The Final Fifty

{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 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.

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.

I’ve come to the decision that pan frying veggies is my favorite way to prepare most of them. I have tried it so far with broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, and it is fast and easy, and they come out perfectly pretty much every time.


How to Pan Fry Veggies:

  1. Cut up the veggies however you like. The smaller the are, the better they will cook, but you don’t want them shredded. I usually cut broccoli in halves or thirds, same for Brussels sprouts and cauliflower.
  2. Rinse the veggies well under cool water.
  3. Heat up a tablespoon or so of olive oil in the bottom of a skillet or frying pan over medium-high heat. My favorite to use is a cast iron skillet, but I figure a regular frying pan would work well enough.
  4. Once the oil is hot, toss the veggies in. For Brussels sprouts, I place them cut side down and leave them. For broccoli and cauliflower, I toss them in and then stir them around to coat in the olive oil, then toss gently to move them around while they fry.
  5. While the veggies cook for 2-3 minutes, dissolve salt in 3-5 tbsp of water. Add some pepper and any other seasonings you like. I usually throw in some red pepper flakes (qu’elle surprise?!?)
  6. Once the veggies have fried for 2-3 minutes, pour in the water and put a lid on the pan. Let the veggies steam like this for another 2 minutes.
  7. Remove lid and turn of heat. Let some of the steam escape. At this point, you can add more seasoning, or sprinkle a little bit of cheese over the veggies and let it melt. I often sprinkle in curry powder, or use parmesan cheese if I want a more mild, creamy addition.

That’s it! So tasty, though.

Miraculously, the director is so pleased with where we are in the show, he cancelled tonights rehearsal. I feel almost luxurious thinking about all the time I will have free tonight to do laundry and relax. Laundry is not relaxing, but not having to fit it in tomorrow will be really nice (unless I decide to bake tonight and do laundry tomorrow… which I just might.)

I’ve been struggling this week with my body image. I know that I am smaller, and still losing size. The numbers bear that out, and people keep commenting on how well I’m doing (they all know I’m working at it, so I’m not as annoyed by it as I might be otherwise.) But I can’t see the difference with my own eyes. I can see that things no longer fit, but when I look at my body in the mirror, or glance at my limbs, or look down at my lap, it all looks the same, and it’s such bullshit. It feels so cruel that everyone seems to see it except me.

I still haven’t had the urge to eat shitty food, at least, and I still feel healthier than I ever have, and I still feel accomplished every time I eat a bowl of vegetables smothered in more vegetables for dinner. But I can’t see the change as it translates in my physical form. It really bothers me to think that I might always feel that way. I hope that there will come a time when I am satisfied with my body.

I just wish that someone could promise me that I can get there, mentally. I am being totally stubborn about making sure that I eat enough food, so I’m not sliding into physically dangerous territory, but if I could just know that this journey would improve me mentally instead of just physically, I would feel a whole lot better about the whole thing. I’m not doing this to look better for other people. I’m doing this to be healthier, and to be better for myself.

{April 4, 2013}   Still Pushing

Yesterday was weight day, but things didn’t go quite as I’d hoped. I wanted to do four full circuits like I did on Monday, but my body let me know in no uncertain terms that that was not happening.

It started with my wrist, which started bothering me towards the end of my first ladder of wall push ups. Fair enough, that’s the one part of my body that I will not push through pain with, so I stopped with the wall push ups and kept working both lunges and squats, but I switched to crunches to break up the leg abuse a bit. By the end of the third circuit, I was getting small pains in my knees/shins and in my ankles. These were not muscle fatigue, they felt more joint related, so I did as many as I could and then stopped at the end of the third circuit.

Still, despite all that, and despite my pretty monumental tiredness at this point, I got most of it done and didn’t just skip the whole damn thing. I still don’t have the muscle soreness, but with the show coming up and all, I’m not going to worry about it. Also, I don’t think avoiding injury is a failing. Injuries are expensive, and they lead to months where you have to not use something so it can heal.


After that, I pan fried up some broccoli, drowned it in curry sauce, and had myself a huge bowl of dinner. It was seriously gigantic. Unfortunately I didn’t log it until I was already at rehearsal, and found that I ate only a little over 1000 calories yesterday. I didn’t have anything with me to bring it up where it should be, and I didn’t want to eat anything when I got home because it was so late and I was ready to sleep, but I think I’ll start keeping food in my bag sooner rather than later to prevent that from happening again. I wasn’t hungry at all, and I really though I’d eaten plenty, but apparently that’s a thing I need to watch out for.

