Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Here, Piggy Piggy

I am going to go out on a limb here and make an assumption: You have heard of the H1N1 flu, street name-Swine Flu. Unless you have been living off in a far distant cave with poor 3G coverage (what the hell is 3G coverage anyway) you have probably heard of all the awfulness of the swine flu, how to avoid it, how to get a vaccine and you may even know someone who has had it.

I know I have been hearing all sorts of things about the Swine Flu, except the one piece of advice I so desperately want: How Can I Catch the Swine Flu? Yes, you've read that correctly, I want the Swine Flu.

Before you start prattling off statistics and tell me about how people are dying and being quarantined because of the Swine Flu, which I now officially dub the Bacon Bug, give me a chance to explain.

I have lost 49 pounds. And only 49 pounds. I have been hovering at that blasted 50-pound mark for entirely too long, I get close, hitting 49.5 on the scale, then see that number dance on up the scale, putting my loss at 47 pounds. It's getting ridiculous and something needs to happen. I've considered shaving my head to get over that threshold, but realized it is an exercise in futility as hair grows back. I've also considered starting a one-week diet of Metamucil, prune juice and baked beans, but I fear my entire digestive track will up and leave out of protest, which now that I think about it, doesn't sound half bad because that small intestine has to be a few pounds on its own.

But I digress. I realize I have lost 49 pounds the honest way of working out and eating healthy (and yes, 1 cup of raw cookie dough during class is healthy), but I cannot get over that huge mental road block of 50 pounds doing it the honest way. I refuse to use diet pills or Jenny Craig or any other gimmicky diet.

So I want to catch the Bacon Bug. I figure it's an avant-garde way of going about dropping weight. From what the good people on NPR tell me, those afflicted with the Bacon Bug are just expelling stuff like crazy and have no appetite. Perfect for a Fat Girl like me trying to get over the hump. Once I am at a solid 55 pounds lost, because of course there will be some rehydration weight gain that I need to account for, I will go see the doctor to rid myself of the Bacon Bug. To me it is fool proof.

Except, it seems everyone in North America is catching the Bacon Bug but me. I've tried everything. I am still practicing very solid hand sanitation methods, because I go to school in a kitchen and spend a lot of time in my own, but past that basic rule of humankind, I am doing everything I can, and failing. I have been tolerating children's presence, dealing with pregnant women and trying to spend more time interacting with old people, and not a one of those high-risk individuals had what is needed to afflict me with the Bacon Bug. I am pretty sure NPR is lying about those folks being covered in Bacon Bug, because they sure are not passing anything along to me.

Sadly, I have come to accept that I may be unsuccessful in my mission to get Bacon Bug, despite my best attempts. I have never had the flu in my adult life, and never had a flu vaccine, so perhaps I have a good immune system. Although I am contemplating getting the Bacon Bug vaccine, even though I do not support vaccines (Build an immune system, People!) I heard that there is small amounts of Bacon Bug in the flu mist, and perhaps that will put me over the edge. At this point though, I am waiting until December and am on holiday break, because my school will quarantine me if I get Bacon Bug.

However, I have been trying to execute a mean-time plan to get me past that hump until Bacon Bug catches me. Be forewarned- this is quite disgusting. You will not look at me the same. If you cannot handle that and my confession, then close the page now and check out the very poorly redesigned homepage at and send them nasty feedback as I do every day, in my downtime of scheming of how I can get Bacon Bug.

Anyway, I have been making attempts to get a tapeworm. And I am failing. From what my intensive research has shown (read: Wikipedia), tape worms are very effective at stealing all of your bodies and nutrients, allowing the Host, or Hostess as my tapeworm will have to call me, to consume whatever they want and still lose weight. Sounds perfect! I get to help Mother Nature by providing a warm, stable environment for one of God's creatures (Just ignore the fact I am an Agnostic, it's irrelevant in the tapeworm argument,) and get over that 50-pound mark. This is an ideal situation for everyone involved, ie Me and Tapey, as I shall call him. The fly in the ointment is that my stomach seems to be an inhospitable environment as no tapeworms have set up camp. I've tried to increase my consumption of undercooked beef and pork, but apparently since my blood has a proof content, it kills off anything trying to set up camp inside me. Which upsets me, because I like to imagine Tapey getting all cozy in me, like to Mucus family from the Mucinex commercials. Tapey will eat all of my calories for me, allowing me to reach my goals and he will be warm in my cushiony confines. But it just doesn't seem to want to happen, and I am thinking of giving up this plan entirely after I told my husband about it and he made me look at actual pictures of tapeworms in an attempt to dissuade me (Note: You think that man got those National Service Medals from his military work? No, no my friends, he earned those for the many man hours he puts into talking me out of my hair-brained schemes.) The pictures showed me that tapeworms are nothing like the friendly, smiling Tapey of my mind and heart.

So, it looks like I am back to the old-fashioned method. Again. Hopefully it will get me over that 50-pound mark I so very desperately want to conquer. If not, who knows what measures I will take.

However, know that if I go missing, you will likely find me rolling around pig pens in Mexico. Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Monday, October 19, 2009

A Rant-Psychological Therapy needed for Retail Therapy Experience.

I have been betrayed. You know that feeling when you have confided in a good friend, only to have her turn around and tell half of America your business, and you are left feeling alone, scorned and confused. That's me right now.

I have been betrayed by an experience that once brought me immense pleasure and relaxation. The joy of retail therapy has been tainted, and I do not think I will bounce back. It started off innocently on a chilly Saturday afternoon with some girlfriends and ended with me being confused, angry, and in need of alcohol.

I cannot even put my feelings into words. I believe it all started at Nordstrom's. I was innocently eyeing the MAC counter, despite the fact I had just dropped half our monthly grocery budget at the Macy's MAC counter, and a display case advertising leapt out at me. "Fat Girl Slim" will reduce your appearance of cellulite and make you feel thinner. Of course, I grabbed it up for inspection, thinking this must surely be a joke. After all, all Fat Girls know that there is no cure in a jar, otherwise I would've bought the entire stock of product and swam in it. But alas, it was true. This small jar of lotion claimed that it would essentially cure my obesity for only $35. For an extra $70, I could complete the set with Fat Girl Scrub and Fat Girl Sleep. I was shocked that a product was so blatantly advertised to a Fat Girl. For all I complain about retailers not acknowledging the plus-size portion of the market, this felt like a slap in the face. After all, Slim Girls have cellulite, they probably want to feel thinner as this wonder cream claimed it could. But no, this is for the Fat Girls. I looked around and realized I was the only person even getting within a 5-foot radium of this magic fat-killing cream. I scanned and then noticed the Skinny Bitches at the Lancome and Clinique counters looking at me with disgust, their faces revealing thoughts of, "Look at the Fat Girl thinking about buying the cream that will do nothing to make her look better, she should spend the money on a gym membership." I scowled, set the product down, and headed to the Philosophy for some caramel apple body scrub, because of course a Fat Girl wants to smell like food at all times.

I believe my disgust of this product came from the blatant use of "Fat Girl" and my personal connection to it. I always try to use the phrase Fat Girl as an empowerment, because I am a Fat Girl. When I say this to other people, they always say, "Oh no, you're not Fat." And I say, "Yes I am, it's okay." It's not like it's some shocking coming out where people only notice my obesity upon my admittance of it, where they thought I was a svelte size 2 until I said, "I am a fat girl." To see a retailer use this phrase rubbed me wrong. It felt like if the Westboro Baptist Church created a product named, "Queer Guy Straight," that promised if a gay man rubbed the cream on his junk that he'd immediately want to go out and tag a member of the X-chromosome community. But I digress.

