Sunday, October 31, 2010

Weigh-in no. 11 (-2.6)

So I missed weigh-in last week.  I went on a silent retreat up in the Glens of Antrim last weekend, where I worked on my research and wrote yesterday's blog post on my big, fat history.   It was a great weekend and - let me just say - I love silence.  Love. It.  There aren't many opportunities one gets to go away somewhere, not be considered rude for not speaking to people, and not have anyone or anything demanding anything of you.  No phone.  No internet.  No dogs or family requiring attention (which is not a bad thing, but nice to have a break from time to time).  Nothing except time to think, sleep, read, write, relax, walk and enjoy the beautiful scenery......

It was lovely.

Sleeping Piggy rocking her rave band from partying at the hospital
And then I came home Sunday afternoon all zen to a house where my/our beloved Piggy dog was suffering from we found out was acute pancreatitis.   The poor girl was hurting - as was Jim who was pretty upset that she was ill on his watch - so I had to take her to the vet first thing Monday morning where she was hospitalized with IVs and pain and anti-vomit/diarrhea meds until late Tuesday evening.  We think it was a stomach bug that must be going around that caused the flare-up because we had to take Cody to the vet yesterday as well with similar, but not as bad, gastro-intestinal upset.  We're praying Luna doesn't get it.

So, all that to say, weigh-in didn't happen.  I finally made it to the gym on Wednesday and picked back up on my normal routine for the rest of the week, but that's all I was able to do.

With that said, let me move on to the weigh-in and get it over with....

Weigh-in no. 11 (-2.6)

2 weeks ago: 307.8
This week:    305.2      
Loss of           - 2.6
Total Loss     -21.8

It's official.  I've lost more than 20 lbs!

Not bad, I know....but I have to admit I am kinda disappointed in myself this weigh-in.  Unless I get pretty strict on myself, work out all 5 days and eat rice cakes and dry tuna all week, I probably won't meet my goal of saying goodbye to the 300s next week as I had planned.   But you never know.  However, if I need to go over a week or two, that's ok.  As detailed above, things hardly ever go according to plan and I need to remember to be gentle with myself.

It does make me wonder though - what was I doing in those first 2 weeks that I lost 4.4 and 4.6 lbs respectively?  I think I'm working out harder and with more intensity now.  Was I eating that much better then?  I don't think so - but I do think I'm going to go back to logging calories this week and see if it makes a difference.

Speaking of working out, I've defied the gym guy and have been running, even when he's there.  He hasn't said a word.  However, I can't figure out why, but I'm having a difficult time with Week 2 of C25K.  I haven't been able to get through it yet.  After 4 of the 6 intervals my legs are killing me (muscularly, I should say) and I've had to stop.  I can do Week 1 without any problem, so you'd think that running 1 minute/walking 3 minutes isn't that much of a bigger deal than running 90 seconds/walking 2 minutes......but it is.  I'm not sure why.  So Friday I went back to Week 1 just to remind myself I could still do it and to help me feel not-so-defeated by it.  But I've made up my mind - I will conquer Week 2 this week!!

I also started weight-training a couple weeks ago, which I actually really enjoy.  I stay out of the testosterone-zone free-weight area, but use the weight machines, and I have to say that I always feel really good after using them.  I feel strong.  I feel like I've worked my body and that it has done what I asked it to.  I like that.

And with regards to my research, things are going well.  This week wasn't as productive as I had hoped it would be given the distractions that arose, but all-in-all, I'm happy with where I am.  The fact that tomorrow is 1 November sort of freaks me out.  Time is flying!!  But I think having Chapter 6 mostly finished by the end of December is still an achievable goal. 

So, on this autumn day, I've got a crock-pot of beef stew going, 3 sleeping and mostly-healthy dogs snoring at my feet, and 2.6 lbs less to carry around this coming week.  Not too shabby.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

My big, fat history

3rd or 4th birthday
I don’t really remember the first time I became aware of being fat.  At this point in time of my reflection, the memories of my childhood and teenage years are clouded with my memory of being fat.  I find it very difficult to separate the two.  However, looking over pictures for this blog post shows me that my memories are, for the most part, worse than the reality. When I think about times when I was 5 or younger, I don’t remember anything related to weight.  I remember playing, swimming, exploring, riding my pony, and doing other things kids do.
6 or 7 years old

When I was 6 or 7 years old, I was sexually abused by the pastor’s son of our local church.  I think he was somewhere around 14-15 years old at the time.   Our house was right across the field from the church and parsonage, so we were within walking distance. I think it instilled in me early on that I needed to deflect attention from myself, and, while I couldn’t name it at the time, that anything sexual would endanger me or get me into trouble.  I also think that was when I started to believe I wasn’t safe anymore, that if I couldn’t be protected by my parents that close to home or in my church with people who were supposed to love me, then there was nowhere I could be safe. [any wonder, then, why I’m doing my Ph.D. dissertation on protective hospitality??]  I think I also learned then that if I needed safety, I would have to be the one to provide it. 
Me (8) and my Shetland pony, Rusty

I can’t remember the first diet my mom put me on.  Was it the low-carb diet full of poached eggs and turkey bacon prescribed by the doctor (because of whom I had to endure painful blood tests – because he was awful at drawing blood from a child – and humiliating office visits where he and my mom discussed, as if I wasn’t in the room, my weight and how horrible it was)?  Or was it the grapefruit diet?  Or was it the one where I had to eat beets at each meal because of some mysterious chemical reaction they’d cause in my body that would burn all the fat away?  I must have been between 10-12 years old.  I remember losing some weight because I had a pair of turquoise-colored jeans I had been
10 or 11 years old
given for Christmas that were too small and a few months later I could wear them (albeit for only a couple weeks because I must have gained back the weight).  They were my first pair of skinny jeans.

Out of the humiliation I felt, as well as the attempt to take control from me, I’m sure I felt the need to sabotage my mother’s attempts.  I found it hypocritical; her weight had yo-yoed all during that time as well, so while I didn’t name it at the time, I know many of my issues were really her issues.
Me (15 or 16) and my mom

But it would be unfair to only blame my parents.  I liked food.  A lot.  I remember the comfort of food.  I remember the satisfaction of particular foods: a grilled cheese sandwich made with so much Velveeta that it oozes, a sandwich slathered with real, full-fat, tasty mayonnaise, pop tarts fresh from the toaster spread with melted butter, and so much sweet tea that we went through a 5lb bag of sugar in little more than a week.  I remember looking for the biggest bit of bread and the cup with the largest amount of grape juice in it during communion at church.  I was greedy.  Every time someone in the house ate, I ate, whether I was hungry or not.  I remember my mom saying that I “live to eat” instead of “eating to live.”

I remember being called fat at school, but I don’t remember any big crises related to it.  I quickly learned not to put myself in situations where I would be put down because of my weight.  I learned to be smart, to be funny, to be able to help others, to lead or take control – basically, to find ways in which people would pick me for their team and want me around, or convince them to just leave me alone.

Me (12) and my dad
But to be completely honest, most of my memories of being young and fat are connected to my mom and my dad.  I remember being made to feel ashamed.  I remember the conversations about my weight and how much better things would be if I were skinny.  I remember their bribes:
-    “If you lose this much weight, I’ll buy you that leather bomber jacket.”
-    “If you lose this much weight, I’ll buy you the best horse I can find, even if I have to rob a bank.”

Me (12) at KY State Fair Horse Show
I didn’t believe them.  And while I struggled with it internally and at times badly wanted to please them and be skinny, for the most part, I liked my life and what I had set up for myself.  I was safe.  No one could hurt me.  And I was confident in my abilities.  I may not have been the fastest runner, but I was good at strategy and I was strong.  I may not have been a star athlete, but I was a star pupil.  I may not have been the fastest barrel racer, but I could understand, train and work with horses better than most kids my age. 

As a teen, I was active in my church youth group and in my local 4-H equestrian club.  I remember being able to wear my mom’s clothes and my dad’s 38 waist buttonfly Levis (oh, to be able to wear those now!).  I remember looking fairly androgynous and being secretly happy when the woman at the checkout in Wal-Mart mistook me for a boy and say, “Here’s your change, sir.” 

Me (12) & Sundance at KY State Fair
That spelled ultimate safety to me.  I remember thinking, “Yes. No one is going to touch me if I look like a boy.  I’ll get more respect.  It’ll be easier for me if I pass for a boy.”  I wasn’t queer; I had just acknowledged that it was more socially acceptable for a boy my age to be overweight than a girl, and that boys were allowed to do things that I was discouraged from doing.  But my mother was, of course, horrified. 

My weight didn’t stop me from liking boys in those years, though.  I had crushes on different guys throughout junior high and high school (although, for a period of that time, I was home-schooled which carried with it its own particular horrors and social isolation).  But I never had a boyfriend.  No one was ever interested.  And during that time, I began to fight with myself about my weight.  Do I lose it and put myself out there to be hurt or keep it and be able to remain safe and keep people at a distance?  Do I deserve something more?  Safety, distance and lack of confidence won, but it was frustrating.  I so badly wanted to be noticed, but I wanted someone to look beyond the fat and see the real me. 

I remember being at the county fair one evening with friends and I saw a skanky-looking guy lead this heavy-set girl by the hand into the woods.  I remember wondering what was going on and being suspicious of him and why they were going back there.  And a few minutes later, they came back out.  He wasn’t holding her hand anymore.  She came out first and was crying.  Then he came out and was buttoning his pants.  And I knew.  And I was glad I wasn’t that girl and resolved to myself to not be her in the future.

