This blog officially publishes at Singing for a Smaller Me at Wordpress, and is backed up here. In order to comment please follow the link listed above. Thanks!!! Zan.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The last minute show is finally over. Not much like a few weeks of mad, crazy rehearsing and performing to make one appreciate how precious their free time is. I have the luxury of choosing when I work out, I'm able to make dinner any time I feel like it, if I want, I can hop over to the store and buy fresh fruits and vegetables whenever I want.

Still, don't think I'm going to stop performing - if there's one thing this experience made me realize, it's that I miss being on the stage.

Before the show, I was in a pretty big slump. I was depressed, workouts were non-existent, meal planning didn't happen, the scale was inching up, and I was becoming less and less honest about the junk I was feeding myself. Regularly, there were weeks when the kitchen didn't see a single meal prepped, and the food I was buying every week at the store was getting hucked when it went bad since I didn't feel like cooking.

Then along came that mad, crazy rehearsal schedule which was, basically, a gift. I've often said the things we need are plopped down in our laps when we need them and, just at that moment, I needed that kick in the pants to wake me up and remind me that I still wanted to do this thing.

With that realization, and a commitment to being honest with myself (really, really honest), I've been rewarded with the scale headed back in the right direction, higher energy levels, feeling amazingly great about myself, and a host of other benefits.

However, it got me to thinking, I definitely want performing to be a part of my life. Being on stage is something that has always mattered to me, and I'm going to have to find some way to fit in work, fitness, food prep, food shopping, cleaning, rehearsing and performing all in to the course of a week. Without driving myself nuts.

And to be quite honest, I have no answer to how one goes about doing that. Habit, habit, habit, I suppose. And the best way to build a habit is practice. Practice over and over and over and over.

This week is a good start. I planned dinner every night, went food shopping to have all the ingredients on hand, worked out three days straight, wrote out a meal plan every day, tracked all my food, and am remembering to tell myself every day that I'm worth it.

Hell, even people like me, who've been going for nearly two years need to be reminded from time to time.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I'm an information whore, and as such I'm constantly searching for random diet related crap. Yeah, I said diet. I give up. From here on out, I'm not going to mince around that word. We're on a diet. Hell, every single freaking person on the planet is on a diet. According to my mistress, Google, the definition of diet is: Noun: The kinds of food that a person, animal, or community habitually eats. So stop assuming (and yes, that says you're an ass) I'm talking about the evil verb to diet, and get over yourself.

Although, you know what, I'm also going to talk about that stinking verb, to diet, because I can. So there.

Anywho. In the diet related world, there are five million websites, books, gurus out there with tons of great information. Sure, most of it conflicts with everything else everyone else is saying, but who cares. Right?

In my ever wandering search for new internet fodder, I found the following site: Bitch Yourself Thin. Sure, it's a paid community site, but the rest of the content is free, and some of it's a great laugh. And the name of the website really appealed to me. Hie yourself there and check it out, I have spoken. Heh, cos I'm a guru or something like that. Suuurrre.

Moving on.

With my current completely un-PC mood (which means I'm not in the mood to pussyfoot around anything), let's tackle a few books from my bookshelf:

A while back, my sister in law recommended I read "Women, Food and God" by Geneen Roth. It really helped her with her relationship with food, and I figured "hey, what the heck? Can't hurt to try." How I wish Ms. Roth's book could've done for me what it did for her, but - sadly - I just can't finish reading the frakking book. I'll get to page 75 or so, put it down, and never start again. Maybe it's a subconscious inability to read self-help books. I don't know. Anyone want a slightly used copy? I'm happy to pass it on.

Before that, came my Bible: The Beck Diet Solution. This is my tao. When I need to kick myself in the butt and get back on track, this is the book I always come back to. Seriously, I carry it around in my freaking purse. If you want to do what I'm doing, then this is the book for you. Live it, love it, learn it. 'Nough said.

Next comes The 4 Day Diet by Dr. Ian Smith. Yep, the same guy who wrote The Fat Smash Diet: the last diet you'll ever need. Quick question, if that diet was the last diet I'd ever need, why did he write another diet book? DOES NOT COMPUTE. Still, I picked it up in the bargain bin at Barnes & Noble as another "what the heck? Can't hurt to try" purchase. Read the whole thing. BORING. Guess I know why it was in the bargain bin now.