The other retailer who betrayed me was Gap. Note:When did Gap become an old persons store? I realize I haven't been in one in years, but I was shocked at how many older-than middle age people were there trying on jeans. When did this happen? I remember the campaign, "Fall Into the Gap," but I didn't realize they meant it for those who are falling and breaking their hips. I stopped shopping at Gap about 9-10 years ago when I entered size 16 land, as the biggest size they carried was a 14. I moved on to Lane Bryant, Dress Barn (Change your name!) and the "Woman" section of many department stores, because if you aren't packing 50+ lbs in extra meat, you don't qualify as a woman. Sorry ladies. Now that I am back in size 14 land, soon to be size 12 land, I decided to try on some jeans at Gap, as I am no longer fitting in the Lane Bryant garments. Note to Lane Bryant: If you created clothing in non-plus sizes, I would still completely support you as you've been there for me, however, the fat girl in me would be betrayed by your selling out, so the decision is yours. Just know it hurt me to not spend my retail dollars at a store that's been so good to me. Anyway, I was looking for a pair of jeans through the racks at Gap and clearly say a misprint on a label.

The label read 18. No, there must be a mistake, that should not be a "1" in front of that 8. But wait, these pants say 20, and these say 16. WTF??!?! Gap, when did you start carrying jeans in Fat Girl sizes?? When did this happen? And so I sat there, staring at the labels, trying to figure out how this could have happened. Gap's sister company, Old Navy, was very open and advertised that they were introducing a Woman's plus section, in addition to carrying jeans up to a 26. My only conclusion is that Gap noticed a market for fat girls who want to wear denim, but did not want to advertise this fact as to not become known as the Fat People's retailer, so they discreetly introduced them, as this is the same company that stopped carrying the XXL-size for men's clothing, but were very open and in the news about this decision. During this whole thought process, I was trying on a pair of jeans, and realized just because they might have the labels right, they don't know how to cut jeans for a curvy figure and left there without a purchase. And I suspect it will be another 9-10 years before I step foot into Gap, simply because there was a time in my fatter days that I could have purchased their clothing, and they did not want to market to me. No need to give them my money now.

I don't know what the whole point of this rant was, other to say I pretty much hate retailers and marketing in America. There is such a disconnect as to how America really is (read: OBESE!) and what people are selling to (Skinny, or those who want to be). I suspect we could cure this whole recession thing if someone came out with a product called Fat Girl Fat that makes our fleshly, cellulite rolls feel soft and velvety, instead of trying to tighten and reduce them. Or perhaps clothing manufacturers could create garments that fit a majority of the population. Oi!

A great thing is that MAC make-up is one-size fits all, and they embrace everyone from fatties to drag queens and everything in between. And I have a whole bag of goodies to go play in and make myself happy with!

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Fat Girl Fav: Sweets for Less

In honor of starting my education to become a great pastry chef, baker, culinarian and just all-around maker of random life-changing decisions, I decided that it is appropriate to share a Fat Girl Fav with the few people out there who check for my sporadic rantings. Note: they said that on average the first-year student gains about 30-35 pounds. However, I don't see how that can happen. Based on Day 1, I had no time to eat. I shoved a clementine in my mouth before leaving around 0800, and once I got home around 1830, I was too tired to want to eat. I managed to slurp down some yummy squash soup and a piece of bread down. I did some homework and reading then went to bed. Maybe once I adjust to standing in a kitchen for 6 hours with no break I will want to eat more, but if this Day 1 trend continues, Culinary School may turn out to be a great way to lose weight.

Anyway, I have a rampant sweet tooth. Anytime I eat anything, immediately I want sweet. I always say I am just wanting a little something to nosh on, just a taste of sweet. However, quite often that taste of sweet turns into a Volcano-sized Mud Pie drizzled in chocolate shavings. I take no prisoners when it comes to dessert. Alas, I have had to adjust this sweet tooth, sweet jaw rather, in order to get out of the Plus-Sized section like I so desperately want to. I normally will allow myself to have a piece of Dove Dark Chocolate, with only 40 calories it's not too sinful. However, it is starting to become entirely too sensual of a ritual for me to continue. I covet those Dove chocolates. I grab one, enjoy the red foil in my greedy little paw. I slowly unwrap it and smell the bitterness of the dark cocoa, then take the slightest nibble of it, relishing the feel of my teeth through the silky texture. Then I place the entire chocolate on my tongue and move it around my mouth, then suck on it until it melts into a chocolatey pool, savoring having my mouth coated into this heavenly delight. It is amazing.

Clearly, I am getting a little bit too obsessed with my Dove Dark Chocolate moments. If they ever leave me, I just may have to go and kill Dove's pet rabbit and throw it on the stove. My ever-so supportive husband finally told me I need to find a new sweet treat to indulge in as he is beginning to question my loyalty to him over Dove Dark Chocolates. So I've been trying to indulge in different ways, such as:

Guilt-Free Banana Splits: I LOVE me some banana splits. It's my favorite fruit, working as a boat in a pool of yummy ice cream, with random blots of whipped cream rafts, drizzled in a rain of Chocolate Sauce. Heaven!! However, I can easily kill a 10-scoop, 2 banana split in less time it takes my Hound Dog to inhale a pig ear. So I've modified to fulfill my cravings. First thing, skip the ice cream! The ice cream more or less just gets in the way of the trifecta of whipped cream, chocolate sauce and banana. I like to slice up a banana and throw it in the freezer for about 10 minutes so it gets nice and chilly. Then, I load it up with either Fat-Free Cool Whip or Fat-Free Reddi-whip (all depends on whose coupons were more generous in the Sunday Trib), then drizzle it with Fat-Free chocolate sauce. It sounds strange, but it is amazing! I can eat an entire bowlful of it for less than 100 calories, and it beats the hell out of those 100-calorie microwave-cake things Betty Crocker came out with. Plus, you get lots of potassium from that fresh banana- BONUS! I highly suggest you try this some time.

Pancakes: I adore a nice pancake. Husband, however, hates them. Apparently they are served entirely too frequently on Naval vessels, so he has a terrible aversion to pancakes and French Toast (sinner.) One night he shocked me and said that he wanted Pancakes for dinner! Note: It was great to learn that after nine years together you can still be shocked. Well, he was shocked and appalled at my Dove Chocolate ritual, so it goes both ways I guess. Anyway, I had to seize this opportunity to have some yummy flapjacks. I imagined these thick pillowy rounds of griddle-cooked dough, drowning in a sea of butter and syrup and nearly danced a jig in anticipation. Then reality hit in- Hello Calories! And I was fresh off a trip to Ohio where I engaged in way, way too many fat-rich foods.

I had a moment of clarity when I was able to shove the image of pancakes floating in a pool of syrup from my mind. Why not make the pancake themselves taste yummier so all that junk on top is not required. My mind immediately went to throwing a few handfuls of chocolate chips into the mix, but realized that was pretty pointless. I split the batter, and half of it got a few bananas mashed up into it (Told you I love bananas) and the other half got made over with a few splashes of Almond Extract. It worked out wonderfully! Will and I both loved the Almond Extract ones (Banana were tasty too, but the Almond ones were Deeee-licious!) I still needed a little syrup on there, but I used a Sugar-free syrup, that surprisingly tasted better than the sweet goo offered by my girl Mrs. Butterworth. So, lesson learned, enjoy pancakes, just jazz em up and top em with sugar-free syrup. They were so yummy that I may be starting to crack my husband's hate for breakfast foods that come from the griddle. For now, I need to get to class. I am learning how to cut pineapple, mangoes, kiwi, pears, and oranges today. As much as I want to lose weight, I hope that I will find time to get a snack in throughout the day.

Otherwise, there is a good chance Fat Girl will strike and I will eat my assignment before my instructor checks it out.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Progress Report/Rant

I am a frustrated Fat Girl.

From March 1 until August 6, I lost 40 pounds.  If my mental math serves me correctly, I lost 40 pounds in 5 months, which I think is pretty darned impressive.

From March 1 until September 22, I lost 42 pounds.  Yep, in almost two months I have only managed to shed two stinking, measly pounds.  In my book, those two pounds don't even count as I count my losses only when it's 5 pounds because I wear two pounds of make-up and hair care products daily, so the scale tally is not always accurate.

I visited with my amazing dietitian Judy and my very blunt Doctor recently, and both were singing my praises about how well I am doing.  The doctor said two more blood pressure readings like I've had and I will be off blood pressure medication, which was what kicked this off to start with.  The dietitian says my blood glucose and cholesterol look great and I am healthy.  Healthy??  I am still obese!  

Obese and no longer losing weight!  I am still eating well, getting lots of fresh fruits and veggies, no processed food, whole grains and all that other crap.  I am still working out at least five days a week.  Granted, I am still a lush and still enjoy in the occasional Chicago-style red hot or sweet treat from my kitchen, but I am human and Judy says that is okay. So how have I lost a measly two pounds in this long amount of time?  It does not make sense to me.  However, both Judy and Doc explained me to what was going on here.  It's a Fat Girl's worst nightmare:

The Weight Loss Plateau.

I am here, stuck on this god-forsaken plateau of no progress.  I thought when I was at the 25-pound mark I was at a plateau, but as it turned out I was retaining massive amounts of water due to a sharp increase in my beef jerky consumption.  Once I cut back on the Jack Links and increased my H20 intake, I was back in business.  But this plateau is the real thing, not some psych out brought on by delicious dehydrated beef.  

Apparently my body is having some sort of spaz attack.  Currently I am in the 10-pound window I was in from the ages of 16-19.  This was the most "stable" time for my body weight, ie only time I only gained 10 pounds over 3 years compared to 10 pounds in 6 months.  So my body feels comfortable at this weight.  It is natural for it to be at this weight.  It is fighting going anything lower than this weight.  Fortunately, it is not gaining either.

My body is an idiot!!  Doesn't this dumb body realize it will be able to be outfitted in snappy garments from normal retailers whose name does not include the word "Barn" or any other structure that houses livestock.  Note:  Dress Barn, do you realize how cruel it is to make fat girls who already feel like cows carry bags that say "Barn" on them.  I would take my consumer dollars elsewhere, but options are limited as there seems to be only 3-4 retailers who have figured out that there are Fat Girls in America and that we want to look cute. Anyway, doesn't this dumb body understand I am trying to make it healthier and fitter?  Doesn't it see that if it just cooperates it will not be such a hassle to stay crammed into an airline seat!?!?

Ugh.  I am on the verge of saying, "I Give Up!" and I will stay here in Size 14 land and enjoy upper arms that look like bat wings  and flaunt my beer gut and cherish these meaty thighs.  But I can't.  I put it out there that I am trying to do this.  Granted, I am not trying to be thin, because I've spent my whole life hating skinny bitches, I surely cannot become one now (clearly, I cannot even get out of obese land and into overweight land.)  But I set a goal for myself to lose 70 pounds and I am going to do it.  My Medical Team (ie Judy & Doc) both reassure me that this plateau will pass and I will soon be on that downscale slide once again, I just have to be patient and keep doing what I am doing.  But quite frankly, it sucks, as I am doing all this stuff and not seeing results.  And the self-fulfillment bullshit of, "Oh Cari, you ARE making yourself healthier by keeping it up, it's a gift to yourself," doesn't cut the mustard with me.  I just want to see less fat and possibly a size 12.  

Unfortunately, this plateau has really caused me to neglect my blog.  I am quite embarrassed to get on here and admit I am stuck at this weight.  I don't have anything to write about at the moment, as Stinky Old Man seems to have changed schedules at the gym.

So, I've decided to add a new regular (completely random) feature here at Follies of a Fat Girl called Fat Girl Favs.  It's no secret that I love to eat and I love to cook.  I have been learning many wonderful recipes and have created a lot of tips and tricks on my own and would like to share them.  So when inspiration strikes, I am going share info from my kitchen.  

For now, there is leftover birthday cake in my fridge that requires my immediate attention. After all, I am not gaining weight at this plateau, so I might as well enjoy it.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

There is a Fat Person Chasing Me- Or My New Goal

Consider yourself warned: This blog is slightly introspective, and very slightly emotional. A tad of my normal wit and snark, but what you are about to read is a result of it being it being 11:45 at night after a bottle of Pinot Noir, a few Labatt Blues and one rough start to a week. You've been warned.

So. Running. I've talked of it. Talked of how I hate it, as I tend to run into stationary objects plus have some weird Pavlov's Dog association of punishment with running. But strange things have been happening to me. I often don't want to go to the gym, so I've been running instead. I've not had time to do a full cardio workout, so I've been running. I am either too lazy/broke (gas prices!)/ inattentive to drive the 10 miles to the gym, so I've been running. Yes, I have been running a lot. It is sickening, for many reasons, but for one main one.

I like it.

I cannot run on a treadmill. When I am on treadmill *pause to get another Labatt* I tend to make deals with myself, such as: "I will only walk during this commercial break (Damn you cardio theatre! Just put Maury back on! You are NOT the Father!) or, " I will walk on a level-15 incline, then run," or "I ran 3 minutes, that's good." Throw me on some pavement, and I can run 3-4 miles (NO BULLSHIT!) but get me on a conveyor belt and I want to walk and fiddle with my iPod like it is going out of style.

So I've been running. And I enjoy it. I feel free, I feel relaxed. I push myself. I tell myself, "Make it to the post box, ok now make it to the street light, ok, Cari, just the stop sign." Next think I know I am running for miles, It's mindless and I can bullshit myself and push my body into a great workout.

I learned this week how great of a mind-clearing activity it is. Without going into details due to a respect for privacy,something horrible happened this week to someone I care about greatly and I consider a friend, and something that affected many people I care about. For a few days this week, I could not function. I was trying to process a situation that seemed unfathomable, and just shut down. However, yesterday, I decided to finally take the advice of a great friend, and decided to focus on what positives could possibly come of the situation and forget the negative as it was done. At the time, only one thing truly makes me happy at heart and clear my mind: Baking (And for those that don't know, I dropped my plans of getting a Business Master and am start Culinary school this month for Baking & Pastry.) But...dough takes time to rise. A beautiful, yeasty Calzone dough was rising on my back porch, and I wanted to wait an hour before punching it down. I needed to space out in the mean time.

So I went running. And I ran. Sort of freed myself from the ugliness I discovered in the world this week. When I was a quarter of a mile from my house, I turned around. And I was being chased!! A stocky person with a clompy gait was HOT on my trail. There is another Fat Person running in the neighborhood and they are following me! The chaser had a well-defined beer gut and was still managing to keep perfect pace with me. Wait...the chaser has two small buns in there hair. And chaser slows when I do. Chaser has well-defined yet strong calves and sloppy upper body use. Wait....that's not a chaser...

That's your shadow. And it's fat.

And that is when I realized it. Running makes me feel liberated. I don't realize that I am clinically-diagnosed Obese when I am running (Formerly Morbidly obese, soon to be just Overweight). I forget that I am a chronic smoker who should not be able to breathe. It slips my mind that there may be neighbors mocking the fat girl trotting down the street as she feels like a superstar. It frees me, but only until I look back and realize I am not thin and fabulous as I feel, and that there is a fat girl chasing me, taunting me to binge on Crisco with Bacos when I get home. Topped with cheddar cheese. Note: Cheese and Bacon make EVERYTHING better.

And so I want to become a runner. I confessed my desire to be a runner to my Husband, sprinting from the ever-approaching fat girl shadow with fabulous hair that was chasing me. I told him I wanted to set a finite running goal to keep myself honest- I want to run a marathon. He responds that he is no where near marathon shape and needs to train. He needs two to three months.


Nonononono. Fat Girl needs two to three YEARS! I confess this to him. Next thing I know I agreed to run a half marathon in 2011 and a full one in 2012. And a big part of the dynamic of our marriage is 1: We hold each other accountable and 2: We challenge one another to constantly improve.

Damn. I am screwed.

We are planning to run as, "In Memory: Team Boris." Boris is our Hound Dog, and we figure he will have croaked by then as his vet routinely tells us he is a gastric bypass candidate. No matter what we do to cut his weight, he gains. To date he has figured out: How to open our fridge, how to get the deli drawer open in the fridge, how to open the lazy susan, how to open the pantry, and how to get sad, hungry dog eyes to get food. No matter how we ration and calorie count for him, he gains weight due to his craftiness.

And that is my story. Hold me accountable, Readers. In three years I am running a full marathon. Even if I die upon the finish line, I am doing it. I will succeed.

And if I don't, perhaps Boris's vet will give us a Buy-One Get-One on Gastric Bypass.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Confessing my sins- Or why going home is bad for a healthy life- or Why swimming is no longer fun once you're an adult

Forgive me readers, for I have sinned.

I have been avoiding you.  I've been avoiding this blog.  I've been avoiding discussing my weight loss and work out routines because of my sins.

Now, I need to confess, ask for forgiveness, and move on.  And move quickly, to burn some calories.

I fell off the healthy lifestyle wagon for a few weeks.  Well, not some much fell  as took a giant leap into fat-laden, calorie-heaven pure laziness!  It was amazing at the time, but the guilt is overwhelming now.

It all started during the first week of August.  My big brother & I had to head home to Toledo for a long weekend for a number of events including but not limited to: My grandmother's birthday, my Uncle's visit in town, golfing, a friend's wedding, see my Mom's new puppy, allow time for my father to transfer his grandchildren desire onto my hound dog, etc, etc, etc. It was a busy, busy five days.

I left Chicago with the best of intentions. I made sure to stow away gym clothes, running shoes and a bathing suit. I thought of the restaurants I'd be eating at and started thinking of what I would order to stay on track.  I even packed a small cooler of carrots, water, and diet soda to avoid the turnpike cravings.  

My carefully planning began to crack around mile 98 of the Indiana turnpike.  I claimed we needed to stop so Boris Hound could walk.  In my heart I knew it was because this rest stop is the only one on interstate 80/90 that sells my heart's one desire: the frozen coke.  But I was somewhat contained, opting for the 32 oz. over the 48 oz. behemoth that I truly love. Strike 1.

We made it to Ohio, and enjoyed a meal at Ralphie's. Normally I am a sucker for their honey BBQ chicken chunks dipped in ranch.  Instead I opted for a BLT salad with fat-free ranch. Hooray Cari! But then I ordered a half-order of cheese bread- Strike 2. However, upon returning to my dad's, I threw on some work-out clothes, laced up my Nikes and set out for a run. My dad lives off of a golf course, and we've walked through it before in the evenings so I figured I would take that familiar route.  However, once I reached the clubhouse, things were no longer familiar.  I had no sense of direction, just a gist that I may have been heading West, and I needed to move South.  Next thing I know I am running across fairways, trying to remember if my dad was closer to hole 15 or hole 5.  I jogged across the tee boxes, putted across greens, desperate for security to pick me up. They never did, but I finally wound out coming out of the woods about a quarter mile from Dad's, and made it home.

Good thing I ate all that cheesebread or else I never would have had the strength to endure all of that illegal trespassing.

Next day started off solid, big brother & I were planning on playing 9 holes with my Uncle, and we were walking.  I gave a solid performance for me, happy with signs of improvement. My glee was short lived as we headed to Ralphie's again.  I wasn't planning for this!!  I didn't scheme.  Never mind that I planned my Wednesday night meal there and had salad on the brain, I was planning on a Thursday lunch at Tony Packo's, not Ralphie's.  I faltered, and ended up getting my beloved chunks. The glimmer of hope was that I opted for a side salad...but then I smothered it in bleu cheese. Strike 3.

All was not lost for me, however. I had plans to make it to my Mom's to swim laps.  I have every intention of swimming laps up and down that pool until I got a great cardio workout in and could barely breathe or move my limbs.  Little did I know that I would reach the exhaustion in 3 laps. When did swimming become so challenging.  As a child, I remember swimming for hours on end in the summertime, never realizing I was out of breath or feeling tired.  Now- I damn near needed resuscitation.  I was embarrassed at my lack fitness.  My shame was only enhanced at the fact that my Uncle, who is a swim coach, was just inside. I was living in fear that he'd come out and see me huffing and puffing and struggling up and down that pool and inform me that his pre-school team is more efficient.  So I compromised and got out a kick board and a noodle and started doing a water aerobics activity that I read about.  It's irrelevant that I saw it in an AARP magazine and it was for people with limited mobility. 

It was all downhill from there for me for the rest of the weekend.  Overindulgence at Tony Packo's-Check. Pigging out at my Uncle's shop (the chef uncle, not the swim coach uncle) on the best Reuben in Toledo and cake- Check.  Note: I highly, highly suggest you Northwest Ohio readers visit Michael's Cafe & Bakery at the corner of Front & Main on the East Side and get a Reuben, only ask for Betty's dressing instead of Thousand Island.  Top it off with either an eclair or a New York Cheesecake brownie.  It's the closest to God we mortals will ever get.

The pig-out fest only continued.  Steak, lobster, More Ralphie's, lots of beer, some late night Red Baron pizza.  The binge continued, the exercise did not.  As we were returning on the turnpike I could feel my pants getting tighter. So to hell with it, once we made that stop at Rest Stop at mile 98, I said screw the frozen coke and went for a DQ Blizzard.  But it was banana creme, and bananas are healthy, right?  RIGHT?????

I had an amazing time back home, it is always wonderful to see my family and friends, but the bad habits I fell into back in Toledo carried back to Chicago.  I didn't make it to the gym once that following week, although I did go walking and running. I definitely did not get back to my healthy eating.  And I paid for it.  I was at 40 pounds lost pre-Ohio trip, and now I am at 37-pounds gone.  But I am back to it now, determined to hit 50 pounds before I start school next month. And I don't blame Ohio for my weight gain, I blame my lack of discipline.  I developed a lot of my poor habits there, it was all to easy to fall back into them once I was there.  Next time I go home, which is in a month for a very dear friend's wedding, I will succeed and be prepared and make healthy choices, even with chef uncle catering her wedding.

Because I am planning on getting my jaw-wire shut the day before I go.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Characters at the Gym

I am proud to say that despite eating pounds of carrot cake and an endless amount of Chocolate cupcakes, I made my 35-pound birthday goal.  The icing on the cakes, as if I needed it, was that I went clothing shopping and fit my former size-18, should be a 20, butt into 14s.  A milestone for me, because apparently size 14 is the average size of the American woman. Finally I am at a size that makes me eligible for Buffalo Bill to ask me, "Are you about a size 14?"  Note: I realize I reference Buffalo Bill entirely too much, but  I truly believe that he is the greatest fictitious serial killer ever created.  I know I would've helped him get that couch into the van and found myself at the bottom of a  well, trying to catch Precious with an old bone.  But I digress.

I started going back to the gym as it is finally starting to feel like summertime here, and if I am going to be outside sweating in the hot summer sun, I surely am going to be doing it with a margarita in my hand.

Stinky Old Man has been noticeably absent.  I have only seen him two or three times in as many weeks.  We shoot our dirty looks to one another then I avoid any machine he is on.  He has been changing up his routine and it seems like any time I try to dodge him by hitting the treadmill, he gets on one.  If I see him on the treadmill, I hit the elliptical and next thing I know- my nose hairs are burning, my gag reflex is kicking in and I am quickly hightailing it to a different machine.

Fortunately for me, there are a few characters who now make the gym well worth the visit, Stinky Old Man be damned.  They are so delighfully random, it makes anything Hell Machine can throw at me well worth it.  I have yet to come up with a good nickname for the first gentleman and I am open to suggestions.  I was pumping away on a rowing machine one day and an older man, I would say early 60s comes strolling by.  I didn't give him much 
notice, until he got on the machine directly in front of me and I got a look at his gym wear.  His clothes were so wonderfully random and tacky that I fell in love on the spot.  For bottoms, he was sporting a pair of ratty plaid pajama pants.  Footwear was a pair of plain white Keds.  The kind that I wore in 2nd grade and went to Flyerette camp.  He has a shock of white hair on his head that is kept in such a  state of disarray that Einstein himself would envy the coif.  However, the kicker was the shirt that he wore.  In the mid-90s,there was a tragic fad in t-shirts that involved 3 cats on the front in sassy accessories, and the 3 cats' butts on the back. 
You know the one. Typically sold at your neighborhood K-mart or Wal-
mart, seen on women typically over age 50 at the local craft shows and county fairs.  That shirt.  And this awesome man was wearing one, with pj pants, crazy hair and white Keds.  If fabulous had a picture, this guy is it.  If it wasn't 10 in the morning I would've offered to buy him a beer, just to hear the random stories that were sure to come from his mouth.  But alas, even I have my limits of not drinking until after the noon hour.  Unless we are talking about sporting events, then it is game on.  However, I haven't seen this gentleman in a few weeks and I fear he may have been arrested by the fashion police.  If he doesn't show up by Friday then I will be holding a candlelight vigil throughout the weekend.

My next favorite character is a gentleman I call both Tactical Salesman and Cubicle Army Ranger.  If I had to take a stab, I'd say he is in his mid 50s.  Every day around 11, his lunch break I assume, he comes strolling in and goes straight to the weight machines.  Only he stays in his business casual attire.  He gets on the machines and starts pumping away in his colorful Izod polo and snappy Haggar slacks.  If that wasn't strange enough, he wears a virtual combat belt of gadgets and gizmos on his waist.  Hanging off his belt and waist, he has 1. A cell phone in it's clip, 2. A blackberry 3. An iPod  4. His keys.   That's a whole lot of crap to have clipped to your waist.  What does he do if he has business to attend to in the men's room?  I get such a great smile watching him work out in his work clothes, rocking more junk on his belt than I carry in my purse.  I am tempted to slip him some advertisements for some man bags, but I believe his accessories are a reflection on his personality.  When he's doing biceps curls, he letting the rest of us wearing our Yoga pants and wife's pajamas that he's much too busy signing up people for 3-free months of HBO with their digital cable package to be bothered with changing or removing his gadgets.   He is motivation for me to keep going to the gym just to see what other random stuff starts appearing on his belt.

Finally, is my third and final new character, who has the potential to quickly become an archnemesis, following Stinky Old Man, of course.  Before I explain, if you have never seen the viral video, "My New Haircut," go to Youtube and watch it now. While there, I also recommend the Asian edition.  Don't be surprised if you are over 40 and don't understand why "My New Haircut" is so fabulously funny. Anyway, there was a young guy lifting weights who was STRAIGHT out of the "My New Haircut" video.  He had the crazy, gelled spiky hair, wore arm bands on his forearm, and a look on his face of general douchebaggery.  While I was lifting, I overheard this man grunting and moaning away as he lifted on all the machines.  It was obnoxious and distracting and pissing me off.  I started shooting death looks to him while he grunted away, then I noticed something interesting.  And quite hilarious.  After this guy got off each machine, he pulled the pin on it and moved it 40-60 pounds down, thus making it appear he was lifting more than he really was to the next person to get on the machine.  

Hee-larious! I could barely contain my laughter.  Who does stuff like that?? Who really cares how much you can lift?  So, while doing my leg presses, I let out a hearty guffaw when I saw My New Haircut pull it on the tricep curl and add 30 pounds then walk away.  He heard me laugh, shot me a dirty look, and came and stood right by the machine I was on, impatiently tapping his foot to get on the leg press. I did not fall victim to his intimidation tactic, not allowing myself to be bothered by his spiked hair and water bottle filled with a protein powder.  I finished my set, got off, smiled a bitchy smile and stood by to watch him.  He got on the machine, looked at how much I was putting up, and rolled his eyes like it was feathers.  Then he tried to push.  And couldn't.  Because all the grunting, protein powder, arm bands and pin-pulling doesn't change the fact that he can't put up 350 on a leg press.  

I was in my glory as he pulled the pin and had to move it up.  He was clearly disgusted that this fat girl who did not grunt, wore her hair in sloppy pigtails and drank un-proteinated water smoked him on presses. 

So I now have so many great reasons to go to the gym because of these glorious characters.  There's nothing like seeing a man in his wife's pajamas, or knowing if I need to make an emergency call that Tactical Man is on hand. But the best reason is to go is to continue to get laughs at My New Haircut guy.

Schooling him will never get old.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Crisis Averted: Temptation Resisted.

I just dodged a big bullet- a 620 calorie, 20 grams of fat (12% Saturated!) bullet.

For weeks now I have been craving peanut butter and chocolate ice cream.  Whether it is in the form of a blizzard, milkshake, waffle cone, I really don't care.  I just want some ice cream. And today I almost took some desperate measures for some.

Note:  I do let myself have ice cream and dessert regularly.  I don't really believe in depriving yourself of the things you love and I believe that people who do that are not ultimately successful at long-term weight loss.  However, with this, I also believe in only enjoying them occasionally and in much smaller portions than the 21-scoop volcanoes that I could have polished off before I started this whole adventure (who are we kidding? I could still easily kill 21 scoops, toppings included.)  So with my new modest portion sizes and decreased frequency of dessert consumption, I really try to plan when I will allow myself a sweet treat.

This Sunday is my birthday and I have plans to consume my body weight in Carrot Cake.  Hence the reason I am currently depriving myself  of any sweet treats.  Plus, it will help me make it to my 35-pound loss by age 26.  And it's irrelevant that it will only be 30-pounds loss once I get through some cream cheese frosting.  However, this logic and rational has been greatly tested this past week as all I want is some ice cream.

It came to a peak today.  I finished a delicious, well-balanced dinner and found myself wanting more. Something sweet, creamy and chocolate-esque.  The ice cream man comes around here regularly so I planned accordingly.  I set a few dollar bills and a baseball bat by the front door.  Once I heard the familiar jingle ringing through the air, I planned to casually walk out with my moolah and bat, get to the order window and then bludgeon the ice cream man, providing me the perfect opportunity to carjack the ice cream truck and ride off into a delicious sunset.  I envisioned myself cruising away at 80 mphs, Good Humor bar in one hand, sundae cone in the other, leaving a wake of crying children holding their allowances behind. However, there was one flaw in my plan, and the flaw happened.

The ice cream man never came.

Perhaps he got wind of my crafty plans.  I became desperate.  However, it was well after 9 p.m. at this time, as I spent too many hours keeping vigil with my Louisville Slugger on my front porch and not enough plotting  a plan B.  As I began to sort through my options, I realized ice cream was not in my future.  Dairy Queen closes at 9.  The man that works at the ice cream shop up in town seems to get angry if you come in after 8:30, which begs the questions: 1. Why does he stay open until 10? and 2. Who can be angry working at an ice cream shop?  Not sure I want to know support someone who is so unhappy surrounded by 40 flavors of home-churned hand-dipped heaven.

9:40:  I found myself standing over an open can of cocoa powder, spoon in hand, debating my next step. Any chocolate lover knows Cocoa powder for what it really is.  While it's name conjures up images of chocolate pixies sprinkling their sweet heavenly dust on you, Cocoa powder is actually nature's cruelest joke.  It is terribly bitter. But I was desperate and seriously contemplating digging in just to calm the cravings.

Then it hit me.  There is a McDonald's just up the way.  And they have McFlurry's.  Nevermind the fact that I truly hate eating at McDonald's and do everything in my power to avoid the Golden Arches. In that moment, it was like an oasis of sweetness in the parched desert of my stomach.  But I had a moment of clarity, and decided to check the nutritional information of their desserts to make the most educated decision.  Because clearly there is a healthy choice at 9:45 at night when going to McDonald's.

Thank God I checked!  I was planning on getting a McFlurry with Reese's in it.  I was disgusted to see that it packed 620 calories in it.  I only average between 1300-1400 calories a day, nearly half of my daily eating would be eliminated in one treat!  And I already used up 1250 for the day!  That meant I would either need to spend an additional hour on the elliptical tomorrow (No.) or cut my food intake by half (NO!)  And so I resisted.  And I came to write about my experience to get me out of this craving for ice cream.  I am quite proud of my resolve and will power, because it will be worth it this weekend when I see that I made it to 35 pounds.

And when I eat an entire carrot cake.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Progress Report 3

I've been getting a lot of harassing e-mails lately wondering where I am at. "Cari, when are you going to post again?" "Cari, did you stop doing your Website?"  "Cari, did you revert back to your life of gluttony and slothness?"

To all the inquiries- NO! No, I am not done writing and no I did not revert back to my slothness. Definitely been a bit of a glutton when it comes to things in liquid form with a proof content, but it's Festival season, what else do you expect.  I'll tell you the real reason I have not been updating my blog much lately:

IT'S SUMMERTIME!!!  Why would I want to be sitting at a computer sharing with the world about my obesity, when I can be at a festival eating funnel cakes to contribute to said obesity.  Seriously though, It's summer!  It is so nice out, don't waste your time on-line.  Go to a ball game, lay out in the sun, walk your dog, take your kids to the park!!  Or if you are like me, walk your dog to the park so that he can chase other people's kids.  It's my hound dogs favorite past time.   It's just been so lovely here that when I tell myself I need to update the blog, the thought of coming in out of the sun and away from the never-ending margaritas that seem to circulate in my neighborhood...I just can't do it.  I am loving being outside too much!

Fortunately my healthy lifestyle change did not go on hiatus for the summer break.  I recently met with Judy, my wonderful dietitian, and was so very, very happy with the results!  Since my last visit with her, I dropped another 8.5 pounds! That makes me happy, because that means I am losing about 2 pounds a week, which is the maximum I am trying to lose. I am not trying to do it quickly, I am trying to do it at  a rate so that it will stick once I reach my goal.  The best part of getting rid of those 8.5 pounds is that it put me over the 30 pound mark.  I know I said I was going to try The Worm for my dance party once I hit 30 pounds, but in case you missed it: Michael Jackson died.  So for me, a huge MJ fan, the only appropriate thing was to have dance party to, "Smooth Criminal" and "Beat It."  I was doing fine with the moves from "Beat It," a dance I perfected during my years living at Mt. Lushmore at Ohio U.  "Smooth Criminal" started off well, just bee-bopping and moonwalking around; however, it took a turn for the tragic when I tried that iconic lean.  You know that lean in the "Smooth Criminal" where MJ seems to defy gravity and lean forward at a 45 degree angle. Yeah, lesson learned the hard way that he had to have some special shoes or something, because I fell flat out on my face, did not even have time to brace myself.  It hurt and I did not breathe right for a few days.  But it was worth it to celebrate hitting, and surpassing, 30 pounds and to commemorate Michael in my own way. So perhaps I will save The Worm for when I hit 35 pounds.  Thirty-five will be a milestone for me.  When I started this venture on 1 March, my goal was to lose 35 pounds by my 26th birthday.  Now that it is a mere 11 days away, I believe I can reach it.  Provided I lay off the sauce this weekend. Note: If I stay sober this weekend, It will mark the first sober weekend for me since...I cannot even remember. Honestly, cannot recall a time Will & I have gone 7 consecutive days without a cocktail of some sort. Some might say we have a problem, but we think the only problem is in stopping. 

Other exciting news from my dietitian, my BMI is down again, I am at 36.44, right in the obesity range between morbid obesity and overweight.  For those of you who've been following, when I started this all I was well in the morbid range, so it feels good to get further away from that window and closer to the overweight range that comes with being under 30 on it. I am also exceptionally excited that my glucose level went down another 3 points putting me into the healthy range, and my cholesterol is now below 200!  Again, it is truly pathetic that at age 25 I am so excited over having healthy cholesterol.  But I live a pretty simple existence, so I will take my victories where I can.

I am learning a lot about eating better and my food habits have changed tremendously, so I am getting fewer and fewer tidbits when I see Judy.  However, some of the highlights include:

-To change up Zucchini, spring a little parmesan cheese on it.  Unfortunately, an entire block  is not acceptable. There's always a catch. Note: I learned this because I told her how my zucchini plant is apparently on steroids and is producing fruit like crazy! Ca-razy!!
-Salmon contains a lot of Omega 3.  Now for the real question: What the hell is Omega 3?  Sounds like a fraternity to me, like the Tri-Delts or something.
-If you lift weights and don't get enough protein, your muscles will eat themselves!  I am quite disgusted at the thought of some sort of cannibalism taking place in my body. I am contemplating starting to drink Muscle Milk.  
-At our last meeting Judy told me to incorporate more nuts into my diet to consume more monounsaturated fat.  However, she did not tell me that 2-3 cans of cashews a week was not what she meant.  

And that is all I got.  Wish me luck in making it through the weekend without a beverage or 8 so I can make my 35 pound goal as a birthday gift to myself!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Steering Clear of the Gym

I've decided that I am going to stay away from the gym for a few weeks and focus on getting my exercise done outdoors or by punching myself doing Billy Blanks' Ultimate Tae Bo Experience. There are three reasons for this, one is not a factor in the decision as much as something I just want to complain about.  

Reason 1: I have hit a weight-loss plateau.  For a few weeks now, I have been hovering at 28 pounds loss.  It's discouraging and frustrating to still be working out like a champ, eating healthy, and just doing everything right and seeing nothing as a result.  It's tempting to just accept the fact that I am doomed for a life of Fat Girl-dom, but I really want to hit 30 pounds so I can do The Worm during Dance Party.  I've been holding out on that move for a special occasion, and I am itching to do it.  So, I am hoping that by switching up my routine and putting myself through different exercises and challenges, it will kick start my body back into lose weight mode.  

Reason 2: I have an arch-nemesis at the gym.  I need space from him or I may eventually blow up at him, or start throwing sticks of deodorant at him. My arch-nemesis is an older gentleman, I would guess late 60s or early 70s.  He's fit and active, someone you would expect to see on an Ensure commercial, except he's got a real-Prick face. One look at him and you can just tell he's been a dick to most of the people he has came across in life. Note: this is why I smile as much as I can, because I've noticed you can look at old people and tell if they are happy or mean people based off their wrinkles.  Those wrinkles either tell a story of laughter and fun, or snarls and scowls.  I want my wrinkles to make me look happy.

Despite the fact that I try to be a happy person, it does not change the fact that he's my arch-nemesis.  The first reason that he is my arch-nemesis is that he stinks. Terribly.  Body odor alone is not enough to get me make you my sworn enemy, but it helps.  But it's just not body odor, I mean, this man smells truly, truly awful.  I was on the elliptical one day, the only person on them, and he got on the one two machines down and I was just hit with a smell that only pigs would love.  I started gagging, felt my mouth begin to salivate and realized I had to hightail it out of there.  I shot Stinky Old Man a dirty look on my way out.  I don't think he realizes he smells so awful, and his clothes look laundered and he appears to practice good hygiene.  However, the odor emitting from him would make flowers wilt. I wouldn't mind the odor so much if Stinky Old Man did not insist on getting on the elliptical in the very middle of the row.  There is no way to be on a machine without being subjected to his stench.  I've been skipping the elliptical and going for the bikes or treadmill because of him.  And lifting weights??? Oh hell no, I am not about to get on machines after he's been sweating and rolling all over them.

But being a Stinky Old Man is not enough to warrant being an arch-nemesis.  It was a comment he made to me one day.  Stinky Old Man and I see each other often at the gym, and exchange dirty looks to one another. One day, he approached me and made the comment, "It's good to see a chubby girl like yourself here so often.  So many kids in your generation are so lazy compared to mine. It's good to see a fat person trying to do something for herself."

I'll give you a moment to soak in that comment.

Yes, Stinky Old Man called me fat and chubby in the first, and only time, we ever spoke.  I sat there, jaw dropped, and just sort of said thank you, because how do you handle that?  Where does this guy get off thinking he has a right to say that to someone?  Your stink does not give you special rights and privileges, except maybe dibs on the shower.  I could not, and still cannot, believe he said that.  Granted, calling me fat, chubby, tubby, obese, whatever, has no effect on me.  There just adjectives, and I am entirely too overconfident in myself to get hurt by that. I have thick skin, both literally and figuratively.  However, there are a lot of women out there who are really sensitive about their size and would've had a meltdown about a comment like that.  Calling someone fat or chubby is not a motivator.  That comment sealed his fate as my arch-nemesis.  Note:  any time someone uses the phrase "fat person," I cannot help but think of Buffalo Bill and the classic line, "Oh wait, was she a great big fat person?" However, Stinky Old Man is not the a real reason I am avoiding the gym, because my parents raised me to not really give  a shit what people think of me; hence the inflated sense of self that I have.

Reason 3:  This is the main reason I am avoiding the gym for a while. I require loud music blasting from my iPod to keep motivated.  The gym has 90s on 9 piped through the speakers, but for me to stay moving, Classic Rock is required. Often I get really into the songs and work out to the beat.  This behavior caused me to once pull a muscle in my shoulder and lose function of my left arm for a few days due to trying to use the elliptical to "My Sharona." The other day when I was at the gym I was feeling  some Aerosmith. Twenty minutes into my workout I had enjoyed the classics from the Get a Grip album and I still had 10 minutes to go.  So I maxed out the volume and blasted "Janie's Got a Gun."  My energy rocketed and I was pumping away like a champ on that elliptical, I was sweating it out in support of Janie and her anger.  However, I got a little to into the song, because when it got to the "Runaway, Run away, Ruuuuunn Away from the Pa-e-a-e-ain, Runaway, Ruuuuun awa-e-a-e-a-ay Yeah!" I got completely caught up in the moment and started belting that verse out at the top of my lungs. I did not realize how carried away I was until the lady on the machine next to me tapped my arm and motioned that I was indeed singing at the top of my lungs to my iPod to Aerosmith in the middle of the gym.

Oh, did I mention that there was a division of Sailors there doing their physical fitness test and all got to bare witness to my Fitness Karaoke Debut?   I tried to play it cool, help up my iPod to signify I was not a psycho, but the damage was done.  Everyone was commenting to me once I got off the machine.  I don't embarrass easily, and I am not actually embarrassed by this, but it's more of a pain the ass to have everyone looking at you as the "Janie's Got a Gun" Girl and asking for an encore when you're on the machines.   So wish me luck in my gym-free adventures.  I will venture back there once I am confident that someone else has pulled a boneheaded move and forgot about me singing on the elliptical.

In the meantime, I will try to keep my karaoke moments limited to bars, cars and showers.  

Monday, June 15, 2009

The Gunny-Part Deux

Life lesson learned the hard way: Never make commitments to The Gunny under the influence of multiple bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon, because he will hold you accountable, and you will regret it.

This past Friday finally brought evidence of June weather here on the Chicago North Shore.  As we frequently do, our quad of neighbors got together for an impromptu barbecue followed by an evening around the fire pit with lots of bullshitting, story telling and drinking.  I've come to really enjoy these low-key evenings, but have discovered that I need to watch what I say to The Gunny.  While we were chatting, The Gunny mentioned how he is planning on starting a work-out regime with one of the other ladies, and I chime in that I want to participate.  He then offers to start it in the morning with me.  He knew that I was heading downtown on Saturday to participate in RibFest and would be gorging on overpriced beer and sweet, sweet ribs smothered in delicious, tangy sauce. The Gunny figured we could do some preventative work before I overdid it.  However, he warned me that it would not be easy, and that we were doing it rain or shine.

Now, if the logical portion of my brain had been operating, I quickly would've realized that I had polished off two bottles of said wine on my own, it was almost midnight, and we were planning to leave by Noon the following day; therefore, I would either have to wake up still drunk to participate, or be late for Ribfest, a thought I would not even entertain.  Logic would have told me to just say no and enjoy sleeping in.  But, as we all know, logic rarely prevails in my world, nor does my Polish Pride ever allow me to step back from a challenge, so I told him I would be ready for whatever he could throw at me bright and early.

Fast-forward 6 hours later, around 0630, and I am nestled cozily in my bed, head spinning with thoughts of California reds, and my phone starts ringing.  Clumsily, I managed to stop the noise which was clearly being amplified by a megaphone.  Then I get a text, The Gunny is telling me at 0900 we are going and to be ready.  I had no clue what he was talking about and quickly turned it off, back into my wine-induced slumber.  At 0900, the text alert chirps, telling me at 1000 we are going regardless and there are no excuses.  Crap. It is coming back to me, I told The Gunny I would do this, and there is no telling The Gunny you don't want to do something that you committed to. It's a rule of life, never lie to The Gunny. I stumble out of bed, get my gear on, and walk over to his house in the pouring down rain, quietly swearing my neighbors for having a bbq when I planned on spending the previous night parked on my couch with my smelly hound dog watching reruns of Deadliest Catch.  Captain Phil would have never enticed me to drink so much.  My anger was only enhanced when I looked up to see The Gunny, who wisely only sipped whiskey the night prior, with his arms outstretched and wearing a shit-eating grin saying, "Don't you love this stuff!"  

No, I don't. No one loves exercising in the pouring down rain when they can barely control their limbs due to excessive wine consumption.

The next hour and a half may have been the most physically demanding and grueling of my entire life.  We walked briskly, as we all know I cannot run safely, then stopped every hundred yards or so to do exercises.  We squatted, we did lunges, push-ups, scissor kicks, ran stairs, hello Dollies, jumping jacks, and other things so terrible that I will not speak their name.  At one point The Gunny actually had me jogging, in this pouring rain, through a wet, rainy field just after doing 40 lunges, and I literally thought my heart was going to explode.  I make it policy to never tell The Gunny, "I can't," but I did feel it was necessary to tell him he was about to have a fatality on his hand.  He took it in stride, The Gunny is actually very supportive and understanding of my limitations and modifies exercises for my inabilities.  For example, he had me doing an exercise where I had my back to the seat of a bench, and I had to raise myself up and down with my triceps.  It was a complete failure.  1. I cannot support my weight on triceps alone, 2. That bench was slippery, and 3. Even if it wasn't wet, my hands are about the size of a toddlers (I wear children's small or medium gloves and mittens, which is a score as they are much cuter and cheaper!) My tiny little paws could not even grasp the thickness of the wood.  I fell on my derriere a few times  before he switched me to something new that did not involved bruising my tailbone.

But alas, just as all good things must come to and end, all horrible, painful hellish things do too.  We finally started the trek back home.  With about three minutes left in the walk, the rain showers stopped and the sun came up.  The optimist in me tried to smile over the fact that this meant my coveted RibFest would not be cancelled, but the searing pain in my legs, burning in my lungs, and squishy steps of my Nikes did not allow me to celebrate.  I still had three minutes to walk and it was questionable whether I would make it.  In the end, I made it, and I made it to the RibFest, and the beer gardens and smoky ribs made The Gunny's workout entirely worth it.

For that day.  Now, I am not so sure.  Three days have elapsed since I endured that workout, and I am still in extreme pain.  Sunday I could not bend at the knees due to insane quad pain. To get things that were on the ground or down low required me slowly lowering myself into a pushup position with minimal bending- and due to those weak triceps, I kept falling over once I got to the required height.  The most interesting part was finding out that I do indeed have abdominal muscles, and that they are used quite a bit in the most basic movements.  I honestly thought I no longer had them as they had to leave to make room for the ever-expanding Bud Light Belly, but with every breathe, cough, twist and turn over the past few days, they have alerted me of their presence with throbbing pain. But it was worth it as I learned a lot of great new exercises I can incorporate at the gym, at home or on walks.  And as this soreness fades, I am actually looking forward to the next workout that The Gunny puts me through.

I am just going to make sure that my Last Will and Testament are updated before participating. And that I made the decision to do it under sober mind, if that ever happens.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Running Pains

Fat girls are not designed to run.

Take it from me. I learned the hard way. The hard, painful way. My running career started, and subsequently ended, on Monday. I did not feel like going to the gym at all that day, for reasons I will share in the near future. I was not digging a bike ride or rollerblading, and I did not feel a walk would really get me up to a level that would compare to a good workout at the gym. So my genius brain says, "Hey, why don't you go for a run!" Wow, excellent idea. Except I have not ran in years. And my doc told me I need to lose about 40 more pounds before running to avoid blowing out my kneecaps once I reach my parents' age. Oh, and I hate running. My brother proposed an interesting theory to me about individuals who played team sports hating running as it was used for punishment, and those who enjoy running often were not on team sports. His theory is spot on in regards to my outlook on running.

However, as I tend to do when the logical portion of my brain is operating, I tuned it out and decided I was going to become a runner. I envy runners, I frequently see them out...running. They make it look so easy. I especially admire their legs, as they always seem to be so long and lean with tight, toned muscles. My legs resemble something you would see rotating on a spit at your neighborhood gyro shop. Definitely not vessels of exercise or transportation. But my mind was made up, I was going for a run. I did not want to run by myself; however, the only runner in the neighborhood who was home was The Gunny, and I did not feel like submitting myself to a Marine Corps-style run. I decided that it was paramount that my running partner was in worse shape than I am, therefore making me look like a star cross-country athlete by default.

So I took Boris, my smelly, grossly overweight and out-of-shape hound dog. This dog makes vegetation look active. If he isn't sleeping, rummaging or eating, he is not interested in participating in anything. Clearly I would come off to passer-byers as a fitness queen trying to whip this tubby puppy into shape.

Boris and I set off. The iPod was blaring, "Running on Empty" by Jackson Browne to get me going, convincing myself that I too could run across America like Forrest Gump. It was hard, chugging my hefty little ham hocks at an accelerated pace, but I kept up at a solid pace for a few minutes. However, that bastard Boris must have had a revelation that he needed to get into shape because he started pulling and running like the there was an Ice Cream truck down the street. I started to falter, struggling to keep pace with this hound. Then it happened, what every runner fears...I hit the wall. Sort of.

Actually, it was a stop sign. And I did not hit it as much as I completely checked it with my left shoulder. It was completely not my fault. I was running into traffic, as pedestrians on feet are advised to do per 2nd grade Safety Patrol training, and a Stop Sign happened to be sticking out into the road from the ground at about a 60 degree angle. The back of that stop sign is gray and blended in perfectly with the gray road that was inclining up, making it impossible to notice, until you go barreling into the damn thing! Note: I am now a vocal advocate for making the back of stop signs bright red.

I halted immediately. Boris yanked a little, then stopped as he noticed me grabbing at my shoulder and howling in pain. He was briefly interested, but once he realized food was not involved, he laid down in the road until I got over the immense pain shooting through my left arm and shoulder. However, I have hit a weight loss plateau and was determined to finish our 4-miles if it killed me. And at the rate I was going, death was almost a certainty. Rather than running, we walked briskly. Once the stabbing pain turned to a throbbing ache, I decided it was time to start running again. A few minutes into it, I could not go on with running. My joints hurt, my shoulder started stabbing again, my lungs wanted to burst open. I reiterate, Fat Girls are not designed to run. However, I did not want to settle into walking the rest of the way, so I made a deal with myself. I frequently do this when it comes to my weight loss, IE if I want to eat dessert, I go a little longer on the elliptical; if I am feeling like a lazy bag of bones, I watch my caloric intake. So I compromised that I would run for one song, then walk for another song, regardless of the length of the song, happily alternating and giving my body time to come down from the impending heart attack I was running towards. It is completely irrelevant that my walking songs included "November Rain" and "Free Bird." Honestly, it just worked out that really long songs were the walking tunes. Regardless, I persevered. I completed my 4-miles, and by the end, Boris came through with flying colors on my objective for him, dragging his tongue while my fit self tugged him along. I am quite pleased about the fact that I am in better shape than my hound dog. I am equally as happy that almost all visible bruising is gone from my shoulder and arm.

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to write a strongly worded letter to the people of Highland Park about their stop sign placement.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Progress Report 2

Despite the fact that I gripe about her, I must admit that I truly love my dietitian, Judy. She is so happy and supportive.  She is one of the first medical professionals that I can visit without fear of getting reprimanded or scolded. So often I go to the doctor and hear, "You need to eat less and lose weight," or "Smoking is not only expensive and stupid, but it will kill you," and the most frequent, "Cari, 15 drinks in one night on a regular basis does constitute a drinking problem, not a leisure hobby."

But I never get criticisms like that from Judy. During my most recent visit, I told her how I ate a whole lot of cookies the day before and she applauded my honesty.  I confessed that I ate cake and ice cream before noon one day and Judy shared that we all falter.  I love that I can be honest with her.  I imagine that is how Catholics feel after confessional, not that I would know as the only reason I'd ever attend Mass is for the free wafers and red wine.  Pretty sure they would kick me out as I would surely say, "Hey Padre, is this a Cabernet or a Merlot?"  I'm much too lazy to be Catholic, with all that kneeling and standing and Hail Marys. 

Anyway, I met with my dietitian this past week for our every 4-week meeting and was somewhat pleased with the results.  It was confirmed that I did hit that blessed milestone of 25 pounds.  Of it, 3.5 pounds was pure body fat.  Which again, begs the question, what is the other weight???  I really need to ask about that.  Is it due to my haircut? The fact I wore less accessories?  If anyone knows what else I am losing, please let me know.  My BMI went down another whole point, getting me closer to that BMI of less than 30 that I am working for, and my percentage of body fat went down another percentage point.  Exciting stuff.

Perhaps the thing I was most excited for was my lipids and glucose test.  My cholesterol went down by 10 whole points!  I was so excited! At the same time, I realized how grossly pathetic my life has became that I am about to turn cartwheels over my cholesterol.  Seriously, I am 25-years-old, living in the greatest city in America, and the most exciting thing in my life is that my triglycerides look good? Oh, how the mighty have fallen.  The low that my sad life has reached was even more exaggerated by how happy I was with my blood glucose test.  In early April I registered at a 105, which put me into pre-diabetic range. Receiving that news was what started this whole lifestyle overhaul, as my gene pool is unfortunately affected with diabetes.  Plus, I already have one disease I will have forever in the form of Grave's Disease, I surely don't need another, especially one like Diabetes.  Despite the fact that diabetes is becoming more common, evident by the number of commercials for handheld devices depicting people celebrating their freedom to test wherever while a snappy jazz tune plays, I don't want to join the ranks.  Because to me, diabetes will always be a disease represented by Wilford Brimley and his inability to pronounce the word. Note: Will someone explain to me why a celebrity spokesperson insists on calling it "Diabeeeeetis?" I don't get it.

Anyway, exciting news is that I am no longer pre-diabetic.  Prior to starting to change my life, I imagine my veins resembled the chocolate river from Willy Wonka.  But now I am sitting at a cool 100, which I imagine makes my veins more like thawed popsicles.  I need to get it lower, but progress is progress.  

I am noticing this lifestyle change in other areas too.  Before, I was a girl wearing an 18 but definitely should have been in a 20, as I lost feeling in my thighs for about 6 months due to squeezing myself into my pants. Just because I had to lie down to zip em up does not mean that they did not fit.  Now, I am a girl wearing an 18 but should probably be in a 16 as it looks like I am wearing a poopy diaper because my pants sag too much but I am entirely too cheap to buy new clothes.  Also, my fat face is looking better.  Before, it seemed as if I had a Michelin tire strapped to my chin.  However, it is starting to more closely resemble a rooster wattle.  Excellent.

Here are some other interesting tidbits I took away from my dietitian:

- An 8" taco shell is only 1 starch, whereas a 10" is 3 starches!  I don't understand it at all, I tried drawing myself diagrams to understand the logic but am not grasping it.
-VEGETABLES HAVE STARCH!  Obviously potatoes, But beans, peas and Corn count as starch and not veggies!  I feel so very, very betrayed.  So very violated.
-Despite the fact that they look like radishes and their namesake is from a tree, Buckeyes do not count as a vegetable serving.
-There is something out there called sugar-free syrup.  To me, it sounds like an anomaly of the universe.  How do you make something that is basically liquid sugar into something sugar-free?
-Wine is not a fruit serving despite that it comes from grapes.  Beer is not a vegetable despite that it comes from hops and grains.  Sadly, this is becoming something she has to stress to me at every meeting.