Saturday, April 28, 2007

No Hoochie Koochie Today

I'm at about a week now writing down my food and trying to keep the calories down under 1700. I weighed in Tuesday, and I called C. and reported. Granted, I could drive all the way to her house, and she even offered to charge me $10 just like Weight Watchers, but I figured I'd just call and report once a week. I have been fighting (sometimes unsuccessfully) the urge to step on the scale every day. It's just too depressing, but today I noticed that getting my pants zipped did not require me to do a major hoochie koochie dance around my bedroom. So, hopefully I'll see some progress when I weigh-in again on Tuesday.

I already know that my calorie in-take is not significantly low enough for me to see major results, so I'm bracing myself to not see much of a difference on Tuesday. While I may have cut back my calorie in-take by 300 to 500 calories, in the grand scheme of things, that is not a ton. That's why when I used to do WW and cut my calorie in-take from a little over 2,000 down to 1,200 I would see about a five pound loss in the first week. That is tempting...but I have to keep reminding myself that I'm in this for the long haul. I'm looking for long-term, sustainable progress versus short term gains.

On a similar note, when I spoke with C. recently I finally talked her into upping her calories a little, reminding her of the voo-doo she was doing to her metabolism, the very thing she has warned me about over and over again. She admitted that after increasing it by a few hundred calories, she wasn't nearly as hungry and she still managed to get another 1/2 pound off. I felt like the student teaching the teacher, but ha! I was right!
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Thursday, April 26, 2007

Polishing My Crystal Ball

It's just about the end of the semester for all three classes I'm teaching. Two are web classes I teach through a junior college and the third is in a traditional classroom setting at a small branch campus of a private university. However, while in many respects the students are totally different (even though all of the classes are English related subjects), they share one thing: about this time of the semester I start getting asked to look into my crystal ball and tell each student his/her grade.

Usually the requests starts with something like, "I need to get an A in this class" followed by "Can you tell me my grade?"

Of course, this is before all their work as been submitted let alone graded. (I'm still working on my other magic trick of grading work that hasn't actually been sent to me yet.)

I imagine they envision me constantly typing in numbers into my spread sheets so I have an up to the minute number for their grades. But, the ugly truth is that I usually wait to do all the icky math stuff because not all students make it through the end of the semester. My web classes, especially, have a very high drop out rate. Heck, it's not usual for me to never, ever hear from a number of them. For whatever reason, they've signed up but never actually log onto the class. Again, I have no magic trick up my sleeve to help them.

So, what do I tell these students "who really need an A" at this point in the semester with only a week or so to go? I refer them to the syllabus which clearly lists all the percentages for each assignment. Then I suggest that they do a wonderful job on the final exam to help bring their grade up if necessary.

I know this sounds very cruel and cold to them, especially via email. But, obviously, I have to protect myself. I cannot predict any one's performance and I am far from a math wizard who can calculate grades in my head without the help of good old Excel.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Anti-Frumping Tips

I had a girlfriend in college many years ago, S., who told me about how she lived with a British dude in the UK for about a year. S. was crazy about him, even though he yelled at her for using too much toilet paper and his friends thought she was a tramp because she ordered a whole pint versus a half pint of beer when they went to the local pub.

With all this, though, she was ga-ga over this guy, so one of the things she used to do was wake up a few minutes before him every morning and apply a little rouge and mascara and slip back into bed beside him, thus giving the impression that she naturally woke up looking gorgeous (and she was...I'm sure still is a very pretty woman) every morning.

Now, I am not ready to go to these lengths, but this story came to mind recently after my epiphany in front of the freezer the other day. Therefore, in my recent efforts to avoid looking like a fat old frump when DH comes home, I've come up with a few tips.
  • About an hour or so before he comes home, I take a sort of personal inventory and de-frump as necessary. For example, I dab on a little make-up, add a few pieces of jewelry, change the baggy, stained t-shirt for a shirt that actually hangs in my closet, find anything but my track pants to wear, brush my hair, etc.
  • It's too depressing to go shopping, and as it is I have no time and have never been much of a shopper (I want the clothes in my closet; I just don't want to go get them), so I ordered a few shirts and a pair of denim capris from L.L. Bean.
  • I hold off on getting the PJs on until closer to bed time. I'm also considering...maybe when next pay day rolls around...of getting some actual nighties that have matching tops and bottoms. I'm not talking Victoria Secret or anything, but something other than the baggy drawstring pants I got form Sam's and the old t-shirts I normally wear.

