Brain dump.

October 12, 2010

OK.  So.

Work has been crazy busy lately, mainly because of my own procrastination with some projects over the last month or so. Obviously, that equates to a lack of posting, considering I have to post AT WORK because I am currently too poor to afford internet AT HOME. Working for a non-profit is awesome! Right?!?!

Anyway. Here is a quick update on things:

Exercise: Lately, something strange has happened to me. I have found myself wanting to go for walks. Over the summer I canceled my gym membership because I wasn’t going and I refused to continue to waste $30/month. And I will admit, I was completely and totally unmotivated for awhile. I am still trying to figure out what I’m going to do once the weather gets too cold to walk outside, but I’ll cross that bridge when I get there. I also may be taking a Zumba class tonight. I will be honest – I am scared. I am afraid of looking like a fat, uncoordinated idiot. However, I need to challenge myself and so I’m 95% sure I’m going to do it.

Food: This is where I need to do some work. Because I am an emotional eater, and because I am overwhelmed and stressed out at work,  I am having trouble not finding comfort in junk food. I have, however, been packing my lunches and eating out for meals much, much less. No more Dunkin’ Donuts for me in the mornings – I am making my own iced coffee (I am obsessed with Starbucks Iced VIA) and microwaving my own breakfast sandwich to eat on the way to work. I did “quit” Weight Watchers a month or so ago. I wasn’t going to the meetings and I felt as though I was basically paying $40/month to step on a scale once a week. I am trying to be less concerned with what the scale says from week to week and more concerned about how I FEEL and how my clothes fit. After awhile, I’ll get on a scale and see where I am.

House: I had my first house-related crisis on Saturday. I walked downstairs into my basement to do laundry and noticed water. EVERYWHERE. I tried not to freak out. Turns out my sewer line was backed up because of tree roots that had grown into the line. I didn’t even know that was possible, but that’s what Bill the Roto-Rooter man told me. I had to use every towel and rag in my house to clean up the water, and so I spent Sunday mourning the loss of $200+ dollars (because, of course, this has to happen on a Saturday, when Bill the Roto-Rooter man gets paid overtime) and doing no less than 10 loads of wash. If this doesn’t kill my 20-year old washer and dryer, I don’t know what will.

Family: My cousin S, who is 5 years younger than me, got engaged on Sunday. I am thrilled beyond words for her, and I love her fiance, A, dearly. He has been my brother’s best friend for as long as I can remember, and is like a brother to me. And my cousin is like a sister to me, so as you can imagine, their relationship was initially a little weird for both my brother and I. But we got over it pretty quickly. I would be lying though if I said I didn’t feel a little jealous. I am the oldest of the 5 cousins on my mom’s side of the family (and we are all very close) and I guess I feel like I should be the one to do everything first. While I was the first to graduate high school and college, I wasn’t the first to buy a house (that was my brother) or get engaged (that was S, obviously). I definitely won’t be the first to get married or have babies. It wouldn’t even have bothered me so much if my brother (the second oldest) was the first to get engaged or married…but for it to be S, the second to youngest, just makes me feel like I’ve failed somehow. I know it sounds kind of ridiculous, and it certainly isn’t going to stop me from being happy for them, but it just kind of stings a bit.

Other: I ended up going to my 10-year high school reunion. I swore I wasn’t going to go, but changed my mind at the last minute. I ended up having a good time, and I am glad I went. Unfortunately a lot of my good friends from high school didn’t go, but it was OK. I talked with some of my former classmates more at the reunion than I ever did in high school.

So, that’s the latest. I’ll try to keep updating a bit more as time permits. Gotta get to work!



September 13, 2010

In the end, it comes down to chairs.

I realized last night as I was drifting off to sleep that of all of the things in my life that my weight has affected, it has affected my ability to sit comfortably the most.

Before I go to a concert, or movie, or picnic, or restaurant, I always get a jolt of panic and anxiety regarding the chair situation. Will the chairs have arms? If so, will the seat be wide enough to fit my ass? Will the arms of the chair dig into my (more than) ample butt and hips, leaving me in discomfort and with bruises (this has happened several times before when the squeeze was especially tight)?

If the chair doesn’t have arms, will it be sturdy enough to hold the 300+ pounds that is me? Will my butt spill over the sides of the chair and into the seat of the person next to me?

