Friday, February 29, 2008

Feed a Cold?

Weight: 332.2
Total loss: 17.8 pounds

Ugh. I feel totally crappy. I've been home from work the past two days with my sinuses filled to the brim with snot, and now I am starting in on The Cough. Oh joy.

The funny thing is, when I am sick, a lot of times my appetite totally increases. I always hear from everyone else that they either lose their sense of taste/smell and/or the thoughtof eating is just not appealing. Not me! It figures that when I sick, eating makes me feel better. And it almost never happens that I lose my taste buds.

On top of all this, I am PMSing. That makes for a dangerous combination, methinks. So yesterday, we kind of had a cheat day. I got some pizza and some sweets (chocolate and gumdrops -- weird, huh?). I kept it at reasonable portions, at least as far as "treat days" go (more on those in another post), so I saw a marginal gain -- I was down to 331.6 yesterday, and up just about a half pound, which could be who knows what?

Today I had some of the leftovers, but I am still tracking my calories. I don't plan to go over today, either, but I have been eating junky foods. But really, who wants to eat a salad when they're sick? I want comfort food all the way.

*sigh* So anyway, it's been a rough past few days, hard to really keep up all the things I should be doing. But I'm into it. I mean, I am so close to the 320s now, and I wantto be there! Shoot, the other day I misspoke in a sort of sad way when I told C., "Hey, I am down to 131 now!" Obviously I meant to say 331, but that was an interesting Freudian slip.

I'm off to buy some nasal spray.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Bonus post! On The Darjeeling Limited, progress, a hot bath, and a good idea (not neccessarily in that order)

I know I already posted today, but I had to write about my evening. It was sort of a life-changing thing, in a way. I'm not sure why, and it will probably seem sort of shallow and poppy, but screw it. I feel like a new person.

So we watched The Darjeeling Limited, and like all the other Wes Anderson films, I loved it and The Guy (C., from here on out since I hate calling him "The Guy") was lukewarm, if that. Anderson might be the trendiest director around, but something about the way he sees the world just really impresses me and really affects me.

I have a nasty cold. After the movie, I took a long, hot bath. I lit two scented candles and turned out the light, I threw a bath bomb in the steamy water, and shut myself in with the shower curtains closed. I just enjoyed the experience of being, laying there in the hot water, being glad to have a body. I squeezed out the washcloth and covered my face with it, breathing in steam and easing my sinuses. Every time I lifted the cloth, the smell of the candles wafted into my nose.

This sounds so cheesy as I am writing it. I hate that I am being apologetic about it. (My friend Joel said to me the other day, "You apologize for everything!" I was embarassed.) It just seemed so important, the whole evening, from the time I got home from work to sitting down to watch the movie to taking the bath. I feel completely calm, content, relaxed.

Earlier, it was a different story. You know how when people are sick, they usually lose their appetite? Not me. I was ravenous at dinner time and because I am sick, I didn't feel like cooking. I ate weird food, all processed junk: a Lean Cuisine pizza, some Smartfood, a Kellogg's cereal bar, a pudding cup. But, it didn't turn into a binge. I stopped and remembered my goals, the ones so important to me now. It was sort of a milestone for me.


When I was in the tub, I had a really good idea. I am going to pay myself to lose weight. I suppose it's not a new idea, but I've never heard of doing it like this:

For every pound I lose, pay in $1.
For every five pounds I lose, pay in $5.
For every ten pounds I lose, pay in $10.
For every twenty pounds I lose, pay in $20.

The twist is this: At five pounds, I'll be paying in $1 + $5. At ten, $1 + $5 + $10. Twenty, $1 + $5 + $10 + $20. Then it starts over again every twenty pounds. It's relatively small amounts of money that will really add up over time. (Just don't ask me to do the math for my entire 200 pounds!)

The other twist is, let's say I lose 2 pounds but then gain them back and then lose them again. I'll have to pay twice for those.

I have a little catching up to do for my first 17 pounds, so let's see $1 x 17 pounds, $5 x 3 (5 pounds three times = 15), and $10 x 1 (the first ten pounds). Looks like I owe myself $42 as of today. Man, that's complicated.

I'm going to use a small manila envelope to keep the money in. I'll have quite a bit of cash in the end!


I wish I could explain more about The Darjeeling Limited, but I think I have to think about it some more. Besides, this isn't a movie blog, is it? If it was, I would also be talking about the fact that last night we watched Herzog's amazing Aguirre, the Wrath of God with the inimitable Klaus Kinski in the title role, or The Asphalt Jungle the night before that...

Until next time, my dears.



Weight: 332.2
Total loss: 17.8

Regular readers will notice that I spiffed up and personalized my layout a little bit yesterday! How exciting!

Well, surprisingly I don't have much to say today... my mind has been in a slight haze as the office bug that's been floating around finally caught up with me. But, rest assured dear readers, all is well on all fronts in radiosilents land, even if I am not being the most productive.

I was happy to see that I am back down to my lowest weight so far, after a one-day gain, the typical pesky fluctuation of unknown cause. I will not be happy, though, until I get below 330. While I am certainly meeting my monthly goal of 10 pounds per month (well, at least I did last month and I am well on my way this month and still have another week and a half: 7s to 7s), I still get anxious about how fast (or not fast) things are going.

Really, though, I would be pleased as punch if I kept up a steady 2 pound a week loss for the duration. I also thing that losing this way will give my body a chance to recover on the way, and maybe, just maybe I won't have really horrible stretched skin issues down the line. Anyway, it's not so bad looking at any given date down the line and saying, "Well, by the time November rolls around I could be right around 250 pounds if all goes well!"

In addition to my 10 pound-a-month general goal, I have other goals mapped out for myself coming up. For instance, by my 38th birthday (just at the beginning of the second week of June), I want to be a few pounds under 300, well into the 290s never to see a 3 heading up the line on the scale again. I'm going to be in New York City that week, and I want to be in fairly decent shape to walk around a fair amount and not kill myself, too, another reason why I'd like to get as much as I can off by then.

As I said, it would be great to get to 250 by, say, Thanksgiving. 100 pounds lost by then! I think I can do that.

My ultimate goal, way down the line, of course, is 200 pounds lost, ending at 150 pounds, a weight I haven't seen since I was 19. I'd like to achieve that by my 40th birthday, which would give me more than a year and half to lose the final 100 pounds.

It's kind of mind-boggling to think that I am trying to do this. I have photos of myself when I was thin, or of a so-called "normal" size, but it's really hard for me to imagine that the body I have now could be transformed into some other form so completely different... but we'll see, won't we?

I can't wait.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Daily Weigh

Weight: 333.2
Total loss: 16.8 pounds

Well, I went up a pound from yesterday. I can feel bloat in my hands, so that doesn't surprise me. I also had to improvise a little last night for dinner as I attending this professional development seminar for artists, food provided. I made due with the sandwiches they offered, but it turned out that I ate a wee bit too much. If only I hadn't touched that chicken salad sandwich before I realized what it was! Well, it's OK. I've probably got some water retention, not to mention that after almost a week's worth of losing and losing, I'm not surprised to see a little spike. But read on!

You may have noticed that I weigh myself every day. That's because I am a PhysicsDiet convert.

You can look at the scale issue from many angles. On one hand, when I first started to lose weight in early January, I didn't have a scale. We used to have one, but it only went up to 300-something (probably 330), and both The Guy and I surpassed that limit a while ago, so when we moved into the house in July, the scale was chucked.

Anyway, I also happened to be pretty broke back in January (ah, so long ago, it seems!), so I didn't have the extra funds to buy a scale that suited our needs until three or four weeks in. I have to say, after years of being scale-obsessed, it was really liberating to be free from those numbers and the effect they would have on my mood any given day. It was nice, and I felt better just eating better foods and less of them. I knew I was doing well even if I didn't have numbers telling me so.

At the same time I really wanted to know where I was at. Also, there is no denying that having a quantitative measure of my success would help keep me motivated. So I did buy a scale. It weighs up to 380 pounds (The Guy is also big, and he's taller than me, so he was right up there). Initially I was having mixed feelings about it, because I do tend to get obsessed by the numbers and wanted to weigh every morning. I also know that it's usually recommended that someone who's losing weight only weigh once a week, because all sorts of biological fluctuations can show up in funny ways on a scale and end up being discouraging.

Once I discovered Physics Diet, where you do weigh in every day, I realized that there is more than one way to look at the daily weigh. Sure, it can be devastating for some dieters, but if you see the daily weigh as merely data collection that becomes part of a bigger picture, it can be a really useful tool. It takes the emotion out of it for me. The scale is no longer a judge, it is simply a reporter when viewed in this way.

As I have mentioned before, I don't fully understand all the math and science behind this stuff, but I do love the graphs and charts that result. You can see here on the Public Profiles page what I am talking about. You can click on mine (listed as "radiosilents") and see how an average loss is computed and that, even if you hit a rough spot or a plateau, it gives you a beautiful overall picture of progress, which of course further motivates!

I'm not saying this approach is for everyone (The Guy is totally not even willing to check it out), but for me and many others it is just the ticket for a more successful, less frustrating journey.

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Money Plan

Weight: 332.2
Total loss: 17.8 pounds

I've always been bad with money.

It's funny, too, because both my parents are, like, household finance wizards, and my mom especially always tried to instill those skills and values in me. I really don't know how the disconnect happened, or when. All I know is that once I left the house for college and got my first credit card, it was all downhill from there.

On January 17th, it was the day after payday and I found myself several hundred dollars in the red. Here again, I wasn't sure how it happened but it was really upsetting. I felt like total crap, a complete failure. A loser. You name it. However, I turned that terrible day into something positive. I said to myself, "Self, this is bullshit. What are you going to do to change this part of your life and gain control, once and for all, over your finances?"

So along with my diet, I decided to go on a budget, too. Or at least start educating myself and making changes to my lifestyle to assure that I would never see red ink on my bank account ever again, and to stop making so many foolish mistakes about my spending.

I've been meeting my first goal since then, which is to have money left over from paycheck to paycheck. I get paid every two weeks, and since I dug myself out of my deficit (it took a whole pay cycle to do it, but I did it!), I've had some money to carry over.

The other immediate goal was to change my bill-paying habits. I have this weird aversion to paying bills, even if I have the money to cover them. I think I am afraid to leave myself with nothing, which I suppose is a valid fear, but if I keep chugging along as I have, I will have a cushion to fall back on and not have to worry about that anymore. I prioritized: First, I caught up on my household bills (I just have my gas bill to finish fixing up, which I should be able to do this week), and set my mind to use the "get the bill, pay the bill right away" technique, rather than tucking bills away to be forgotten about until I start getting collection calls. How novel!

I also have some credit card debt that I am working on, but I wanted to at least get my household stuff taken care of first. I also have to finish paying my car off, and then there is my student loans...

But I digress. I took care of the urgent items and, using an online tool (I'm trying out BudgetEdge, but may eventually migrate over to Mint), I am working out a budget to find out exactly where my money goes each pay period and to figure out where I can cut expenses. In addition to that, I am keeping detailed notes each time I spend any amount of money, and keeping that list in my wallet. I have enough data now that I need to actually compile it and analyze it, but even without all that it has really helped me to become a more conscious consumer.

Finally, I have found some really great personal finance blogs. Like weight loss blogs, I really enjoy reading about other people's experiences and how they improved their lives. So far, I have checked out The Dough Roller, Millionaire Mommy Next Door, and a few others that I will add to my links as I go along.

I'll probably be writing more about my weight loss here, but be assured that I have a lot to say about my finances too. Things have improved in just a few weeks, so I feel confident I will have some successes to share about the green stuff, too.

'Til next time,


Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Weight Loss Plan

Weight: 333.4
Total loss: 16.6 pounds

So, let me tell you about how I plan to achieve my goals.

Before the new year hit, I decided that I was really, really sick of feeling like crap all the time, and that little things like tying my shoe or walking up a flight of stairs was more difficult than ever before, and especially that I was never sure if, when going out in public, that I'd fit into a chair or seat. Finally, I was really, really sick of having such a limited selection of clothes to wear. Though you'd never know it if you've only known me for the past few years, I love fashion and I love getting dressed up and really having fun with clothes. As any fat girl knows, it's a lot harder to do that when you're 300+ pounds (though certainly not impossible, I know -- just check out the awesome Fatshionista community on LiveJournal), even though the options we fatties have is a zillion times better than even just ten years ago, we still don't have the endless selection of styles that the "normal" sized folk have. I'm sorry, but I want back in.

Another factor that propelled me into finally dealing with my weight problem -- and yes, it's a problem for me -- was that I really don't think it was doing me any good health-wise, either. Yes, I know about HAES (Health at Every Size), and I believe in it, but I really don't think I was headed in the right direction with my mostly sedentary lifestyle and junk food, take-out approach to eating. For me, establishing a regimen that includes tangible goals like weight loss kills several birds with one stone: It makes me more conscious about the food choices I am making and how much food I am actually consuming (as opposed to my usual free-for-all), it gets me to ease into a more active lifestyle, and gets me to be more aware of my body and, funny enough, makes it easier for me to love my body NOW since I am actually doing some good for it. That's right. I LOVE my 333-pound body. What's the point of hating it? Really, though. It's easy to fall into that i-hate-myself mode when you're acting like you hate it.

What a minute -- I was going to talk about how I plan to lose 150-200 pounds, wasn't I?

OK. Well, the first thing I knew I wouldn't do is some stupid fad diet, or even join Weight Watchers. Been there, done that too many times to count, and besides, those meetings are frickin' annoying. And dude? Sorry, I've been on diets since I was nine. I know all the stuff they're teaching, and I hate sitting there listening to 60-year-olds (sorry, Mom) whine about their transgression with a candy bar, or wondering how they are going to possibly deal with the food they'll be faced with on their vacation next month?

I'm really so past whining about stuff like that after almost 30 years on this trip.

Instead, I signed up for a year's worth of gold account at The Daily Plate to track my daily calorie intake, and chart my weight loss and measurements. Previously, I had used the online tool Fitday (I had used it a few years ago to lose about 60 pounds), but I wanted to start totally fresh and new, plus I thought that TDP's interface was a little prettier and it seemed to have more features, including forums. Unfortunately, I haven't found any forums I really connected with, so I joined the 100pounds2lose community on LJ, a very active, supportive bunch of people who don't whine too much. ;) A few weeks in, I discovered the wonder that is the Hacker's Diet and its offshoot, The Physics Diet and its forums, where it is surprisingly and pleasantly male-dominated with a focus more on the process and statistics of weight loss, using formulas and things that I don't entirely understand the mechanics of but love for all its charts and graphs -- hey, I am a visual person, after all! (I'm an artist and graphic designer, btw.) It's a totally different approach to weight loss that takes a lot of the emotion out of what can be, to many people's detriment (read: my own), a very emotionally-charged process. Which for me is a good thing.

At seven weeks in now, I haven't included regular exercise in my program yet. I'm taking one step at a time, and I want to get very comfortable with one major lifestyle change before I take on another. At least on TDP you can track your exercise, too, and among the activities they list is grocery shopping, cooking, and house cleaning. I'm not sure I totally buy how many calories you burn doing those things according to the site, but it makes me feel like I am doing something more than lounging in the recliner watching film after film... That said, we do have a Wii and I often play Wii Sports and get a good workout that way, especially with boxing, tennis, and bowling. Hey, it's a start!

Eventually, I plan to add the Couch to 5K, as well as the Hacker's Diet Fitness Ladder to my program. Also, I used to be a big fan of the DVD Pilates for Dummies and will do that, too. That Pilates stuff really does wonders -- I remember how powerful it used to make me feel.

There are two last things that are really helping me to achieve my goals. My partner, The Guy, is always there to say, "What are you eating?" when my inner voice is taking a coffee break, and I'd like to make a nod to my friend water, who has taken the place of my former main man, Diet Pepsi. I still drink the fizzy elixir at dinnertime and a little on weekends, but nowhere near the amounts I would seemingly inhale. And I feel so much better for it, too. And I am not half as gassy as I used to be!

So, there you have it. My arsenal for the battle of the bulge. This blog is just another tool for me to keep myself going. I'd love to hear from you if you are reading this!

Coming up next: The Money Plan

Friday, February 22, 2008

A Fresh Start

Weight: 334.4
Total loss: 15.6 pounds

This blog is all about my journey toward health and happiness as I approach my forties -- and by health I include emotional, physical, and financial. Here I will be writing about my weight loss and my attempt to become debt-free (or at least no longer live paycheck-to-paycheck) and start saving money. It may seem like a weird combination, but let me explain.

All my adult life (and for a good portion of my life before that), I've had two major issues, two major thorns in my side that I would try to deal with in bits and pieces, but never really made any headway and only became increasingly frustrating: my weight and my finances.

I was put on a diet for the first time at age 9. Since then, my weight has been my cross to bear, whether you could tell by looking at me (like now, as a morbidly obese person) or not (like when I was starving myself at age 17 but looked good according to societal standards). At my adult height of 5' 7.5", I have weighed 120 and I have weighed 350, and (obviously) every weight in between. Sadly, as a young person when I was actually thin, I still saw myself as a fat whale. In recent years, I've experienced the opposite phenomena: not having a real concept of how big I've really become. Making excuses to myself. Starting in January this year? No more.


On the money side of things, as soon as I was out of the house and into college, I was in trouble. Despite my mom's best discouraging tactics, I got my first credit card at 19 and have been in debt ever since. And even though both my mom and my dad are excellent household budgeters, I somehow became the complete opposite. I've almost never had enough money to pay all the bills or get the things I need all at once. I've always lived paycheck to paycheck and I've had utilities shut off. I've had waves of collectors calling me every hour. I even defaulted on my student loans once. The only thing I haven't experienced, surprisingly, is bankruptcy.

I've always been able to pull myself out of really rough times, sometimes with the help of others (mostly my mom, I admit, and many times my partner, to whom I will refer to as "The Boy"), sometimes on my own. But the last time I found myself in a bind, just last month in fact, I decided that the cycle had to end.


For me, it seems that the two things, namely my relationship with money and my relationship with food, are intertwined or stem from the same weird spot in my psyche. Jennette over at Half of Me also talks about this phenomenon, so it must not be just me. It's interesting, though. For me, I feel an almost desperate feeling to use the money I get every paycheck similar to how I often have the absolute need to eat all the food I've prepared for a meal, even if it is enough for several people and even though it would be easy to pack it up in the refrigerator and save the rest for another meal. Or that I have to eat the whole big bag of Smartfood instead of just a few handfuls. It's like I have something against saving things, which totally goes against the part of me that loves to collect things. Go figure. My theory is that the way I deal with both issues is the same, and I figure, if I conquer one I may as well conquer the other, too. As Jennette said, too, both things require you to complete a seemingly huge, insurmountable task by making much smaller, incremental goals that don't seem like much when in you're in the midst of it.


So, at the beginning of 2008, I decided I wanted to enter my 40s with a whole new attitude and lifestyle. I'm turning 38 this summer, so I have over two years to get where I'm going, or at least well along the road toward it. I'm going from an all-time high weight of 350 pounds all the way down to 150; and by the time I hit my 40th birthday my goal is to be rid of all my credit card debt and no longer be a slave to money. More details about each will be forthcoming.

Since we're almost to the end of February, you may wonder how I've been doing so far. As of today, I've lost a total of 16 pounds, and for the past two pay periods I've had money carry over in my bank account -- so technically, I've not been living from paycheck to paycheck. So far, so good. For both goals I am taking a sort of learn-as-I-go approach, a more human approach that doesn't require too drastic changes in my life. I firmly believe that gradual change is best when you're looking for a long-term solution, and that's what I am doing. What is it? Slow and steady wins the race? That's me.

I plan to write about each topic every other post, but that may change. I have a lot to say but I will try to spread it out into shorter entries, and keep it focused. I appreciate any constructive comments and hope to hear from someone out there in the ether.

Until next time,