Monday, April 18, 2016


Let me get this out of the way first: I have no progress to report. All numbers are the same. It's not a great place to be. I'd have to saw off a leg to win the HealthyWage challenge, but that's not what I want to talk about.

I've had a number of experiences over the last few weeks that feel significant. Not life-alteringly significant, but they sort of hit home how far I've come and I wanted to share. So here is a list of #FatGirlProblems that I didn't consciously realize were things until they were no longer things.

For example: I went to Disneyland. I love Disneyland. It's my happy place. And I rode rides. I love rides. And some of the rides have lap bars. You may be familiar with lap bars. You sit down next to a person and a single bar is all that stands between you and that person and CERTAIN DEATH. And normally, when the lap bar came down, I would say a silent prayer for the poor unfortunate soul next to me - the one whose death my massive thighs was going to cause - but this time, when I looked over at my fellow rider, we were both secure and safe under the lap bar! No one was in danger! It was a miracle! I was not responsible for the potential death of my co-rider! It was a huge deal!

A number of these recognitions happened at Disneyland, so let's stay there for a minute. My favorite ride at Disneyland is the Haunted Mansion. I love everything about it (not just the fact that the lap bar isn't really a lap bar, so I don't have to concern myself with the potential death of the person sharing my Doom Buggy), but there's a part of the Haunted Mansion that I've always just sort of ignored. The leaving part. Upon leaving the Haunted Mansion, you pass through a turnstile. And by "pass through" I mean "turn sideways and squeeze and cross your fingers that you don't get stuck". Except this time I just walked through it, facing forward, hips square, like the thing was built for me. I almost crawled back under and left again because I was so excited that I fit through the stupid turnstile.

It was warm when I arrived at Disneyland, but not so as the sun set. No problem! I was overdue for a new seriously overpriced Disney sweatshirt, so I convinced my comrades to wander through basically every shop in both parks and Downtown Disney that sold clothing while I tried on everything with a hood. After pulling a number of men's XL's off the racks and realizing they were way too big on me, I finally came to my senses and found an adorable, fitted, women's large that I think looks pretty nice. You guys! From a men's XL to a women's L? That's the equivalent of 2 sizes. And the most important part was that I didn't have to go for the bigger size because the thing wouldn't pull down over my hips. My hips were not in the way!!

Speaking of my hips, I flew on an airplane. Another activity I participate in frequently. Not usually a pleasant activity, as I'm not a huge fan of having to pop my ears or strangers. (To clarify: I've never had to pop a stranger. But I'm leaving the misplaced modifier, because that's funny.) I'm an even less big fan of being squeezed into a seat so tight that I can feel the thigh sweat of the stranger next to me because my hips don't allow the armrest to come down all the way and I have to spend the entire flight with my leg pressed uncomfortably into the leg of the stranger next to me. Except, this time, it didn't happen. I was on an American Airlines flight (they're not known for the roominess of their coach seats), and I fastened my seatbelt (by inserting the metal tab into the buckle and tightening by pulling on the strap. In case of emergency, my seat cushion could be used as a flotation device...) and reached up to rest the armrest on my leg. Except, it didn't rest on my leg. It came all the way down. In fact, it missed me by inches. I think I was still staring at it when the stranger came to sit next to me. The stranger that I didn't touch at all during the entire flight! It was a huge deal. I was giddy.

So, yeah, I'm not going to make my May 15 goal of 160. I will make my goal of 160 - don't you worry - but I'm going to miss the deadline by a few months. But, you know something? I've come a long way, baby. And I look good!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Happy Dance Crying

Well, hello there! It's been a while hasn't it? months or so? Before we do the numbers, let me get you caught up:

The holidays happened. I basically survived on a diet of cookies and turkey. Surprisingly, this was not a great recipe for weight loss. (I know, right? Who'd have thunk?) My only consolation was that I didn't *gain* any weight during my holiday adventures. I did, however, fall WAY behind on my goals to stay on track to winning the HealthyWage challenge. Months behind. It's not a good feeling. But I haven't given up yet! The race ain't over 'till it's over!

So, after ringing in 2016 and vigorously shaking off the sugar coma, I woke up to find myself in a desperate position calling for desperate measures. I decided to try cutting out carbs. I have been notoriously bad at sticking to any kind of diet plan that restricts what I can eat, but I needed to get back on track and fast, so I thought I'd give it a shot. First order of business: I set a goal for myself to not eat baked sweets (you know, the things I'd been living off of for the last two or so months?) for 100 days. Call it lent. Call it crazy. Call it what you will, but I'm on day 61 of 100 without cheating and I've stopped having dreams where I casually start eating a cinnamon roll before I realize what I'm doing and wake up riddled with guilt. I am counting this as a win.

Next on the agenda was to cut down on all the starch in my diet. Mostly big obvious things, like pasta and rice and bread and potatoes. Basically an experiment in gluten free-ish to see how it would go. Not too shabby, I'm pleased to report. It helped that there's a pizza joint near my house that does a pretty awesome gluten free crust. And at this point, I wasn't too crazy (read: strict) about it. A breaded chicken breast or a rogue crouton here and there weren't ruining my life. Mostly I was actively making myself more aware of where my calories were coming from.

It's probably worth noting that I am still using MyFitnessPal to track my calories, as I have been since the beginning of this adventure. I also learned that it's significantly easier to achieve my daily calorie goal when I'm not loading on the calorie heavy carbs at every meal. One of those "duh" moments.

This was enough to get the weight loss ball rolling again, but I was going to miss my February goal by miles. I was discouraged and defeated and beating myself up for the months of wasted time, not to mention getting desperate, so I started doing more research.

What I found was the ketogenic diet. (Think Atkins on steroids.) The goal of the diet is to put your body into ketosis (hence the name) which is basically the state in which your body starts converting stored fat to use as fuel (fatty acids and ketones (incidentally, the name of my ska band: Fatty Acid and the Keytones)) instead of relying on easy to burn fuels like carbohydrates converted into glucose (sugar). It's a high fat, moderate protein, super low carb diet. I found a guy who had written a 4 week diet plan complete with recipes that sounded delicious (spinach and cheese stuffed bacon anyone?), convinced my roommate to jump off this cliff with me, and off we went!

We are in week 3 of 4, and have been really successful so far. We've been cooking dinner almost every night. My roommate bought some keto test strips so we can make sure our bodies are doing what we want. We found a recipe for keto friendly ice cream which is really the only food I'd been craving. I've been drinking more coffee than ever before in life (part of the diet is "Bullet Proof Coffee" for breakfast every morning. It's a cup of coffee with a tablespoon of butter, a tablespoon of coconut oil and a tablespoon of heavy cream blended in with an immersion blender. I add a bit of liquid stevia for some sweetness. It's actually pretty delicious.) and have lost a serious amount of weight in a relatively short time. About 10 lbs in 2 1/2 weeks.

And with that, I would like to reveal to you today's weigh in:



I'm still behind schedule. The Feb 15 goal I missed was 183. I'm still not there yet. And it's going to be a serious challenge to get to 160 by May 15. BUT YOU GUYS! I'm under 200 lbs for the first time in the last probably 20 years!

I had to weigh myself twice because I couldn't believe it. The second time, when I did believe it, I stood on the scale and cried of happy. Then I did a happy dance. BECAUSE YOU GUYS! This was a HUGE milestone for me.

It's still a race for the finish. And I'll be honest, I don't know if I can make it at this point. But I'm stepping up my game and not giving up. It's my race to lose and I wanna win. Badly enough to give up donuts for 100 days. Badly enough to try the first "crazy fad diet" I've ever done before. (I will say, it helps that I can basically have all the cheese and bacon I want. Sounds like a diet win to me!)

P.S. My mom used to tell me that losing weight would make my boobs smaller. Turns out, she was right. My bras are now all too big. It's a pleasant problem to have, in my book, except that bras are expensive and I'm pretty broke, so I'm annoyed. But happy annoyed. Annoyed in the best way possible.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

The dreaded "P" word

Well, well, well. Here we are again. I've been meaning to write this post for a couple of weeks now, but never got around to it. Mostly because I was frustrated and didn't feel like being publicly frustrated. (I do enough of that on Facebook regarding gun control and Planned Parenthood. Let's leave it out of my weight loss adventure, shall we?)

But I digress (as usual).

First! Some good news: my weigh in yesterday was 213.9. That's right on target for my next goal. It was a welcome sight because I've been bouncing around 220 since my last post.

