Friday, May 6, 2011

e.e. cummings

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

here is the deepest secret nobody knows
(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud
and the sky of the sky of a tree called life;which grows
higher than soul can hope or mind can hide)
and this is the wonder that's keeping the stars apart

i carry your heart(i carry it in my heart)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


Not much to say this week. Some big changes are coming, and when I'm ready, I'll share. Until then, just be patient with me, m'kay?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I wasn't too excited about my weight this morning until I looked at last week's post. I lost two pounds! Whoa. Kind of surprising because I've been slacking on both my workouts and my food tracking. But I've also realized that I'm kind of on auto-pilot with the food part. Without thinking too hard about it, I'm staying at/under/very close to my daily calorie goal. What a relief that is. It can be really exhausting to record every tiny piece of food that crosses my lips.

Well, that's it for me. How was YOUR week?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

186.4 & Hanging In There

Quite frankly, I'm astounded to have lost anything this week. My stress level was through the roof, and as a result I let my eating get out of control.

The biggest stressor -- losing my phone -- has been eliminated. While I didn't recover my old phone, my mom saved the day with an early anniversary/Mother's Day gift: a new iPhone 4. And thanks to some software magic, all but about a week's worth of my pictures were restored.

I also got an interesting phone call from a friend who needed some guidance. I have to say, it's kind of a new experience to have anyone ask me for help with a weight-related issue. She asked me how I stayed motivated, how I kept going. It's a simple question, but not a simple answer. As usual, I rambled and babbled, but hopefully gave her some of what she was looking for. Now that I've had a few days to ponder, I think I can reduce my babbles into a few more concise points.

So how do I do it? How do I stay motivated? Here's what works for me:

Accept the fact that sometimes, it's going to suck. Like, REALLY suck.
Losing weight, or getting in shape, or whatever it is you're trying to do? It's hard, friend. Some days are harder than others. So when it's hard, when what you really want to do is quit, just accept that it sucks. Get upset, get mad, cry, whatever. BUT DON'T STOP! Don't quit. Keep pushing through, and I promise, when you do, you'll look back at that suckage and think one of two things: a) it wasn't really so terrible, or b) DAMN, that sucked, but how kick-ass am I that I got through it?

Get it out in the open, ask for help, and accept help when it's offered.
No matter how strong we are, none of us can do this alone. And if you try to do it alone (like I did for a very long time), you'll most likely talk yourself out of the things you need to do most. Take it public, friends. Tell somebody, start a blog, post it on Facebook, whatever. You have to let the people in your life (or even just your virtual life) know what you're doing if you want their support. And believe me, YOU WANT THEIR SUPPORT. I couldn't do what I do every day if it weren't for my friends and my family. You'd be surprised how much a little love on your Facebook page can do for you, particularly on a down day. And when people try to help you, LET THEM. Don't let your pride get in the way, and don't live in fear of what they might think "if they knew." I'm going to let you in on a little secret -- the people in your life? They know you have a weight problem. It helped me tremendously to sort of "out myself" as a fat person, a closet eater, and someone who desperately needed to change. Once it's out there, it's a relief. Trust me.

Focus on the big picture.
These things take time. And there will be speed bumps, roadblocks, and traffic jams (bear with me, I ran out of transportation metaphors) along the way. My weight fluctuates from week to week, sometimes up and sometimes down, but when I look at the trend over the last six months or more, the overall trend is down. That keeps me going. It helps me to survive the minor setbacks, like gaining a pound after a week of being off plan. Don't be discouraged. Focus on your long-term goal, and look at the big picture. A narrow view does nothing for me except set off a cycle of obsessive, unproductive thought.

Do it for the right reasons.
In some ways, weight and my relationship with food is similar to addiction to alcohol or drugs. When people give up those substances, one of the things they're usually told during the recovery process is to do it for the right reasons. Giving up booze so your wife won't leave you? That doesn't work. So losing weight or changing your relationship with food so that someone will love you or be proud of you isn't going to work either. For your kids, for your family, to blow people away at your 20th high school reunion...those things can be good motivators in the short-term, but for the long haul, it has to be about you and only you. There is only one reason to do this: YOU.

Stop being so hard on yourself.
You have to let go of the cycle of self-abuse. Beating yourself up over poor choices (or even just less-than-perfect choices) does nothing but diminish your self-esteem. Having less self-esteem makes it easier to be even harder on yourself. And so it goes, on and on. You have to let go of it. I remember one of my favorite teachers of all time, Ms. Alley, telling me during orchestra rehearsals that if I was going to make a mistake (in this case, during a difficult section of some musical piece), make a really BIG one, and get over it. Because once you make that big mistake, it's out there, and it can't get any worse than that. You figure out what you did wrong, and you do better next time. Whether Bach or brownies, it makes no difference. Learn from your mistakes, maybe take some time to figure out why you made that choice in the first place, and then let it go. Move on.

It's transformation, not change. And it doesn't happen overnight.
We're bombarded with articles, infomercials, and TV shows that try to make us believe we can magically fix our weight problems with a special diet, a new gadget, or a stay on some ranch where we can work out with a celebrity trainer for six hours a day. They might call it reality TV, but it's not reality by any stretch of the imagination. The cold hard fact is that significant weight loss takes time, sometimes longer than you ever thought it would take. While it's possible to lose weight quickly, it's neither healthy nor likely to give you long-term success. I've lost 35 pounds in a month before by working my ass off and eating a truly frightening diet. That weight stayed off for maybe three months, and then it came back with a vengeance. And when it did, I felt awful. I felt like I had failed to change. Now I understand that this isn't a change, it's a transformation. I'm not suddenly changing into a different person; I'm learning and growing and transforming. Think about the caterpillar/butterfly scenario. The caterpillar doesn't just wake up one day and say, "Hey! I'm going to be a butterfly today," strap on some wings and fly away. Not at all. He has to prepare; he eats, he finds a good spot for his cocoon. Then he gets all snuggly and over a period of time, he becomes a better, more evolved version of himself. I don't know about you, but I don't want to be someone different; I want to be a better version of myself.

As always, this is what works for me. It may or may not work for you, or resonate with you. I can only hope that you can take something from this, maybe one little thought that helps you get through your day. Thanks for reading -- knowing I'm actually writing for real people and not just the black void of the internet helps me more than you know.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

186.6 & First World Problems

It's been an overwhelming few days -- lost cash, missed hair appointment due to sick Kid, and worst of all, lost iPhone. My beloved iPhone! You know, the one with 1,000 pictures of my child? It's gone, gone forever. I lost it at a bar while I was out with friends from work on Tuesday night.

Anyhoo, I was so upset about losing the phone that I didn't eat much yesterday. Still, I didn't have high expectations for my weigh-in today. We've gone out to eat a few times, I drank twice, and I haven't been working out. Imagine my surprise when I stepped on and saw the number.

I'm shaking off the bad juju of the week and starting over. I had a great talk with Smith yesterday (yes! Smith lives!) and another friend of mine is selling me his old iPhone to get me through until I can afford the iPhone 4. My precious pictures are gone forever, but I've learned my lesson -- always download, and always install the "Find My iPhone" software.

How's YOUR week been? What challenges are you overcoming this week?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Another New Adventure

A little over ten years ago, I was creeping my way towards an Associate's degree in photography. I loved all of my art classes, dreaded general ed, and overall had a pretty good time. Two years in, though, I packed up and moved to D.C. without any plans to transfer or finish the degree. It's lurked in the back of my mind since then, that unfinished degree. Yet another project that I started but left incomplete (kind of like how I waited three years to take my NCE).

I've been thinking about school off and on for at least a year. I wasted some time (and money!) going to nail school in the hopes that it would satisfy my "back to school" urge. Of course, it didn't. I pore over anatomy books and pathology books and journal articles under the guise of making myself a better massage therapist. But it's just not enough. I need more. And I need that lingering unfinished business to be done. So I finally bit the bullet; I drove down to the old community college and got a copy of my transcripts -- just to see where I left off.

In my memory, I was a good student. I remember going to classes, getting along with instructors, doing projects, the works. But one look at my transcripts and other memories come back: long nights of drinking at O'Sullivan's, failing tests because of hangovers, looks of disappointment from teachers who really, really liked me and wanted me to excel. With a few exceptions (Biology, Spanish, and Math, surprisingly), my grades were TERRIBLE. I was at school for two years and I'm left with about four classes that will count towards my new degree path. Oy.

So what IS that new degree path? Well, certainly not photography (although if I went back to that, I'd have a whole lot less work to do). I love photography; it's still my hobby. But it's a useless degree at this point in my life, and I don't want photography to be my job. What DO I want, what do I really want, and honestly what HAVE I wanted since I was a kid?

I want to be a doctor.

Saying that out loud, even typing it is scary. It's a scary secret that I've harbored for a very long time. How many times did I tell people I wanted to be a painter, a writer, a massage therapist, a photographer -- anything BUT a doctor. How long have I lied to myself about what I really want? My whole life, it feels like. I kept it a secret because I didn't believe I was smart enough to pull it off. I kept it a secret because deep down I was scared that I WAS smart enough, and oh God, what if I was smart enough and I wasted all those years in high school smoking pot and watching surf movies and riding around in Jeeps and doing anything BUT going to school?! It's a horrible catch-22 of self-defeating thoughts, low self-esteem, regret, and sheer terror.

Time to snap out of it, now. NOW, with the urgency and intensity Cher in "Moonstruck" slapping Nicholas Cage. I believe it of my body -- my body can do anything I want it to. So why not believe it of my brain? Of my life?

I'm aware that the road I'm choosing is long, arduous, and marked with heavy tolls. I'm aware that to get those two magical letters, MD, requires about seventeen years of school and more debt than I can even imagine. I'm aware that it's entirely possible I'll get back into college classes and absolutely hate it. I'm going into this with my eyes wide open. But, dammit, I'm going.

I have to do this. It's as essential to me as my weight loss has been. I cannot live the rest of my life without at least trying to reach this goal.

I'm really going to do this. I have butterflies in my stomach as I browse the catalogs, track degree paths, compare schools. I imagine myself acing insanely difficult classes like Organic Chemistry and feel that indescribable "SQUEEEEEE!" (Don't judge -- Whitman had his yawp, I've got my squee.)

In about five days, I'm registering for classes. I'm taking the first teetering, toddling steps towards a huge, long-term goal. I'm doing this.

Are you ready?

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


My weigh-ins have been irregular, and my weight has followed suit. Up to 189, down to 186. Up to 188, down to 187.6. I'm on a bit of a plateau, I think. To shake things up, I've started paying more attention to my carb/protein/fat ratio (shifting the emphasis to lean protein). And I've upped my water intake again.

I also figured out that work is not as much work as it was before, so I'm not burning as many calories as I thought. I work as a massage therapist, and while it's still physically demanding, my body has adjusted to it like any other exercise. So I can't give myself "extra" calories to eat on days that I work. I simply have to manage my consumption better to keep from getting insanely hungry after two massages.

In other news, I fit into my size 12 jeans yesterday. I was excited, but all of the extra skin on my abdomen (aka THE FLAP) makes them look not so hot. This big band of extra skin just hangs down, and when it's stuffed into my pants it borders on a "butt in the front." I'm going to try and be brave and post some belly pictures so y'all can see what I'm talking about. Or would that be gross? We'll see...