I’m scared to sit in most camping chairs because I fear they won’t be able to hold me. Same with beach chairs. I’ve already written about airplane seats. Booths in restaurants are sometimes problematic if there isn’t enough space between the bench seat and the table.

I can’t sit comfortably on the ground. I can’t sit Indian-style. I can’t cross my legs.

The chair situation is deeply embarrassing. I like to pretend that other people don’t notice when I often opt to stand instead of sitting, even if there’s an empty chair right beside me. People see me standing and offer me their seat and I say something like, “Oh no thanks, I was just sitting in the car on the way here and want to stretch my legs.”

This has become completely and utterly ridiculous. I know I’ve said ENOUGH before. More times than I can count, really. But at the end of the day, I’m not able to get my shit together for more than a few months.

THIS HAS TO END. There are things I want to do, places I want to go. So many missed opportunities because of my weight. I have a lot of life left to live. I can choose to merely exist, uncomfortable in my own skin, slowly killing myself with food and a sedentary life. Or, I can suck it up over the next year or two, lose the weight, and move on with my life. I’ve got the whole “maintaining” my weight thing down pat.

Now, it’s time to get a grip on the losing part. Again.

On self-deprication.

August 16, 2010

There’s a common mistake that overweight people sometimes make, and it drives me absolutely crazy. That mistake is being consistently self-deprecating about their weight in front of other people.

In my opinion, there are few things that are more cringe-inducing. It makes me terribly uncomfortable every time I hear it, mainly because I KNOW it makes other people just as uncomfortable.

I bring this up because there is a woman I supervise at work who does this often; in fact, I pretty much expect it to happen any time we’re out an a work-related event. For the purpose of this story, I’ll call her Tanya. Now, Tanya is a fairly large woman – in both her height (she’s about 5’11”) and her weight. I am only saying that to provide background, not because I am judging or looking down on her (because clearly, I am a large woman myself).

Anyway, a exchange will go something like this:

Random person: Tanya, I love your shirt!

Tanya: Thanks! It has been hard to find cute clothes since I gained so much weight/got so fat/etc.

Random person: Oh, stop, you look great!

Tanya: I used to be a size six, and now look at me. I finally gave away all my skinny clothes because I know I’ll never be able to fit into them again! <laughter>

Random person: <awkward smile/laughter>

I swear that this is not an exaggeration. I think Tanya thinks it’s funny to be so self-deprecating. I think she does this when she’s at a loss of what else to say.

As I said, I know it makes other people just as uncomfortable as it makes me. I can see it in their faces and hear it in their awkward laughter and strained smiles.

When you’re overweight, the fact that you overeat is out there for the world to see. Some people can hide the fact that they drink excessively, or smoke. But when you’re fat, you can’t hide it. Regardless of the reason is for why you overeat, it is written all over your body.

Please understand – I know that there are people out there who are overweight NOT because they overeat, but because they take medication that can cause weight gain. But at first glance, that doesn’t matter. People just see that you’re fat, and unfortunately, many people see it as a character flaw.

And because most people who are overweight are somewhat self-conscious about the way they look, they have several ways of dealing with it. They can choose to accept it; to love their body no matter what the size. They can ignore it completely, never mentioning it to anyone, not even a significant other – OR they can be like Tanya, talking about it to anyone who will listen, using it as everything from an ice breaker to “comic relief”.

The issue I’m facing with Tanya is that I believe this kind of behavior is unprofessional. It makes people feel weird. It makes people unsure about an appropriate response. I think that she believes that speaking in this manner makes her “approachable.” In my opinion, it makes you lose credibility because you clearly don’t understand what is appropriate to say and what isn’t. In my opinion, weight is a personal and private issue. It’s not something that should be brought up, seemingly out of nowhere, during a meeting of the Chamber of Commerce, just to garner an awkward laugh.

I guess it’s just that I don’t understand self-deprecating behavior, PERIOD. It’s used by fat people and thin people alike, for a variety of reasons. I know that there are people who use it simply so people will disagree with them. People who say “Oh God, I am so ugly” just because they know someone will say “No you aren’t!” which provides that tiny boost of positive reinforcement although it is most likely insincere.

I’m not saying that every overweight person should be ashamed of their body. In fact, I wish desperately that I was one of those people who were completely comfortable with their body at any size. But I’m not that person. And maybe I’m just ultra-sensitive to the way Tanya speaks because it’s something I would NEVER even consider doing.

The fact is, though, that I don’t think Tanya is comfortable with her body. I don’t know why she does this. But I am increasingly feeling like I need to say something about it, because it makes her seem tremendously unprofessional. And in the business world, you don’t want to give anyone ammunition against you.

People don’t like to be made to feel uncomfortable, and Tanya is doing just that.

Flaky friends.

August 13, 2010

I really try not to rant or bitch too much on this blog. I try to use it as a way for me to write down my thoughts, work through my issues, and get feedback from anyone who reads it and might have something useful to add.

But today, I’m going to bitch. Because I feel like my head might explode if I don’t.

Over the last few weeks, I have had four instances where friends of mine have canceled plans with me at the last minute. I’m talking only HOURS before we were supposed to get together. All four instances have happened with the same two friends (two times per friend).

Now, admittedly, these plans weren’t that big of a deal. Twice it was lunch with a friend, twice it was dinner with a friend. In all the instances, however, we had discussed getting together several times, decided on a time and a date that worked for both of us, and made the committment.

I really should know better by now that both of these girls are flakes. My friend S is always super enthusiastic about plans at first, but will cancel at the last minute 9 times out of 10. Something will always come up. Car trouble/maintenance is her main excuse, or a random family event that she “didn’t know about.” It’s gotten to the point where she isn’t getting invited any more when our friends get together because we know she ultimately won’t show up.

My friend M is a bit of a different story. There is ALWAYS some major issue going on in her life. She is a huge drama queen, and that drama is what causes her to cancel plans at the last minute. She & I have been trying to plan for MONTHS about when she could come see my house and have dinner (she lives about 45 minutes away). Twice now she’s canceled. The last time this happened, she called me at noon on the day we were supposed to get together and left me a message saying (and I quote) “My life is basically in shambles right now.” Her grandma was in the hospital (but not seriously ill) and her lunatic dog had eaten some kind of body lotion and she had to take her to the vet. I wanted so badly to say “Honey, you don’t know what ‘shambles’ is. You have this totally inconsequential shit happen to you and you lose your mind. I hope nothing serious ever happens to you, because you won’t be able to deal with it.”

I think the situation with M bothers me more because I was just in her wedding and dropped like $600 between the dress, the (nightmare) bridal shower, the bachelorette party in Atlantic City, hair, shoes, etc. And the other afternoon she called me at work and asked me fix a file for her as a favor, which she just so happened to need that same night. (Side note: This girl is the biggest procrastinator IN THE WORLD. Seriously.) So I stayed for an extra hour and a half, trying to help her with this project so she could send it to the printer, only to be told the next morning that she couldn’t use what I’d given her (which was exactly what she’d asked for).

I think I KNOW I’m too nice. I’ve spent years trying hard to make sure that people like me, and I really have nothing to show for it. Yes, I have a lot of friends, which makes me feel good. But it has become exhausting, and I find myself caring less and less about going out of my way to make plans with people or help people out who I know will either cancel at the last minute or never return the favor.

I’m not saying I’ve never been flaky in my life, because I have. I have been the person who canceled plans at the last minute. But I guess I found myself at a point where that kind of behavior is no longer acceptable. I just wish these people would get to that point as well.

Adventurous eating.

August 10, 2010

I am trying to find my way back to a healthy lifestyle after months of gluttony. Some days I manage better than others. Am I counting points? No. I’m not there quite yet. But am I making better choices? Definitely.

Lately I’ve been trying some new recipes and foods that I haven’t tried before. I’ve also been trying to cut meat out of my diet as much as possible. I’m not trying to be a vegetarian (I like the occasional cheeseburger too much for that) but I am currently trying to make eating meat more the exception than the rule.

That got me looking for vegetarian recipes to try. The one item that kept popping up was quinoa. I’ve been thinking about trying quinoa for a long time, but was a bit intimidated by it and thought that they wouldn’t carry it at my local grocery store. What do you know – they do! It was a bit pricey (I think it was around $4.50 for the box) but I decided it was would be worth it just to say I tried it.

The first recipe I decided to try was a chickpea curry. The recipe itself doesn’t call for quinoa, but I thought it might be good to put the chickpea curry ON TOP of the quinoa to make it last a little longer. Lately, I’ve been trying to cook a big meal on Sunday, then divide it into containers to take for lunches all week. Sure – by the time Friday rolls around, I am super tired of whatever it is I’ve been eating all week, but it is saving me a ton of money (and a ton of calories) since I’m not taking daily trips to the drive through or restaurant to grab lunch.

I ended up really liking the chickpea curry AND the quinoa. I will admit that the chickpea curry didn’t have a strong curry flavor (that is to say it had virtually NO curry flavor) but it was healthy and tasty and paired well with the quinoa. I’d definitely make it again.

The next quinoa recipe I tried was one that I’d seen Fat Bridesmaid write about awhile ago. She was also new to trying quinoa and this recipe for quinoa and black beans was recommended to her. I thought it looked tasty and decided I’d try it as well. The thing I liked most about the recipe was that I had basically everything it called for in my pantry already, which is always a plus.

I really, really liked the quinoa and black bean recipe – more so than the chickpea curry. It made enough for 5 servings, 3 of which I ate for lunches last week. I ate container #4 for lunch today and will bring #5 with me tomorrow. It’s been 9 days since I made it and it still tastes great. I have been adding some shredded rotisserie chicken breast (which, I know, totally contradicts what I just wrote above) for a little extra protein and I think I like it even more with the chicken. The recipe as-is would be great as a side dish but leaves a little bit to be desired as a main dish in my opinion.

I’ve also recently begun eating something that I never thought I could eat. Behold:

Yes, friends…those are raw tomatoes. I know — this probably does not seem remarkable to most people, but it was not long ago that I picked raw tomatoes out of everything. I would request my salads and sandwiches without them. I ate salsa and cooked tomatoes, but couldn’t bring myself to eat them raw. It was mainly an issue I have with food textures…I can’t stand anything slimy or with seeds.

But then, one day, I was at my parent’s house for dinner. My mom had cut up some cherry tomatoes and mixed them with some feta cheese and Greek dressing. She urged me to try it, even though she knew I am not a tomato fan. I resisted. Then she mentioned that she had scooped out all of the slimy, seedy bits from the tomato, leaving just the flesh. That was less scary, so with some trepidation I grabbed a fork and picked up half of a tomato.

I loved it! So much so that I decided to make it myself, which is the picture you see above.

I love that I am still able to surprise myself.


July 19, 2010

Alright, Erin. Enough fucking around.

You’ve basically eaten every single thing you’ve wanted over the past two months. You haven’t been to the gym. You haven’t counted points. You haven’t gone to Weight Watchers since May 22.

What you HAVE done is gained weight.

Are you trying to send yourself to an early grave? Because that’s what you are doing. You are not living. You are merely existing. You are wishing on stars that your life will become what you want it to be. That you’ll find love, have a family, be able to do all those things that are on your life list.

Well, Erin, let’s be honest here. Those things won’t happen if you don’t get your shit together.

You almost died once because of your weight. It’s no wonder you were uncomfortable and distracted at the movies on Friday night because your legs were swelling up. It’s because you wore a pair of fucking Spanx during the summer and sat basically all day and they were cutting off your circulation. And you were sitting in the movie theater wondering what was wrong with you, having hot flashes of panic and after the third one, you had to leave. And you drove yourself to the ER, and had to call your mother like you did the day you almost died and told her the same thing as you did over two years ago: “Mom, something isn’t right.”

And you got to the ER and had to have an ultrasound on your leg to make sure there wasn’t a blood clot.

And yes, after it was all said and done, it was kind of funny. You laughed about it with the PA and the doctor and your mom when the doctor came in and told you that your only prescription was to not wear Spanx anymore. You left feeling much better than you did 3 hours before.

But you were scared. You were embarrassed. You were ashamed. You were reminded that you hadn’t kept the promise you made to yourself and the bargaining you did with God two years ago. How you would lose the weight and take better care of yourself if He let you live through that.

You’re not keeping up your end of the deal.

Your life is passing you by. You’re no closer to what you want now than you were a year ago. Two years ago. Five years ago. Ten years ago. You’ve wasted some of the best years of your life, and you’ll never be able to get them back.

