Having Been Called Out From Afar

So, I have been called out for not blogging all summer, from Europe no less. A friend and writer colleague of mine has been working in Europe for over a year now. She has been a huge, huge supporter of my weight loss, blogging, writing, pretty much anything I do. Well, she reached out to a mutual friend of ours and was like, WTF why hasn’t Colleen been blogging? I was promised a blog post every day in June, and she hasn’t blogged at all! Where is she?

I know. I suck.

I have had a pretty rough time of it recently. It’s all been self-induced emotional craziness, but it has still be hard to deal with. Some of it I cannot write about here. I will probably be able to eventually, but for now, I cannot. It’s nothing health related, just a situation that I need to correct, and until I do, I have to keep radio silence on it. Once I have reached a point where it has been dealt with, I will share more. But the situation has really been a blow to my psyche.

So, onto things I can and will talk about on this site…

I wasn’t going to talk about much of this at all, but I shared some of what has been going on with a friend of mine and he told me I have to write about it. It’s the real stuff and that’s what people need to hear. He’s right, I know, but I have been dreading facing it.

Self-induced Emotional Craziness

I have had some pretty bad ups and downs. I still haven’t lost any new weight. In fact, earlier this summer, I had gained eight pounds. Now one of my fears is regaining all of the weight I have lost and undoing all of the positive changes I have made. I tried and tried to re-lose that weight, but nothing was working. I cracked. I took a hair dryer to my scale and pulverized it. Now the scale is broken. Yes, dear readers, I took the “If the scale isn’t telling you what you want to hear, blame the scale and destroy it” tactic to weight loss. 

Breaking the scale was kind of freeing. After a solid year and a half of weighing myself constantly and tracking my weight on this website, I have spent two blissful months not knowing what I weigh. I felt better temporarily, but it really hasn’t been much of a diet plan.

But not knowing what I weigh has also been torture. I’ve been trying to track my progress by my clothes. I’m still wearing the same size, so I know I haven’t gained any or much weight. But I also know I’m not losing anymore. And that’s just killing me. I really do want to complete my weight loss journey and get down to at least the 130s.

I also have not been exercising, which is not good. I have been walking. A lot. I’ve been trying to keep it up to about 4 miles a day, and most days, I’ve been pretty successful for the most part. But what I really need to do is get my butt back to the gym. 

Another thing I have been dealing with, and this is probably the most important, is compulsive eating. That was one of my biggest problems before the surgery and why I had gained so much weight. I can eat more than I could immediately after the surgery. Still not a lot of food, but definitely more. My emotional stress levels have been spiking up and down and with that, I have been fighting against the compulsive eating urge. Sometimes I’m successful, sometimes not. And I’ve spent a lot of time beating myself up emotionally about it.

It also hasn’t helped that there are people in my life who are ultra-judgmental about weight loss and diet. They view any setback as a personal character flaw and not just part of the journey. I haven’t wanted even talk about this because I haven’t wanted to deal with their reactions to some of the struggles I have been going through. Instead of support and encouragement I get anger, criticism, judgment, and insults. I just hate that. 

So, what have I been doing about all of this?

At first, I did nothing. Because, you know, that’s the best option, right? But this last few weeks, I have really been trying to take some positive steps. No, I haven’t bought a scale yet. Before I buy a scale again, I wanted to get myself back on track with my diet and dealing with some of the stress in my life.

I talked to a friend of mine at work about dealing with stress in general. She told me about a stress dealing technique that she uses, which includes identifying what you’re going through, whether it’s anger, or stress, the urge to compulsively eat, and talking yourself through the emotion until it passes. I cannot remember what she called it. If I do, I will post it here. I do have to say, it has helped a lot. 

I also did the 5 day pouch reset to take control of my eating and diet again. And it worked. I also took another step. I have been thinking about becoming a vegetarian. I don’t think I’m ready to go there just yet, but I have really cut back the amount of meat I eat. One, red meat is a huge problem for me still. I feel nauseated after eating it and have a lot of problems with it after it is in my system. And I love chicken, but recently, I haven’t really felt like eating it much. I’m trying to get my protein more from beans, cheese, yogurt, eggs, and nuts. I may never be a full vegetarian, but I would like to have a mostly vegetarian diet and maybe eat meat only sometimes. I like chicken wings too much to ever walk away entirely, I think.

I have also been trying to make sure I get as much fresh veggies and fruit in me as possible. I have been buying them at farmers markets around the area this summer and eating a lot of cucumbers, blueberries, zucchini, cauliflower, etc. And I’m really looking forward to apple season. I love apples and will eat them every day. I’ve already told my sister-in-law I want to go apple picking with them.

Another thing I have done to deal with eating issues and get myself back on track is I joined an online bariatric support group on Facebook. They talk about everything! I have been reading posts from other people who are just starting their journey, answering questions on what they are going through. Many of the people who comment are so excited because they are just getting ready for the surgery or just had it. Their excitement is so infectious. That has really helped me get back in touch with how excited I was when I started my weight loss journey. I haven’t really shared much about myself on that site yet, but I have really enjoyed talking to other people about what they are going through. 

Anyway, that’s what has been going on with me. I promise I will blog more often. I’m not sure I’ll promise every day just yet, but I will talk more about what I’m going through, if/when I buy a scale, and how the weight loss is going.

Happy Labor Day!

Skinny Girl Update – Vacation Post!

Ok, so the “writing every day for a month” project kind of fell flat. I may try to do that again as I have lots to say. Just wanted to post a quick update, though.

So, what have I been doing? Mostly, working. I did go on vacation last week. I took a quick trip to Pittsburgh to see my mom. My baby sis came to town as well. Last week was the one year anniversary of my step-dad’s death. I wanted to be there with my mom to support her. And it was great to see my sister as well. She lives in Minnesota. She and her husband are moving out west to California in the fall, so it might be a while before I see her again. I WILL be going to to visit her and all that sunshine once she moves and gets settled. Get the guest room ready sis!

Also, because I am on the planning committee for my high school reunion, I had to meet with the other committee members to discuss the reunion, tour the restaurant where we are having the reunion, and then we had a quick high school get-together at a different restaurant where we met for drinks. It was funny meeting up with everyone again. Some people have changed a lot, others not so much. Thank goodness we had old yearbooks on hand for reference! Tons of fun, but very busy.

I then went to Rehoboth beach in Delaware to visit with my college friends. OMG, it was so much fun! I bought a bathing suit a few weeks ago and I have been swimming. This is the first bathing suit I have owned in about 15 years. Granted, I don’t think I looked good in a bathing suit, but honestly, I did not care. My biggest concerns were not drowning in the ocean and not getting horribly sunburned. Other than that, I did not give one rat’s butt what I looked like. I had fun.

I have to say, my friends totally rock. We had a blast at the beach. Two of my college friends have kids. There were three children at the beach. For some reason, these kids totally love me. Could be I bribe them with ice cream and let them commandeer my electronics for the week, but the jury is still out on that.

rehoboth

My friend Marianne and her hubby have a son. We’ll call him T. He’s the one who, when I bought a Smart Car, called it a clown car. The conversation went something like this:

Mommy: (Pointing at picture I uploaded to Facebook) “Look at Colleen’s new car, T!”

T: “Colleen bought a clown car? hahahahaha!”

Colleen: “Your son is a little Smartie-Pants!”

Liz & Steve have two little girls we’ll call E & S.

When I arrived at Rehoboth at 1am on Monday after a 7+ hour drive from Pittsburgh, T & E were still up. They cheered my arrival loudly. Everyone in Rehoboth knew when my little Smartie pulled into the driveway. I came into the house to them screaming “MISS COL-LEEN! MISS COL-LEEN!” at the top of their lungs. Apparently, they asked when I was arriving every hour on the hour, which explains the flurry of email and text messages I received during the drive. (No I did not read or text while driving. When I stopped for gas or coffee, I checked my messages and replied.)

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They collapsed in hysterical laughter when I unpacked my car. I brought everything. Extra towels, beach blankets, clothes, food, my personal laptop, my work laptop, all kinds of stuff. My mom even donated a bag of towels to the beach effort. They could not believe I fit all of that in my car. On my third trip into the house, Liz was singing circus music and T was saying, “Your car really IS a clown car!”

Of course, I told him I was a master at Tetris, which his ten-year old mind did not understand at all.

rehoboth2

Going to the beach and into the ocean was interesting. I hadn’t been in years. I was a little hesitant about going into the water. One, it was so cold. I hate being in cold water. It took me two tries to get in far enough to jump the waves with the kids. Their chorus of “MISS COL-LEEN!” As I slowly made my way into the water, helped.

I was out there for quite a while with the kids and various other adults. Then it happened. I got swept back towards the shallows by a big wave. The boogie board didn’t help. The wave knocked me on my butt pretty hard and I couldn’t get up.

It was like a scene from a sit-com or something. “I’m OK.” I announced as I tried to stand up. Then the boogie board was pulled back out and dragged me back down as another wave crashed in knocking me over again as the boogie board slammed back into my head. The cycle then repeated itself:

“I’m OK!” Crash! Thunk! “I’m OK!” Crash! Thunk! “I’m OK!” Crash! Thunk!

Finally, I just sat down holding onto the boogie board and let the waves wash over me. The kids were cracking up. It was pretty hilarious. I let go of the boogie board and one of the kids grabbed it. My friend Marianne, who is over 6 feet tall, came over and helped me stand up.

Other than that, the week was great. Lots and lots of walking. I tried to get in about 4 miles a day. I’m pretty sure I succeeded. Lots of shopping. Lots of beach-time. Lots of good food and fun with my friends. Many trips to the ice cream stands with the kids. Then fireworks on the beach.

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Now I’m back to work and back to real life. Not nearly has fun, but necessary if I’m going to fund another trip to the beach!

Lazy Sunday

IMG_0055I guess it’s not really all that lazy. I was up early this am. I met a friend for coffee and then I went to this new organic market and bought some fruits and vegetables.

My sister has been having me try these new protein shakes made with vegetables, nuts, and fruits. They are really good. So I bought the ingredients to make some myself. I also bought the ingredients to make protein ice cream. I also made blueberry and chocolate protein ice cream this morning already. They are in the freezer now. I plan on sharing the recipes this week.

