Archive for January, 2010

I’m so excited, and I just can’t hide it.

January 29, 2010

Yesterday was a big day in the world of Erin’s house. So big, in fact, that I had to take the day off of work in order for it to happen (not that I minded one bit).

I GOT MY GRANITE!

Now to understand my excitement about something as simple as countertops, you need to know that I had originally picked out countertops back in August. I found a local business that was discontinuing their granite business, and so they were going to give me a ridiculously cheap price on granite for my kitchen. The only thing was that I was going to have to wait for a month or so before they could come to my house to do the template. I said that was fine, and it was – the kitchen was nowhere near ready for countertops. They told me they’d call me when they were ready to come template.

So I waited…and waited…and waited…for that phone call. It never came. After a month and a half, I called them to make sure I was still on their radar. They said I was, and that they would call me soon.

They never called.

In mid-October I called and left a message for the guy who’d been my contact. He never called me back. So I decided I needed to bring in the heavy artillery. I asked my Dad to call them.

The thing was that I always got the feeling that they thought I was just some dumb girl who had no idea what I was doing and/or talking about. I don’t think they thought they needed to take me seriously, even though I was going to pay them a nice chunk of change for countertops.

My dad called and they told him – without any apology – that they had sold their equipment, thus rendering themselves unable to make my countertops. I was mad, but not necessarily surprised. I had a bad feeling about the whole thing after going months with no communication from them.

So I sent the letter equivalent of a bitch-slap to the president of the company (who never responded) and decided that I needed to move on.

Long story longer…I went to another granite place and picked out a kind that I liked. I ended up paying two times more than I was going to originally, but I’m quite happy with the results.

Want to see them? OK!

Here we are the night before they were installed:

And…AFTER!

Here’s a close-up (excuse the nasty backsplash – that will be remedied soon enough):

I debated for a long time about whether or not to get granite countertops, mainly because of the expense. But I decided that since this is my first house and I’m going to live here for a while, I might as well get what I want. Bonus points if the countertops add value to the house in the event I sell it some day.

I can’t believe I’m moving in next weekend. I can hardly contain my excitement. There’s still plenty to do – and it certainly won’t all be done by the time I move in – but when I think about how far it’s come, it makes it all worthwhile.

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Buyer’s remorse.

January 27, 2010

I was on my way to a meeting, and I was hungry. I had eaten one of the new 90-calorie Fiber One bars, but knew that wasn’t going to hold me until 3:30. I needed something to eat, and I needed it quick.

So I pulled into Hardees, thinking I’d get a grilled chicken sandwich. But they didn’t have just a plain grilled chicken sandwich. They had one with cheese and bacon on it. They also had a breaded chicken sandwich. In the moment, I reasoned that the breaded chicken sandwich was probably a better option. So I ordered it (with no fries, of course!)

I ate it as I drove and it was fine. I made a mental note to see how many points it was when I got back to work. I got to my desk and went to the Hardees web site to check the damage.

770 calories, 36 grams of fat, 4 grams of fiber. EIGHTEEN POINTS!!!!!!!!

If the sandwich wasn’t mostly digested by this point, I’d have wanted to throw it up. OMG. 18 POINTS! I thought it would maybe be 12 or 13…14 at the most. But 18!?

Lesson learned: PLAN BETTER. I should have eaten something more substantial before I left the office. Or I should have ordered that damn grilled chicken sandwich without the cheese and the bacon. Why didn’t that dawn on me? Ugh.

It’s not a huge deal, really. I had only eaten 10 points up until I ate the chicken sandwich from hell, so I technically still have 12 points to use today. Will I use them all? Probably not. But that chicken sandwich is haunting me.

Working on my fitness.

January 26, 2010

In my mind, exercise seems like it should be the easiest part of weight loss. I don’t hate exercising, so it should be easy to fit it in, right?

Not exactly.

While I haven’t exactly been making excuses for why I haven’t made it back to the gym, I will admit that I haven’t really been seeking out opportunities to be more active, either. In my own defense, I have been really, really busy. Most nights I go directly from work to my house to work (my commute is ~45 minutes each way). I will typically work at my house until 9 or later. By the time I get home, I want to shower, read and/or check up on the blogs that I read, and go to bed so I have enough energy to do it all again the next day.

I put my gym membership on hold back in October. I hadn’t been going regularly as it was, and I had a big event for work that I was planning which was keeping me at work late most evenings anyway. I figured I might as well not waste $30 a month if I could keep my membership current for only $10 a month.

Last Monday, I decided I was going to go to the gym after work. Even though I should have probably been doing something else, I knew that I needed to take time for myself.

I went home, changed into my gym clothes, ran an errand, and then drove to the gym. I pulled into the parking lot and realized how full the parking lot was. I drove by the main entrance and peeked in so that I could see the upper level where all of the treadmills and elliptical machines are.

The place was PACKED.

This made me anxious. I already feel very self-conscious stepping foot into the gym. My gym is the “trendy” gym in town, so it’s full of cute young things who go there to try and pick up other cute young things. I started having a dialogue in my head about what these people would think when they saw me. “Oh, there’s another fat chick coming in with a New Year’s resolution to lose weight.” I knew that these thoughts were not rational, but I couldn’t get them out of my head. I thought that by coming to the gym a little later in the evening, I’d miss the after-work rush. I was wrong.

So I turned around and drove home.

But I was still determined to exercise, so once I got home, I threw on a coat and my iPod and went out for a walk. I only walked for about a 1/2 hour, but considering that was the most significant exercise I’d had in, oh, probably 5 months, a 1/2 hour was good enough for me. At least I was moving.

I’m torn about what to do about the gym. I feel like these are my options:

  1. Keep gym membership on hold until I lose a little more weight and feel more comfortable/less anxious about going to the gym. Walk on my own in the meantime.
  2. Stop acting like a baby, suck it up, and go to the gym. Who gives a shit what people think?
  3. Cancel gym membership, saving myself $30 a month. Walk around in my new neighborhood once I move. Use the extra $30 a month toward something else

I see validity in all three options. I think #1 is the best choice for me right now.

Have any of you felt like this? What would you do? How do you manage to fit in your exercise?

Pooped.

January 25, 2010

I am TIRED. You know you are approaching total exhaustion when you fantasize about getting the flu so that you have an excuse to lay around and do absolutely nothing for a few days.

Between my job, trying to finish work on my house, and focusing on eating well and exercising…I am feeling like there is just not enough brain power to go around. In the past, when I felt overwhelmed like this, my solution was always food. I would think “Ugh, my life is so NOT fun right now. There is nothing enjoyable happening and nothing coming up to really look forward to. I’ll just have some chocolate as a reward for getting through the day.”

“Some chocolate” would come in the form of an entire bag of Kit-Kats or Hershey Kisses. Sometimes both, if it was an especially trying day. When I think about that now, it disgusts me.

I can see why people give up on diets so easily. I can see why I’ve given up on diets so easily. Eating right and exercising takes a lot of time, effort, and planning. It takes a lot of willpower to drive past the McDonald’s when you are hungry or tired or sad. Making good decisions and staying on track takes a lot of strength and focus. It’s exhausting to fight with yourself all day, every day.

I still can’t trust myself completely. I still can’t let my guard down. I haven’t been at this long enough yet.

I know my current situation is just temporary. I know it will get easier. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Two weeks from today is my 28th birthday. I will have just spent the second night sleeping in my own house. I am taking my birthday off from work so that I can unpack and figure out what I need to buy. I cannot WAIT.

So for right now, I’ve just got to hang in there. Keep moving forward. Stay as focused as I can. If I can get through this time without going back to my old habits, I’ll be one step closer to a new me.

Quick update.

January 24, 2010

It’s been a pretty busy weekend so far as I prepare to move into my house in 2(!!!) weeks. 7 hours of work yesterday, a full day today…it’s just a lot.

But I’m also thinner! I weighed in yesterday and lost 4.4 pounds last week, bringing my total so far to 10.2.

I actually think I probably lost a little more than that, but I am retaining a bit of water thanks to “you-know-what.” I’m certainly not disappointed, though. I just want to be able to lose as much as I can in the first weeks/months because I know it gets harder to pull big numbers every week when there is less of you to lose.

Hope ya’ll are having a great weekend! Off to paint…

We were merely freshmen.

January 22, 2010

There are times when I feel like the blogger community is like a high school. There are the ‘cliques’ – the weight loss bloggers, the mommy bloggers, the design bloggers, the sports bloggers, etc. And just like in high school, people can be in multiple cliques. The seasoned bloggers are like the upperclassmen, and the new bloggers are like the freshmen.

Right now, I am the freshmen, looking up to all of these upperclassmen. I want to be taken under someone’s wing, to learn what to do and what not to do. What’s appropriate, what’s not.

Often I find myself reading blogs and wishing that I could be friends with the person in real life. I really don’t mean for that to sound creepy. And don’t get me wrong…I have a lot of wonderful friends. But none of them blog. I doubt many of them read blogs at all. If I brought up dooce or The Pioneer Woman, I am pretty sure I’d just get blank stares, even though they are both wildly popular web sites.

When it comes to weight loss bloggers, I especially find myself longing for that connection, that friendship. Here is an entire community who knows what it’s like to be overweight. They share their experiences, their successes, and their failures. I find it all incredibly inspiring.

Here’s the thing: I’ve never really had a fat friend. That’s not necessarily because I didn’t want a fat friend; to the contrary, I think it would have been nice to bond with someone over weight issues. Instead, I always had thin/average friends. Friends who could eat normally. Friends who didn’t understand what it was like to struggle with their weight. Friends who could cross their legs, shop at the Gap, fit into an airplane seat comfortably.

I rarely, if ever, talked about my weight. I didn’t want it to define me. And obviously, my friends don’t care that I’m overweight. I doubt most of them even realize how much I hate being fat or how insecure I really am.

I’ve always been the funny girl. I don’t know how much of that personality was developed because of my weight, but I do know that it’s a pretty common thing. Fat girls are either really quiet and shy and try to blend in to the woodwork, or they are outgoing and funny and everyone’s friend. I don’t know why I became the latter. I don’t know if I would have been that way even if I wasn’t overweight. I do know that I tried to be nice to everyone because I didn’t want to give anyone a reason to be nasty to me. If I pissed someone off, I knew that being fat would be the first thing that would be used against me. In my youth, it happened a few times, and I wanted to avoid that embarrassment at all costs.

I tried hard never to be self-deprecating about my weight. Not so much for myself, but for others. You can tell that it makes thin people uncomfortable when an overweight person starts making comments or jokes about their weight. I didn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable. I felt uncomfortable enough for everyone.

I remember when I started reading a few weight loss blogs a few years ago. I remember feeling like I had that “a-ha!” moment. Oh my God…I wasn’t alone after all! There were other people who binged. There were other people who tried every diet to no avail. There were other people who understood what it felt like. There were people who had been successful in losing weight.

I began to realize that I could learn from them. That their experiences could inspire me, help teach me tactics that I could use to start living a healthier life.

It seems strange and somewhat unnatural to feel connected to someone you’ve never met or spoken to. But I feel that way with a lot of bloggers. I check their blogs, I know what they ate for dinner, how much they exercised that day, what the name of their spouse is. I sometimes feel like I’m a voyeur into this person’s life. But I guess that’s kind of what blogging is about. I guess that’s why I am blogging, too.

None of my friends or family members know that I’ve started this blog. And I’m not sure when or if I’ll tell them. Part of me would like for them to read it, to try and get a glimpse into what it’s like to try to lose 150+ pounds.

On the other hand, I don’t want them to know how much I weigh. My weight has always been my most closely guarded secret. And I know it seems silly. It’s just a number, and it’s a number that’s going to go down over the coming months and years. But right now, I feel that if anyone I know in real life saw that number, I would panic. I find myself wanting to talk about my weight loss on Twitter, but I’m too afraid. There are people that follow me who know me in real life. I’d love to announce when I write a new post or bring more traffic to my site. But right now, that is just too much for me. I hope that, in time, those feelings will change. I don’t want to have to hold things in any more.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I feel like a bit of an outsider right now. And that’s understandable – I’ve been blogging for what, 3 weeks? I know it takes time. I just hope that eventually I can become friends with some of these people who I know so much about but have never met. People who are tremendous inspirations to me, people who I can learn from.

I swear I’m not creepy. I just want to feel like I’m part of something.

A brief history of diets.

January 21, 2010

You know it’s bad when you really can’t remember at what age you started dieting.

I grew up in a house with two parents who struggled with their weight. As far back as I can recall, someone was always on Weight Watchers, or Atkins, or South Beach. My mom didn’t have very high self-esteem, and she did virtually nothing to ensure that I had any either. I didn’t grow up feeling very good about myself. Yes, I had a lot of friends and got good grades. But when it came to my looks or my body, I wasn’t taught to be satisfied with myself the way I was.