I still have not procured 10 lb dumbbells, but there are a few reasons. First off, it’s like $15 per dumbbell, whereas if I wait a bit (until I get paid or get my tax return), I can snag a set of adjustable ones that go up to 30 lbs for like $70. Considering that I don’t have room for a whole collection of dumbbells, and also that I don’t want to shell out $30 for each set along the way (10 lb, 15 lb, 20 lb, 25 lb, 30 lb), I think thats probably a better option. Also, I might be able to borrow a set of 10 pounders from a friend to tide me over until I get a better idea of what I want to do.

So, the long and short of it, is that I’m still working with 5 lb weights, but Monday, I managed four full circuits rather than three. It still didn’t give me the DOMS I was hoping for (not that I like being sore for it’s own sake, but thats how I know it’s working.) Maybe I’ll try for five sets tomorrow?

If I had a car, I would just rejoin Planet Fitness for $10 a month and use their equipment. Sadly, I do not have a car, so my options are limited. Sure would be nice to have access to the other free weight stuff, though. Maybe one of these days.

This afternoon I went to the store to pick up some veggies, and to stock up on healthy snacks for the coming shit storm. I got some broccoli and cauliflower that I can fry up really fast and eat with the curry soup and rice, because I can put all that stuff together in less than 10 minutes and have a good, nutritious meal before I have to jet to rehearsal.

I also got some pea snacks, some sweet potato and beet chips, some blue potato chips (not super healthy, but not against my rules and totally natural), and some edamame I can prepare ahead of time. Tonight, when I got home, I portioned everything out into serving sizes so it’s all ready to go before the proverbial shit hits the fan. I even wrote the portion size and name of each thing on the bag, so if I eat something and don’t have time to log it, I can keep the bags and remember what I ate later. I got a couple of Luna bars, too, in case I get really desperate, but those are last ditch “put down the junk food” sort of options.


I imagine there will be other trips to the coop to pick up random fruit or premade food, but I wanted to wander into battle full armed.


I also made a Gigantic Pot of Curry Soup, which has worked so well for me in the past. I actively crave that stuff pretty much all the time, so it’ll be good to have it around when I’m likely going to be needing something that appeals to that sort of visceral food drive. I can even take single servings to the theater with me, just in case I have an attack of the HUNGREEEEE. Plus, it’s got enough fiber in it to be reasonably filling. This time I used kabocha pumpkin, butternut squash, sweet potatoes and carrots. There are so many different things that can go into that soup. It came out really thick and less hot than last time. I might have to add more curry powder to each serving as I use it, lol.


This is only part of the extra. I think I made enough to last me a week. Maybe, lol.

Joy of joys, I’m also about to start my period, so what we have here is the perfect storm of potential dietary ruin triggers. What I need to do is channel my legendary stubbornness and just grit my damn teeth until the whole week and a half is over and done with. It’s been just about two months now since I’ve started, so a week and a half is doable.

The good news, the gold ring that I’m trying to grab, is that if I can get through this without slipping, I’m pretty sure I can make it through any regular stress that gets in my way. So, barring serious trauma or some crazy apocalypse, this is likely to be one of the most trying periods I encounter for a while. At least until the family gets here, lol.

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, we had rehearsal in the big theater for the second time. It’s a glorious place, but it is, unfortunately, the driest place ever to exist on Earth. I can’t be in there for more than an hour without getting a headache, at least the first few times before each show. I don’t know what changes, maybe it finally sinks in that I have to drink gallons of water BEFORE I get there, not just during, but hopefully it’ll get better this time like it did for Rent.

Yesterday, one of the other cast members brought a basket of candy-filled Easter eggs in for everyone, and I noticed that some of them contain my kryptonite, the Cadbury mini eggs. I didn’t take any, but I did feel a pang and start to think “well, one wouldn’t be a great tragedy.” And maybe I could eat only one of them, it wouldn’t be the most shocking thing ever. But maybe I wouldn’t stop at one, and I didn’t want to take the risk. Part of me wonders if they would even taste good to me now, but again, it’s a box I’m not ready to open just yet. If I can make it to a year sans sugar, it might be a different story, but at the beginning of 2 weeks of craziness, it’s just not a safe experiment to have.