But you CAN control your future. You CAN make the rest of your life worthwhile. You CAN find love, but you have to stop hating yourself first.

I know there are days when it seems like you don’t care whether you live or die. You DO care, though. You don’t want to die young. There are too many things you want to do.

Its time to get serious again. You might stumble along the way. You read the blogs of others who have stumbled, and who have managed to fight their way back. You have seen them achieve their goals.

You can do it too. But you can’t wait another day.

I’ll be back.

May 26, 2010

Yes, I am still alive and well. I have many things I want to write about, but not enough time to do it. I have 5 more days of work before I leave for vacation, and I have A LOT to do before I go. I’ll be off for 7 days and, well, I’ve never been off from work that long. I can’t wait. I’ll be back soon!

My life list.

May 11, 2010

One of the reasons I love the Internet so much – and one of the reasons I felt compelled to begin blogging myself – is because of the amazing, inspiring people and blogs I’ve read over the years. I don’t always read them regularly, but I love when I type in a URL and see a bunch of new content on one of my favorite blogs. It’s like a mini-Christmas!

Many of the blogs I read regularly and find most enjoyable/inspiring are on the sidebar to the right. The one I want to talk about in particular today is Mighty Girl.

Maggie Mason (aka Mighty Girl) made up a ‘Mighty Life List’ of 100 things she wants to do before she goes awhile ago and has been making her way through it. I just have to say that I think Maggie is the bee’s knees and I have a huge friend crush on her. Can we be friends, Maggie?

I have been thinking about the things I want to do in my life for a long time. I think the first time I made a life list was in high school. I wish I knew where it was, so that I could compare my list then and my list now to see what has changed.

I’m going to share my life list in – almost – its entirety. There are a few things I’m leaving out because, well, they are a little TOO personal.

  1. Go kayaking
  2. Take a Zumba class
  3. Go climbing at an indoor rock wall
  4. Take a yoga class
  5. Fall in love
  6. Get married
  7. Give birth
  8. Own a dog (again)
  9. Travel to Austin, TX
  10. Travel to San Francisco, CA
  11. Travel to Charleston, SC
  12. Travel to Savannah, GA
  13. Travel to Chicago, IL
  14. Travel to Ireland
  15. Travel to Vancouver
  16. Travel to New Zealand
  17. Travel to Australia
  18. Travel to France
  19. Travel to Spain
  20. Travel to Germany
  21. Travel to Switzerland
  22. Travel to Italy
  23. Travel to the Greek Isles
  24. Go on a cruise
  25. Run a 5K (again)
  26. Run a half marathon
  27. Do a zip line in a rain forest
  28. Become conversational in a language other than English
  29. Get a massage
  30. Drive cross country
  31. Watch an animal be born
  32. Watch a baby be born
  33. Learn to sew
  34. Learn to knit or crochet
  35. Learn to change a tire
  36. Get a tattoo (again)
  37. Host a surprise party
  38. Ride a horse (again)
  39. Cut my hair short (again)
  40. Go skinny dipping (again)
  41. Be able to cross legs comfortably
  42. Be able to sit Indian-style comfortably
  43. Fly first-class
  44. Go back to York, England (where I studied abroad in college)
  45. Go to a big music festival (Coachella, SXSW, etc.)
  46. Sing in a choir
  47. Learn to play the guitar
  48. Grow a garden
  49. Make a Thanksgiving dinner
  50. Learn to ski
  51. Make a pie from scratch in my great-grandmothers pie pan
  52. Put flowers at my aunt & uncle’s grave at Arlington National Cemetery
  53. See a live taping of Saturday Night Live

The thing that makes me sad about my list  is that some of these things – for example, 39 & 40 – are very unremarkable. For most people, these are things that they do every single day with no issue and no thought. I can’t do either of them because of my weight. In fact, I don’t think I’ve EVER crossed my legs comfortably.

Same goes with the traveling. Flying gives me crazy anxiety. Not because I’m afraid to fly in a metal tube at 30,000 feet – but because I hate cramming myself into one of those tiny seats. I feel horribly uncomfortable and self-conscious and I avoid flying because of it. I want to get to the point where I don’t even have to think or worry about that.