I was probably 11 or 12 when my mom decided that I needed to see a nutritionist. I had a big appetite and she thought there was something wrong with that. When my food intake was cut, I started sneaking food and binging. Then, at around 13 or 14, my mom took me to a weight loss doctor who prescribed me some kind of pill. It very well may have been Fen-phen, as this was probably about 1995 or 1996 and Fen-phen wasn’t pulled from the market until 1997. I went to this doctor weekly to weigh in, and I did lose weight, maybe about 20 pounds or so. I don’t remember why I stopped taking it, but I did.

My early high school years (specifically my sophomore year) was the last time I remember feeling like I was still fairly “normal” weight-wise. I was probably a size 14 at the time, still much larger than the majority of my friends. But I was running daily, which helped me to manage my weight. I remember loving my school picture sophomore year. I had just gotten my braces off, was wearing a shirt from the Gap (a big deal at the time) and was tan from a summer spent running. That year, I went to Homecoming with the new, cute boy in our grade. I thought I was hot stuff.

Then came the hip injury which kept me from running. I steadily started gaining. I think I tried Weight Watchers at least 10 times throughout the rest of high school. I got depressed and went on an anti-depressant. I don’t know if that contributed to my weight gain, but I do recall that I really blew up during my senior year. I think I was about 215 when I graduated.

In college I did Atkins for quite a while, then tried out vegetarianism. Even though I was still fairly active during my first two years of college (I was a thrower on the track team) the drinking and constant access to food helped me pack on the pounds. I think I was probably about 270 by the time I graduated college.

Life after college consisted of more multiple attempts at Weight Watchers, almost getting gastric bypass surgery, then two different attempts at the Johns Hopkins Weight Management Program. The program there was supplement-based, and so I could only eat 6 supplements a day for four weeks, until real food was reintroduced. My caloric intake was 800-1,000 calories a day. In fact, it was so low-fat that I needed to add a tablespoon of oil to whatever soup I was eating so that my gallbladder would keep functioning. Yes, I lost weight – about 30 pounds. But as soon as I was allowed to introduce real food again, I went off the deep end. I gained back everything I lost, and then some. I tried the program again, a few years later – but the supplements ended up giving me some major digestive issues, so that was it for me.

Then there was NutriSystem, which I thought was the perfect solution when I was living in my apartment without a real kitchen. A microwave and a mini-fridge was all I needed. I found the NutriSystem food to be disgusting, so I ended up eating other crap. I actually ended up selling a huge amount of my leftover NutriSystem food on Craigslist.

I tried SlimFast, but was always hungry. I tried those fresh, pre-prepared meals that you just have to warm up. They were tasty, but expensive.

It makes me sick to think of how much money I’ve wasted on weight loss programs and diets. Thousands and thousands of dollars, I’m sure. I could have used that money to go on a tour of Europe, or a cruise through the Greek Isles.

The fact of the matter was that I just wasn’t ready to lose weight yet. I liked the idea of being thin, but I was too overwhelmed by the amount I had to lose. I didn’t want to make the committment. I wanted to still eat crap and not exercise. I made a million excuses.

No more.

And now for something completely different.

January 19, 2010

I really wasn’t planning on making this blog all about my weight, since there is certainly more going on in my life than that. So, I’m going to take a break from that for a minute.

If you’ve read this you know that among the thunderstorm of shit that rained down upon me in 2009, there was one highlight – I bought my first house! Here it is:

I saw the house in the paper on a Sunday, called the Realtor I had casually been working with, and went to see it the same day. It needed A LOT of work/updating, but I saw a ton of potential. I went back on Tuesday to look at it again, then decided to make an offer. By Thursday, May 21 my offer had been accepted. I bought a house in five days.

The process of securing a mortgage and whatnot was so stressful, I won’t even go into it. Suffice to say that I was anxious to get started and ended up closing on the house on June 23 – a little over a month after my offer had been accepted. That kind of timeline is almost unheard of.

My happiness and excitement over the house was (very) short-lived. As I wrote before, about two hours after my closing we found out that my aunt and uncle were killed in the DC Metro crash. Life just stopped as we tried to comprehend what had happened and how we were going to move forward.

Needless to say, it took a little while for us to start working on the house. I spent every weekend in July ripping out 20+ year old carpet and padding, removing tack strips and staples. Then the bathroom was gutted (except for the tub and shower – both were in pretty good shape) and the carpet (yes, carpet in the bathroom) was removed.

Same thing in the kitchen (yep, more carpet). Countertops were removed, cabinet doors were removed to be painted, wallpaper was removed.

Then my dad and his friends installed a new furnace. I got a new garage door and a new back door in my basement. I painted every room. Most recently, I refinished my hardwood floors.

(A word of advice: Never refinish your own hardwood floors unless you are a masochist. They turned out beautifully, but goddamn were they a pain in the ass to do.)

I have spent every weekend and at least three nights a week at the house since October. Earlier this month, I picked out the granite for my countertops and they are being installed on the 29th. I’m going to move in two days before my 28th birthday.

Here’s where things stand now:

Bathroom

What we’ve done: Removed old cabinetry, removed old vanity, removed old toilet. Installed wainscoting to cover holes in the wall from old built-in medicine cabinets, patched walls, painted walls with Sherwin Williams ‘Latte’, placed new vanity.

Still to do: install toilet, install new light fixture above sink, finish sink plumbing, install new shower curtain rod and new showerhead.

Kitchen

What we’ve done: Removed old carpet, removed old tile underneath carpet, laid new subfloor. Removed cabinet doors, repainted with Behr ‘Ivory Lace.’ Removed old sink, countertops, stove, and ancient microwave (seriously…it was at least 40 years old). Removed wallpaper. Installed wainscoting over top of old plastic tiles on wall. Purchased new appliances (gas range, microwave, dishwasher).

Still to do: Install dishwasher, run gas line for new stove. Paint cabinet frames, replace cabinet doors with new hinges and handles. Lay vinyl tile on floor, paint walls and wainscoting.

The kitchen is the least far along and may not be done by the time I move in, but I’m OK with that. I once lived in an apartment without a kitchen at all for over a year (a tale for another day). All of the other rooms have been painted and we’re currently working on painting trim (yuck). I am repainting my bedroom because the original color I chose (Sherwin Williams ‘Rainwashed’) ended up looking baby blue on my walls instead of a nice green/gray color.

Once all is said and done, I will take pictures with an actual camera and NOT my iPhone. Hope I haven’t bored ya’ll!

BMI = B.S.

January 18, 2010

I randomly decided to check my BMI today, and see at what weight I would be considered just “overweight” instead of “obese”.

I’m going to sound like a total hypocrite here, because I think that the BMI is bullshit. I don’t think that the BMI provides an accurate assessment of a person’s actual health or fitness. It’s simply an outdated formula where you plug in your height and weight and it tells you how far you fall from “normal.”

The thing I wish people would understand (and I think that more people are seeing) is that you CAN be “overweight” and still be healthy. Of course, too much extra weight is not good. But there are lots of people who run marathons at over 200 pounds (my father being one of them). “Overweight” people can be avid triathletes, hikers, skiers, etc. And if you consider the fact that muscle weighs MORE than fat, it’s easy to understand how the BMI is flawed. Technically, a person could be considered “overweight” even if their percentage of body fat was low, simply because they had a lot of muscle mass.

At my height (5’7″) I would have to weigh 180 pounds to be considered simply “overweight.” I’d have to weight about 155 pounds to be considered “normal.”

When I was in high school, running 30-40 miles a week, my weight held steady around 180 pounds. I was, undoubtedly, in the best shape of my life. But I was still “overweight.” It’s just ridiculous. I can’t imagine what I would have to do to make it down to 155 pounds. Underneath all of my fat, I have a muscular build. Because of that fact, I will always weight more than someone who is built differently. I would probably have to exercise compulsively and seriously restrict my food intake to make it to 155, which clearly wouldn’t be healthy and wouldn’t be maintainable in the long term.

Even after I get to my goal weight of 180 pounds, I will still be considered “overweight” by the powers that be. And you know what? I’m OK with that, because I know how good I’ll feel. That’s enough for me.

Two things.

January 16, 2010

Two things that happened today:

1. I weighed in at Weight Watchers this morning. In the past week I had tracked every piece of food that passed my lips. I stayed below my points allowance every day. I lost 5.8 pounds! I’m so excited and feel really motivated to keep going.

2. I went to the drugstore and managed to purchase ONE Cadbury Creme Egg. (Did you know a Cadbury Creme Egg is only 3 points? Hot damn!) Before, I would have purchased a box of 4 and eaten them all before I pulled into my driveway. I ate this one slowly and enjoyed it. And when I was done, I felt satisfied. Imagine that!