Y'all. That was a long time. Long enough that I was feeling like I had plateaued. *shudder*

Here's the thing. I knew that eventually that would happen. And I even thought I was mentally prepared for it to happen to me right around the 220 mark. I sat at 220 for years when I was finishing college. 220 is just where my body did its thing without any help from me. I wasn't surprised that when I got there my body was all, "oh, hey! We know what to do with this! Let's just chill here for a bit, ok?"

No. Not ok. And way more frustrating than I anticipated. Every weigh in that came back as 218 or 221 or somewhere in between made me increasingly discouraged. I was also dealing with a lot of general life stuff. Trying to sort out a catch 22 I found myself in while trying to get started as an Uber driver. Starting a new job. Fighting an unemployment appeal. Working on a grad school application. The kind of grown up stuff that can already make your head spin and seeing the same "220" on the scale week after week was rough.

Truth be told, (as is my habit, because the truth is fun!) I was still counting calories and doing pretty well there, but I'd let my water consumption drop off significantly and I was not exercising. At all. Maybe once a week I'd walk to the grocery store or the post office. Less than a mile round trip. Hardly what anyone would consider regular exercise. So I shouldn't be surprised that things slowed to a halt.

Lucky for me, getting things moving again was as simple as re-adding some of the things I'd been doing previously back into my routine. I'm back up to 8 waters a day minimum and I've started a daily work out routine. Nothing crazy. Nothing time consuming. But I'm impressed with what a huge difference a few minutes of strength training seems to have on my body. I do about a 1 minute plank every day and a few minutes of easy cardio or squats and things. There's a name for that - when your strength training isn't using weights - just the resistance of your own body. But I forget and I'm too lazy to look it up. But that. Push ups and crunches and squats. That kind of stuff.

And according to Mr. Bathroom Scale this week, that seems to be enough for now.

The next target goal for HealthyWage is 206 by 11/15. My next personal milestone is 200. Both numbers should be here before you know it! Probably before I gorge myself on turkey and dressing and pumpkin pie.

Cheers! And if I don't see you before then: Happy Halloween!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

First Milestone Problems

My pants are too big.

I know: "Poor me." "What a wonderful problem to have." "That's great!"

And, yes, it is great. My pants don't fit because I hit my first milestone. I made 220. Ahead of schedule, even. This is all wonderful and fantastic and I'm really pleased with myself.

But my pants are too big.

Now, it's not really a problem. They're not unwearably large. I probably won't be able to walk long distances in them without needing to hike them up repeatedly, especially with my pockets loaded down with keys and wallet and phone as I'm known to do, but they're still behaving like pants. They're covering all the important parts and not falling off me at the slightest provocation or if I look at them funny or take a deep breath.

But they're about to.

And, realistically, I've already had to discard several pairs for this exact same reason, and sort of reveled in it. There's something satisfying about letting go of a thing and giving yourself permission to never need it again. "These shorts no longer serve their intended purpose. It's time for them to move on." Bam! See ya, shorts!

But I just bought these pants.

Remember that time when I was going to work for a cruise ship? (Yes, there's a whole unrelated story there that I'd rather not go into right now. The Reader's Digest version is "Blargh, so I may not be going.") I had already lost some weight and needed black work pants, so I spent some money on some clothes. You know? For work. Several pairs of pants. Jeans and corduroys and Docker's and dress pants. More pants than I have ever purchased at one time in my whole life ever. And to what end? (No pun intended.) I now have a drawer full of brand new - some of them never been worn - pants that are too big. And getting bigger. Or, rather, I'm getting smaller, but the semantics aside...

My pants are too big.

You know? The more I think about it, the less upset I am. Kids, I just stepped on a scale that told me 218. I refrained from kissing said scale, but that's a big deal! That's headed down the path to Milestone #2, and I have no room *ahem* for complaint. That there is cause for celebration!

Maybe I'll celebrate by buying new pants...

Monday, September 7, 2015

Hey! I hit my first goal!

Hi folks! (You like how I say "folks" like I have more than one follower of my blog? Heh.)

Anyhoo, I have some pleasant news to share. In one of my earlier posts I talked about some milestones I have set for myself. In addition to those, I split the calendar into quarters so I could have an easy gauge of wether or not I was on track. What I'm trying to say (not very succinctly) is that in order to be on track for my HealthyWage wager, I needed to hit 230 by August 15...which I did. Woot!

But! Even more exciting, I weighed in this morning at 224. You guys! That's just 4 pounds from my first milestone of 220. That's college weight, y'all! That's pretty huge for me (no pun intended).

I know, I know, that's a lot of numbers to digest. And I know this adventure is about more than numbers. I know that I am more than a number (though the Social Security Administration might disagree). I understand all of that. I also understand that for a lot of people, seeing a number on a scale is scary. For me, it keeps me motivated. From my heaviest, I've lost 43 lbs. That's a three year old. I've lost a whole person! (Well, a small person. Okay, half a person...maybe a third...I guess in my case closer to a quarter...but STILL!)

So, now that you've had a chance to wallow around in my happy dance, I wanted to document other things I'm doing. Primarily trying to keep on top of the "extra skin" issue. It's a thing. I mean, my skin had to stretch to accommodate that toddler's worth of weight I've lost. And it's been slowly stretching for years. (That sounds kinda gross, but hang in there.) The wonderful thing about skin is that it is really elastic-y. So, yeah, it's all stretched out now, but it can (and will - eventually) pull itself together. (Pun intended.)

It occurred to me that this is something that I can work on at the same time as I'm losing weight, instead of making it an entire additional process afterwards. Now, don't get me wrong - I am under no delusion that after losing nearly 100 pounds in a year that I will walk away with no sagging skin. But most of what I read said that it takes a year or two for your skin to tighten back up (for most people), and I figured why not try to make as much of that year the same year that I'm losing weight in the first place? Make sense?

Here's what I've learned (Science Time!!):

Pretty much everything I read said the first step to avoiding (or reducing) extra skin is not to lose weight too quickly. It'll be easier for your skin to keep up if you're losing 1-2 pounds a week. I'm shooting for 2-3, so I'm feeling pretty good on that front.

There are different layers of skin and they're made of different kinds of cells. The outer layer (epidermis) cells are the ones that slough off and replace themselves pretty regularly. Maybe every month or so. When your skin stretches, your epidermis generates more cells to compensate. So, as your skin retracts, those cells just sort of...go away. You can encourage this going away business by exfoliating. But, in reality, those cells aren't the problem. (Like I said, they recycle every month or so.) The dermis layer underneath is the stretchy bit. Those cells have elastin and collagen that makes skin stretchy and supple and wonderful and tasty...nope...not tasty. Just making sure you're still paying attention. The point is, you can encourage the elastin and collagen in your dermis and this will help your skin "snap back" after significant weight loss. (Or so I've read.)

So, the idea of "extra skin" is kind of not true. The dermis layer doesn't grow, per se. It doesn't generate additional cells for expansion like the epidermis. The cells that are already there stretch and expand. So the idea is to provide those cells with what they need to produce lots of collagen and elastin so they can shrink and tighten back up!

I did some research (read: Google search) and it turns out what your skin needs most is moisture. (I know! Shocker, right?)

So, I went to Lush and bought some potions. An exfoliating, super moisturizing body bar thing (that scratches me, but in a lovely way) and a body wash with olive oil which provides a lot of awesomeness for your skin. (I also let the guy talk me into face wash, and shampoo that comes as a bar. A bar of shampoo! Are you comprehending what a crazy great idea that is? You can toss it in your carry on and not have to worry about all the extra quart size zip-lock bags at security! And it won't leak on your clothes! Because it's a SOLID BAR OF SHAMPOO! This is GENIUS! *ahem*. I digress...)

The idea is, you want to avoid things that dry out your skin (too much sunshine, chlorine, the state of Arizona), and do things that hydrate it instead (drink lots of water, moisturize, dance naked in the rain). The dermis needs LOTS of moisture - so I'm trying to keep up on my water intake. Water is awesome. It's good for all sorts of things.

Also, blood flow is important and the best way to increase blood flow to your skin is massage. So, I also picked up some cocoa butter that I'm massaging into just about every bit of me in the evenings and now I smell like chocolate when I go to bed at night.

There are worse things.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Did you miss me?

I haven't written one of these in a while, and the reason is this: I haven't seen a scale for three weeks. Not for lack of trying! (I actually did go look in the fitness center of every hotel I've been in - sometimes twice.) They're just not around.

Which I suppose is fine. I know people who abhor scales. They think that number is an accusation and they want nothing to do with it. That's fine. I find myself a little freaked out. I was holding on to that number to give me a sense of accomplishment. I was using it as an added boost of confidence or inspiration to work harder. Not having seen it in three weeks is a little distressing.

The moral of my story is, I can't tell you my number this morning. And I won't be able to for about another week (when I finally see the inside of my apartment again), but I think it's going to be okay. Instead, I'm going to tell you about the things I am clinging to in the absence of the number.

My arms hurt. They hurt to the point that it's hard to take my shirt off. Not like "I think I broke something" hurt. A very straightforward "Oh, you haven't used those muscles in a, ever...have you?" hurt. I've been doing my Hero's Journey nearly every day (I did push things back two days because of an excessively long travel day followed by a 16 hour work day, but otherwise I'm chugging right along) and my arms are sore. I sure hope the sore is worth it. I'm starting to feel like it is because my push-ups are getting easier (read: I can do more of them) and my planks are getting longer (one day I had to do three two minute planks. Ouch. My abs still hurt. Good thing today is another ab

I'm choosing to interpret all that sore as progress. When I have to have good posture because my abs protest if I slouch because they think I'm doing a crunch, I feel like that's a win. When I have a hard time sitting in a chair for the entirety of a 90 minute show because my back is sore from Superman's,
I take that as a good sign. If I struggle to put on my shirt in the morning because it hurts to lift my arms above my head, that's just an indication that I'm getting stronger (and probably need to eat more protein, but baby steps, people.)

The rest of me is running on the faith that if I continue doing the things that have been working, they will keep working - wether I can measure the progress in numbers this week or not. I've been good about tracking my calories. (115 days in a row logged in MyFitnessPal so far.) I fell off the water wagon for a bit, but I'm back on it. That, added to the strength training, should be enough to see some results when I get back on that scale.

Fingers crossed!

Friday, July 24, 2015

Losing weight in the Lone Star State

You guys, that title rhyme is going to work for EVERY STATE I GO TO! Aren't you lucky?

I just wandered down to the fitness center/laundry room combo here at the Candlewood Suites (it's one of the things I like about Candlewoods. It lets me be extra productive because I can work out while I'm doing laundry. And the laundry is free! Wins all around.) and discovered a severe lack of scale. I'm kinda bummed because I was really really really hoping I'd be have hit the 230 mark by today. That would put me at my 1/4 mark weeks ahead of schedule. But, alas, I have no way to measure this.

My last weigh in before I left Los Angeles to head back out on tour was 233.6, so I know I'm close. I'm not going to sweat it.

Speaking of sweating, I've started a 60 day work-out program called Hero's Journey. You can check it out here. I have been putting off weight training for too long, which is ridiculous since building muscle does all sorts of good things (burns more calories while resting being the one I'm most interested in at this time) and can be done without any equipment at all. Just the resistance of your own body. I have literally no excuse for not having started sooner.

Anyway, I started on Wednesday at level 1 (with plans, if I like it, to repeat the journey on level 2 and then 3, achieving badassdom sometime in the next 6 months.) Day 1 was a lot of jumping around and squatting and mountain climbers (which I hate, but not nearly as much as I hate burpees). When I got done, I was feeling so strong and pleased with myself that I decided to do some push-ups for fun.

At no time in my life have I ever done a push up for fun. I was clearly not in my right mind.

I decided to do as many push ups as I could until I couldn't anymore. That turned out to be 5. Yes, just the 5. Yes, I know that's not very many push ups. I'm no Gaston or anything...

I'm not even the guy who lost to Gaston. BUT! They were 5 real push ups. No cheater knee push ups. And they were deep. I mean, not beautiful with perfect form or anything, but I challenged myself to do the best push ups I could manage, and so they were deep for me. (I tend to wimp out early on push ups...and other exercise in general. Here's to turning over new leaves! Several times if necessary!) And today I hurt. Today I have discovered that it is possible to be sore in places I've never even thought about before.

I've decided to accept this muscle ache as a sign that muscles are happening. It's a good thing to be sore. It's concrete evidence that my 5 chintzy push ups meant something.

So, my weigh in will have to wait, but the work outs aren't going to anymore. The time has come to be my own hero.