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.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Crazy Disconnect

Last night, after my voice lesson and in following with our weekly tradition, my teacher, Diane, and I went out for dinner and drinks. Yep, my teacher and I are friends and do these things. Matter of fact, she was one of my bridesmaids. Moving on. Both of us enjoy really good dining and margaritas are things of pure bliss. However, she's stick thin and me? Well, I'm not. I guess you could say I have the look of someone who enjoys good dining - all the time.

So, back to dinner. I made a resolution a few weeks back that I could not allow every meal out to be an indulgence meal... I eat out a lot. Seems like since I made my resolution I find Diane is now basically eating the same way I am - soup, substantial salad, share an unfried appetizer and coffee after dinner. Not a surprise there, we normally discuss our meal choices and this is where a large part of my eating out resolution was formed.

Here's the kicker though, unlike some of my other skinny friends who essentially eat whatever they want when we eat out, I don't feel the deprivation and desperate cravings for foods I cannot eat when I'm out with Diane.

Then it dawned on me -. Diane had said time and again that she watches what she eats, but it never really stuck until dinner last night. She really does watch what she eats in order to stay skinny. Because of my resolution to eat better, she also eats better.

Go figure.

At some point the bright idea got in my head - and stayed there - that skinny people don't have to watch what they eat and can eat whatever they want whenever they want. Yet, here's Diane, eating the same things I do, not going back for seconds on the bread, and watching what she eats. WHAT? I mean, I knew subconciously that it wasn't the truth - after all, thin people get fat, but there's been this subtle disconnect that likely engaged when I started gaining weight. Seriously folks, she's told me this multiple times and it JUST sunk in!

Of course, she has one teensy problem I don't: she has to make sure she eats enough or she'll be skin and bones. Heh.

I guess it makes me feel a little better than even skinny people have to do the same thing I'm doing. Maybe one day it will be as natural a habit for me as it is for them. Here's just to hoping that it's sooner rather than later.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

There are just some days it feels like a crime to stay inside and sit at your desk. Today is one of those beautifully windy, but not too windy, days where all you want is to wrap a scarf around your neck, throw on a light sweater, take a good long walk and breathe the fresh air. Sadly, work frowns on randomly leaving your desk for multiple hours to stretch your legs, so I'm left with the view out my window taunting me with gently waving tree branches. (Note the fabulous view from outside my work window)

Truth be told, quite a few of us Californians are pretty much wimps about the weather. It's important to understand, the San Francisco Bay Area really doesn't have four seasons, more like two and a little bit over: Spring, Fall, and a smattering of Summer days. You might think Armageddon itself was raining down on us when we get a rain storm, let alone thunder and lightning. Forget about snow, we don't get snow, don't know how to function in snow, and the couple of times we've had even a light dusting in all the time I've lived here we all stand transfixed at this weird white stuff falling from the sky.

As the temperature drops, my deep-seated desire to bake rears its ugly head - cookies, cakes, fudge, pumpkin bread, zucchini bread, you name it, and there's a chance I will bake it between now and February. It's the time when my cupboards are stocked full of flours, brown and granulated sugars, chocolate chips, molasses, canned pumpkin, and all those other deliciously yummy ingredients needed for fall and winter baking.

Alas, this is also the time of cookie cravings, temptation and diet sabotage. My willpower is at its weakest point and the siren song of chocolate is a very strong lure.

One might be saying to their self that it's a little early to start thinking about Holiday Baking, but I don't do just holiday baking. Oh no, it's a holiday baking season that starts with Halloween and lasts until Valentines Day. And I look forward to it every year. Last year I hosted what basically amounted to "Cookiepalooza" at my house in December. For two days, my friends and I baked and decorated what seemed to be a metric ton of cookies, and as the hosting homeowner we were left with the dozens upon dozens of cookies remaining after each person took home their cookie selection. Peanut butter cookies, snickerdoodles, chocolate chip cookies, sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies and more. Which in my mind translated to "Ooooo, yummy, cookies for breakfast, cookies for lunch, and cookies for dinner! YAYYYY!!!!"

Yeah, no so great actually.

Faced with the rather large weight gain that inevitably followed the After Cookiepalooza cramming-my-face-with-dozens-of-delicious-cookies-session, I realize that I have to approach this baking season with a plan. A plan that takes into account the numerous pitfalls and traps I'm most likely to encounter while allowing me to enjoy myself and have some of those baked treats I look forward to every year. This is not something I can just say "Oh, I'll wing it and be fine", so I'm arming myself with all my weight loss tools, approaching this season with some trepidation, and trusting that I am strong enough to overcome any challenges that might present themselves.

I am the master of myself. Food does not control me. I can walk past temptation and persevere.

Monday, September 28, 2009

One very large test of my willpower is my ability to face the truth rather than ignore it and treating every uncomfortable situation as a joke. The sad fact is that it's easier to be the funny fat girl. The funny fat girl makes jokes about her size and joins in when people laugh at her, then scarfs down a donut. That other woman, the one who is desperately trying to remake her body, has to hide the hurt when some thoughtless person cracks a joke at her size, or some inconsiderate teen yells "moo" as she's taking her afternoon walk. Every day she battles against sabotage and doubt, struggles with temptation and indulgence, and strives to keep her head held high as people sneer and offer opinions when they're not welcome.

