Wednesday, November 28, 2007

'tis the Season

Oh Joy! I got my first Christmas card today. The holidays are here. If you listen to the advertisers the holidays were here before the Halloween decorations were taken down. The stores opened at midnight on Black Friday and people have been waiting in massive lines to join the masses in overspending. Ho, Ho, Ho!

Oh, did you hear a town in Florida wants to ban Santa from saying "Ho, Ho, Ho"? They say that some people may find it offensive and derogatory. If we weren't there already we have definitely crossed the line of being too politically correct. Call me crazy but I want my Santa to say "Ho, Ho, Ho" and I'm not offended if someone wishes me a "Merry Christmas."

Over the past few years I seemed to have lost my holiday spirit. It is all so commercial and nothing like it was when I was a kid and the only thing I had to worry about was whether Santa would bring me the toy I wanted. Some days I feel my joy has turned to dread at the thought of all the obligations and temptations coming from every direction.

There is so much pressure to do it all, do it early, get gifts bought and wrapped, get the Christmas cards bought, signed, stamped, and mailed, get gifts shipped, go to all the parties, get very little sleep and be surrounded by holiday temptations every day. It is no wonder the average person gains 7 pounds over the holidays. Some years I just want to take a vacation and get away from it all.

The frustration of trying to find the right gift for each person makes my head want to pop. The last few years I've given my nieces and nephews money or gift cards. I hate that. Money and gift cards is the easy way out but I don't want to waste my hard earned pay on things that will never see the light of day after the Christmas lights are put away. Gift cards and cash seem to say "I give up," "I don't know what the hell to get for you," "just go out and do the shopping yourself," "I can't be bothered to take the time to find you a present." I know the kids don't see it that way. The kids are happy to get the money but it just doesn't feel like Christmas if they only open an envelope. I hope I can do better this year. I actually picked up a few presents throughout the year (which is so not like me, I'm the Christmas Eve shopper) when I saw something that said this would be perfect for so and so.

I'm going to propose that next year we take all the money we would have spent on gifts for our friends and family (ok not the little kids 'cause that would be cruel) and buy something for ourselves that we've always wanted, put the money towards a trip or gym membership or whatever is important to you. When Christmas comes you write a note of thanks to everyone for making it possible for you to get whatever it is your little heart desired and we'll have birthday cake. After all, it is a birthday celebration, right?

Monday, November 26, 2007

Let's Talk Turkey

I'm working so hard to make changes in my life. This is the first Thanksgiving I can remember that I wasn't a groaning miserable mess holding my stomach and complaining how much it hurt from all the food I succeeded in shoveling down my throat in record time, lying on a sofa in a tryptophan coma watching football. I was awake and alert and didn't even need to unbutton my pants. How is that for change?

I filled my plate with lots of the healthy vegetables and tried to stay away from the fried appetizers, stuffing, smashed potatoes and sweets. I had very small portions of the stuff I love but didn't overdo it and didn't go back for seconds which is a vast improvement over previous years.

I think it is easier to socialize without overeating when you have healthy options available. I'm not one to be packing snacks in my purse but I just tried to fill up on the healthier stuff, drink lots of water and try to focus on the company and not the food.

The strangest thing is I actually kept the 3 pounds I lost last week off. I usually gain it back over the weekend but I didn't this week. I didn't eat any differently over the weekend so I'm not sure what that is all about. My body is just so messed up from years of dieting that I can work out like a maniac, eat rabbit food and gain but when I have a week with a holiday meal including bread, stuffing, potatoes, cake and pie I lose. There is no logic to the magic of weight loss. It really is a crap shoot.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Stressed Out


Work: I've been working at the same law firm for over 9 years but I don't think I'll make it to my 10th anniversary. I have one boss who is really cool, we work great together and he is one of the few lawyers I respect. He is really the only reason why I've stayed there so long. If I didn't work for him I would have left many years ago. The firm politics and my other boss drive me insane. My office manager hasn't spoken to me since May because I complained about some crazy woman who was defacing the ladies' room (you wouldn't want to know the disgusting details). After months of complaints by all the other females in the office, they eventually fired the crazy lady after an extreme incident.

I shouldn't feel like an outsider at a place I've worked for 9 years. Don't get me wrong, I have lots of friends there but there are so many others who have stabbed me in the back at one time or another over the years. People don't believe me when I tell stories about what goes on in my office. I think it is sad that I wish my work weeks away for those 2 weekend days I don't have to go to that place and see most of those people.

When I start sending resumes out I sometimes think the devil you know is better than the one you don't. I'm afraid I'll just end up in another crazy hell hole even worse. I am such a creature of habit and hate the thought of starting a new job and having to prove myself ('cause they won't know how good I am). I'm thinking of changing careers but I can't afford to take a cut in pay right now.

... which leads right into my ...

Stress at Home: The love of my life ("B") has been out of work for over a year. Although we are not married we have been together forever. Over the past 20+ years I have always been the one with the steady paycheck. Some days I just want to scream. I bust my ass at work all day and I come home to dishes in the sink, the laundry piled high and the house a mess (and we don't have any kids). He'll offer to pick me up from the train station when I get out of work so we can go to the market together to get dinner. We got in a big fight last night because I said I wanted him to go to the market during the day so I wouldn't have to go after work. It would be nice if he cooked dinner once in a while or did some house work, don't ya think? I don't think I'm asking too much.

I know the job market is tough in his field because of the economy, and the fact that there are so many illegals willing to work for so much less. He can't do the physically demanding jobs he used to do. He doesn't even have health insurance which is now required for all Massachusetts residents. How do you afford health insurance when you aren't making any money? He has been self-employed or worked as a subcontractor most of his life so he has no 401K or retirement plan and he doesn't seem worried about it. He is in his mid 40s and it scares me to think what could happen. How is he going to afford to retire? We can't both live off of my retirement and there certainly won't be any social security by the time I am ready to collect it.

So, between work and home (and my usual family dramas) I've been living with a constant high level stress for an extended period of time and from what "they" say it is almost impossible to lose weight and you are likely to gain weight when you are stressed out. I'm not looking for an excuse for why I'm fat but the stress in my life certainly isn't helping. B really needs to get a job, get some health insurance, start saving for retirement and get off his ass and I really need a vacation!

Sorry for the depressing post - I should be posting about what I'm thankful for but I just needed to vent a little.

I am very thankful I have my health, a guy who loves me, family and friends, a decent paying job, a roof over my head and food on the table. I know there are people who are suffering and I don't have it so bad but if I can't complain about my problems who will?

And now it's the HOLIDAYS (HAPPY, HAPPY, JOY, JOY)!

I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving and a stress-free holiday season.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Speaking Out and Eating Out

I had dinner with a woman I used to work with last night. We weren't very close when we worked together but I went to a few concerts with her and over the years we have gotten together once in a while for lunch (I don't think she has too many close friends).

She spent the better part of 4 hours talking about a sexual harassment problem she is having at work (and 2 of her brothers died in the last year) so it wasn't a jolly, laughin' drinkin' fun time.

She is extremely upset because she overheard one guy say to another (across the hall in another cubicle) "I bet you could make her scream" and a few days later she overheard these two guys and a few others talking about their favorite positions (again, across the hall in another cube). I have so many guy friends that it probably wouldn't even phase me to overhear that. Guys talk that locker room trash all the time. Bad boys, bad boys, whatcha gonna do ... oh sorry ... this is serious stuff ... right?

She is so sensitive and traumatized by this that she's been losing sleep over it, doesn't want to go to work, can't make it in on time, and has been sending out resumes even though she really likes the job. She complained to management who said they have a zero tolerance policy for this kind of stuff so they had a little chat with the trash talking boys. Now my friend feels that these guys are shunning her. She wants to file a lawsuit but I honestly don't think she has a very good case.

These guys had always been polite to her and never said anything directly to her or even in the same room as her. They didn't know she was still in the office when they made these comments. I told her I think she would be wasting her money on a lawyer and if she was that uncomfortable about it she should start looking for a new job. Would you be offended, complain to management, talk to the guys yourself, laugh it off, or do nothing?

I'm not saying it's right but I don't think it's worth giving up a good job. She may be uncomfortable about it but I don't think she has a case for sexual harassment. Ya know, guys will be guys - they try to act like tough sexual animals around each other and brag about their stamina and sexual prowess. I didn't want to tell her she is overreacting. I felt bad for her but I really think she is sacrificing a great job because of a couple of guys talkin' smack.

I only had one cocktail but I wanted many (especially after the first 2 hours). We split an appetizer of pumpkin ravioli with some sort of reduced vinegar drizzle, I had an entree of rosemary chicken, asparagus and garlic potatoes and we split an amazing dessert of white chocolate, cream, fresh strawberry piece of heaven. I didn't stuff myself and the portions were very small so I don't think it was THAT bad although when you're trying to lose weight any dinner out is over the limit. Restaurants do not skimp on butter, oil and other fats to make their food taste amazing.

It wouldn't have been so bad if I didn't have a work lunch at the very same restaurant today. The portions were twice as big and 1/3 of the price on the lunch menu. Why do restaurants charge so much more for dinner. I can understand a few extra dollars but this place had $7-12 lunch dishes and $18-30 dinner entrees. I always feel ripped off - I hate that. I did much better calorie-wise with the lunch. I had a delicious chicken, spinach, tomato and green bean dish (no cocktail, no appetizer and no dessert).

I'm hoping to get through the rest of the week without having to eat out again. It is so much harder to control how many calories I consume when I'm at a restaurant. I try to make good choices (I really wanted a cheesy pasta dinner) but it isn't easy.

I'm looking forward to winter so I can hibernate (actually, I love winter and can't wait to get out and play in the snow). I wonder how much weight a bear loses by hibernating through the winter. Maybe I need to sleep the weight off. Hey, maybe that is the next new diet craze ... they put you to sleep for a few months, feed you through a tube, put you on a machine that exercises your body and you'll wake up thin. I bet people would do it. They'll put you to sleep and you can LOSE 30 POUNDS IN 30 DAYS. It will be all the rage, the celebrities will be flocking to the sleeping spa. Just dream of your new body and wake up with it. Hmmmm ... wouldn't it be nice.

I want to get a good solid week of healthy eating in before facing the big bird next week. I'm determined to get through the weekend without regaining. Wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Here's Looking at You

Have you ever avoided going to a function or reunion because you didn't want people to see how much weight you put on since the last time you saw them? I ran into an old boyfriend last night who I haven't seen in many years. It was good to see him and we had a great time catching up but afterwards I felt extremely embarrassed because I am so much heavier now than the last time I saw him.

I wonder if I would have gone to the function if I had known he was going to be there. He was really sweet, told me I looked beautiful and said he still regrets that he broke up with me (over 20 years ago). He did break my heart at the time but I got over the loss a long time ago. Logically, I know he really didn't care how much I weigh now but it was all I could think about.

The whole situation got me thinking about why I even care what he thinks? I know I don't need to impress him but I did walk away wishing I looked better. Why would I care more about what he thinks than the people I love and see everyday? Shouldn't I want to impress the guy I love and adore and see everyday more than some old boyfriend who broke up with me. Why should I worry about school reunions when I didn't even like those people when I was in school? Do I want them to just remember me when I was thin? or is it just vanity?

I don't want to miss out or regret seeing old friends because I'm afraid of what they'll think about how I look. I'm sure it would be different if I were always heavy but there is so much shame in feeling I have let myself go. I want to look forward to seeing old friends and not worry that they are thinking "I can't believe how fat she is now," "can you believe how much weight she's gained," etc. etc.

Don't get the wrong idea, my old flame is happily married with 5 kids and I'm happy in my very long-term relationship so it isn't about rekindling an old romance. I know it is silly but I really hope I look smokin' hot the next time I run into him.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Weekend Weakness

I was so proud of myself for not having any chocolate all week. I didn't buy candy to give out to the trick-or-treaters because I couldn't trust myself with it in the house (sorry kids). I know if it is in my house I will eat it even if I did buy those gross gummy things or something I didn't like. It was Halloween and there was chocolate everywhere. Every office I went to and every desk I passed had a bowl of something sweet trying to whisper sweet nothings to me. I resisted, I felt good, I made it through the week without giving in to all the temptation.

Unfortunately, my willpower didn't last through the weekend. I had ice cream, I had bread, I had pasta, I had more food than I should have but it wasn't a total disaster. I did eat all that stuff but I had reasonable portions so it wasn't a complete swan dive off the diet wagon just a little bump in the road.

I have been trying to look at the bright side of my weight loss efforts. I haven't been beating myself up because I haven't seen any real downward movement in the scale. I haven't used the lack of weight loss as an excuse to say "screw it." I'm not giving in this time. I've been drinking more water, I've been eating more fruits and vegetables, I've been eating much less sugar and simple carbs, and I have been getting more exercise. I'm trying to get satisfaction just going through the motions of eating right and moving move. Eventually the scale will have to give in and show me a loss, right?

I'm afraid to go all out, hard core, balls to the walls weight loss mode because that is what I've always done in the past and look where I ended up. I would be on a plan, any plan, and follow it religiously. I would lose "x" number of pounds and gain it back plus more. I know if I completely cut out the sugar and carbs I will lose weight fast but I want to lose it permanently this time. I can't keep doing the same things and expecting different results. I'm going to try the (very) slow and steady routine and see what happens.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Halloween Candy

I can't believe I got through Halloween and the DAY AFTER without eating one piece of chocolate. WhooHoo! I even brought a small bag of the bite sized fat pills home from the office for B. I told him to hide the bag and not eat them in front of me.
I've spent too many Halloweens feeling sick to my stomach because I gorged on FUN sized candy; one right after the other. Why do they call it FUN sized? It is only FUN for that 3 seconds. I didn't want to allow myself even one little piece because I know I wouldn't be able to just eat one. But come on, it's Halloween, how can I not eat any candy? It doesn't feel like Halloween without the sugar high.
Why are we so conditioned to eat certain things on holidays? They do sell turkeys all year round; candy is always available. Why do we feel pressured to eat certain things on certain holidays. I'm starting the NO CANDY Halloween tradition. I don't think it will catch on but it works for me right now.

I know I have a binge eating problem. I know I can't have just one right now. Maybe when I've made some real progress but not now. I have to stay away from those trigger foods like sugar (it is my crack). Unfortunately, those trigger foods are EVERYWHERE. I'm hoping to get through tomorrow without giving in to the enticing calls of the candy dish.