It helped to see that most of the adults didn’t take any, and also that I had a banana with me. It tasted nice and sweet without the side order of guilt I probably would have felt afterward. Not guilt because of anything external at all, but guilt at letting myself down, because I’ve worked so hard to make myself healthier, and now is not a good time to test myself.

I’m pretty much at the “oh shit, my free time is GONE” moment, which is bad, because I haven’t stocked up enough food. I need to make curry soup this week some time so that I can have a bunch of meals frozen, and I also need to pack up some cottage cheese cups and grab some other things to take to the theater with me for when attacks of the munchies happen. I’m trying to shift my thinking so that I learn to view this as an opportunity to learn new snacking habits. I need to walk up to the co op at some point this week and look at the snack food there, because I know there are healthy things I can choose, things I haven’t tried before, and that will help.

Friday I got to try edamame, which I loved, so that would be a good option. My mom also said she tried something with freeze-dried corn that tasted like candy, so I can check and see if there’s something like that there. Plus they have stuff in the bulk section, like dried banana slices and other dehydrated fruit, plus nuts and other stuff. There are also kale chips, which I’ve been wanting to try anyway. Even just typing this stuff out is helping, so I know it’s just a mental game I have to keep playing with myself. The co op is 2 blocks from the theater, and they also have a prepared food section with cooked stuff, so I can even go there if I want something hot, and I know they’ll have stuff I’ve never tried before. I can totally do this.

I did something kind of silly this afternoon, and I ordered this skirt. In a size medium. I’m shrinking into a size 12 now (I might be there, but I haven’t had a chance to test the theory just yet.) The medium says it’s for size 8-10, so I know it probably won’t fit when it gets here. My thinking is that by the time it really gets to be summer, it will fit. At $10, itt’s not an expensive gamble or anything, but this hearkens back so many memories of times when my grandmother would buy me clothes that were too small because “they would fit me when I lost weight.” It was a near constant thing with her, and she was the most persistent and obnoxious of the people who always told me I wasn’t good enough because I was fat (no matter how nicely they said it.)

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I haven’t often bought “goal clothes” myself, and now that I reflect on it, it’s only been twice so far: the pair of jeans that is now languishing on the floor because they are too big and keep falling off, and the little black dress I got at a thrift store that now fits ok and which I’ve started wearing again. So this might not be the big doomed-to-failure purchase I’m making it out to be in my head, but as long as I’m airing my damage, I’ll include the irrational with the rational. And just to make sure I’m airing it all out and really exorcising it, I’m going to post about it when it gets here, and then post picture of me wearing it once it finally fits.

My veggie list is getting longer, and the ones I will actively seek out is getting more extensive as I learn to cook them in more appealing ways:


Really, asparagus should be starred, too, because I go back to that one a lot. I might try pan-frying it to see how it turns out. I’m sure I can find better things to do with carrots, too, they’re just a challenge because DBF doesn’t like them cooked, and I don’t like big carrots raw (though I’ll totally snarf down baby carrots when they’re offered.) I saw a documentary the other day that suggested people should just start adding healthy things in, and eventually the healthy things would crowd out the unhealthy things? That is totally happening for me, and I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s kind of amazing how much easier it is to be satisfied with real food than with the stuff that was slowly killing me.

{March 31, 2013}   Fish Update, Weigh In Results

Dinner last night turned out really well, which is awesome, because I’ve never cooked fish or quinoa before, and even the broccoli was a different cooking method, so it was all a bit experimental. I put a tiny bit more cheese than was called for, but I also had 50% more fish than the recipe called for, so I figured it was ok. It didn’t overload the fish, but there was a lot of oil in the pan when the fish was done. Still, it didn’t taste heavy at all, and was very tender and perfectly cook, so I call that a great success.

The quinoa I cooked just like rice, by tossing it in some water with a vegetable bouillon cube, brought it to a boil, then reduced to a simmer until all the liquid was absorbed. It tasted pretty much just like rice, and the bouillon gave it a good flavor. I made a bed of it on each plate and lay the fish fillet on top, which worked really well.

The broccoli I decided to try in a similar fashion to what I did with the Brussels sprouts the other night, though I found a specific recipe for pan fried broccoli. I skipped the bit with the stems, just for the sake of time, so I just heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in my cast iron skillet, then tossed the broccoli in and tossed it around some to coat it with the oil. I let it cook for a few minutes, until some of the cut sides started to brown just a little, then I tipped in some water with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes and put the lid on. It steamed for a few minutes, then I removed the lid, and it was a bright, livid shade of green.