Generally speaking too, as D. commented recently, I've noticed I feel better during the day when I don't start out so frumpy. It is amazing how your own appearance can affect your attitude. Look like a frump - feel like a frump - look put together - feel put together.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Muscle Mamma

While I use hand weight when doing my Walk Away the Pounds - Leslie SansoneDVDs, that's about it. They are just your basic 2lb weights. I don't have her idiotic looking weighted balls or wacky belt thing she uses in one of the other DVDs I've got from her, but I definitely notice a difference when using my hand weights. It bumps up the intensity of the whole exercise. That said, the other day, it occurred to me that I'm probably at the stage where I can add on to the whole weight thing, especially considering my age and the issues we old ladies have with osteoporosis. This was confirmed when I spoke with a friend of mine, CM, at my CLJ who does personal training on the side.

I was telling her about how C. is not only struggling to get those last two before the holidays pounds off but that even with that off she's noticed that her hips are an inch larger than before. Two pounds obviously aint gonna equal an inch - no way - no how.

CM asked me if C. was working out with weights at all because she said that this would make a difference since cardio can burn fat but if you aren't careful you can burn muscle too. Weight training will tighten up areas and build the muscle she needs to squeeze back into those size 6s.

Armed with this new information, I called C. that night and reported. Come to find out, C. had not been doing weights over the past few months until she realized just a few days previous to my call that she'd been doing that before the 10lb addition. Just with all the traveling she'd been doing, she wasn't able to do her weight routine. Then once back at home, she had spaced and was just trying to do cardio like a mad woman. She also cut back to 1400 calories a day.

I argued with her a little about how she's always on me about keeping calories too low and how it can f-up your metabolism, but she is so desperate she just can't stand not wearing her clothes and she will not buy any size 8s. She's got one pair of pants she got at Chicos and a few dresses and that's it. Fashion be damned!

This whole story brought home the idea that I'm ready to take on a little weight training, and I mean little because while my *ss is huge, my arms are pretty much sticks still. Wiggly sticks, but still very little meat on them, so I'll have to take it slowly. However, I plan on my errands/groceries day to stop by Wal-fart and pick up some 5lb dumb bells. Hopefully, I can manage to carry them out of the store without hurting myself.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Geneen Roth's Take

Upon the advice of one of my readers, I took at look at Geneen Roths' book, When You Eat at the Refrigerator, Pull Up a Chair,and while I don't think I'm one of the people she is talking about, I did find a few tid bits of helpful information. Actually, it reinforced something I have been thinking about lately.

First, here's my take on Roth's take: She's really writing (it seems) for people who have some major control issues. I'm not talking about eating that piece of cake that shows up in the brake room or even that extra slice of pizza at lunch. Roth talks about people who stand in front of their frig and stuff whatever they see into their mouths or people who eat an entire bag of chocolate chip cooks while hiding in the closet. These people have major emotional "hunger" issues, not your basic, I'm full so stop eating issues or I just feel like snacking, which is where I feel fits me a little better.

That said, however, her main message is that people who have weight issues (no matter how big or small) often are just plain old not nice to themselves, and we need to be nice, to cut ourselves some slack now and then rather than consider ourselves bad people. That's a message I can totally relate to, and here's why....

As I mentioned in a previous post, my DH gingerly asked me if I was planning on returning to WW. As he said this, I was holding open the freezer door displaying my latest stash of WW frozen dinners. My assemble consisted of an old stained t-shirt with cat hair all over it; a ratty over sized sweater that didn't match anything else I was wearing; a pair of elasto-waist pants I'd gotten for $5 at the drug store; and my haute-couture kitty cat slippers. My hair on this special occasion was flipped up in an elastic band half up and half down, and need I mention that I had zero make up and had a zit on my right cheek?

To say I felt fat and old is sort of an understatement. And, of course, poor DH had no idea of the arrow he had zigged at my heart with his innocent question.

Standing there with the freezer door open, his comments in the air like we were in a cartoon, I felt the fog lift a little. We are getting ready to celebrate our 19th wedding anniversary, and since I work at home 4 days a week and I usually leave after him on the days I do work, this is how this man, my husband, normally sees me on a day-t0-day basis! I look like crap! I feel like crap!

After closing the door and calmly replying to him that I was seriously thinking about WW but hadn't made up my mind yet, I resolved that no matter how fat and how 40 I was, I was not going to look like this again in front of him. He deserved better...and even do I. Just because I don't want to buy more "fat" clothes does not mean I have to look like a homeless my home!

And, back to Geneen Roth, this is something she pretty much says (among many other things), that we need to feel good about ourselves no matter what our size. Now, I'm not saying that I plan to dress up in an evening gown to go grocery shopping, though I'm sure Mr. Sushi-Guy would give me a few extra pieces of my favorite crab roll if I did, but I can still look more "put together," and thus maybe feel more together in general.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Why Librarians Are Fat

After loading up my freezer with Weight Watcher frozen dinners, recently on sale for 50% off, my husband gingerly asked me, "So, what's the deal? Are you back on Weight Watchers?" (Did I noticed a hopeful tone to his voice?)

This brought out the little black book and my writing down what I eat again, and I've been so good for the past few days. Then I arrive at my CLJ today to find the following: 3 small candy bars on my desk; 3 half-eaten bags of chips and leftover cake in the breakroom; and two bags of donut holes in circulation. What the *ell?!!

Why is it that everyone at work seems to want to sabotage your diet? Sunday when I worked, it was a clerk's birthday. This brought out the birthday cake and pizza. Monday a coworker made yet another cake and brought it in. She didn't want her family to eat it because they all need to lose a few pounds. Of course, she's a stick (she smokes) and so decides to bring it in to work to protect her children from gaining more weight.

Why do people feel a need to do this? Is it because work sucks so we use food as a way to get through the day?

(Image from Speedbump)

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Middle Age? Moi?

Today I was working at my crappy library job (from now on referred to as CLJ), and the other librarian working in reference with me started telling me a story.

R. just moved to the area recently from Hawaii and was proceeding to tell me how rude she thought people were around here. (This, BTW, does not include the rude members of the reference staff at this particular CLJ, which poor thing has also been shocked to discover after only working here a month.)

Of course, typical true Floridian that I am, I tried to blame most of the bad behavior on Yankees who are transplants down here and don't know any better. Everything is better up in New York or Wherever, etc. etc. And they enjoy telling us poor, stupid Floridians this at any possible occasion.

So, R. continues to illustrate her point and begins with, "This lady, she was, you know, middle aged, around 40..."

I stopped her, "40! Middle aged!?"

"Yes," R. replied.

Then I went onto explain to this not even 30-something child that 40 is not middle age. That middle age doesn't even start least 55 before it even starts!

She looks at me like "oh, crap, she's just as crazy as my insane supervisor!" and then I explain to her that I'm 43. She tells me she thought I was in my 30s, apologizes, and continues.

But, I'm still a little rattled. I mean, really. People live into their 100s today, so no way is 40 middle age!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Threw the Internet

Ahh...sometimes you just have to laugh when it comes to teaching; otherwise, you'd (meaning me) go crazy.

Yesterday, I had to work all day at my crappy library job. When I got home, I had a mailbox full of papers to grade for one of the on-line classes I'm teaching. I tried to get through the essays that were drafts or outlines first because I was just too tired to do any real grading. When I opened up one email from a student who has been late on every single assignment this semester (his email was marked urgent!), I read something to the affect of, "Dr. P. Please read my attached outline and draft as soon as possible so that I'm not late with the final essay."

Ah, okay, so if I don't read this right now, then this poor guy is going to be late, and it is going to be all my fault!

I stopped, took a sip of my wine, and realized it was 8:30 (I was at work from 9-6) and time for me to stop working.

So, this morning I feel more pity for this student and decide to look at his paper right away. A quick glance at the outline shows that his thesis sentence is a fragment. I close the document. Why even look? He's already gone to the draft.

I open up the draft and start to read: comma splice...mark it....missing comma after intro clause...mark it... and then I get to a sentence (again, I'm paraphrasing here), "Threw the internet I have learned a lot, even more than when I watch television or go to school."

Hey, he did spell "a lot" correctly!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Back to More Exercising

No big surprise, I still find I continue to have trouble writing down my calorie intake. I just don't like to do it, period, the end, don't like!!!

S0, I'm back to trying to exercise more, preferably 2 times a day when possible. Right now, that means, if I'm lucky, 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes in the evening. Hopefully, I can ramp this up as time goes on. I was doing really well with this strategy for awhile, at least as far as doing it regularly if not actually having the lbs melt off of my body, and then I got sick, and it's as usual back to square one.

Oh, and I'm wondering...Is in cleaning...considered exercise? I'm thinking it does. I cleaned up my bead corner the other day, and I was exhausted. Then there's lugging around my 500lb. vacuum cleaner. Weight lifting, maybe?