Okay, that's it for this first installment of "Crap from Zan's bookshelf". Have a good one folks.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Because I'm Worth It

At my heaviest, I remember spending a lot of time wishing I was prettier and thinner and that I was anything but me. Yeah, those weren't great days. I didn't put a lot of time or energy into myself, and I spent my days looking like a shlump, thinking I wasn't worth it and wondering what the point was of trying to find clothes that fit or waste a few minutes doing my hair and makeup.

And when I didn't bother to do my hair or take a few minutes to choose an outfit that didn't make me look like ass? It just got worse. I'd look in the mirror, loathing the person I saw, telling her how ugly she was and that she didn't deserve to exist.

On the other hand, the days I took the time to take care of myself? Sure, I wasn't thrilled looking in the mirror seeing a nearly 300 lb woman, but I could look in the mirror and see an attractive person, manage a smile, and realize I had the power to make changes for the better.

Seriously, standing in front of a mirror seething self loathing at yourself ain't gonna help you do crap.

Yesterday, I read this post over at A Deliberate Life. Christine puts it five hundred million times better than I can. So go over there and read it rather than get a bad recap from me. Basically it's how all the negative shit we spew at ourselves is self perpetuating. Read it. Live it. Love it.

Now, that we're done with the depressing stuff, remember this whole self talk thing is a two way street. Yeah, we're all pretty used to looking in the mirror and hating everything we see - society has taught us it's okay to detest ourselves. Have you ever tried looking in the mirror and doing just the opposite?

What's that you say? Say good things about myself? That's not right! Well, actually it is. It's really right. Yeah, I used to think that positive self talk was a whole bunch of hooey. Seriously. What kind of New Age, pyscho babble mumbo jumbo were people trying to get me to use? I'm gonna let you in on a pretty well kept secret: it works. It's pretty easy and yes, you will feel silly the first one, five, ten, one hundred times you do it, but you say it to yourself enough and eventually it becomes truth.

Today, people ask me why I spend so much time picking out clothes, doing my hair, and putting on makeup every frakking day. They ask why I spend so much on getting my hair done or buying new clothes when I could just go to Goodwill and buy things that'll pass while I'm still losing weight. My answer? Because I'm worth it. Poorly fitting clothes that don't fit my style and make me depressed just looking at them are not for me.

This attitude about myself didn't happen overnight.

Sure, some days it's a chore waking up early when I'd rather sleep for another hour. And some days I have to force myself to look good. But choosing a nice outfit, doing my hair, doing make-up? The end result always makes me smile.

Other days I wake up thinking it's not worth it, what's the point, why do I bother. You know what? I still do it. Fake it till you make it, I say.

When I'm feeling like hell, I still plaster a smile on my face and say hi to everyone just like a good day. When someone smiles back, the day gets a little brighter.

There will always be days when nothing helps. But going through the motions, making sure you tell yourself the reason you're doing these things is because you're worth it, that's what counts.

Here's my challenge to anyone and everyone: for the next week, every time you look in the mirror, when you're getting dressed, when you're doing your hair or makeup, say "I'm worth it". That's it. Give it a try, you never know what might happen.

Monday, August 1, 2011

That's the Life

So, that show I mentioned last week? It opened on Saturday. Oh, hey, guess what else showed up just in time for my Saturday performance. Gosh, Aunt Flo, it's so nice to see you.

You know what I forgot? Just how difficult it is to have a normal eating schedule while in performance mode. My normal dinner time is somewhere around 7 or 8 p.m. Guess when a show normally starts? Heh.

Before a show, I start getting ready around 3:30 for an eight o'clock go. That's because I'm crazy.

What a lot of non-performers don't get is how much prep goes into an actual performance. Sure, the curtain goes up at eight, which gives the audience plenty of time for dinner and cocktails beforehand. But based on pre-performance rituals, some actors start prepping as early as noon (for an eight o'clock go). Again, that's because us actors are completely wackadoodle.

With a six o'clock call time, my weirdo, crazy need to have hair and make-up mostly done before leaving for the theatre, adding in driving time, somehow food doesn't enter into the equation. Okay, so I'll grab a sandwich before heading into the theatre, then spend four, five or six hours prepping, performing and whatevering. How long do you think that sandwich keeps me going? By the time the performance is over and I've spent another half an hour or hour or so driving home, I'm ravenous. It's eleven o'clock, I need to go to bed to wake up and start getting ready at 9:30 the next morning for a 2 p.m. show, and all I want to do is EAT. With the addition of a perfectly timed visit by Aunt Flo, all I want to eat is cr*p.

