

2013/2003: Week 4

In my quest to re-lose the weight I took off in 2003-2005, I've decided to document each week, comparing life now (first post) with life 10 years ago (second post). My hope is that I can find the momentum that carried me through those two years by looking at what worked for me then.

WEEK 4: 2013 
Beginning Weight: 264.6
Last week's weight: 254.4
This week's weight: 252.6
Week 4's weight loss: 1.8
Total weight loss: 12

I suppose I should celebrate if for no other reason than I've made it a month! For me, that's a big accomplishment, as I've struggled so much this past year to stay on track for even a day at a time. Slowly but surely, old habits are falling away, and I'm getting into a routine. 

This past weekend, I did something that could be considered foolish or brave: I signed up for a half marathon. And I weigh 250 pounds. And during my last half marathon, I weighed 235 and it still just about killed me. BUT having this event on the calendar -- a "destination" race in Delaware in May with a good friend, and a race with no time limit -- is giving me the much-needed kick in the pants to start walking/running again. 

My first day back was Monday and I was out again this morning. Three miles each time, both using the walk/run strategy that I hope will keep me healthy. And since it's been a long time since I've been out there, I am starting off by walking more than running. I do the 3/2 routine: alternating 3 minutes of walking with 2 minutes of running.

I am still fretting about my work schedule and if I'll have time to exercise AND finish the work I have to do this month. I even had a small moment of panic this weekend when I realized how difficult it was going to be. But I made the decision Saturday night to recommit to my strict schedule of sleep/run/work/30-min break/work/sleep. And I decided that the running part would not be the first thing to go when things get tough.

It was funny, then, to read this morning my weight update from 2003, when I wrote, "No matter the work I have facing me at the office, I’ve committed myself, once more, to getting in that daily walk."

2013 Diana is really starting to get in sync with 2003 Diana.

Getting back into an exercise routine has already proved beneficial: During my walk/run this morning, I was thinking about what I was going to wear today. I wanted to look nice. For no reason. 

Taking care of yourself really does translate into better living and a better attitude. 

WEEK 4: 2003 
Beginning Weight: 317
Last week's weight: 303.2
This week's weight: 298.4
Week 4's weight loss: 4.8
Total weight loss: 18.6

Published: 03/04/2003

I am an emotional eater.

My life is filled with the patterns of an emotional eater. No matter the problem – lousy day at work, feeling alone, having trouble with finances – each carries with it the images of the ice cream, the pizza, the chips bleeping across the grocery store scanner.

I stuffed the food in my mouth to numb the rest. I tried to fill the emptiness – and in doing so became the obese woman I am today.

My patterns, my history, my habits have been in the forefront of my mind this week as I’ve struggled through a series of hard events: personal illness, work stress and, most recently, my mother’s hospitalization.

When all is good with the world, eating well and exercising daily is not a problem. But when the stress builds, all of a sudden, I feel a hunger I hadn’t felt before. It’s a hunger that craves the bad stuff. It’s a hunger that screams, “Eat and you’ll feel better. Fill the emptiness with food.”

It was enlightening to feel that hunger last week and know that it was not true hunger – it simply was my body trying to cope with bad news the way it has done for 28 years.I’m happy to say I didn’t give in.

I had to work at it, though. Whenever I felt like giving in and grabbing a slice of cake or fast food, I had to repeat a question to myself: “Then what?” I had to ask myself, after you eat that food you’re craving, when the last crumb is gone, then what? What will you have left? You’ll have nothing to show for that five minutes of bingeing other than regret. Is it worth it?

For people who have never struggled with weight, it may be hard to understand why a person needs to question – and reconsider – every piece of food they pick up. But it’s a battle I must constantly fight. The self-questioning is a part of that. And it has helped me stay on track.

I’m taking it one day at a time.

My mom, thankfully, is out of the hospital. My cold is on its way out. And no matter the work I have facing me at the office, I’ve committed myself, once more, to getting in that daily walk.

This week, I’m happy to report, I lost an additional 4.8 pounds – and I’m a mere 1.6 away from my first goal of 20 pounds.

A few things have helped keep me on track – they’re not golden nuggets by any means, but they’ve helped me:

FROZEN YOGURT: No, not that commercial stuff. Just take some grocery store fat-free yogurt (I’m in love with lemon chiffon) and plop it in the freezer overnight. Let it defrost about 30-40 minutes, and it’s heavenly. Same with frozen grapes. Yum.

HOT TEA: When going out for “coffee” with a friend, I remembered that it wouldn’t be wise to have a double mocha latte (or even a skinny one). So I ordered some caffeine-free hot tea, and it was perfect. Bonus: It was a great way to end a day and is soothing to the stomach.

RAW SPINACH: I’m not much of a salad person (I just don’t have time to chop all that stuff up), but I love filling a bowl with raw baby spinach and tossing it with a tablespoon of low-fat dressing. It’s a great way to get in those veggies.

SUPPORT SYSTEM: I used to be one of those people who thought she didn’t need anyone to help her lose weight – in fact, I hated people bothering me about it. I’ve since learned (from our readers) that surrounding yourself with people who support you and encourage you is golden.

THAT SHIRT/SKIRT THAT DOESN’T FIT: I love trying on clothes now – just to see if they fit a little better. It can be frustrating, yes. But slowly but surely, that outfit’s gonna fit.

A GOOD BOOK: Instead of watching TV to unwind (which may cause unnecessary snacking), I’ve found that going into my bedroom to read is a much better substitute.

INCENTIVES: Each week at the grocery store, I buy myself a bouquet of flowers for my dining room table. When I hit 20 pounds of weight loss, I’m treating myself to a facial. At 30, well, who knows? I’ll find something great to shoot for. It’s so important to reward yourself – and with something other than food.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

2013/2003: Week 3

In my quest to re-lose the weight I took off in 2003-2005, I've decided to document each week, comparing life now (first post) with life 10 years ago (second post). My hope is that I can find the momentum that carried me through those two years by looking at what worked for me then.

WEEK 3: 2013 
Beginning Weight: 264.6
Last week's weight: 255.4
This week's weight: 254.4
Week 3's weight loss: 1
Total weight loss: 10.2

When I started this whole "Let's compare life now with life 10 years ago" idea, thinking it would be great to mimic my weight loss from back then, I WASN'T hoping to mimic other aspects of my life. But here I am, in Week 3, sick. Week 3 in 2003? Sick.

Ah well, such is life in winter, I suppose.

My chest cold -- and the exhaustion it has brought -- has made it hard to exercise. I walked extra Metro stops only once in Week 3, and it was for just a mile. I've pretty much been horizontal in bed or at my desk working all week. Not a good thing for someone trying to lose weight. 

And, hence, a mere 1 pound weight loss. I'm not happy. Twice this week I sat with groups of friends as they ate regular meals and I just sipped my Diet Coke and water. I even passed up the birthday cake at a friend's party. My eating has been perfect. But I know it's not enough. I know I've got to get moving.

Unfortunately, the exhaustion I've been feeling has been overwhelming. Perhaps working from 3:45 a.m. to 7 p.m. one day last week didn't help. But my workload this month isn't going to get any easier. And there are races I have signed up for that require actual training. How I will find the time for that, I do not know. No matter how many to-the-minute schedules I make for myself, I have yet to make it work. 

I realize that something's got to give, and it's probably my second job, but because the second job is the one I love most, it's hard to just give it up. It's really the only place in my life where I feel proud of what I do and what I'm capable of. And I can't give that up. I might be less exhausted if I did, but I wouldn't be happier.

So. Keep up with the good eating. And hope I can figure out a way to make time for the obviously much-needed exercise. 

WEEK 3: 2003 
Beginning Weight: 317
Last week's weight: 306
This week's weight: 303.2
Week 3's weight loss: 2.8
Total weight loss: 13.8

Published: 02/25/2003
I was foolish this week.

I thought I had lost more weight than I had – then fell into a bit of a depression when I pulled out of my closet (and tried on) a brown blazer I hadn’t been able to button for about a year. Urrrrg! I still was far from fitting inside the bugger. I threw it to the floor (though I stopped myself from jumping up and down on it).

People keep asking me if I feel any different, if my clothes feel any better, but I haven’t been able to tell. While the dieting has gone very well (in three weeks, I’ve yet to eat more than I’m allotted), exercise is key and I haven’t been as good in that area.

The problem? Sheer exhaustion from work compounded with a new respiratory infection that makes it hard to breathe. I’m hoping to beat this illness soon – my goal is to be out walking again this morning and build myself back up.

To update you, I lost 2.8 pounds in Week 3. I just hope this newest curveball won’t keep me down.

Note: Just when I thought I was safe, having avoided the Valentine’s Day chocolate on the store shelves, I was greeted Sunday at Lowes Foods by a group of girls screaming “Want to buy some Girl Scout cookies?”

Normally, I would stop and purchase a few boxes, justifying it by “it’s charity. I have to support those cute little fund-raising scouts.” Instead, I offered a smile and a “Sorry, I can’t.”

Because I couldn’t.

Friday, February 1, 2013

She is Me

As I was walking out of my apartment today, I was happy to see a neighbor a few doors down leaving at the same time. I hadn't seen her since this summer, when we both were in the elevator, sweat already pouring down our faces -- despite still being in an air-conditioned building and it only being 10 a.m.

You see, she's like me. And I don't see many of us in this city.

I can tell by the way she carries herself, that she, too, is unhappy with her weight. But both times I've seen her, I've also been struck by how pretty she is and how nice she dresses. 

Today,  I held the elevator door for her while she put trash in the chute. As she hurried to the open door, she was breathing hard. "I have got to lose weight," she said. "It's killing me." 

I imagine that she wouldn't normally say something like this to just anyone on an elevator. But she knew I understood. And I told her I did and mentioned something about stress and how it can really make it hard. She then said, "You ignore it for so long and it gets out of control."

Yes, yes it does. 

I see her and I want to help. I want to help her. Because I already care about her, and my heart goes out to her and her struggles. But she is me. And why do I find it so much harder to help myself? 

Until we learn to take care of ourselves, we can't genuinely help others. This self-analysis, self-help I'm going through right now seems very, er, selfish, but I know it's an important first step.