And numbers 1-4…again, nothing too remarkable. But they are all things that I am way, way too self-conscious to do right now. Could I do them all now? Sure. But I don’t think I’d be able to really enjoy myself because I’d be too worried that my fat was flopping around or that I was grossing other people out.

I’ve read time and time again from people who’ve lost a lot of weight that that while losing weight makes life easier, but it doesn’t make it perfect. I have no illusions that as soon as I lose 100+ pounds that my life will be all rainbows and butterflies. I will still have bad days, I will still have hang-ups, and Lord knows I will still have a boatload of insecurities. But I’m looking forward to the time when my weight will no longer hold me back. Technically, yes, I know that it’s not MY WEIGHT holding me back. It’s ME holding me back.

In the meantime, I’m going to begin chipping away at my life list. What on YOUR life list?

Rules and Consequences.

May 6, 2010

I am finally back on track after a solid month of struggling. No gym, no counting points. I ate basically whatever I wanted, and how much of it I wanted. I felt crappy and grouchy and tired most of the time.

Then I realized two things:

1.) The ridiculous amount of money I was spending on food. I was going out to lunch almost every day. I was spending close to $50/week on lunches ALONE. That doesn’t take into account my daily trips through the McDonald’s drive-thru for breakfast. It was obscene.

2.) That I was going on vacation in one month. That I had one month until I had to squeeze my ass into a tiny airplane seat for a cross-country flight.

Those two things were enough to jolt me back to reality. I am happy to report that this week has been GREAT so far. I’ve counted every point, written down every morsel that has passed through my lips. I’ve drank at least a half-gallon of water every day. I am feeling amazingly energetic. It’s been easier for me to wake up in the morning and easier for me to fall asleep at night. I feel so good that I almost feel like I am high. I want to bottle this feeling so that I can inject myself with it when I’m having my not-so-motivated days.

As I’ve mentioned on here before, I have been seeing a therapist weekly since this past fall. I am not at all ashamed to say I am in therapy. I think there are lots and lots of people out there who aren’t in therapy who DESPERATELY need it. For a long time, I was one of those people. I had absolutely no one to talk to about so many things, and so food became my sounding board. My issues with food run very, very deep and my weight has impacted nearly every facet of my life, and never in a positive way. I knew I wasn’t going to be able to be successful at losing weight if I didn’t work out some of my issues at the same time.

Anyway, last week, my therapist and I decided that I needed to make some rules for myself to follow. Rules that I HAD to stick to, or else face consequences that would also be defined by me. Rules that would help me break the cycle that I had been trapped in for the past month.

Here were the rules I came up with:

1.) You cannot go more than 3 days without exercise or some kind of aerobic activity.

2.) You cannot go through a drive-thru for breakfast.

3.) You cannot take an unhealthy (i.e. candy, pastries) from the snack tray at work.

The consequence for breaking any of these rules was that I had to go to the gym, immediately after work, and work out for at least 45 minutes.

I have been 100% with Rules 2 and 3. Rule 1 has been more challenging. Because of work and other responsibilities, it has been very difficult to fit in exercise. However, I have been more active as I have been doing a lot of things around my house, including mowing the lawn, which – as lame as it sounds – TOTALLY counts an aerobic activity. I’ve taken a long walk around my neighborhood a few times. Have I been to the gym yet? No. But I think one of the problems I’ve had in the past is that I try to do everything, all at once, and if I don’t do it all perfectly, then I feel like I’ve failed. So, right now, it’s been easier for me to just focus on my eating and getting that back on track and under control before I worry too much about fitting in my exercise.

I’m determined to go weigh in on Saturday morning. The last time I weighed in was April 3. At that weigh-in, I had gained 1.8 pounds, which I think is what set me off on my month of gluttony.

I know that when I go weigh in on Saturday, I will probably weigh more than the last time I weighed in. And you know what? It is what it is. I know that I’ve had a really good week, and that I feel the momentum to continue. I’ll be looking forward to the scale falling again. In the meantime, I’m going to keep following my rules.

What are YOUR rules? Do you have consequences for yourself if you break them? I’d love to hear about it.

Still here.

May 5, 2010

I’m still here. I have a lot to write about, but I am having trouble finding the time to do it. This whole “not having Internet at home” is becoming a real drag. Although I know I would probably definitely get a whole lot LESS done if I had it as a distraction. So, for the time being, I’ll post when I can.