The Final Fifty

{May 20, 2013}   I’m Not Quite Dead

I swear I’m still alive, though only just.

Wednesday last week was, blessedly, a music-only rehearsal, so I got my much needed rest night. Thursday I ran, and Friday I got home and ended up taking an unscheduled 2-hour nap, which was desperately needed at that point. After the nap, I managed to do most of my upper body weight regimen, even though I haven’t been able to do it in forever. I’m keeping the brace on so that I don’t inadvertently re-injure the most delicate part of it, but other than that it went really well.

Saturday was my Day O’ Masochism. I got up early to hit up a yard sale with a friend, then went to belly dance class (the fitness one, where we do crazy reps of everything and you leave feeling all the muscles you normally forget exist.) After that, I was sore and tired, but I pushed myself to go out and run anyway. I was thoroughly used up after that, but I sort felt like a big fucking badass, so the payoff was worth it. After that, my friend came over to catch me up on tribal belly dance for a performance we’re doing end of next week. Thankfully that was the milder kind without the intensity, but I was still droopy through the whole thing. Rounded out the night at a party at a friends house.

Sunday was DBF’s graduation, so I just had to walk down to the theater. We went out to a hibatchi grill for lunch, which was freaking spectacular. I had a little bit of green tea ice cream, which was a treat though it tasted really really sweet to me. I don’t really regret it, but reflecting on it now I didn’t enjoy it as much as I would enjoy other things, so I think that might have been my parting wave to proper desert. Every once in a while I’ll let myself have a taste of something that I used to enjoy, but every single time it’s been way too sweet for me to actually enjoy. It might just take me a while to get that through my thick head, lol.

I might have to experiment with ice cream recipes, see about leaving out most of the sugar, or finally do the frozen banana and cocoa powder thing. Maybe I could do something with coconut milk even.

After the graduation and all assorted festivities were done, it was too late for me to go to rehearsal, so I went to my friends belly dance class to practice more for next week. It’s scary, because there’s no planned out ahead of time choreography, it’s all group impov, so it’s all a matter of learning the cues and keeping up with the leader. I figure even if it’s not perfect, it should be fun, and we’re dancing to Led Zeppelin! So excited.

On Saturday, I also made a huge batch of curry squash soup, so that’s at home waiting for me for dinner tonight! I think it’s pretty deadly, too, lol.


{May 13, 2013}   Back On Track

I managed to survive the weekend, and did all the stuff I set out to do and a bit extra. I did my belly dancing at home on Saturday morning, and got my run squared away after the baby shower. Later, one of the cast members from Hair suggested we all meet up for some karaoke, so I ended up going out to that and dancing most of the night until 2a.m. Maybe not the wisest thing, but I had a blast, so I’m not sorry I did it.

As if to have it’s revenge on me, my body woke up at 8a.m. the next morning and I decided to fight it since there were things needing to get done. So we took the bus down to the mall, I picked up a pair of shorts for the summer and we did the grocery shopping before making the return trip, this time laden with bags of groceries. Rehearsal was, fortunately, not ALL dancing, though the dancing we did do was just as punishing as the last round.

Tonight I’m not doing anything extra, but we have another dance rehearsal this evening, possibly for three hours, so this is not a rest day at all. Tuesday is a running day, and at least for now I refuse to budge on that at all. I might have to budge on other things, but, at least until show weeks, I feel like I can run three days a week no matter what.

Right now I feel okay. I’m tired, to be sure, but not badly tired, and more mentally together than I’ve been in a long time. I don’t get sore at all except when I stay still for too long, and then I just have to move around a bit and I start to feel better. It’s different from the garden variety fatigue from before, because I feel less mentally tired. I could probably stand to take a nap, which I will probably do tomorrow, after I run (or I might just go to bed earlier than usual), but mostly I’m ok. I have been doing to bed each night thoroughly exhausted, and usually a bit sore in the legs, but when I wake up I feel significantly better.

My running is improving every time I go out, and I think I’m going to add another widget to the side to post my starting statistics and my most recent statistics so I can keep my progress in one spot. I’m now at 14:22 minutes per mile, which I still think is lower than reality, because it’s taking into account the 10 minute warmup that is all walking. Every time I go out, I try my best, and I really didn’t think I’d beat the time before last because I’d pushed as hard as I thought I was capable of, but I keep surprising myself with it. Who knows where I’ll manage to get myself if I keep at it.

I managed to rein in my eating this week as well, so all in all I really feel like I’m back on track. Grocery shopping means I have the stuff to make chili and squash curry soup, both of which last for several days so I don’t have to find time to cook so much. I want to go looking for more easy, healthy recipes so I can branch out a bit, but the ones I currently circulate are all tasty and satisfying, so all in all thats going ok. I think, all in all, I’m getting to some really healthy habits, I just need to keep myself focused and make sure I track everything correctly.

The weigh in was good, I lost another half inch off my waist and am down two pounds again, so hopefully last weeks little hiccup won’t be repeated any time soon.

I’ve hit a sort of interesting point when it comes to my activities. It’s sort of been sneaking up on me for a bit, I guess, but it really became apparent this week, as running has really started to become a thing for me.

The first time I noticed it was when I first started to work dance in regularly. There were three kinds of dance I was mainly interested in (ballet, tap and belly dance), and, wanting to work each one in twice a week, I started dancing six days a week. It was a great thing for me, and I might’ve continued on that way for some time were it not for rehearsals and other commitments. But the noteworthy thing, for this post anyway, was that I was focused more on the activity itself than I was on the necessity of getting enough exercise. The dancing was more important than the calories burned.

What’s happening now is sort of the same thing. There are so many activities that I want to work into my schedule that it’s becoming less of a “must be active enough” thing and more of a “argh, when can I squeeze in _______” thing. This means that I might not have time for proper rest days, except when I have rehearsals with no choreography component and am therefor too booked up to squeeze anything else into.

I’m not quite sure what that is going to be like, though I’m starting to get a bit of a taste of it this week. Yesterday was the only day I could really do ballet, so I did that. I also wanted to test out the new bike seat, so I took it on a short spin before walking down to dinner with DBF. I didn’t have much down time, but I’m sort of not very tired anyway. Today I didn’t make it to my proper belly dance class, so I did belly dance at home. We have a baby shower to go to in a bit, and I’m hoping to get home early enough to get my run in later on. Tomorrow will be grocery shopping followed by a long dance rehearsal (which might actually kill me, based on last weeks dance rehearsal.)

Don’t get me wrong, I still have the lazy voice in my head saying “maybe I don’t need to do this today”, but then the other voice chimes in with “if you don’t do it now, when are you going to fit it in?” And that argument usually shakes out with me getting off my butt to go do whatever thing is on my agenda. I still have no clue when I’m going to work in weights when I can actually do weights again (which might be very soon.) I have this vaguely-doomish feeling that it’s going to end up being on my “rest days”, lol.

What I need to be careful of here is that I’m still getting enough rest. I can’t do weights on the same muscle groups on consecutive days without both risking injury and stymying my own progress, and I’m going to have to be a big meany head with myself about getting to bed by 10 every night so that I can make sure I’m getting enough sleep. I think if I can manage those two things, along with continuing to eat right and get plenty of water, I’ll be ok. At any rate, I think the number one thing I need to do is listen to my body and be willing to let some things go if it tells me I need to relax more.

So far, that hasn’t been happening, and I’m getting to the point where I’m feeling less and less comfortable with just sitting on the couch. After a little while, I start to feel myself getting stiffer and stiffer, whereas moving around keeps me feeling more mobile and limber.

Last night we went out for seafood, and I got maple ginger salmon with roasted cauliflower. It was awesome, and because if the lack of a starchy side, and the relatively low calories in salmon, it’s been one of the few times I could sit down and eat an entire entree without blowing past my calorie limit. The salmon was very good and tender. It still has a slightly fishy taste, which I am still getting used to, but I liked it well enough anyway. Not everything is an instant favorite, but I find that I can learn to like most everything if I keep giving it a good shot and try preparing it in different ways.

Also, it took me almost the entire week to recover from last weeks weigh in, but I’m finally starting to feel better about my body and my improvements in diet and health again. Getting my caloric intake back under control was a big part of it, but the activities I’ve been doing are helping, too. It’s pretty hard to feel decidedly bad about yourself when you are steadily improving at things you never thought you would be physically capable of doing.

I did week 1, mission 2 in the Zombies, Run! 5k app last night. It went well, even though it was hot out, which usually angries up my asthma. I didn’t go past the mission duration like I did last time because I had plans later in the evening, so I ended up doing 2.2 miles in 36 minutes. I’m still surprised as hell that I’ve been able to do this much, but I’m excited and I can’t wait to continue pushing myself.

I made a deal with myself that, if I make it through all 8 weeks of the training sequence, I’ll buy myself a Runner 5 tshirt as a reward. So, there’s a goal.

I looked at bikes at the shop directly across the parking lot from my work. They have a used Trek mountain bike for $200, which wasn’t that comfortable to ride and made noises when I rode uphill, and they have a beautiful Giant xroad bike for $350 that is so comfortable to ride, but more than I am hoping to spend.

This weekend I am going to a bike swap with my friends, one of whom is working there, and he’s going to help me find bikes that will work for me, so hopefully I get myself something suitable.

It’s not so much that I absolutely can’t swing the $350, it’s that I don’t know yet how much I’ll actually get to ride it, especially since it’s cold and gross here 5-6 months out of the year. Also, though I’d like to think that I’ll use it to go to the grocery store and for other errands, riding in the road sort of scares the piss out of me because cars, so it all depends on how comfortable I can get riding and dealing with traffic. Fortunately, you can ride on the sidewalk in most of Vermont, but I still don’t know how worthwhile it will be. If I can find something cheaper to start out and get me through the next year or so, it’ll be a much more responsible purchase.

Last night was trivia night at Buffalo Wild Wings, and I got myself some soft pretzels again. It was more than made up for by the running yesterday, so I didn’t worry about it at all. One of my friends told me she’s glad I cheat once in a while, which sort of made me laugh a bit. I realized that I don’t think of it as cheating, I think of it as food that isn’t good for me, so I only eat it once in a while. I think that’s a good way to look at it, because there’s no guilt associated with an “occasional food” like there is with a food that constitutes “cheating” or “breaking your diet.”

When it comes to what you eat, there are healthier choices and less healthy choices. Making unhealthy eating choices does not amount to a moral failing, or an indication that you are not worthwhile as a person. Loading yourself up with guilt over food is a fast track to an eating disorder, not to mention the whole point of eating better or losing weight is to feel better, both physically and mentally. Guilt is NOT going to help with that.

I wish I knew how to replicate the changes I’ve made mentally, because I feel like I could help a lot of people if I knew what the source of the change was and how to flip that switch, but the truth is, something in me was ready to cut the cord between negative emotions and crappy food. I feel like I’m developing a relationship with food now that is totally different than the one I had before. It’s more about taking care of my body, carefully guarding it from the things that made us so unhealthy to begin with.

In essence, I think you have to learn to be friends with your body, to think of it like your partner or team mate. If you give it what it needs and take care of it, it’ll start becoming what you want it to be. I don’t mean that in the new agey sense, I mean in the literal sense. Learn the signs it’s using to tell you when things are wrong, learn to tell the difference between hungry, thirsty, tired, and upset. Take it out for a spin to keep it mobile, and keep the engine in working order.

{April 29, 2013}   The Recurring Delusion

I can’t run. Wait, that’s not exactly true. I can run just fine. I just have never successfully been able to both run and breathe within the same general time frame. I had (mostly) accepted this.

But my new success with the very brief cardio portion of the Ballet Boot Camp DVD has once again revisited upon me the idea that maybe, one day, I could manage to run a bit. To that end, I bought the train to 5k edition of the Zombies, Run! app, which I’m hoping to try out soonish.

I can’t start it today, or at least I probably shouldn’t, because I still have the respiratory craptacularity left over from Oliver!, which will most definitely NOT help with the whole breathing thing. I’m still not entirely sure whether or not that is going to stop me.

Weigh in was good, lost another 2lbs, even though I’ve been less strict in the last week or so than I should be. I’m getting back on track, though, so no worries.

Last night was the first rehearsal for Hair. I am so stinking excited for that show I can barely stand it. I got an additional solo in Walking In Space, which is one of my favorite parts in the whole musical. And the cast is full of wonderful, talented people that I am really privileged to get to work with. Can’t wait!

So, yesterday. It was actually pretty awesome until this morning. I’ll get to that shortly.

I went for a walk down to the lake on my lunch break. It was approaching 70 out, the sun was shining gloriously in the sky, and I was treated to some entertainment in the form of a woman who had clearly lost contact with the mothership. I got a good 30 minute walk with some hills, I synthesized a little vitamin D, and it was pure, unadulterated awesome.

After work, I went home and did half an hour of belly dance (to ease back in, and also because I was short on time.) I ate a bit, but left some wiggle room because we were going to Wild Wings for trivia, and I knew I would want to graze on stuff there.

Have I mentioned the unholy craving I’ve been having for soft pretzels? Mostly I don’t crave bread products too much, but lately, I’ve missed the chewy, stretchy, doughy aspect, and soft pretzels are MADE of chewy and doughy.

So DBF, knowing this, picked stuff he knew I’d like to accommodate my cravings. I didn’t do bad, really, calorie wise. I went a little over my baseline, but not near over the calories the activities I’d done afforded me, so still within the sweet spot. And those pretzels and boneless wings were so tasty.

This morning, though, my intestines told me they were displeased. It wasn’t as bad as it could have been, just some angry pangs and grumbling really, but it definitely didn’t agree with me. Which is probably a good thing. I suspect I’ll remember it next time we go to trivia and not have as much trouble resisting the stuff I know I shouldn’t eat anyway. Note: I did not have food poisoning. And the food was delicious. I’m not saying people should pass on wings and pretzels. Just that I apparently can’t enjoy them without consequences.

I’m glad to have started dancing again. I’ve undoubtedly lost some of my progress, but I’m ok with that, the musical was important and fun, and my body still responded to the diet, so I can regain my former skills dance wise. I might do some tap tonight, or ballet, not sure which I’ll settle on when I get home.

This week I have been awesome for taking a damned break, recovering from illness, and mostly not deviating from my diet rules. I’m easing back into dancing more again, and my extra weight plates are on the way so I can get back into my weight routine as well. I am working on getting my wrist back up to full function so I can proceed with both cello and weights without risking further injury. I am taking time to notice how different my body is than it was before.

I have also noticed a few new things. Even though I have deviated slightly in the last month, my normal default is now the diet. This is great because it means it’s sustainable and has become habit, which is absolutely critical to long term success. Working in a bit of flexibility, I think, is good because I don’t want to have seriously rigid rules forever. The whole point of this is to be healthy, mentally and physically, and I don’t feel like being forever obsessed with everything that passes my lips is a healthy or desirable way to live.

Here’s the other thing I’ve realized, now that I’ve had time to consider it: I don’t regret ever having been fat, and I wouldn’t go back and change it now if I could. Oh sure, I might have lost weight sooner just for the affect it’s had on my body, but if I had the choice to go back and make myself always be naturally thin, there’s no way I would. Being fat has forced me to really study what constitutes a healthy diet and a healthy body. It has made me work for it in a way that gives it more value. And, most importantly, being fat has taught me so much compassion for other people, their bodies, and the degrading messages we are all bombarded with all the time. It has taught me that the value of a person has absolutely nothing to do with what kind of body they have.

{April 16, 2013}   Limping Back to Reality

So, the show is done.

I mostly did ok with the diet, until Sunday at least, when I caved into severe hunger and fatigue and ordered a meal at the post-strike wreckage outing and ate the whole thing. Went over on calories by about 1100, until I went in and added a conservative 3 hours worth of cleaning and other work (it was more like 5), and then I was only over by like 150. I don’t give one single, solitary fuck about it because I had a headache and my entire body ached, and I felt miles better almost immediately after eating. Also, though I ate the whole 1100 inadvisable calories, I felt satisfied and not even a little bit over full. My body obviously needed food. The only thing in there that was “against the rules” was the bread. I’ll live.

I forgot to weigh in on Sunday and Monday both, so I’m skipping it for this week. I’m also fighting off some manner of post-show crud, so hurrah for that.

I went back to the wrist doctor Monday, and have another, different brace this time. She said if I decide I want it, though, I can get a cortisone injection instead, and I’m going to do that as soon as I can get there, because I can’t play my cello much at all with it on. Also, that should resolve it more quickly, which means less pain.

I got a dumbbell set for pretty cheap, I just need to order more plates for it so I can do smaller incremental increases, but the handles are a standard size, so that should be easy. I’ll be ordering them soon if I can’t get them at the place near where I live for a reasonable price.

I’ve settled back into my calorie restriction with no difficulty whatsoever, and as soon as I stop feeling like a bus hit me, I’m going to resume exercising. Hopefully that is tomorrow, or maybe the day after.

{April 13, 2013}   36 Hours to Go

So after yesterdays break, I headed down to dinner with my coworkers at a pub called Ri Ra, which is one of my favorite places to eat around here. I love their pan roasted chicken, which comes with little bitty potatoes and green beans. It was delicious. I ate until I was fit to burst, which still gave me a little bit of room, calorie wise. I have leftovers at the theater for later.

Last night was the night that everyone was at the show: DBF, all my coworkers, and assorted local friends. They all really liked the show, even though I felt like it wasn’t quite as good as last night (even the music director thought we did great, though, so maybe it was just something we felt under the lights.)

After the show, we went to this little pizzeria for snacking and drinking. I was a little peckish, and in general I don’t like to go in with a group to a restaurant and not order anything, so I ordered some appetizers to share with DBF and friends. We got the homemade mozzarella, baked goat cheese, and caramelized onions, all served with fresh baked focaccia. I ended up overeating my calorie limit by a couple hundred calories. I looked back through my tracking app, though, and I haven’t gone over in a long time, and I was out for a sort of special occasion, so I’m not worried about it. For this week, losing anything at all would be an accomplishment. Also, if I’m going to go over on calories, at least it was with something that was amazingly delicious.

So, today I’m going to say I am awesome for generally doing well with my calorie restriction, but also for not letting it get in the way of enjoying myself on occasion, and for not falling into a pit of guilt over it. If anything, I’m sort of glad that it happened, because even though it was small, it felt like an indulgence and makes me feel less restricted about things in general. I am also awesome because I got up this morning early enough to practice my cello for a bit. I was only able to get about a half hour of practice in, but that’s because my hands and wrist started to hurt. It’s going to take time to build up my strength and my callouses, and most especially my right wrist, as it’s been in a splint for six and a half weeks now.

Today is going to be a long day. We have a matinee and an evening show, so I’ll be at the theater from noon until after 10:30. Oooof.

{April 12, 2013}   Now That I Have Some Time…

Right now, I am thoroughly, physically exhausted. I took today off work knowing that I wouldn’t be able to get through to Sunday evening without a bit of a break, so that’s what today is for. I slept in until nearly 10am, and right now I am stretched out on the couch, drinking tea and watching The Hunger Games on Netflix.

Last night, opening night, was thoroughly amazing. The audience responded to everything with such enthusiasm, and everyone was dead on, so I would call it an unqualified success. I got to see some friends after the show, and some former cast mates from Rent. The director told one of them that his favorite game to play is “What Is Shadowmousey Doing Right Now?”, which was so encouraging to hear.  I don’t have any lines, or any solo moments, so to be appreciated for what I bring to the show is amazing.

The first thing I saw when I opened up my laptop this morning was an email from one of my coworkers, telling me that I am awesome because I’m not dead. She follows my blog (wave), and it was great to get the encouragement to press on.

And press on I am. If I have the energy, I might do a bit of yoga or dance later just to keep myself from getting stiff. That’s the big issue right now: I’m stiff and my feet and limbs hurt. If I don’t have the energy, I will just stretch for a good long while.

It occurred to me today how much less limited I am when it comes to standing for long periods of time. My feet hurt today, but they didn’t bother me at all last night, at least until I laid down in bed. Standing for as long as I did used to be really difficult and painful for me, so this is just one more physical benefit I’m getting out of this.

So, yesterday I was awesome because I made a point of telling a few of my friends how awesome I think they are, and how beautiful they are. I stayed away from the sugary stuff at the after party, and only had a few piece of kielbasa and popcorn chicken. I went over my calories, but not by a lot, and I feel good about it because I felt hungry and responded to that hunger instead of only paying attention to the numbers.