I'll have to think about that some more. Right now, it's still back to Walk Away the Pounds with Leslie.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Will We Ever Be Happy?

I mentioned to C. the other day that we should do lunch again with a mutal friend of ours. The three of us haven't gotten together in a while, and this other person, J. had been emailing me about a get together, which I thought was a nice idea. We are all bead buddies, and it's nice to hang with those in the bead-know sometimes.

When I told C. this, she said, yes, but we need to do something other than eat. She was losing her 10lbs now, doing well, and just can't bring herself to go out to eat, even salad bars are off limits. Eventually, she suggested we bring lunch to her house, whatever we wanted to eat at least, while she at her own food, which from what I gather often consists of an entire bag of frozen broccoli, no butter of course.

Then she went on to tell me about how she still wants to get down to 125 lbs. Right now, she's on the edge of getting back down to the 130s, which means her size 6s again, which to me means she looks great. I started to hear the same wacko comments of hers, and I know once she gets down to the 130s, she's going to start in with the "I want to be a size 4" thing again.

I tried to reason with her. At size 6, even at her 5'2" frame, she looked fabulous, and hey, it wasn't easy to mantain, as she so well knows now. So, what gives? Will she, will any of us, ever manage to be happy, even when we finally meet our goals? Is it enough?

Friday, April 06, 2007

Needles are NBD

Well, I have to take it all back. My husband is not a needle wimp. In fact, he has really stepped up and been the first of both of us to give my kitty his shot solo. I'm going to attempt it on my own tonight. Kitty has been so good. He's getting eye goop put in his eyes for an infection along with liquid antibiotics 2xs a day, and now shots 2xs a day...such a trooper.

But, the needles are really tiny. I honestly don't think he feels a thing. The hardest part - and this is where he takes after moi - is the not eating for 12 hours. He can only have one meal ever 12 hours, so that means nothing in between. The vet said I could maybe give him a kibble or two to just fake him out, but if we have issues with the insulin not working, then I'll even have to cut that out.

But, otherwise, the shot issue has not been that big of a deal.

But Will You Charge Me $10?

So, as suspected, C. has started to lose that 10 lbs. she gained, and with the weight loss comes her usual opinions of Weight Watchers. I knew it would come at some point. It just took her a half a pound before she started in on me about how WW is all set up to take your money, that they really have no intention of helping anyone permanently lose weight because if they did so they wouldn't have suckers like me going back time after time to get the weight back off.

Of course, I protested a little: "But, the weigh-ins make me more accountable."

"You want to get weighed in every week? Come to my house and I'll make you stand on my scale!"

"But, will you charge me $10?"

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Diabetes in the Family

Like myself, one of my cats (I've got 3 now) has always fought the battle of the bulge. Over the past few years, though, he has made a lot of progress and slimmed down. I put him on Science Diet r/d and was very careful about measuring out his daily dose of food. In fact, all three of my cats have to eat different food, and two of the three have had weight issues, so I have ended up measuring out and putting each cat's food in a jar with her/his name on it every day. They eat what's in the jar, and that's it, except for my one skinny cat who has discovered the benefits of barfing after every meal. I've got food up on a file cabinet for him b/c he's the only one skinny enough to jump up that high.

Unfortunately, my efforts may have not been enough for one of my cats who was just diagnosed with diabetes. Today my husband and I will meet with the vet and learn how to start giving him twice daily injections of insulin. I've done some reading up on it, and I'm pretty prepared for what we will have to do, but I'm afraid my husband is still in La La Land.

We have to feed and give his shots every 12 hours. And that means on the dot, not 12 1/2 hours or 10 hours, but 12. Period. My husband, M., is under the impressions that as long as it's done twice a day we'll be fine. He has this image of us doing it togther, him holding the cat me poking him with the needle. Of course, this is not a realistic picture because due to our work and life demands, mainly work actually, there's no way we will both be around at the same time in 12 hours incriments every single day.

This means we both will need to learn to give the shots solo. I've hinted at this, but I thought it best to just let the doctor drill it into his brain. While I'm not thrilled about giving my cat shots, I've had a lot of experience with older animals and have had to do all kinds of scray stuff to keep them comfortable in their later years. But, I've usually managed to keep M. out of it as much as possible b/c, well, he's a whimp when it comes to this kind of thing. So, I'm really more concerned about dealing with his freaking out (which I expect to happen today) than I am about giving my poor cat shots.