Being the funny fat girl is temptation, and it's one I can't afford; each and every day, I remind myself that the funny fat girl while smiling on the outside is a mess on the inside. Even though she can scarf down a double western bacon cheeseburger without a second thought, later that night she's taking heart and cholesterol medication. She might be sitting outside the coffee shop with her triple white mocha and laughing with her friends, but she can't climb two flights of stairs without huffing and puffing. She's the life of the party, but too often she's buying new clothes because her other pair of jeans are just "too tight".

By admitting I have a problem, I become vulnerable. Vulnerable to the people out there who think they know the best way for me to lose weight. Vulnerable to people who mock me and call me lazy when I take the elevator instead of the stairs because my knees hurt and never realize I force myself to take the stairs whenever I possibly can. And, most of all, vulnerable to the demons of self doubt that echo in my ears day by day telling me I can't do it, and should just give up.

Over the weekend I attended a dear friend's bachelorette party. Now, I'll set the scene a bit: my friend is getting married in three weeks time and is in the process of gaining weight so she can fit into her wedding dress. Yes, I said that right, gaining weight. And most of her friends, sisters-in-law to be and family members are equally as small as her. You might say I felt a little out of place in the eating and drinking department, but we still did the typical bachelorette party things - drinking, gossiping, drinking, eating, drinking, etc. While a little bit tipsy, I grew a pair and did something I never do: I told everyone there what my weight was when I stepped on the scale in the morning. And surprise of surprise, no one laughed at me or looked at me in disgust. Better yet, another girl at the party turned to me, spilled the beans on her weight, that she had just as much to lose as me and that it was a load off of her chest to be able to trust that she could say it, and not feel like a bad person.

It shouldn't be a revelation that other people feel the same way as me, but it is, and I couldn't really tell you why. What I can say is this: it feels good to open up and not be hurt.

Okay, world, I think I'm starting to actually learn this lesson - this journey requires me to open up the most vulnerable parts of myself, expose them to scorn and pain because sometimes one simple act of trust rewarded with understanding and friendship can help you feel stronger and more capable of facing the difficulties presented in the future.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Some time back, as I traversed the grocery store, searching for all those yummy foods I love and my husband hates - you know, vegetables - I was caught by the niggling reminder of a sandwich cookie I used to eat when I attended Weight Watchers several years back. Of course, I couldn't remember the name, but the thought, "Gosh, I'd love to have some of those cookies" was on and off in my head all day. Fortunately - I didn't make my way down the cookie aisle.

Sitting down at work today, I began thinking about those cookies again, but not in the same state of mind. Part of the Beck program is teaching yourself new ways of thinking, and I got to thinking about what those cookies really mean. The weight loss industry in America is big. Really, really, really big. Multi-Billion Dollar big, and in keeping with their mammoth size they've released all sorts of substitute foods for the ones us larger people ate to make us large. Usually, they're stuffed with all sorts of ingredients no one can pronounce and we happily buy them because "OMG, I can have cooookkiieees!!!"

I must confess that cookies are one of my major weaknesses and have been since I was a teeny, tiny child, especially the soft baked chocolate chip keebler cookies. If there was a treat I craved more than anything it was those cookies, and my mother would make sure I only had a couple before sending me on out of the house to play. On the other hand, my grandmother, who was a big softy and spoiled me rotten, would buy me packages of them and let me pig out.

But I digress, back to the subject matter at hand: Those cookies* are a trap! (*cookies can be replaced with the name of any evil substitute food). Oh, they look perfectly innocent to the common bystander, lulling you into a sense of complacency with "50 calories a serving, no fat, no cholesterol" plastered across the front of the box. But it's a trick I tell you, a mean trick. Those cookies do nothing but reinforce old habits and sabotage your new, healthier ones.

(Prefacing this next part: in many cases people cannot have real sugar and artificial sweeteners are their only recourse. If that is the case please understand I'm not directing this at you)

As far as I'm concerned, artificial sweeteners are one of the great evils in the world. Time after time I hear of people replacing sugar with Splenda or Aspartame or or or. Then they have their low calorie version of the real thing that they can have *every* day. Yet having that every day treat is just another way to slip back onto that old, worn path; it makes it so easy to lose your focus, transition back to having the real thing every day, and before you know it you're doubling your daily intake of calories.

All of this isn't to say that I don't buy low fat foods because I most certainly do. Low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, and a number of other low fat items can be found in my refrigerator. I suppose I'm just less inclined to buy something that's a treat food (or substitute food) that I can't make at home with ingredients I already have.

So, I guess, I came to one realization: If I'm going to have a treat, then I damned well want to have the real thing. And if that means I have to plan treats into my day/days, then that's what I'll do and I'll enjoy the heck out of it.


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: