Monday, December 22, 2014

More white knuckles

Gosh what a horrible time of year to be dieting.

Last week was a bit rough: On Thursday, I sat by myself as my co-workers enjoyed their own personal pizzas from &Pizza ( and then participated in a cookie exchange. I sat and ate my salad in silence, but man was it hard. At one point, a very sweet co-worker quickly slid a plate of cookies on my desk, and I only looked at those delicious specimens briefly before I had to tell him thanks, but I just can't.

The next day was a friend's birthday party, with more cookies, candy, chips and pizza. I had two Diet Cokes and then went home to eat my Lean Cuisine pizza.

I thought I was being rewarded for my will power when I stepped on the scale and saw the goal I had hoped to reach by Christmas. Was super happy. But that number has since gone up a pound. I've done nothing to deserve the extra pound so I'm trying not to let it upset me. THIS is why you should only weigh yourself once a week.

My walk/jog on Saturday was quite nice -- I felt more comfortable with the 5 miles and jogged 8 brief bursts. I'm at 54 (!) straight days of walking.

But I admit to being worried about this week. Being alone on Christmas (and still not knowing what to eat; I really don't want a Lean Cuisine) is a scary thing for me. I need to keep the focus and not give in to the temptation of "It's CHRISTMAS. I should be able to eat Chinese food!"

Hoping the momentum keeps me going. I'm down about 20 pounds from two months ago, though I look ever the same. Every time I think I look pretty in a new dress, by the end of the day, I feel as big and horrible as ever.

I'm not trying to be a downer -- just saying that despite the great momentum, walking and dieting, sometimes it just sucks to be dieting during the holidays and feeling more alone and separated than ever.

But onward. It won't be long before Jan. 1 hits and many others are in a similar boat.

316 days until the MCM: Walked 1.5 miles
315 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles
314 days until the MCM: Walked 3 miles
313 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles
312 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
311 days until the MCM: Walked 1.5 miles
310 days until the MCM: Walked 5 miles (with 8 bursts of jogging)
309 days until the MCM: Walked 1.5 miles

Saturday, December 13, 2014

White-knuckling it

So, funny thing.

Very shortly after that last post, I got sick. The whole running nose, sore throat, congestion, miserable feeling. I was so mad. I had worked so hard to keep myself healthy and here I was sick -- again. I truly worried about how it was going to affect my walking streak, and my diet momentum.

Not gonna lie: It's been a white-knuckle week. So many days I did not want to walk. Even today: I was supposed to do five miles, and by 2 p.m. I was just dragging. All I wanted to do was sleep. And I've found it harder to resist the so-freakin-many temptations all around me. The grocery store trip alone was torturous. Candy and cookies and cakes everywhere.

But. I managed to walk (albeit most days only 1 mile) with intention every day. And I've kept myself under 1,600 calories. It really hasn't been easy. And because it hasn't been easy, I've been much less confident that I can do this. The next two weeks will be an obstacle course around bad foods -- and around the bad neighborhood in my mind that pops up when I'm by myself for the holidays.

But right now, at this moment, I'm still able to say I've walked 46 days in a row and haven't given in to temptations. I pray I can ride this momentum through the rough patches ahead.

323 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
322 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
321 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
320 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
319 days until the MCM: Walked 1.5 miles
318 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
317 days until the MCM: Walked 5 miles (with six small bursts of jogging)

Saturday, December 6, 2014

39 days straight!

I don't think I've ever done anything for 39 days straight. Except, you know, breathe and eat and sleep.

I am beyond grateful that I have remained healthy enough to walk and that my legs are still taking me places. One of my fears is getting sick or injured and having a setback too soon into this goal of mine. I thank God for getting me this far. I've had tired legs many nights, but I think that is easing.

I'm also, remarkably, doing well on the eating front, staying under 1,600 calories a day for more than a month. This is mega progress for me. I just hope the momentum propels me during these oh-so-hard holiday months coming up. 

I bought new running shoes yesterday, which thrilled me. Just being in a running store, being fitted, running on the treadmill, talking about my goal -- it felt great. And so far, so good on the shoes. They were just fine on today's 5-plus-mile walk/jog.

Yes, I said jog! This is SO minor but it's progress. I want to incorporate small bits of jogging into some of my walks this month. Because I was doing 5 miles today for the first time in forever + using new shoes, I didn't want to do too much. So I waited until the last mile and then did four 1-minute bursts. It. Felt. So. Good. 

This week, though, has had its challenges. My stress level was high, my hours of sleep were too few, and I've been frustrated by so many things. Maybe that's actually why I'm doing well with the walking -- it has given me at least ONE thing I have had control over. Which is another reason I pray I don't get hurt.

331 days until the MCM: Walked 4 miles
330 days until the MCM: Walked 1.5 miles
329 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
328 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
327 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
326 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles
325 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles
324 days until the MCM: Walked 5+ miles

Saturday, November 29, 2014

331 days till the MCM!

339 days until the MCM: Walked 1.5 miles
338 days until the MCM: Walked 4 miles
337 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
336 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
335 days until the MCM: Walked 3 miles
334 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles
333 days until the MCM: Walked 3.1 miles
332 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles

Friday, November 28, 2014

That point when it's so worth it ...

Yesterday, Thanksgiving, was a wee bit hard on me food-wise. So many delicious offerings -- and no idea what they contained calorie-wise. I tried to choose wisely and put small dollops on my plate. I steered clear of the pasta and sweet-n-creamy foods, though I did have a small biscuit and a roll. But I had only one plate worth (and it wasn't piled), did not get seconds, and for dessert I had a small piece of the crust-less pumpkin pie I've made every year since the Weight Watchers recipe entered my life.

When I got home, hours later, I was hungry. So I had leftover squash casserole (another WW recipe) for dinner and another small piece of the pumpkin pie.

When I weighed myself today, to compare it to yesterday (pre-Thanksgiving meal), I was very pleased to see that the scale had gone down. And that I had hit the second small goal of mine.

Yesterday also marked another milestone: 30 straight days of walking -- and the 30th day was the 5K Turkey Trot, so that was cool, too.

Whenever my routine is jostled, that's when I feel out of control, which brings on the binge eating. So that's what I had to be extra careful (and aware) of over the past few days. When my friends and I went to see The Hunger Games, we packed popcorn and Fiber One bars. When I got back from my Turkey Trot, I had some eggs and turkey bacon, so I wouldn't be starving when I went to our gathering. Feeling organized and prepared is so key for me. I have to remember that.

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I was so blessed to spend it, again, with a group of friends I love dearly. I hope your blessings were abundant, too.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

That point when it gets hard ...

I'm still doing well -- still eating right, still walking.

But tonight I tried on a dress I ordered for Thanksgiving. And it was tight and looked so horrendous on me. I stared at my horrible body in the mirror and all of a sudden I didn't see the woman who has been working so hard, who has been walking every day, who has been eating all the right foods. I saw the woman I had become after years of not taking care of myself. And for a brief moment, I had that horrible thought of "Why bother?" Followed by a string of all the bad names I call myself in moments of self-pity.

Only I am determined to not dwell on it. I definitely feel sadder right now, heavier, disappointed. But I know the happiness I so desire isn't going to be found if I give up. I'll have to send the nifty Thanksgiving dress back (it had a fall leaf pattern that was so pretty). And wear something old.

And walk tomorrow, my 29th day.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Yes, even last night!

I don't have much time, but I wanted to report that the streak continues at 28 days! 

Yesterday and today had potential to be bad: I had planned on walking after work, but work (which typically ends between 7:30 and 8:30) for me lasted until 10:30 p.m. We decided to replate and try to get in the Ferguson decision in as many papers as possible. The decision was to be announced at 9, but as everyone knows it wasn't until 9:30 that the prosecutor said the words. I updated the story by 10, the cover was finished at 10:20 and it was rush, rush, rush. I was exhausted. But I had to walk. So I did. I went down to the treadmill, got in that minimum 1 mile and got home around 11:30.

Today, I need to leave work at 7:30 for trivia night, so my plan was to get in the walk this morning. It was super hard to get up. But two things made me: 1. Today would be the last day of decent weather before the temperatures sink, and I really, really like to walk outside whenever possible, and 2. I just couldn't break the streak. 

I just got back from doing 3 miles. Still pretty tired. But pumped.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Still going

It's been a hectic two weeks. I had a proofreading assignment that was killer and took much longer than I anticipated. And work has been extra stressful as I've taken on more duties while we're short-staffed.


I still walked every day. This is a big deal for me, because usually the first thing to go when I'm stretched for time is the exercise. There were days I was so busy I had to take my proofreading job with me to the treadmill. But I didn't let my goal fall away: I've now walked 23 days in a row.

I think two things have helped me keep this goal going: 1. Momentum. Once I hit a record number of days walking in a row, I didn't want to break the cycle. And 2. Baby steps. Allowing myself a minimum of 1 mile has made it so much more attainable. On days when I was super stretched for time, I knew that I could do just 1 mile and it would be enough.

I've also managed to continue eating great. Yes, we are coming up on Thanksgiving next week and then the danger zone of the Christmas holiday season, but I'm trying to, at least right now, plan ahead mentally for what I'll be faced with.

It's hard to imagine that my ultimate goal is to RUN in a MARATHON when right now I'm just walking between 1 and 3 miles a day. But every big success story has to begin somewhere. And mine is beginning here.

352 days until the MCM: Walked 3 miles
351 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
350 days until the MCM: Walked 2.5 and 1 miles
349 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles
348 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
347 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
346 days until the MCM: Walked 2.5 miles
345 days until the MCM: Walked 3 miles
344 days until the MCM: Walked 3 miles
343 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
342 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
341 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
340 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile


Saturday, November 8, 2014

MCM 2015

This blog began so many moons ago with the express purpose of training for the Marine Corps Marathon. Almost every year since, I have set my sights on it, but for some reason or another, I haven't been able to get to that starting line. But that destination -- the starting line and the finish line -- still remains a goal.

As of today, there are 352 days until MCM 2015, the 40th annual race. Hmm ... 40 ... a number I am most familiar with having turned it last week. I have had my game plan in hand ever since that day, and so far, I've stuck to it. Of course, it's pretty simple in these early stages! But the fact that I've gone out there with intent each day since my 40th birthday, well, that's no small thing.

362 days until the MCM: Walked 3 miles
361 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
360 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles
359 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
358 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
357 days until the MCM: Walked 1 mile
356 days until the MCM: Walked 1.5 miles
355 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles
354 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles
353 days until the MCM: Walked 2 miles

Of course, being as heavy as I am, there is a weight concern and now is the time to focus on that. I know that when the training gets into heavy mileage -- come June or so -- weight-loss will be a lot harder to come by. So now is the crucial time for me to get what I can off. And while there's no specific game plan on that end, the best tool I have in my toolbox is something I have never used before: a therapist. A real therapist who specializes in weight, who helped open a national wellness center, who has so far made a real difference.

I'll keep the blog updated as I continue on this journey. I'm very determined to get to that finish line one day -- and am feeling good about this being the year.

Saturday, August 16, 2014


Today I was playing baseball with my favorite 3-year-old, his parents and two of our friends. It was the most beautiful day, and I was so happy to be out there with them.

"Diana, you're catcher," Jack told me, and I obliged.

Jack is an amazing ballplayer. He hits far and pitches like a pro. But when he'd miss, I'd go after the ball and toss it back to his dad, J.J.

With each bad throw, I'd say, "Sorry!" And Jack would look at me quizzically.

Finally he turned around and said, "Why are you sorry?"

I paused. "Because I'm not a very good thrower," I said. He paused, turned back around and was ready for the next pitch.

But what he said hit me hard. Why WAS I sorry? Why do I apologize for every little thing? And when I do, do I confuse little 3-year-olds who are taught to apologize when they do something wrong, only to see me apologize because my toss was a little crooked? Could it make them equate a lack of talent in an area as being "wrong" or "bad"?

Jack mostly hit home-runs. Mom and dad and friends would react clumsily to the ball and miss him as he ran the bases. But one time, dad J.J. tagged him out. And Jack's little face fell into a frown. "I don't WANT to be out," he said.

"But, Jack, everyone gets tagged out every once in awhile. But they get back into the game and try again, right?" I said.

"Riiiiight," he said, his head down. Then he perked back up and was ready for the next pitch.

The next one was out of the park.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

So Easy, Yet So Hard

It's amazing how much better you feel, emotionally and physically, when you eat well. I know this. You know this. And yet, for some reason, there's such a resistance to doing so. Why wouldn't we want to feel better?

The answer has become more and more clear to me with each passing year. For me, I don't eat well because, deep down, I don't want to feel better because I don't think I deserve to feel better. That, I believe, is the underlying reason. There is, of course, also addiction.

Having to battle both of these demons is hard. It's exhausting. It's painful. And because it's hard, exhausting and painful, I've reverted back to my old habits time and time again. Apparently, it's so much easier to hate myself than love myself.

It's been a good week so far. Not good in terms of work and relationships and such. But good in terms of ... peace. I'm eating well. I'm walking every other day with bouts of jogging. I'm doing Lenten devotions each morning. I'm working hard at work and sleeping well at night. And I'm making myself think about where this self-hatred, self-sabotage comes from.

I even wore a new dress yesterday that I would never have worn without this feeling of peace inside me. (Horizontal stripes around the hips...that says it all.) It was cute but definitely accentuated my wideness. My thought was, "I am what I am. This dress is cute. I'm going to wear it with confidence." And I did (ish. There were still moments of feeling self-conscious but I tried to nip the internal criticism).

I don't know what tomorrow brings. I don't know if something will happen that will make me snap and revert back to the depressed state that squashes the peace. But I am so grateful for these few days that give me hope.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Who Do You Want to Be?

Last night's 5K was great. Yes, I was the slowest I've ever been. Yes, I was practically last. Yes, I felt some pains afterward I wish I hadn't. BUT. It was a beautiful night. I was able to run/walk the three miles (alternating 1-minute run/4-minute walk). And when I got home, I felt good about myself.

When people ask me why I like to run, it's hard to explain. But I felt something last night that I think sums it up pretty well: When I'm running, I don't feel 260 pounds. Even though it's hard for me to pick up my feet, even though I sweat profusely and have a hard time catching my breath after a bit, there's that moment when I'm running where I feel light as a feather. Like if I could just keep going, I'd take off and be free. When I'm running, I don't picture myself the way I look to the world. I think that's why it's so hard for me to see photos of myself running. I don't feel like a girl who is plodding. I feel like a girl who is flying.

Of course, I AM plodding. And I know I have to be careful about this love of mine. Running is not great for a person my weight. I must really work to take care of my hips, my knees, my ankles. I don't want to be sidelined forever. I had a scare last night when I thought I hurt my ankle. And immediately I pictured myself on crutches, hobbling to work, sitting on the couch and gaining more weight. I prayed all night that I wasn't injured. I need this. I need to be outside and walking and running when I can.

Something I've been meaning to do for years and never did: Compile some "before" and "after"s. Not like the one from my first blog post (which goes from heavy to lighter). This one is the opposite. Photos from my thinner days and photos of me now.

I just printed this out and I'll be putting it up in my apartment with the words "Who Do You Want to Be?"

Do you want to be that girl on the left, or the one on the right? The choice is yours.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Lenten wisdom

I know I've been away a long time and haven't written about my weight or journey for even longer. The reason: This blog has been filled with me starting over and trying again, and then failing, only to return to start over and try again -- at an even greater weight than when I started over and tried again before. I know there aren't many people reading these words, but I have much anxiety and feel quite embarrassed knowing I've disappointed the readers and friends who believed in me. 

Still, if I don't start over and try again, I'm guaranteed to fail. Each time I return, I at least have a glimmer of hope that I can face my demons and win.

Today is the start of two things for me: One, I'm back to ordering the healthy, prepared (and mostly gluten-free) food that's delivered twice a week to my home. I spent the first three months of this year working crazy hours to complete some big freelance projects, and I figured that money could best be spent with two months of healthy eating. I'll start with two, and if the freelance work keeps coming, I'll continue as long as I can afford to.

Also, today begins a month of five 5Ks -- the return of 5K Fridays in Crystal City and another one on a Sunday (if you recall from last year, this was to be the 10-miler I did, but I am in no shape to take that on this year, so I downgraded to the 5K). I'm very, very anxious about these. For awhile I was successful at getting out and walking, but this winter -- and the depression that came along for the ride -- completely derailed me. I will be going to tonight's 5K completely unprepared. I will have to walk this first one. I will likely be last. But it's something to get me out of this house and to get re-energized. At least, I hope it does that for me.

Last weekend, I had a horrifying experience when I saw myself in a group photo. I had gone down to North Carolina for a quick trip to see some friends, and seeing this photo caused me tremendous pain. It's embarrassing. Appalling. And, sadly, seconds after it was taken and I saw the result, it caused me to bow my head and feel immense sadness for the rest of the trip. I will post it here now. To hold myself accountable. All I can say is I'm sorry I let myself get this bad.

A friend of mine at this dinner noticed my depressed state and sent me some daily prayers for Lent. 

This was the start of today's reflection: "There is always a chance to start again, and to return to life."

And for that I am grateful.

Monday, February 17, 2014


Like many people, I was crushed earlier this month when I heard that actor Philip Seymour Hoffman had died. Minutes later, when I was reminded that he had battled addiction and likely died from an overdose, I got angry. He was so talented. Had a beautiful family. And drugs brought him down.

But in the hours and days that followed, as friends and strangers mused on his brilliance and questioned why he was so self-destructive, I was quiet. And I read few articles about him. Because how could I be angry at him for succumbing to his addiction when I continued to be brought down by my own?

Drug addiction and food addiction are different. But they're also similar. You live for your next fix/meal. You promise yourself it's the "last time" you'll use/binge. You want to be better, but you can't get out from under the weight of it all. And, for many, adding in a hefty dose of self-hatred makes it that much harder to end the addiction. Part of you doesn't think you deserve to be clean/thin and loved. Part of you wants to die as much as the other part wants to live.

But no matter what kind of self-hatred may have been involved, I'm pretty sure Philip Seymour Hoffman didn't want to die with a needle in his arm on the bathroom floor. Likewise, I don't want to be carted off to the hospital or mortuary on a specially made stretcher, hoisted by a half dozen firefighters straining from the weight of their victim. (That was a hard sentence to write.) I don't want my family to have to order an extra-wide coffin. I don't want the newspaper article to read "... the morbidly obese D'Abruzzo, who spent her lifetime battling her weight ..."

I can't choose how I'm going to die, but I can choose how I'm going to live.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Ten Days In

Hello and Happy New Year!

The start of 2014 was a bit rough for me because of a neck injury that left me in constant pain -- from Christmas Day until about Jan. 4 or so. But I wasn't about to let that be an excuse, and I've been back taking better care of myself for 10 days now. Double digits is great -- it's been a long time since I've made it that far and felt good.

The bitter cold has affected my exercise but I'm OK with that. I did do a 4-mile walk last Saturday on a snow-filled track, but that was as daring as I got in this weather. I have a (revised) detailed regimen for training this year, so at some point I'm going to have to bite the bullet and get out there. Walking/running in 90 degrees is so much more appealing to me than 10 degrees. But you take the weather that God gives you.

I've found one great way to keep myself on track is to get lost in a good book. So instead of coming home and watching the shows I recorded on the DVR, I read myself to sleep. And I never eat and read, so this keeps me from snacking. So far this year, I've completed The Color Purple and The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Now I'm about 80 pages into Gone Girl.

(Reading for pleasure is such an extravagance for me -- only attainable when I'm not freelance book editing. And while I sure could use the money, it is nice taking a break from two jobs.)

Sunday is supposed to be sunny and in the 50s, so I'm looking forward to a walk/run before work. Gotta get moving!