Today I was awesome already, because I took out my cello, tuned it up, and practiced for an hour. It wasn’t anything impressive, just some open strings with the bow, and some pizzicato work with the left hand to start relearning where the notes are and build up my callouses. I feel accomplished, though, and like I can maybe start calling myself a cellist. My cello now lives in my bedroom where I can get to it easily, every day. I hope to practice some tomorrow morning before the first matinee.

Yesterday was tough. The morning was lovely, with a bit of Doctor Who and lazing about in bed with the sunshine streaming in through the windows. I’d packed a bag of provisions and gotten all my stuff together Saturday evening, so I basically only had to get myself sorted and ready to go.

Tech started at 11:00 am, so I had cereal for breakfast and headed out to the theater. This was a good tech, meaning that it didn’t quite stretch into the wee hours of the morning, and lasted just a bit over 12 hours. It’s not very labor intensive for the cast, but there’s a lot of back and forth, and a LOT of hurry up and wait.

I had food temptation today like I haven’t had in a long time, but I was not terribly surprised by it. First it was the humongous bacon sandwich our Stage Manager had. It’s not against the rules, but that would probably take up quite a bit of my calories for the day. I was thinking of ways I could have me a bacon sammich without blowing my calorie load: The thin sandwich rounds of bread (which are not GF, but once in a while wouldn’t hurt), fresh kale and tomato, bacon, and avocado (so I wouldn’t need mayo or anything like that.) I might have to make those when my family is here. I know my mother and sister would especially love them.

The second was the huge towers of pizza brought in by one of our very, very generous sponsors. They came from a really good local restaurant, accompanied by boxes of fresh baked chocolate chip cookies. These are the kind of pizzas where you can see the outline of fresh mozzarella slices on the pie, with fresh herbs, and a beautiful crust.


But in the end, I stuck to my guns and ate the food I brought with me: curry and quinoa, snap peas, edamame, banana, cottage cheese with almonds and craisins, these homemade healthy cookies, and pixie tangerines. And I didn’t go over my calorie limit, either. Actually, by the end of the night I felt like I’d eaten a bit too much, fullness wise. Calorie wise, I came in just under my target, which is why I kept eating, because eating too little is not a habit I want to get into, especially not when I will be totally physically taxed this week.



Tomorrow is Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s, which will be a hard one to pass up on. I’ll probably try to suss out how many calories and how much sugar is contained in one of their frozen yogurt cones and then decide from there whether or not I want to go there, but right now I’m leaning toward no. It’s not that I won’t ever be a bit extravagant, it’s that there are times coming up (like when my family visits) when I know I’m going to want to, and those times are more important than this time.

The cognitive dissonance is increasing for me, lately. I’m getting more and more notice from others regarding my weight loss, and there are little things that are so different with my body, but I still don’t feel it in my brain. I’ve read somewhere that the average woman in the US is a size 14, which means I am now smaller than the average woman. The way my legs fit together is new and foreign to me. The way I look when I pass mirrors is unfamiliar, like I’m seeing a different person than the one who lives in my brain.

I still have a ways to go, but I’m getting there. The top of the BMI healthy range for my height is 163 pounds. I am 15 pounds away from that right now, which is the amount of weight I’ve lost over the last few months, so I’m half way to that goal post. Part of me wishes I could just wake up and have it all be done right now, and the other half of me feels so disoriented already that I know I need the intervening time to figure out whatever it is inside me that is so distorted in it’s view.

I finished reading Stranger Here, and I’m still digesting it, really. So many parts of it hit home with me, even though my journey is different than her’s was. It was such a worthwhile read, and I would still feel that way if it had been twice the price. I would recommend it to absolutely anyone out there who has ever struggled with their body, and especially anyone considering weight loss surgery.

For me, it’s been easy to reject the idea of having weight loss surgery, first because there’s no way I could ever have afford it, second because the idea of having surgery scares the hell out of me, but finally, because I have lost weight any time I’ve chosen to make changes in either caloric output or caloric input and actually stuck to it. That is true for most people, but not for everyone. Some people try and try and the weight doesn’t come off, and I’m glad there’s an option there for them to seek.

Weekend weigh in results: down 2 lbs and thats about it. No inches lost. I plod onward.

et cetera