Funny how when you're hungry, tired and stopping at the 24-hr drugstore to buy food, your choices aren't phenomenal. Mine went something along these lines: Salsa verde Doritos, Steak and Cheese chimichanga, and Dark Chocolate Reese's peanut butter cups. Ugh. Hey, I glanced at the Healthy Choice meals - right next to the frakking chimichangas. Ah well, must remember to bring healthy snacks with me next week.

Other than that, the show was awesome. It's a great group of people to work with who really enjoy what it is they do which makes it an incredible experience. I'm proud of myself for being able to learn the music, blocking, choreagraphy, etc. so quickly and that people can't tell I only joined the cast three days before opening night.

Well, here's to a relaxing week where I can get back to my normal eating habits, and rest a bit before going back into performance mode.

Friday, July 29, 2011

First things first, from now on, every time I mention/moan/complain about not having sung in ages I need to stop and slap myself silly. If I'm not singing, it's my own damn fault, and I just need to suck it up. So, yeah, I need to be careful what it is I wish for.

The long and short of it:

Two nights ago, I received a call from a local theatre group I used to work with asking if I could fill in (on super short notice) for someone that had dropped from the show going up this weekend. And yes, if you're saying to yourself "THIS WEEKEND?!?! IS SHE NUCKING FUTS?", I most likely am cause I said yes.

Background: The show is part of series featuring lost operettas and musicals from the late 1800's and early 1900's. They're semi-staged, partially open book readings. So I'm not a total effing nut job.

Anywho, I put down my barely touched glass of wine from the bottle I'd just popped open, finished what little of my dinner I could, and hauled my butt over to the warehouse to observe the rehearsal and get an idea of what I just signed up for.

Oh, hey look, I'm kind of a featured dancer. WHAT?!?!?!?!?!?! Helllooooo, fat girl! But apparently, I'm not so fat anymore.

Verdict: cute show. Oh damn, I have one f*ck-ton of music to learn, and just a few days in which to do it.

Fast forward to Thursday: When I wasn't at work (and when I was at work on break and lunch) I was studying music, and trying to memorize at least a few little bits so I wouldn't feel like a massive tool at rehearsal that night. Home from work? At the piano, learning and memorizing music. Believe me, if I had my way, I would've taken most of Thursday and Friday off from work to cram music.

Rehearsal Thursday: Blocking me into the show and learning choreagraphy. Teacher, my brain is full! I spent most of the rehearsal feeling like a deer in headlights, but after a night to sleep on it I've managed to process a good part of the blocking and feel pretty comfortable about it.

Tonight? Show run through at the venue, and blocking me into the last few numbers we didn't get a chance to touch last night.

Tomorrow? Opening night.

Fun times. I'm going to go plotz now.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yesterday, I started writing a really emo post about all my worries, my fears, my dissatisfaction, and blah, blah, blah, oh my I feel so sorry for myself bs. Fortunately for me, it just wasn't coming together.

Guess what yesterday was? PMS hormones from HELL. Any day I start off feeling great, get all worked up for no particular reason, have a random crying fit sometime around 1 or 2 p.m., then get caught up in the Pity Party Express - should ring a frakking bell. Helloooooo, PMS.

You know what? I don't want to be emo. Nor do I want to sit around feeling sorry for myself. That kind of attitude ain't gonna change shit.

Here's the long and short of yesterday's pity party: I'm stuck in a rut. In the past three or four months, I can't tell you how many times I've gained and lost the same five stupid pounds. Plus side, I've managed to maintain. Downside, I really wanted to get over the hump into that magical place called ONEderland.

To tell the truth, I know exactly why I'm stuck in this rut. My meal tracking: meh. Exercise: meh. I can tell you what I've been doing instead - gaming, going out, reading comics, drinking, rinse, later, repeat.

And, frankly, my motivation is in the tank. Why? Because I'm at a lower weight now than I was through most of college. Suddenly people are looking at me again. I'm not the fattest person in the room. I'm okay with how I look (mind you, I said ok, not great). I'm maintaining my weight loss. I don't have the urge to eat the same crap I used to eat.

To quote Dr. Horrible, "The status is not quo".

I think I have a subconscious fear of hitting my goal weight, and actually succeeding at this whole weight loss thing. Seriously, who the hell is SCARED of succeeding?

Something has got to give. This indifferent apathy to making any progress is not acceptable.

Okay, I accept I might be apathetic, but that doesn't mean I can't make some changes to see me through these dry times.

Question #1: What has been successful for me in the past? Writing out, keeping up with, and reading (every day) my reasons for losing weight. Planning out what I eat in advance. Light to moderate activity 4-5 times a week. Eating at least one serving of fruits and vegetables with every meal.

Question #2: What goals can I set to get me back on track? Now, I know setting date specific goals has never worked out for me. Look at my ill-fated ONEderland challenge back at the beginning of the year. Heh. See where I am now? Yeah. Great.

Goal 1: Lose five pounds.
Goal 2: Re-write my "Reasons I Want to Lose Weight".
Goal 3: Exercise three times this week.
Goal 4: Track five of seven days this week.
Goal 5: Write a blog even if it's just a sentence or two once a week.

Question #3: What can I do if I continue feeling this indifference to caring about losing weight? You've got me there. Anyone wanna be my weight loss buddy that I can text/e-mail/IM/call when apathy comes calling? I'll do the same for you.

Well, that's about it for now. Sorry for the prolonged absence. Can't promise it'll be any better in the near future, but I'm gonna try.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I Am Extraordinary

Sorry for the radio silence folks. Didn't have much to write about last week, so rather than post some cr*ppy filler I decided to take a few days off.

Ever wonder when the hell it was you stopped having incredible dreams of what you'd be and/or do? How at some point normal became okay and reaching for your dreams was just childish escapism?

Fighting for your dreams is hard. It's a constant struggle and fight to overcome tremendous odds, and time after time you're likely to fall flat on your face. There are always setbacks and not everyone has the werewithal to keep getting up and dusting themselves off. But those that do are in for amazing things.

When you think about it, starting the journey to lose nearly 150 lbs is another big ol' pipe dream. Really. You give no thought to how many people manage to lose and keep off ten pounds. Just because the commercial says "Results not typical" doesn't mean it can't be done. But if you really thought about it and looked at the stats, reality is quite the opposite. The numbers are bleak. And the chance of being one of the magical few to make it to goal? Incredibly miniscule. But every day someone else embarks on their own quest to do just that.


Maybe because deep inside we never want to give up on our dreams. It's that last big dream of which we can't let go. If you can accomplish that, then you can accomplish anything.

Of all the people I knew with big dreams, I was one of the last of my friends to accept "average". But at some point, the sacrifices didn't seem worth it. I was tired of missing parties, never being in on the latest thing, and having days so jam-packed finding six hours to sleep was a chore. So I gave up. I said goodbye to dreams and decided to just be normal.

It's funny how "just being normal" meant I no longer felt alive, and this void opened up inside me. Sure, I got invited to all the parties. And suddenly I knew everything that was going on. And on the outside, I was a laughing, happy person. But a large part of that was a mask to cover up how totally un-special I felt.

So I pretended. And ate. And pretended some more. And ate some more. And that void? It just got bigger. So did I.

Over the weekend, my mom posted some pictures on Facebook of me before I woke up and realized I was killing myself. That person? She isn't me anymore, but I know her pain. The pain of being at the lowest point of your life at the bottom of a pit, feeling like you'll never stop falling and there's no way out.

Funny how, when I realized being normal just wasn't for me, re-embraced my dreams, I slowly started crawling out from that pit of despair.

You can keep normal. Average? Pfft. Soooo done with average. Typical? I think you already know I'm definitely NOT typical. And my dreams? I can keep reaching for the stars. Sure, I'll fall down, and I'll fall down again, but I'll just get back up. And so what if I barely have enough hours in the day? Oh well. What a ride it is, and I haven't even reached the end.

Finally, my weigh-in stats for the week!!!!

Week of 2/13/11 - 2/19/11 Stats

Weigh-in Day: Saturday, February 19, 2011

Starting Weight: 291.6

Previous Weight: 218.2
Current Weight: 215.2
Difference: -3.0 lbs

Total Weight Removed: -76.4 lbs
Total Percentage of Weight Removed: 26.2%

That's right! I smashed that 75 lbs gone mark! w00t w00t!!! Damn straight, I am extraordinary.

Now go have a good one folks, and find that extraordinary person in you!


Small goals are the key to success or so I've been told. To kick off my weight loss journey I wanted to give myself a visual tool to see how my progress is going. For your viewing pleasure, the ticker for my first goal of losing 20 pounds: