Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Losing your way...

As we close the door on yet another month of 2014, I am wondering how many of you out there have lost your way?  

Remember January?  Remember that this was going to be your year?  What promises did you make to yourself?  Have you lost those?

I hear you.  This was the worst spring that I can remember in a long time.  I struggled longer and harder - both mentally and physically - then I have - well, probably EVER.  

But what I didn't do was give up.  There were days when I threw up my hands and I was certain that I couldn't continue.  But I hung in there and here I am coming out the other end.  

After this weekend spent with Marc's niece and her boyfriend, I feel refreshed and loved and grateful.  I didn't walk in their door and hear them say "Geez, Jen, you look about 3 pounds fatter then the last time we saw each other!"  No, of course not!  Who would say that to me?  Only myself.

So tomorrow is May 1st.  According to my "records" I weighed in at 120.2 on April 1st, while I was struggling but hadn't begun the big "experiment".  So I'm anxious to see what the scale tells me tomorrow.  

May for me is such a hopeful month.  The lilacs bloom, flowers starts to appear, and the sun stays out well into the evening.

What hopes and dreams do you have for May?  If you lost your way let's get back on track!!  It's warming up - get out and take a walk - no excuses!!  Start your veggie garden - small or big - start one!  The stores will have healthy food in spades starting now - go buy some!!

Balance your checkbook and keep to your budget.  Being in control in one part of your life will make you feel in control of the rest.  Throw out your cigarettes!  You don't need to keep poisoning yourself!  Scratch off tickets are NOT a retirement plan!  Each time you think about buying a $2 ticket, instead put that cash in a jar and at the end of May, buy yourself something cool for staying on plan.

Surround yourself with positive people.  If you are hearing negative things from others, cut them out or at least minimize their presence in your life!

You deserve to feel great.  Now let's make MAY 2014 the best month you can remember!!

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

If I die young....

Ok, let's be real - I am pretty well past the possibility of me dying "young".  But I heard another story on the news and it's one of my PET PEEVES.  This was about a teenager runner who dropped dead of a previously undiagnosed heart issue while training.  And someone said that at least he died "doing something he loved".

So he loved running and so we shouldn't be upset about a 19 year old dying??!!  

Maybe it's because I'm an atheist and I believe that once you're dead that's it.  But I don't care how someone dies - when someone dies before their time it fucking sucks - no matter what they were doing.  

So I am running a 1/2 marathon next month.  And if I suddenly keel over - no one say "Well, at least she died doing something she loved doing!"  And if I'm walking my dogs and a drunk driver plows me over or a toilet falls from the sky like in Dead Like Me and hits me on the head?  It's a fucking horrible thing!!

So I expect a lot of crying and wailing because you won't get any new entries in this awesome blog!!

On a serious note, this has made me think a lot about life and balance.  There's the popular quote oft attributed to James Dean:

 It really is a hard balance.  I mean if I knew for sure that the world was going to end or I was going to die say 14 months from now, I certainly would never count another calorie.  

BUT since I have no way of knowing when my time is up, I can't live as if I will die tomorrow, because that could - would - result in getting fat and out of shape again.  Thus shortening my life.

And forgetting about weight - I love helping people change their lives.  But again, if I knew my time would be up soon, I wouldn't spend another SECOND in my office.  I would be out traveling and blowing my money on outrageous things.  But I can't live that way because where does that leave me if - as I hope happens - Marc and I live to ripe old ages?

So I guess that means their has to be balance between enjoying your life and taking chances and being a little wild once and a while but still being responsible and cautious enough to guarantee a comfortable and happy life for the rest of how ever many years you have left!

I think that I spent a good part of my life one way, swung in the exact opposite direction and now am swinging back to somewhere in the middle.  That's my goal, anyway!  How do you find balance?

Monday, April 28, 2014

A reluctant return to reality.

I am back from a much needed but way too short mini vacation.  Marc and I left early Friday and took our time heading to his niece's house about 3 hours or so from us.  Because we were early, we diverted and took a short, scenic walk.

On Saturday, as planned, we packed up and took the dogs on a 9+ mile hike.  We went along a paved trail that enabled us to talk and catch up and tell stories while enjoying the hike.  It was cooler then I would have liked, but since they were originally calling for rain, we all agreed that we were very lucky to have gotten some decent temps and intermittent sun.

Here are the boys taking a water break and posing for a pic!

This is the first time in a long time that I felt - well - like a normal person.  I didn't obsess about calories and exercise.  Obviously we were active, but it felt like a fun hike with family, not a directive to BURN CALORIES.

We even went out to dinner last night at Chili's.  I have never been to a Chili's before and I ordered their ribs.  I did substitute the black beans for the fries that the dish normally comes with.  But I substituted not out of obligation but because I thought that I would actually like the beans more then greasy fries.  In fact, I have not eaten fried french fries in about 4 years, so I think I did my stomach a favor.

Along the same lines of feeling "normal" the unthinkable happened this weekend.  I didn't exercise on Sunday.  That is the first time in - it has to be months -  since I didn't do any formal exercise.  Marc and I had both planned to run on Sunday morning, but we woke up to extremely cold temps and a LOT of wind and I said FUCK IT.

I dealt with guilt on Sunday but not that paralyzing panicky guilt.  I'm chalking this up to being part of my April experiment along with the food.  And - oh yeah - HAVING FUN!

Speaking of food?  Way too much.  WAYYYYYY too much.  Some healthy and some not so much.

So today?  I did a 13 mile run this morning.  I had vowed not to weigh myself.  And I did anyway and the scale is predictably up.   I feel refreshed but also a bit confused about where I stand with myself.  I am definitely making a mental transition.  That's part of the experiment too, I guess?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Recipe: Chicken and White Bean Stew

This is one of my favorite recipes!  I am bringing down everything to cook this when we take our mini-vacation to visit Marc's niece and boyfriend!


1 Small Onion - Chopped
1/4 cup KRAFT lite Italian Dressing
1 pound chicken - cut into bite sized pieces
2 Cloves Garlic - minced
1 tsp. Basil
1 can Diced tomatoes
1 can Navy Beans - drained
Low fat shredded cheese


Cook onions in the Italian dressing in a saucepan on medium heat until soft - about 3 minutes.

Add chicken and garlic - cook about 5 minutes - until chicken is no longer pink, stirring occasionally.

Stir in tomato and Basil.  Simmer about 8 minutes until chicken is completely done.

  Add Navy beans and stir.  Cook about 2 minutes until everything is heated through.

Add cheese if desired.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

How about some quick updates?

The experiment?  Well, it's too soon to tell, really.  I feel better and that's a good thing - but I don't know that I can give 100% credit to eating more.  But I ate a lot of really bad things and a lot of food period on Easter Sunday.  And the scale went crazy the next day.  But a shocking and pleasant surprise this morning - 119.8!  So that makes me very excited.  If I can maintain this weight while eating more?  That's like a beautifully gift wrapped present!!

Baby chicks?  They are doing great!  All of them are thriving in the space in the basement - running around eating and practicing chicken behavior!  They are almost fully feathered - I can't believe how fast they grow!!!

Chakotay?  Well, he still is my chunky boy.  But we have been getting him outside to exercise more and I measured last night and he has lost 1 inch in his waist and 1/2 inch in his chest since I measured 2 weeks ago - that's not too shabby!

Marc and I?  Well, I am in need of a reprieve and we are getting it this weekend.  We'll be heading out to stay with his niece and her boyfriend over the weekend.  I am so incredibly excited about this trip even though it's only downstate.  But I am burned out with work and desperate to break out of a routine.

So all in all, things are pretty good in my world!  We're heading into May and that should usher in some long warm days - I cannot wait!

The biggest news of the day is that RUNKEEPER published a story about me!  You can read it here:

Monday, April 21, 2014

Will the real Jennifer please stand up?

Who is the "real" Jennifer?  Is she the one that started out Easter Sunday by running 10 miles?  Or is she the one that proceeded to inhale her body weight in desserts later that day?  Can those 2 people really exist inside of one body?

I have to remind myself that life consists of wonderful and baffling shades of grey.  

Today I walked into the back room where the spring water is kept.  It is also the waiting area for attorneys waiting to see the judge to conference cases.

This one attorney who I know reasonably well but who doesn't specialize in criminal law so I don't see him often sees me and says hello and then says "My god you look fantastic!"  I was absolutely embarrassed by this and it took everything in me to say "Thank you" rather then offer him a million reasons why I don't look good.  I am SO SO SO SO SO uncomfortable when someone compliments me.

I also felt like a phony.  I was thinking "If he only knew how much I ate yesterday he wouldn't be saying that!"

But that's sorta stupid, right?  As someone who has lost a lot of weight, does is make my accomplishment any less because I sometimes make choices that are not completely healthy?

Sometimes when people tell me I'm an "inspiration" I feel guilty that I'm letting them down when I make a choice to eat really badly.  And I know in my heart that if I gain any weight, I'll be letting down every person who has ever had faith in me.    

But who among us is perfect, right?

I was reasonably successful yesterday in getting out of my head and enjoying the day - lucky enough to have family around!  This was, of course, bolstered by the morning run.  In fact, about 7 miles into the run yesterday I was thinking "Who the hell runs on a holiday?"  Apparently I do.  

Marc and I will be taking a mini-vacation this weekend and it can't come too soon!  I've been in my head over-analyzing lately.  Everything has been fine, but I want some FUN!  

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Hoppy Easter!

See what I did there?  He he.

There are not enough hours in the day!

I got some stuff accomplished today but I'm having some anxiety heading into tomorrow with a TO DO list hanging over my head and knowing that I'll be eating a lot.

 The good news is that since I've been eating more, I've been physically feeling good - sleeping well, more focused, and productive in my workouts.  You'd think that noticing this would be a clue that I've needed more fuel.  But predictably the scale number is up and I can't get that out of my head!

 I asked Marc today if he could see or feel the extra weight on me.  He made a smart ass remark that I'll spare you from and otherwise ignored the question.

Today we moved the baby chicks out of the aquarium and into a large fenced in area in the basement.  They are rapidly losing their downy baby feathers and growing real feathers.  As soon as they get fully feathered they'll join the adults in the coop!!

 Tomorrow I'll try to enjoy the day with family and forget about all the crap that needs to get done!

I hope you all have a wonderful day!!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Two years POST OP.....

Today marks 2 years since I had surgery to remove my excess skin.  I seriously can't believe that it's been 2 years!

So I thought that I'd show some pics!

As you can see, my thighs are HORRIBLE, but the abdomen looks not too bad.

Abdomen close up - stretch marks and funky belly button clear!!

A view of the back - you can see there is still some loose skin - it's impossible to pull both the back and the front completely tight in one surgery. 

Now for some close ups of the scarring.  As some of you might remember, I heal quickly but scar BADLY.  I'm pretty happy with the fade level and he did do several laser treatment to lessen the scarring which I'm sure helped!

Not too bad as far as how the scars have faded in 2 years, right?

How about any issues post removal?  Well there is about a 2 inch "patch" from the belly button down to the incision - almost in a perfect square - where there is no feeling from the skin.  All the rest of the feeling has come back, but I'm sure this never will.  It's definitely weird as Marc will be rubbing my stomach and then all of a sudden there's like nothing.  Freaky.

When the surgery was first done the skin was very tight and I couldn't stand upright.  The skin stretched out pretty quickly.  I have almost no issues with that now, although on on yoga tapes there is a common yoga position called wheel - here is a pic of someone doing it:

When I do this position, I can't get up as high and I can really feel where it almost feels like the skin is going to rip!  It's not painful, but it is really, really tight.  But in my every day life, I don't notice it.

So, yeah - absolutely zero regrets about having this surgery done - it was life changing.  

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Living up to your potential...

Are you living up to your potential or taking the easy way out?

I am WHOLLY inadequate in many areas compared to others.  But striving every day to live to the best of my abilities, instead of just doing the minimum?  It has given me a sense of pride in myself that I never knew existed.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Living versus surviving.

I think people have a certain fixed idea of what constitutes a drug addict.  When I tell people I work with drug and alcohol addicted felons, they think they know exactly the "profile" of what my clients look like.  They picture someone homeless and dirty and uneducated from a poor family.  And some of my clients fit that bill exactly.

But as anyone in this field can attest, drug addiction doesn't spare any group of people.  I have had clients with Master's Degrees.  Many have worked in professional settings.  Lots of them come from solidly middle class and some of them even extremely upper class homes.  

I met with a client today who is almost done with the program.  He worked an extremely professional job before this latest arrest which was the "last straw" for his employer.  He made way more money then I do, PLUS he had a very successful construction business on the side.  He used to be the life of the party and would go to local bars and blow literally HUNDREDS of dollars a night buying drinks for everyone and then more money would go up his nose.

Anyway, this client took a LOT of breaking down before he could be built back up.  He thought that he was better than the rest of the clients and was, frankly, - using his own words here - an entitled and arrogant prick.  He has changed so much and will be graduating the program late next month if all continues to go well.  

The last time he got a DWI, he entered a drug treatment program.  I didn't know him that well last time - he wasn't on my program - but I knew of him.  So today during our session I asked him how long he had stayed clean and sober last time.  The answer was 6 months.  I asked him if at that time he had any plans at that time to stay clean long term and he said "No way!  I was just doing it for the Judge so that I could hopefully get a reduced sentence and keep my job." (Both of which happened)

I asked him what the difference is this time.  His answer?  "Before I was just surviving and now I am living!"

That statement was so simple and yet so profound that it really resonated with me and I have been thinking about it all day.  This comes on the same day that I read a post from someone on the weight loss site who is - in her view - finally near the weight that she "should be" and is beyond thrilled by this.  But - be her own admission - she eats rigidly and restrictively.  She is starving by dinner and doesn't eat enough to be satisfied at that time.  She thinks constantly about food.

Is that living or surviving?  This is the realization that I **think** that I am coming to during this experiment of mine.  It's too soon to tell what the results are going to be.  But eating more and not concentrating on every bit of food that has gone into my mouth the last week or so has resulted in my being calmer, no anxiety. not obsessing on food, sleeping better.  Yesterday it was cold and windy and freaking SNOWED and I didn't lose my shit.  Yeah, I bitched and moaned, but I didn't have that desperate, hopeless feeling like before.  

When I was actively losing weight for the most part I was patient.  I would sometimes lose 4 pounds in a week.  Other weeks I would lose 1/2 pound.  It upset me at times, but I continued the course, confident that if I did what I was doing, it would pay off.  At what point in maintenance did I come to believe that I have to exercise obsessively and be so restrictive with my food to obtain happiness?

I want to LIVE.  Because surviving alone is fine if the apocalypse happens, but it's no way to be happy and healthy mentally, now is it?  And is being a number on a scale what I want to define my life?  That kind of existence seems pathetically sad in my current mindset.  I encourage you all - beg of you - to remind me of this in 2 weeks when I am lamenting and freaking out because I weigh in the 120's!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spice things up!!

Has your sex life gone stale?  JUST KIDDING!!!  I'm not talking about spicing things up in the bedroom - I'm talking about in the kitchen!

When Marc and I moved in together, neither of us had any real experience in cooking.  I went from eating in Mommy's house to for the most part eating in the dining halls at college.  Marc took charge of cooking our dinners when we moved in together but it was throw this in the oven and see what happens.  And - pretty much - we ate everything plain.  

I am convinced that this is part of the reason we both over-ate.  When you eat bland foods not only do you not feel as full as fast, but that's one of the reasons that strongly sugar flavored processed foods taste so good!  Because you are craving FLAVOR.

So during this journey I have learned to cook.  I'm still not a great cook, and I don't love cooking.  But I have become more adventurous and try our recipes.  I've noticed that many recipes still call for sauces on your foods.  That's great, except most sauces contain an OUTRAGEOUS amount of calories.  It definitely improves the taste, but it is also empty calories that don't do anything positive for your body and hunger.

So I have become a spicing queen.  We have DOZENS of spices in our house and I have learned what goes with what and what spices I like.  With spices, you can add massive flavor your foods for ZERO calories.

Not only that, but I didn't realize how many health benefits spices have!  Like garlic is known to raise your good cholesterol levels, and cinnamon regulates blood sugar!  Some of the best spices you can use are the HOT spices, like chili powder.  There is some evidence that spices like ginger, tumeric and cayenne can boost you metabolism and help burn fat.  I can't do the really hot spices, but I try to add a small amount in recipes here and there.

Check out this article about the benefits of spices and how they can aid weight loss:

In addition to these natural spices, I have fallen IN LOVE with the McCormick line of meat spices.  Now, I will warn you that many of these have salt as a main ingredient, so if you have salt issues, you need to be aware of this.  They DO make salt free options.  Since I don't I use them almost every night.  Not always only on my meat, either!  I like them on my veggies and starches like potatoes, too!

One of my favorites is the Molasses Bacon flavor.  It has a slightly sweet taste and is fantastic on beef!
Last night I cooked up some onion, mushrooms, garlic and kale.  I threw in some of the Perfect Pinch spice of Tuscan Rosemaryand Sun-dried tomato and WOW!  It just added that little OOMPH to the veggies.

So use your spices!  Use them in recipes, rub them into meat, sprinkle on your dinner instead of high fat sauces!!

Monday, April 14, 2014

An accidental experiment....

I am in the process of an experiment.  I've been giving a lot of thought lately to my eating habits and scale weight and what my fitness goals are.

I'm hungry a LOT.  I always attribute this to my hunger switch being broken.  Meaning my body isn't hungry but my mind is.  But I'm not so sure about that now.

After doing some reading I'm wondering if some of the issues I've had lately with anxiety have to do with not eating enough.  I typically eat around 1700 calories a day during the week.  If you remember, when I met with the dietitian in October 2012, she was recommending 2200 per day.  And I think I exercise more now then when I met with her.  And when I do some of those online calculators, they recommend 2200, too.

So for the week or so, I've just been eating.  Not crazy eating, but not so restrictively.  And this weekend I ate a lot more then I typically do.  

As I posted yesterday, I had a great long run.  Now, there are a lot of factors, like the weather being AMAZING that probably played into that.  But I can't help but wonder if the high amount of calories I took in on Saturday fueled me the way I need to be fueled to run that amount.

And then I ate more yesterday.  Not a ton more, but probably 400 calories more.  Now normally I am ready to hurt someone I am so hungry by lunch.  But guess what?  I was what I would call having a "normal hunger" by the time I was ready to eat lunch.  And that is after running 15 miles yesterday and working on the chicken coop for 3 hours.  

It felt...good.  Really good.

What didn't feel good?  When I got on the scale this morning and it read an outrageous number of 123.6.  UGGGGGGG.....

Now there is an awesome site called Go Kaleo where she talks about disordered eating and the need to ditch the dieting mentality.  It's a very in depth site with a lot to it and I highly recommend it.  She states that going from a restrictive diet to increasing your calories to a healthy level will result in a temporary, but very real weight gain.  She says temporary because you will drop back down after your body gets "reset".

So I don't want to panic.  And here's the deal - if I am hungry and anxious all the time at 117 pounds, and feel good at 123, doesn't it make sense that I should go ahead and be the higher weight?  You would think so, right?  But that thought scares the shit out of me.  Because there's part of me that believes that this is just an EXCUSE to eat too much.  And is the start of the inevitable slide back to obesity.  

I am committed - I think - to playing out this experiment until the end of April.  I want to pay closer attention to my eating habits and noticing how I feel and how I sleep and how it effects my exercise.  I'm not sure if I can get beyond the idea that I must weigh under 119 or I am failing.  

I wore this dress for the first time today.  I bought it late last fall and haven't had a chance to wear it due to the cold weather until today.  And when I put it on, I was positive that I looked SO MUCH FATTER then when I tried it on last fall.  I almost changed.  

Here's the good news, I have some anxiety about this experiment and my looks, but also some hope and I feel at peace with playing it out for a while.  Stay tuned.... 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Exhausted in a great way!

After spending last week feeling mentally exhausted, what a great feeling it is to be physically exhausted after a fantastic day of hard work!

It poured overnight and when I got up, it was still raining.  But mother nature decided to be kind and soon the clouds were parting and it was quickly getting warm.  I was finally going to get to do a long run outside!!  I was so excited!

I knew from my first few steps that this was going to be a good long run.  I demanded of myself to take it easy and enjoy the journey.  I told myself to run a slower pace and just enjoy the wonderful weather.  

I ran easily and effortlessly until about 11 miles.  It is definitely more physically demanding to run outside when you've been doing your long runs on the treadmill.  I slowed and stopped at 12 miles and enjoyed a gel.  It helped for sure and I managed 15 miles.  I looked at my watch and was SHOCKED to see that I had run the 15 miles in 1:55:05!!  

A hearty lunch and then on to the task of the day.  For almost 3 hours, I worked on the chicken coop.  That involved shoveling and raking up hard packed chicken crap and bedding.  I loaded the wagon that Marc took and dumped 3 times.  Then I had to fill a bucket with clorox and detergent and scrub all the walls that had poopy on them.  The new chicks will be moving in soon, and you have to make sure that any potential germs and diseases are at their minimum before the babies move in to give them the best chance to survive.  Then I had to open large bags of fresh pine bedding and lay and rake it.  

As I was scrubbing the walls I was thinking about people that have such a more - well - glamorous lives.  One of my relatives is in Jamaica now and has been posting pictures.  Part of me is absolutely green with envy.  But I also feel a sense of pride in what I was doing.

Look how great this coop looks (should have done some befores!!)  

 Clean nest boxes which the girls will HATE!!

Speaking of the baby chicks, they are getting SO BIG already!  And they are sticking out their chests at me when I fill their water - a common adult behavior!

  You can see where this Rhode Island Red is losing her down and getting real feathers!

It got up above 70 today.  Do you know how long it has been since we have seen 70??!!!  

So today was glorious.  For some people, this life would probably be a nightmare, but for me?  I'll go to sleep tonight peaceful, exhausted and happy!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A walk through memories....

Marc and I took the dogs over to a trail right next to the village where I grew up.  My mother still lives in my childhood home and my brother and his family moved into a house right in the village.  So it's not like I don't travel back there at all.

But we began walking the trail and only a mile or so in, where it is very densely wooded around the trail there was hard packed snow still covering the trail.  So we turned around and decided to walk into and around the village.

You ever have one of those days where you felt like things were just meant to be?  That's how I felt today on this walk.

My mother joined us and although we talk at least once per week, we haven't seen each other in FOREVER.  So even though we were "caught up" so to speak on everything, it felt good to finally see her in person!  She walked much of the way with us and then headed home, leaving Marc and I and the dogs to finish our walk.

Speaking of the dogs, they were on their best behavior.  Even though there were a ton of people out and about - along with some dogs that were not behaving - they were ANGELS.  Cesar would be so proud of both us and them! 

So we walked into the village and strolled down the streets that are oh so familiar to me - years later.  Streets that I've traveled on hundereds of times on my bike.  My best friend's house has been re-sided and is a different color, but the memories are intact.  The playground where I spent hours playing as a child and hanging with my friends thinking we were cool as a pre-teen and teen.  The library building is still there - the library itself - where I spent countless hours as a kid and discovered a passionate love of books - is now closed.

I passed the houses that once housed childhood friends and enemies.  That one kid - who was such an ASSHOLE - I had no idea that his dad was an alcoholic who now leads one of the best AA meetings in the county.  That iron bridge that you could see the water under when you walked across?  That has been replaced with a newer, better model.  Oh, and there's the American Legion where my father spent most of his evenings.

I had a pretty fortunate childhood that I can look back on with a smile - and I shared some memories with Marc.  I wonder what different choices I could have made as that young kid that would have changed the entire course of my life.  Would I change it if I could?

There were better things I suppose that I could have done with my day.  The chicken house needs to be cleaned out.  I need to get into the greenhouse and get stuff organized to begin planting.  I need to cut down old dead plants to make room for new growth.  

But as I sit here with some semblance of serenity - which has been sorely missed this week - I think I made the right choice.        

Friday, April 11, 2014


The forecast for this weekend looks AMAZING!  Warm and mostly sunny!

I ran today.  A full 7 miles.  I thought about quitting.  But I didn't.  My average pace?  7:29 MM.

My client - who happens to be gay and used to live in New York City and worked as a buyer of clothing for some richie rich people - told me that I look A-FRICKING-DORABLE today, and that my outfit rocks.

I had a delicious lunch of spinach and grilled chicken strips.

I'm about to do some yoga.

Today I'm about this:

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Off kilter and rejected!

I am so unbalanced and confused right now.  My body hurts.  I am not motivated to work out, at all.  I went out today to run and it's sunny and warm and yet every single step felt like such a hard effort.  The wind was INSANE.  I only made it 5 miles and then surrendered.  I never surrender.  

And I got notice today that I didn't get that job I interviewed for.  I had pretty well decided that I wouldn't take the job even if it had been offered to me.  Not having to actually make the decision makes it much easier.  And yet - being rejected - it makes me feel like a LOSER.   

 I feel completely like I don't know who I am right now.

On the weight loss site someone who is still actively losing weight noted that she is harder on herself now then when she was heavier.  Boy, I can identify with that!  

So April is turning into a very, very weird month for me.  I need to rediscover ME.  

Geez, I really hope that this is true.  

Anyone out there ever feel like they were lost?  How did you find your way back?

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

I see a light....

It's not all that dramatic.  I don't know why I have to make it that way!

I'm better today.  Sometimes I just need a dose of reality.  And sometimes I just need to feel sorry for myself for a period of time.  Hopefully I'm on the upswing.

As I sit here, one of my clients is "on the run".  He relapsed some time last week.  Details are sketchy, but I don't know where he is and "word on the street" is that he is using again.

I can't imagine what he is going through.  The guilt and shame (he had over a year clean) combined with the fear of going to prison if and when he is caught.  It has to suck.  And I am so worried about him because his drug of choice is heroin so the risk of overdose and death is very, scarily, real.  

That's one way I am so lucky.  When I go "off the rails" I risk getting fat again.  Which would SUCK and could bring with it health consequences.  But it's nothing like what this guy is staring at!!

So I am doing my best to lighten up and to make a choice to be happy.  

I feel calmer today which makes it easier to make good choices food wise.  You know, when I was fat I KNEW with every fiber of my being that my life would be PERFECT if only I was thin.  I was absolutely certain I would never have a bad day again.  Yeah, right! 

No matter if you are at the beginning of your journey, in the middle, stuck at a plateau, or trying to maintain - you will have struggles.  Defeat is not an option - get up and dust yourself off and persevere.  We all have it within us, some days are just harder then others!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Looking - looking....

Wow guys!  I have totally lost it.  Nothing is wrong per se, but I just can't bring myself to get excited about anything.  I feel BLAH.  I'm sick of my routine.  I'm sick of meal planning.  I'm even sick of running.  

You would think with the weather warming up some that I'd be doing better.  But NOOOOOO.  That would be too much to ask, right?  My mother is correct - I would bitch if they hung me with a new rope!!

In AA they say "Keep on keeping on".  And at this point that's what I will do.  Because this feeling will pass, right?  It always does.  I just have to get through it.

Today I did make a mini-goal.  I was going to run at lunch but a rainstorm and high winds nixed that.  And after a late appointment with a client I was thisclose to talking myself out of working out at all.  But I decided to do a non-intensive ab and core workout.  2 minutes in Fat Jen decided to quit.  And Thin Jen - who has temporarily decided to go into a drooling catatonic state - half-heartedly suggested that we do a little more. 

And with a Lionel Fucking Richie CD blasting, we persisted.  And we ended up doing some sets.  For the first time I did 1,000 crunches in a workout (10 sets of 100).  So good on me.  At least there is a little victory to celebrate today!

Oh!  I almost forgot!!  I've talked on here about how awesome resistance bands are for a great workout!  Amazon has a great deal on a set!

 You get 5 bands, a door anchor, a travel bags and both hand and ankle grips!  Normally $60, the price is $39.99 and drops to $29.99 with code 10offlpb!

Monday, April 7, 2014

From the Captain Obvious files....

I don't want to say that I just came to a realization.  Because that would mean that I'm really stupid.  Maybe it's just that in the frame of mind that I am in I am starting to try to truly accept this.

I'll get to my point, but let me talk first about something I talk with my clients about all the time.  What we see a lot is what we call a Honeymoon period.  When clients go to rehab, they are surrounded by people in recovery.  And counselors giving them constant praise.  And they start to get physically and mentally in shape.  Their bodies get rid of the poison they've been putting in it and they feel really good.

And they come out of rehab and they are totally enthusiastic about the recovery process - they go to self-help meetings and are ready for this to a brand spanking new start.  Some describe it as the "pink cloud".  

At some point reality hits.  The enthusiasm starts to wane and they realize that this is IT.  The way they are living is FOREVER if they don't want to use again.  And they get sick of going to meetings all the time and trying to incorporate being a recovering person into their daily lives.  The Honeymoon is over.

I think that this is what I am going through in my journey.  And I had this thought occur to me recently.  I will never - NEVER - be able to eat how I want to eat and not get fat again, period.  I know that seems SO obvious, but it's just been "renting space" in my head.

Healthy eating and exercise is completely routine for me now.  And it feels good.  Lots of times I love the taste of a salad and I even crave healthy food more times then not.  But, today, I wanted to eat a handful of the donut holes that were in the break room.  And as I sit here, I would LOVE to stop on the way home from work and buy some brownies and eat about 5 of them before dinner.  Yesterday I saw the new Ben and Jerry's ice cream with the "core" running down the middle and I wanted to buy it and chow down.  

I don't see a future where I won't want to eat like that.  I radically changed my way of eating 4 years ago and I still want to eat bad things all the time.  

We all have choices, right?  So my choices are to eat how I want and be fat OR have to be somewhat deprived and be thin.  FOREVER.  There are no other choices - not for me.  So - too fucking bad, right?

There are worse things in the world, that's for sure.  There are people dealing with much, much more terrible things in their life.  But it still kind of makes me sad.  

Anyone else feel this way?

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Fear and loathing in NNY....

It's Sunday.  Sundays are the day when I do my "long run".  Today I did not do a long run.  In fact, I did not run at all.  I can offer you many excuses.  My Achilles has been really bothering me.  Probably because between running and walking last week I covered 50 miles.  And our treadmill belt is broken.  I ordered a replacement and it will be here later this week.

I woke up this morning and it was really cold.  But it was sunny.  I certainly could have gone out and run.  It wouldn't have been the best run of my life, but I certainly could have done it.  But I didn't.  I chose the easy way out.

I used the elliptical for over an hour and then this afternoon we took the dogs and went for a 4.5 mile hike.  So it's not like I sat around all day.  But I didn't do what I was supposed to!   

As we were hiking, the dogs got to be off leash.  And they were just CRAZY!  It's been such a long winter and they were just overjoyed to be running around!  And it made me happy.  If only I could shut off that dreaded voice in my head that kept telling me that I hadn't burned enough calories and what a stupid fat pathetic LOSER I am.

I fucking HATE that voice.

I would have never believed that I was in danger of becoming an exercise addict.  But in addition to deriding myself for my failure today combined with the thought that if we got an exercise bike I could put it in the living room and ride at night to burn of some more calories while I watched tv?  I literally said to myself "STOP!!  That is NUTS."  Because it is.  

Talk about failure to see the forest for the trees!

So, self, this is for you.  Missing one run is not a big deal.  You are not a failure.  It's not going to cause you to lose the ability to run a long distance.  You have to chill out.  This is part of your reset.  And you need that once and a while.  So chill the fuck out!!!   

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Seeking a reboot!

It's funny.  It's been a good week.  And I am mostly out of my funk.  But yet I feel... I don't know - stuck in a rut?  It's almost like I'm thinking "Ok, this is nice but....what's next?"

Some of this, I'm sure is that the winter doldrums continue.  I mean, I was able to get outside and run, so yay!  But between melting snow and the rain we had, the ground is soaked.  And it was BITING cold today with 34 degree temps BUT 30 MPH winds.  So not exactly the type of weather to get out and start picking up the yard, right?

Maintenance is a funny thing.  I feel like I am as obsessed with food and what I eat as much as - if not more - then when I was actively losing.  And it's old.  Just old.  Not in a poor me type way, just in a this is getting PATHETIC type way.

So, I'm trying to shake things up a bit.  Marc and I didn't work out this morning.  We went out.  For BRUNCH.  What's the big deal about that you ask?  Nothing.  Except we almost NEVER stray from our routine.

So after brunch we stopped at a couple of stores and then it was 12:45 and we were looking at each other like - it's only 12:45 - what the hell do we do now?

So the dogs got a bath and their beds are washed and the house is mostly clean and the chicks are in good shape.  And I'm like - MEH...big fat hairy deal.

So I hope this weekend will reboot and re-energize me. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Cheep Cheep!!

If you have read this blog for a while or know me IRL, you know that last year, our flock of chickens was massacred by a group of foxes.  It was terrible.  We were left with 4 hens.  So it has been a long winter of a tiny flock huddled together in the non-heated chicken coop and we actually had to resort to buying eggs because they weren't producing.

So I was so happy today when our new chicks came in!  We bought 8 new chicks - 4 Sussex and - per the recommendation of the feed store - 4 Rhode Island Reds.  We brought the little cheepers home and put them in an aquarium where they will live for the first couple of weeks.

First, though, they had to meet some family members:

Our boys are SO well behaved!  I don't have to worry about them at all with the baby chicks!  I was actually more worried about the cats!!

Evolution is an AMAZING and wonderful thing.  These chicks are literally 2 days old.  I had the aquarium all set up with shavings and food and the heat lamp ready to be plugged in.  I put the chicks in the aquarium and Marc started to adjust the light while I poured them some fresh water.  I turned around to put the water in the tank and all 8 of the little buggers had already found the food and were chowing down!!

I always say that the chickens are so stupid, but look - they can survive on their own at 2 days old!  A human baby can't do that!

 A Rhode Island Red.
 A baby Sussex.

So, they'll stay in the aquarium for a while and then out into a pen we have in the basement until they are old enough to go into the coop and be integrated with the rest of the flock.  If we're lucky, they'll start producing eggs by September!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

A totally shameless braggart...

brag·gart  [brag-ert]  
1. a person who does a lot of bragging.
2. bragging; boastful.

This is me today.  There is part of me that is ashamed about being such an attention whore, but I'm also pretty excited.

Today we met for our normal team meeting.  I remain perplexed why the room we have our meeting has to be freezing cold every week.  And it's not just me, most of the people in that room are cold.  So if you add in my normal existing coldness it's even worse.  

So I was in there from about 9AM-11AM and then we went into the courtroom for an hour which is a pretty cold room, too.  

Needless to say when it came time to run - even though it is sunny and milder here, mild in Northern NY in April means 38 degrees! - I didn't want to go outside.  I wanted to huddle in my warm office and drink hot tea.      

Add into this that I watched my normal sized co-worker eat 2 granola bars, an orange and a HUGE chocolate chip cookie from Panera Bread that someone had brought in while I drank water during the meeting.  So I was in full on pity party mode.

I got dressed and hauled my fat ass outside anyway.  And actually I warmed up pretty quickly and it was a nice run in the sun with almost no wind and little humidity which meant I was breathing well.  I knew I was making a pretty good pace for me.  

I did a full 7 miles and scrolled through my watch to see my splits as I normally do and saw this:

I actually did it!!!  I broke the ever elusive 7 minute mile.  Not by much but I did it!!

What makes running a mile in 6:58 more spectacular then running the previous "record" I had run of 7:03?  Well, absolutely nothing.  Just like weighing in at 118 doesn't really make me thinner then weighing in at 120.  

But for someone who tends to be a little number obsessed - cracking that number felt like a major victory! 

So I went back into work and proceeded to brag shamelessly to my co-workers.  They have to be so sick and tired of me constantly boasting about my running.  But the one security guy, who I like SO WELL, grabbed me and said "That's terrific, sweetheart!"  I tried to pull away so he wouldn't get my gross sweat all over him, but he held on, and it made me feel so good!  

I remain humbled and surprised and grateful at how much support I get from people.  I also have to admit, that I sometimes get disappointed in those that I expect to support me or cheer me on who don't.  

I can't say that I expect that I will regularly run under a 7 minute mile - my 7 mile average was 7:37.  But no one can take away what is for me a milestone of sorts.  And now I'll try to step back from being a pathetic braggart!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014


Lately on the weight loss site there has been a few people returning that have regained a lot of the weight that they lost.  It's really been weighing on my mind.

I have never had the experience of relapse - at least not an extended relapse that has resulted in a significant re-gain.  As I've mentioned before, I never seriously tried to lose weight in my life before starting this journey in 2010.  And I have been - lucky? - enough that so far I am staying the course.

Relapse in weight loss is much different then the relapses I see as a substance abuse counselor.  It's pretty cut and dried in that area.  If you are a crack addict and you go to a friend's house and take a hit off a crack pipe, that is a relapse!

But it's more insidious in the area of weight loss.  I mean if I eat a brownie, I haven't relapsed.  In fact, it will have little impact on be being in "recovery" from obesity.  But what if I gain 2 pounds?  Have I relapsed?  What is the cutoff - the tipping point so to speak?

And it's different for everyone, too!  I would consider that I "relapsed" if I drank a soda.  Soda is the one thing that I have an absolutely zero tolerance policy on.  I had my last taste of soda in May 2010.  And yet, just yesterday, I passed the break room and there stood a full 2 liter of Pepsi on the table from graduation last week and I thought "Fuck it!  I'm taking that home!" and then I stood there SHOCKED that almost 4 years later I had the thought of drinking soda!!

I live in fear of relapse.  There is part of me that doesn't believe that I will ever relapse.  I mean, I am pretty vigilant after even a small gain.  BUT there are tons of people out there - people stronger and more determined then me - that have lost a significant amount of weight and gained it back.  So I don't dare get cocky - it could absolutely happen to me.

People comment all the time about my exercise and use words like "impressive" "amazing" and "inspirational" to describe my commitment to my workout plan.  They have no idea how much of this behavior is actually fear driven!!  The fear that if I don't work out - even for 1 day - that this will be a slippery slope that leads to me slacking off completely which would inevitably lead to a massive re-gain.  We just ended March.  I have not had a day so far in 2014 where I didn't work out.  NOT ONE DAY.  And I'd have to do the math, but at least 85% of the time, I did 2 workouts.  I can't tell you what percentage of that is driven by the desire to be fit and how much is the fear of relapse.

When I was fat, I fell a LOT.  I constantly twisted my ankles.  Now I am always fearful getting hurt and not being able to exercise.  Because that would inevitably lead to a weight gain.   And when I think weight gain, I think of gaining massive amounts over a short period of time.  It can happen.

I think that I have started down the path of relapse before.  I have had moments of uncontrolled eating and moments where I DIDN'T. FUCKING. CARE.  But fortunately, blessedly, I have been able to pull myself out of that before any major damage was done.  I don't count myself anything but fortunate that this has happened.

I have a client who was a HORRIFIC alcoholic.  And then he got into recovery.  He got his Master's Degree and began working in the counseling field.  And 9 years later - 9 years - he relapsed.  Within 2 months he had been charged with a Felony DWI and now finds himself on my program facing state prison.

The stakes are different for me in the weight loss game, but they are no less life or death.  In addition to the complete guilt and shame I would feel if I gained back the weight there are real and serious health consequences that I could be facing.  I didn't used to fear death.  But now that I know how awesome life can be, I jealously guard it.

So I hope to never have the experience of relapse, but I realize that I must be ever vigilant to not allow it to happen.  Well, wait, remember I have given myself permission to go crazy and eat whatever the fuck I want and even get fat again starting at age 70.  So I have 29 years to be vigilant!

But I also will keep in mind, and share with you, what I have learned from so many of my clients.  Just because you relapsed doesn't mean you can't get back on track.  No one can take away what you learned from periods of success.  And if you are someone who has relapsed and regained, get back at it - you did it once and you can do it again!!