About 22 years old (1998)
Me (22) and my colleagues at Camp Nada in Croatia
So I remained fairly androgynous.  I dressed like a boy most of the time.  I abhorred the traditional markers of femininity such as jewelry, nail polish, dresses, high heels, etc.  (I still feel uncomfortable in them, to be honest).  I remember my mother telling me I wasn’t feminine enough, that no guy was going to like me because I dressed like a man.  So I kept at it.  I enjoyed the attentions of the opposite sex through close friendships, and for the most part, that was enough.  Part of me wanted more, but not bad enough to make any changes.  I became the buddy, the wingman, the observer, the advice-giver, the bag-holder and seat-warmer, for both my male and female friends.  The always-dependable, always-loyal Jayme.  That state of affairs mostly remained in place throughout university and beyond. 

As I got older, the struggle between the need for and fear of intimacy got stronger.  I craved touch.  I craved the attentions of a guy that were focused on me and not some other girl he was trying to woo.  I longed for true, mutual companionship.  Someone I could share my soul with, someone who knew me and wanted to be with me.

That didn’t happen until I was 23 and I was living in Sarajevo, Bosnia.  I had had to lose weight in order to go to Bosnia, so I lost about 40-50lbs and went from size 22-24 to size 16-18.  However, my weight loss had nothing to do with me – I did it to get a job, not for myself.

Me (23) with friends in Bosnia
While I was in Bosnia, I developed a close friendship with one of the Bosnian guys who worked with us, and he and I became inseparable.  Eventually, it turned into a romantic relationship and he met those needs I had identified.  He was my first kiss, my first boyfriend, my first real love.  He touched me and didn’t turn away in disgust.  He saw something in me that was beautiful.  He didn’t qualify any of his statements with “if you were thin” or
“if you’d lose weight” like so many people in my life had done previously.  He said he adored me.  He said he thought I was gorgeous.  He said he admired my strength, my heart.  He saw me.  I began to believe that perhaps I wasn’t as repulsive as I had thought I was.  It was a tremendous gift.
Me (23) and the lions of Budapest

That relationship didn’t last, however.  But it gave me a glimpse of what I was missing. I came back
Me (26) w/ friends in Kenya (in my current pair of skinny jeans)

from Bosnia more aware of my body, more appreciative of certain aspects of it, more confident in my looks.  But as time wore on, no one else seemed to notice what he had seen in me and so I slipped back in to my old ways.  Guy friends.  The wingman.  The advice-giver.  The thinker.  The independent one.

Oh, and size 24.
Me (27) and my buddies in 2003

And, so, I resigned myself to the idea that I would always be fat.  He had seen something in me while I was still heavy, so someone else would too at some point, if that was what was meant to be.  It was my way of weeding out the bad guys.  I did online dating and met a couple guys, and while I was wounded when people would be interested until they saw my picture (which is the cruelest part of online dating, in my humble opinion), I told myself that if that’s what they were looking for, I didn’t want them anyway.  I settled in this idea that this was who I was.  I refused to diet.  I was fairly sedentary.  I focused my time and energy on learning how to make the world a better place….for everyone else but me. 

Ten years later, here I am.  I’m 34 and 3 months ago, I decided enough was enough.  Almost 3 years ago, I met Jim, who saw me and loved me for who I was.  Someone else exists in the world who sees me.  He thinks I’m beautiful and sexy, even though I still have difficulty seeing it myself some days.  I know his love is not contingent upon me being any particular size.  I trust him; he is a safe place for me.  Finally, I can find safety outside of myself.  Because having to hold one’s guard up and carry all this weight around at the same time is exhausting.

We’ve created a good life together.  We love each other and we’re happy.  I’m happy.

Me (28) in Novi Sad, Serbia
As I live this new life, I have been given the space and confidence to think more about myself, do some healing, and figure all of this stuff out.  Summer 2010 saw me increasingly dissatisfied with my life and while I tried blaming others for it, I realized what I was dissatisfied with was myself.  As I sought to figure out what was causing it, I realized that I was tired of being fat.  I didn’t need it anymore.  The purposes it served when I was younger were no longer necessary.  My reasons and methods for keeping people at bay were turning on me, being detrimental instead of helpful.  And as soon as I recognized it and named it, my desire to blame others disappeared. 

In some ways, I feel like I’ve been hibernating in a cocoon of fat all these years.  That this external bit – this cocoon – isn’t really who I am.  It’s a fat suit that I’m forced to take off small bits at a time and with a great deal of effort.  What I was afraid of all those years ago are no longer threats.  I’ve learned that life is about taking risks, for yourself and for others. 

That’s why this time is different.  I am in control of this.  I made the decision.  No one made it for me.  I eat grapefruit, beets and turkey bacon because I want to, not because my mother or anyone else is forcing me. And if I fail, I have no one to blame but myself.

Me & my lovely Jim (2009)
I realized that in order to be successful, I had to go for the jugular, so to speak.  I had to get to the root of the issue:  shame.  The shame that I carried because of my weight, because of things I remember my parents saying, because of all the embarrassment I’ve endured due to my weight, because of my lack of confidence in my body – all of it had to be dealt with.  And what’s the best way to deal with shame?  To get it out in the open.  Shame feeds on hiding and fear, like a fire feeds on oxygen.  Take away the oxygen and the fire goes out.  Put things out in the open for all to see and eventually the shame dissipates.

And so I blog.  And I tell the whole world how much I weigh every week.  I take pictures.  And people call me courageous.  But it’s not courage.  Not really.

Is it easy for me?  No way.  But I have to do this because I refuse to be dictated by shame and fear any longer.  Instead of shame and fear, I want to be full of honor and dignity.  I want to be proud of all that I am, not just my intellect.  And no one can do that for me but me.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Winner of the CSN giveaway!

The giveaway for the $35 CSN giftcard closed on Friday, 22 October. 

I was away all weekend on a silent retreat (ahhh....silence.....and hence, no weigh-in yesterday) and so I've tallied all the entries today, gave them each numbers, and went to to have the winner chosen for me, as a random number between 1 and 25.

The winner of the giveaway was entry no. 9:

Suzanne Stovall-Vinson (who had 5 entries)
for her comment on the blog

Congratulations Suzanne!

More posts to come in the coming days as I adjust back to the noisy, demanding world around me.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Weigh-in no. 10 (-1.6)

Man, the latter part of this week was hard.  I only got to the gym three times this week; I missed Wednesday because I could barely hold my head up I was so tired and Thursday I went to the big D-town (aka Dublin) for my research, so I didn't get any exercise time in those 2 days.

I need to start keeping a calendar of the days I feel so blah like Wednesday (and a bit again on Thursday).  I had a couple days like that week before last as well.  I chalked it up to sinuses as they're usually accompanied by sinus pressure in my head, a headache and just a general feeling of lethargy.  But I just felt like a zombie.  (MMMMM!!  BRAINS!!!!)

I expect it's all just a symptom of the weather changing and the onset of the cold, damp winter with its shorter, grey-sky filled days that are quickly approaching along with their accompanying dread.  The pull to hibernate is fierce.  Autumn used to be my favorite season back home in the U.S.  It was such a nice repreive from the hot, humid summers and the colors were always so uplifting.  But here in Northern Ireland, I hate it because it is more a harbinger of doom.   Sad, huh?

I am aware of the possibility of SAD (seasonal affective disorder) in this whole scheme.  I know I'm depression-prone already, so if I need to go back to the doctor for a low dose of happy pills, I will.  But I don't want to unless I have to.

Jim thinks that I'm just doing more of everything in the day-to-day of it all and it's just my body trying to say "Slow down.  I can't keep up."  Maybe.  Will keep an eye on it and see what the next couple weeks hold.

2 days off is no big deal.  I know that.  I can make them up over the weekend, if need be.  What concerned me more this week is that I realized when I feel like that, I have no energy to watch what I eat.  And more than that: I want to eat everything in sight.  See?  The single-minded focus of a zombie.  My appetite (albeit all mental - I know it's my brain, not my stomach saying this) is insatiable.  I want to feel better - and I want food to make it feel better.

I've been asking myself these last 10 weeks since I began this journey if I am an emotional eater.  I had decided that I didn't think I was because I have been able to control what I've been eating fairly well without recognizing any big influence of my emotions on when or what I ate.

But then, I am a thinker, not a feeler (I'm an INTJ on the Myers Briggs) and I often have to make myself acknowledge and pay attention to emotion/feeling.  I've gotten better at that over the years.  As I try to pay attention I am realizing (particularly with the above) that I do use food to soothe in some ways.  I think most people do, though.  And when I feel poorly, only higher fat, creamy, heavy foods seem to hit the spot.  Fruit and veggies do very little or nothing for me unless they're encased in pastry or covered in a cream sauce.  I wanted peanut butter, cheesy things (macaroni & cheese, cheese on toast, quesadillas), chocolate pudding, rice pudding.......................

............all childhood foods, really..........

I tried desperately this week to not succumb to what my brain was telling me I needed.  I know I didn't need them.  If I was so tired, I needed to sleep - not eat.  So, for the most part, I rode it out and tried to be careful, telling myself that my stomach wasn't growling so I wasn't really hungry, etc.  But I did finish off the last of the peanut butter (thankfully, the jar was almost empty or I probably would have eaten the whole thing) and would have had LOTS of buttered toast if we had had butter in the house.

Thank bejeezus I don't buy unhealthy stuff anymore - the temptation is lessened by not having it in the house.  Otherwise, I would have made a bigger dent in it all than I did and blown this week's loss.


All that to say that I'm still trying to figure this stuff out.  I'm working hard on being emotionally aware of what is going on during this process, but I am also aware that I don't want to invent something that isn't there.  So as those things rise to the surface, I will deal with them.  And most likely, you'll hear about them here.

On to the weigh-in for this week....

Weigh-in no. 10 (-1.6)

Last week: 309.4
This week: 307.8      
Loss of         - 1.6
Total Loss    -19.2

I'm totally ok with that, especially considering the struggles earlier in the week.

In other news, I am now officially in Week 2 of C25K (run 1.5 minutes, walk 2 minutes).  And I had a great meeting with my research supervisor on Wednesday where he helped me figure out how to get over a couple hurdles in my research that had me daunted - well, paralyzed, really - and generally affirmed my work while giving me the kick in the pants I need occasionally.  I can always count on David to do that.  So, things are progressing in the research area.

So all in all, life is good.

Hopefully I'll have time to post more this week than I did last week, so there'll be more than just weigh-ins once a week.  In the last couple weeks, I've gotten a haircut, new glasses, and a couple new (and smaller!) items of clothing, so I'll try to get some photos up along with a couple other reflections that have been percolating in the last few days but aren't quite formulated yet.

Until then, keep on keeping on and don't forget to enter for the giveaway if you haven't already!  Entries close this coming Friday!

Question:  What conditions make you eat like a zombie?  What do you do about them?

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Weigh-in no. 9 (-2.6)

Week 9 weigh-in time.....

Weigh in no. 9 (-2.6)

Last week: 312.0
This week: 309.4      
Loss of         - 2.6
Total Loss     -17.6

The countdown to being out of the 300s continues.  Mary at the blog "a small loss" has inspired me to be thinking of what I want to do to officially say goodbye and close the books on the the big 3.  We'll see what I figure out.

I worked out 3.5 times this week (I say .5 because the induction day at the gym on Monday wasn't a full workout....just 15 minutes or so), so I know that's what gotten the numbers to moving again.  

I'm still set on achieving my mini-goal of getting into the 200s by the first week in November (by weigh-in no. 13 on 7 Nov).  If I can do it earlier, that'd be great.  And I'm still working toward the goal of getting to 286 by the end of the year (which would be a loss of 41 lbs total - 23.4 lbs more in 13 weeks = loss of 1.8 per week).  It's all do-able.

Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that I had some disappointment with my induction at the gym.  Kenny the gym guy practically begged me to not run, saying I was going to injure myself.  That kind of put a damper on things - do I heed his advice, trusting his professional opinion, or do I ignore it and go with what feels right to me and what I want to do?  In the end, he doesn't know me or my capabilities.  He just sees a fat woman saying she wants to exercise.  

I decided on a bit of a compromise.  While he's there, I'll honor his request and I won't run; I'll do the program he gave me which is all cardio but on the treadmill, recumbent and upright bikes, rowing machine and the accursed elliptical (I swear - I hate that damn thing - it's the only machine that makes me feel defeated).  But on the days he's not there or if I have time to go to the park on the weekends, I'll run.  And in a couple weeks, I'll ask him to put together a program on the weight machines for me as well.

So it might take me longer to get through the C25K program than I had hoped for, but maybe taking it slower than I had already decided I'd do will be a good thing - maybe it'll prevent the injuries he's worried about.  

But I already feel an improvement when I run.  Technically I'm still on the Week 1 routine (run 60 seconds, walk 90 seconds for 8 intervals), but the time I did it on Thursday didn't kick my butt like last time.  I could have done more, despite the conversations between Fat Jayme and Fit Jayme still happening in my head.  I'll be glad when those stop.  It's annoying.

So maybe it's time to take it up a notch and move on to Week 2 (run 90 seconds, walk 2 minutes).  I think I'll give myself one more go on Week 1, make sure I can do it well, and then move on and see how I do.  So hopefully by next week's post, I will be in Week 2.

In other news.....

My new schedule prioritizing time for research and exercise went pretty well this past week.  There were a couple hiccups and some adjustments I'll make to the schedule, but for the most part, I stuck to it pretty well and 1) finished up reading and getting notes from 3 books and did some document maintenance and structuring and 2) worked out more than I have done in previous weeks.  I don't feel like I'm all over the place; I feel like I'm pretty focused in each place I am to be at that moment (i.e. work, at my research desk, the gym, at home, etc.).  So that's an improvement.  It helps me concentrate, which is helpful for productivity.  I don't feel so overwhelmed anymore.

So all in all, things continue to progress.  Everyone's been super-supportive, which has been a huge asset to this journey!  So thanks!

And don't forget that I have a $35 giftcard to give away!  So get your entries in by 22 October!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Losing Half My Weight $35 Giveaway!

Everybody loves free stuff.

So when CSN Stores contacted me about hosting a giveaway for a $35 online gift card, I thought it was a great idea!  CSN is comprised of 200+ stores, from Barstools to Cookware to Health and Fitness, and my lucky winner can use his/her gift card at any of them!

One of these days, I hope to have a set of Le Creuset cookware, so I'm kinda jealous that you guys get a chance to get some and I don't.

The Rules

So here's how it works.

First, the giveaway is limited to readers shipping to U.S. or Canada.  Sorry Irish and UK readers! :o(  (They do have a UK based store, so maybe they'll offer another gift card for that store in the future.)

You've got 2 weeks!  Do one or more of the things below by 22 October 2010, and I'll enter you in a drawing using

Here's what you need to do to enter (each person is limited to 5 entries):

1) If you're new to the blog, follow me on the right side of the blog and leave a comment that you did so.  - 1 possible entry

2)  If you are already a follower, leave a comment on any blog post.  Say anything you want to say, but be nice.  :o)  You can leave as many comments as you want, but I'll only count the first one toward the giveaway. - 1 possible entry

3) Like me on Facebook (see the link on the right to my facebook page) and leave a comment that you did so. If you already like me, leave a comment! - 1 possible entry

4) Leave a comment on this blog post telling me what you would buy from CSN Stores with the $35 you win. Again, just one entry here will count. - 1 possible entry

5) Post a link to this giveaway on your blog and/or facebook.  Leave a link for me in the comments section or email me the link so I can see the entry. - 2 possible entries

I'll announce the winner on my blog that following Monday - 25 October 2010 - and if you win, you will need to email me [losinghalfmyweightATgmailDOTcom] with your contact info.  I just need your email address so I can get you the $35 online gift card code.  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Salmon & Black Bean Tostadas

I made Salmon & Black Bean tostadas the other night for dinner and they were great!  Truly something different, they tasted really fresh, and they were fairly easy as well as healthy, so they will be added to our rotation!

I found the recipe on Eating Well magazine's website, but tweaked it a bit for our use and tastes:

Salmon & Black Bean Tostadas

4 servings, 2 tostadas each
Active Time:
Total Time:


  • 8  6-inch corn tortillas (you could also use flour tortillas if you prefer)
  • Canola oil cooking spray
  • 1  6-7 ounce can boneless, skinless wild Alaskan salmon, drained (I used a can with skin & bones in it since it was cheaper - the skin was easy to take off and I removed the backbone.  The other bones were so soft that they didn't need to be removed.  Of course, you can use fresh salmon as well if you prefer, but it costs much more.)
  • 1 avocado, diced
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, seeded & diced
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage (I used Savoy cabbage because we love its texture, which goes quite nicely with the pureed beans)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons fat-free cottage cheese
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 tablespoons prepared salsa
  • 2 scallions, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons of light greek yogurt (instead of sour cream)
  • Salt to taste (I like to use flaked sea salt)
  • Lime wedges (optional)



  1. Position racks in upper and lower thirds of the oven; preheat to 375°F.
  2. Coat tortillas on both sides with cooking spray. Place on 2 baking sheets. Bake, turning once, until light brown, 12 to 14 minutes.
  3. Prepare the salmon by taking out of the can, pick out bones/skin (if they are present), flake up by hand into bowl.
  4. Process black beans, cottage cheese, garlic & salt to taste (1/2 tsp?) in a food processor until smooth. Transfer to a microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on High until hot, about 2 minutes.  (By the way, this will make a great healthy dip as well!!)
  5. Chop avocado & tomatoes and mix in a bowl.  Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Combine cabbage, cilantro and the scallions in a hot, non-stick skillet.  Cook until slightly soft, about 4-5 minutes.
  7. To assemble tostadas, spread each tortilla with some bean mixture, cabbage mixture, and some salmon mixture.  Top with Greek yogurt and salsa. Serve with lime wedges, if desired.



Per serving: 319 calories; 11 g fat (2 g sat, 6 g mono); 16 mg cholesterol; 0 g added sugars; 16 g protein; 12 g fiber; 352 mg sodium; 670 mg potassium.
Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (60% daily value), Folate (27% dv), Potassium (19% dv), Iron (18% dv), source of omega-3s.

2 Carbohydrate Serving

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Non-Scale Victories & Weigh-in no. 8 (-0.0)

8 weeks in.....another weigh-in...

Weigh-in no. 8 (-0.0)

Last week: 312.0
This week: 312.0      
Loss of          0.0
Total Loss     -15.0

That's right.  I maintained this week.  No loss, but no gain.

I'm ok with that.

I was busy running around like a headless chicken this past week, catering dinners twice this week, making appointments and meetings, plus work and everything else - so I didn't take care of myself in the ways I have done in the previous weeks.  I ate pretty well, but had more sweets than I have had lately.  Need to cut those back again.  And I only exercised once this past week (see below).  Plus, Jim and I went out for dinner on Friday night for the first time in what felt like weeks and we enjoyed it and the bottle of white wine shared between us, so I'm thrilled that there was no gain in all honesty.

It's just a number.  Plus I joined the gym last week and have my induction on Monday, so things will pick back up for next week.

But I have to say that I had a non-scale victory (aka 'NSV' in this blogging world, apparently) yesterday.  You all know that I have started running, but had the whole need-to-buy-new-shoes delay.  So I went to walk/run last Sunday with the new shoes, but I only did half of what I normally do because I was nursing the beginnings of what felt like a chest cold and just didn't seem to have the energy or lung capacity to do it.  It was no bother though - I knew I'd have to ease my way into running so I wasn't expecting to do the full thing anyway, lung butter or not.

But yesterday (Saturday) was the first day I exercised since last weekend.   I felt back to normal.  I was determined; I will run the full programme of Week One of the C25K, knowing full well that the podcast I listen to to help me keep time goes for 30 minutes instead of the suggested 20 minutes.  So 10 minutes more than is prescribed.  I set out to do it all.

But occasionally as I was going, a thought would go through my mind:

"Maybe I will only do half of this interval."
"Maybe I'll skip the last interval and only do 7."

Then I'd have a conversation with myself that went something like this:
Fit Jayme: "C'mon!  It's not that bad.  You're still able to move.  Don't wimp out!"
Fat Jayme: "But I haven't done this before.  You have to take things slowly.  Who do you think you are, anyway?  I'm no runner.  I'm just a fat girl making a fool of herself.  See that guy walking there?  I need to stop before I get to him or he'll just look at me and laugh."
Fit Jayme: "This whole change you're going through isn't going to happen if you keep stopping early.  And pass the bastard; leave him in your dust.  Who cares what he thinks?"
Fat Jayme: "You're mean."

But I did it.  All of it.  I ran every bit of the time he told me to.   

8 intervals of running 60 seconds, walking 90 seconds.
It doesn't sound like much but considering I had a hard time even walking the circuit two-times around only 2 months ago, it's a big deal.

No shortcuts.  
No stopping early.  
No excuses.

And it'll only get better.

AND!!  My shin splints aren't as bad (thanks new shoes!!)  While it did kick my ass, I felt good.  I still feel good.  So I'm now officially back on the C25K running plan.  Today's a day of rest from running and I'll be back to it on Monday hopefully.

In other non-scale victories, today is the day that I take new pictures and measure myself.  So here goes:

11 Aug 2010 (327 lbs)             3 Oct 2010 (312 lbs)
11 Aug 2010 (327 lbs)               3 Oct 2010 (312 lbs)
11 Aug 2010 (327 lbs)           3 Oct 2010 (312 lbs)
11 Aug 2010 (327 lbs)                  3 Oct 2010 (312 lbs  + Piggy the dog)
I don't see huge changes yet - but I do see some.  But then it's also only been 15 lbs that I've lost so far (not to belittle it or anything....but considering I have 145 lbs more to go to reach my final goal, I've got bigger changes to come).

11 August 2010                                 3 October  2010
Neck: 18.75 in                                   17.5  (-1.25 inch)
Chest: 50 in                                       47.5  (-2.5 inches)
Waist: 56 in                                       53     (-3 inches)
Hips: 62 in                                        58      (-4 inches)
Left Upper Arm: 15 in                     15      (-0 inches)
Right Upper Arm: 15.5 in                16      (+.5 inch - building muscle w/ pushups)
Left Thigh: 31 in                              30      (-1 inch)
Right Thigh: 31.5 in                        30.5    (-1 inch)
Left Calf: 19.75 in                           20       (+.25 inch - building muscle)
Right Calf: 20 in                              20.5    (+.5 inch - building muscle)

Total inch loss: 12.75 inches - I've lost over a foot of space on my body!! (I'm not counting the inches gained (1.25) because I know they're from muscle)  I'm already noticing it in my clothes and have worn jeans the last week that I haven't been able to wear in about 6 months.

So this is a good week for non-scale victories.  Despite the weight being the same as last week, seeing & celebrating these differences are important!

Reports on the new gym workouts, and hopefully further loss, coming next week!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Priorities Schmiorities

So I've been struggling the last few weeks.  Some of it came out in my explosion of anger but I haven't really talked about it in-depth here yet.

My struggle is related to time and energy.  I suspect it's a problem that most people have, so I know I'm not special in this regard.  Everyone I know has a lot going on.  Everyone I know takes on too much or finds themselves stretched and stressed more often than not.  What I struggle with is the amount of time and energy that is given to things that aren't the most important things to be done, and then the pressure just builds up.

The last 2 mornings I've woken up with what could only be called stress nightmares.  I'm late for something really important.  I've forgotten something really important.  I'm running around like a crazy woman trying to make it all work.  This morning's was a 'I'm running through an airport trying to not miss my flight but I've left all my baggage in the car which is parked in the middle of a field 2 miles away' dream.  I think my subconscious is trying to tell me something.

To my credit, I've said no to quite a bit lately, including stuff that I really wanted to do.

But at the same time, I know I still have a lot on my plate.  And what should be priorities are getting pushed further and further down the list at the expense of other things that feel immediate but are actually not as important.

Let me say it here:  I am a MASTER of procrastination.  I'm so good at it I don't even realize I do it half of the time.

So, what are the priorities that are getting pushed down the list?

Finishing my Ph.D research

And at the moment, I'm having a harder time prioritizing the research.  This has been my song and dance for 3 years, and now I'm in my final year and I have no more time to keep putting it off.


Don't think that it hasn't occurred to me that perhaps this blog and this life change journey may be - in some ways at least - another attempt to procrastinate on getting my research done.  It is necessary and I'm not going to stop working on losing weight and exercising more, etc.....but it has been a convenient diversion from the task at hand, I must admit.

Dear self, I can't work on that chapter today because I spent 2-3 hours this morning working on my blog post instead.   Hope that's ok.  Jayme

Yeah, not good.

I have a goal to have my case study chapter completed by the end of term (mid-December).  It's do-able.  But also by mid-December I'd also like to have all my other chapters beginning to be drawn together and streamlined into one cohesive document.

So I've got to figure out some structures to help me get my ass in gear.  I need to find places where I can work and be productive and anonymous because I get WAY too distracted working at school or at home.  But I also need to work on my self-discipline as working away from home is just not feasible (or a good use of time) some days. 

So at the risk of being fairly rigid about it at first, here's my time structure and goals for a normal week's work:

Mondays & Fridays:
      7:00am - Wake up, breakfast, feed the dogs, pack my lunch
      7:45am - Sit down to my computer, check email, etc.
      8:00 - 10:30am - Work on research (turn off the internet)
      10:30am - Leave for gym
      11:10am - 12:10 Workout at gym
      12:45pm - Leave for work
      1:00 - 5:00pm - Eat lunch, work
      5:40pm - Get home, make dinner, relax, clean, whatever else
      10:00pm - Time to start getting ready for bed

Tuesday - Thursdays:
       7:00am - wake up, breakfast, feed dogs, pack lunch, ready for work
       8:15am - Leave for work
       9:00am - 1:00pm - Work
       1:00pm - Eat lunch
       1:20pm - Go to gym
       1:30 - 2:30pm - Work out
       2:30pm - Go to anonymous place to work on research
       3:00 - 5:00pm - Work on research
       5:40 - Get home, make dinner, relax, clean, whatever else
       10:00pm - Time to start getting ready for bed

       7:00am - wake up, feed dogs
       7:30 - 8:00am - Yoga
       8:00am - Shower, eat breakfast, and get ready for day
       8:30 - 1:00pm - Work on research (turn off internet)
       1:00 - 1:30pm - Break for lunch
       1:30 - 4:00pm - Work on research (turn off internet)
       4:00pm - Take the rest of the day off!

      7:00am - wake up, feed dogs
      7:30 - 8:00am - Yoga
      8:00am - Shower, eat breakfast, get ready for day
      8:30am - 12:30pm - Work on blog, do internet stuff
      12:30 - 1:00pm - Lunch
      1:00 - 3:00pm - Work on research (turn off internet)
      3:00 - Take rest of the day off!

Total time goals:
Research time:       20 hours
Paid work:              20 hours
Exercise:                  6 hours
Blog time:                 3 hours
The structure of it feels a little daunting right now, but if I leave things flexible (as they have been thus far), I don't get things done.  Something else will take the place of research time or exercise time.  So I know I need to be pretty strict about it, at least for a few weeks until I am able to develop some new habits.

I may also start putting in each week in my weigh-ins how much work I've gotten done on my research as well.  Maybe having to answer to all of you (in addition to my new bi-weekly meetings with my supervisor) will provide the accountability I need.

So, as they say here, watch this space.....