Once it was cooked so beautifully, I sprinkled on some parmesan cheese and turned off the heat. I used parmesan because it was the same as what I was already used on the fish, so I figured it was better to stick with the one kind of cheese. I liked the flavor combination, though I imagine other cheeses would taste just as good. It really took just a little cheese to enhance the flavor of the broccoli. I think with this method, I can easily work in broccoli much more often than I’d previously thought to.


I ended up liking everything a lot, and the whole meal got rave reviews!


We also had the smoked salmon while dinner was cooking, and I ended up liking that a lot as well. It was a locally made thing, though it was made with wild caught Alaskan salmon. We had it with Triscuits, which was a good pairing.

I weighed and measured this weekend, and I’ve lost another pound, with an inch taken off my hips, and half an inch off my waist. My waist/hip ratio has gone up slightly, but I’m still in the same range, so I’m not going to worry about it too much. My waist is under 35″ for the first time, and my body fat percentage is down to 27.02%, so I am within striking distance of a “short term” goal I set some months back to get it below 27%. I set three goals at that time, the second being to get my waist below 35″, which I’ve done, and the third to get my weight to 175 or below, and I’ve probably got at least a few weeks left on that one. It’ll be really nice to cross all three of them off, once I get there.

I tried the other recipe for Brussels sprouts the other night, and they were fantastic! They were nice and crisp and tender, and even though I only added a little sprinkling of cheese, it tasted indulgent. I am so excited, because not only did DBF try them and like them, but I can officially put them in the “veggies I am excited about” category instead of the “I’ll eat it, but it’s not my favorite” category.

Yesterday, I was not very successful at all in terms of exercise. I didn’t dance or do weights, but we did a bit of walking going to our friends’ place and back again for movie night. Also! They had edamame out to snack on, so I tried it, and I loved it! Now I know what to get for my own parties and to take with me to others’. I also might have to look into recipes using edamame.

So today I got up, did 30 minutes of belly dance drills, and then three full circuits of my weights routine. Not such a big load of stuff, but it satisfied me that I’m not being too terribly lazy. The thing I love most about the calorie restriction is that, if I’m beat down tired, I don’t have to exercise every day and I can still lose weight. I am finally making progress on my lunges, which are the toughest one for me. Also, my friend has some 10 lb. dumbbells she said I can borrow if she can find them.

Today I also went to the farmer’s market with one of my friends. It’s only a mile or so away, and now that it’s getting to be warm and lovely out, we decided to walk. I had a veggie samosa there for lunch, which was delicious, and I picked up some locally grown carrots and sweet potatoes, as well as some smoked salmon. I’ve never had smoked salmon before, and this is really the first time I’ve set out to try fish, but we got to sample it, so I went ahead and picked some up. It tastes pretty good, though it’s not a flavor or texture I’m used to just yet.

On the way out of the farmer’s market, we stopped at a booth hosted by nursing students from the local med school for a free blood pressure screening. I have never yet had trouble with my blood pressure, but high blood pressure does run in my family. That’s part of the reason I’ve always paid attention to it; my mother’s blood pressure is high, so I try to keep aware of how I’m doing. Mine is currently 114/64, which is even lower than it’s usually been, so that was reassuring to me about my health with the new eating habits and exercise.

Also, it was great to be able to have my blood pressure tested with a normal sized cuff. At my heaviest, when I was in college, they would have to get out the larger cuff to test me. Now, I can be tested comfortably with a normal cuff.

After the farmer’s market, we walked up to the Co-op and bought the rest of the stuff for dinner, and I picked up some other things as well. I’m all set to make Parmesan-Crusted Tilapia, Pan-Fried Broccoli (basically, similar to the Brussels sprouts from the other night, but with broccoli), and Quinoa.

Once all that was done, I called my mom to make the travel reservations for her and my family to come visit. Turns out she wasn’t ready to book just yet, so that part will get done tomorrow, but we talked about the eating part of things. I was hoping that, since we’re looking into suites, one of which offers a full and equipped kitchen, that I might be able to just make dinner most nights. In addition to the satisfaction I get from cooking for my family, this would also enable me to make sure that my eating doesn’t get totally out of control while they’re here.

She marveled a bit over how much my diet has changed, and reminded me that restricting myself too much isn’t good. I’ve thought about it a bit since we hung up, though, and I don’t feel restricted. It isn’t that I’m so worried about maybe not losing weight that week or whatever, but I don’t want to derail my new habits so much that it takes a long time for me to recover. I’ll find ways to compromise a bit so we can go places they want to eat, but I still just wish I could cook dinner every night.

Last night, DBF made a delicious stir fry with chicken, snow peas, baby corn, water chestnuts, and sweet onions, with a small bit of a soy based sauce. It was absolutely delicious, and I especially loved the snow peas, so I’ll be adding them into the rotation much more frequently, along with the stir fry as a whole.

There’s been a recall on my cats food, which kind of startled me a bit, because it’s always been a good brand and she hasn’t had any trouble on it. I gave her only canned food until I had a chance to make it back to the pet store, and I’m thinking of transitioning her to a mostly raw diet.

But y’all, it is so hard to find decent, reliable information on cat nutrition that doesn’t come along with some other bullshit. I know that some people are into alternative medicine and stuff like that, but when I see a book talking about homeopathic medicine for a cat, there’s no way I can trust that book to give me good information. I don’t mean herbal medicine, because that’s different. I mean remedies that are so diluted that the statistical likelihood that they actually contain any “active ingredient” is so vanishingly small that there’s no logical way it could possibly work.

So I found a book the other day and ordered it, and it’s written by a woman with a solid background in biology and chemistry, along with years working as a veterinary technician. I was able to search the index and verified it doesn’t contain a single suggestion that I start by aligning my cat’s chi, so I have high hopes for it. I also ordered a book written by veterinarian all about cat health and recognizing warning signs and diagnosing symptoms. Basically, she’s getting older, and I want to know how to take better care of her so I can keep her alive for another 30 years, at least.

I noticed about a week ago that I’ve stopped having food cravings. Not just for the shitty food I used to eat, but for any foods at all. I’ve heard that food cravings are related to nutritional deficiencies, but I can’t find any research to confirm it, and instead found studies that showed there is no relation between them at all, so I’m not sure what to make of it. Instead, cravings tend to be socially driven, and have a lot to do with foods you have historically associated with comfort.

Part of me feels like I have learned to not seek comfort in food. I never really thought of it that way before, but as I reflect on it now, I can definitely see with total clarity that I used to use food to comfort myself. I would see something or crave something, and know consciously that it was too much food or not the kind of food I should be eating. And then I would make some sort of excuse why it was okay and eat it anyway, and it was nearly always just me caving and saying “it’s just once, what could it hurt” or “it’s not a big deal, I’ll enjoy myself and do better another day.” And it was always when I felt the need to boost my mood. It’s amazing how easy it is to see that now when I spent a lot of time thinking about it before and was still so blind to it.

I think part of it might be my excitement that I’m actually enjoying healthy food now. Don’t get me wrong, a huge burrito or a candy bar has it’s satisfaction, but mostly, when it’s finished and you don’t get the taste or the satisfaction of eating any more of it, it just left me feeling fat and like a failure, like I’d let myself down again. It was a guilt/payoff cycle, sometimes with a defiant “I refused to feel ashamed for liking food!” stage that, while trivially empowering, was kind of the ultimate extension of the “fuck you, I don’t care what you think” attitude. Because guess how little I care what you think? Little enough that I’m willing to poison myself just for the satisfaction of telling you (imaginary people who are echos of my middle school peers) to piss off.

And now, food is about me. Because when I eat healthy food, when I enjoy healthy food, I’m getting the satisfaction of eating, AND I’m getting the satisfaction of feeling successful for putting good things into my body. Those imaginary judgey-pantsed people are gone with the daily struggle to not eat crap. The guilt part is gone when you make healthy choices, and so I guess the rest of the emotional eating cycle slowly went away, too. Because, if I’m being honest, though they might wear the faces of my adolescent tormenters, if I’m being honest, those voices were me hating myself and then punishing myself for hating myself by hating myself more.

(This is why I started this blog. I honestly didn’t even realize any of this stuff until I just typed it all out.)

I’m terrified, because things are going so well, and I feel so strong now, and it just seems like it’s been a little too easy. On the other hand, things have been crazy stressful in large regions of my life lately, and I just see unhealthy things and just don’t want them. I think I will feel safe when I’ve made it a year. Maybe. I’ll let you know next March.

et cetera