I need to get my swimming and walking in today and do some housework in prep for the work week. I have a full week this week. No more vacation until July when I go to the beach.

So, last week, I did a lot of walking because my friends were in town visiting. My challenge this week will be to keep the walking and exercise going on my own. I have some plans for that and I will write more about that later this week. I also plan to finish reading Salt Sugar, Fat this week so that I can write-up a review of my thoughts.

So, to recap what you can expect this week, new high protein recipes, my new exercise plans, and a possible book review. Are you excited? I know I am!

It’s supposed to storm after 4pm today, so if I get my outside exercise done before then, I can stay in and watch tv the rest of the day guilt-free. Wish me luck!

Loss For Words

I’m not often at a loss for words, but today, I cannot think of anything to write. I was hoping to have finished reading Salt, Sugar, & Fat by Michael Moss so that I could write a review, but I haven’t yet, sadly.

I had an extraordinarily busy week with my friends in town, walking challenge, and running around DC. Today I was just so tired. I did get up and go see The Fault in Our Stars, movie based on a book of the same name by John Green. I totally loved it, but it did leave me feeling a bit melancholy.

I went to see the movie with my sister and then we had dinner. We went to her neighborhood chinese restaurant. She’s friends with the one girl who works there. It is a family owned place and she’s part of the family.

She hasn’t seen me for a while. She saw me shortly after the surgery when I went there with my sister to pick up her dinner. Tonight when we walked in, she was completely floored when she saw me. She recognized me sort of. At first she thought maybe I was our other sister. But as I started talking, she knew who I was. I loved her reaction. She came over and gave me a hug and told me how great I looked. “You are so skinny!” was all she kept saying. I am not quite skinny, but it was nice to hear. I can never  hear that enough.

Today wasn’t really so much of a downer day. I know I sound a bit on the down side. I’m just exhausted and I don’t really have much to write about. I did enjoy that today was kind of relaxing. I enjoyed hanging out with my sister. We laughed and had a good time. I’m spending tonight in watching TV and relaxing. I have not done that in a long time. I’m actually looking forward to it.

Exercise – Walking Challenge

I have to admit, I’m not much of an exercise buff. I do walk and sometimes I go to the gym. That said, I have joined the walking challenge at my office. I think the goal is 10,000 steps a day, 70,000 steps a week. Whoever does the most steps at the end of the month wins a $50 gift card. They gave us free pedometers which basically fell apart after two days. I have been using a free app on my iPhone.

I have been doing really well, too. Right now, I’m in second place. I’m not sure I will be able to catch up with the person in first place. She’s just too far ahead. They also let us calculate other forms of exercise. She does a lot of biking and plays baseball.

I have been swimming. My apartment complex has a pool. I try to get an hour of swimming in every couple of days. I would do it every day, but some days I just do not get home in time. Pool closes at 8pm and sometimes it’s just to chilly in the evenings to swim.

To date, I have a total of 72,052 steps and my daily average is over 12,000. Here are some things I do to increase my daily steps.

  • Take bus all the way into DC and forgo the Metro. Walk from where bus drops me off on 23rd Street NW and Constitution Ave to my office. This adds a little more than 1/2 a mile each way to my daily walk to/from the office. That’s an additional 2473 steps per day.
  • Expand my  lunchtime walk. It is currently now 1.7 miles. I bumped it up to a solid 2+ miles.
  • Add swimming as an exercise: moderate swimming is 174 steps per minute. 30 minutes of swimming is 5220 steps.
  • This week, I walked all over DC with my friends. I’m going to have to get more creative next week to keep that level of activity going.
  • Add an additional walk after I get home from work and have dinner.

Most of these are small additions just to bump up my current level of walking activity.

The swimming is a pretty big step for me. This requires putting on a bathing suit in public, something that I have not done in more than 10 years. Once I’m in the water and swimming, I do not even think about what I look like. I can only think about breathing and finishing my lap. I take it slowly. I do one lap and stop for about 15 seconds. Then do another lap. I keep thinking, “after this lap, I’ll stop.” Then I finish the lap and feel OK and think, “OK, one more lap.” I try to do this for 1/2 hour at least. I try to vary my laps between the breast stroke and the backstroke. The backstroke is easier for me. But in either case, I’m not thinking about how I look in a bathing suit, I’m just concentrating on swimming.

I am going to wait a couple of weeks of this increased level of activity to weigh myself. I am hoping that the increased exercise will help the scale to start moving down again. We shall see!

Breaking The Rules – Emotional Highs

Today’s post is a little bit late. Sorry about that.

I know I have a set program that I am supposed to follow, per my own rules, but I want to talk about what I have been doing the past couple of days, so am breaking them. Sort of. Let me explain.

In 2000, I moved to Phoenix. This was probably one of the biggest mistakes in my life. Phoenix was not kind to me. I was sick almost the entire time I was there. I gained over 100 pounds. It was way too hot for me. And it just was not right for me.

There are only two things that keep me from thinking it was absolutely the worst thing that ever happened to me. One, I learned a lot about myself. I learned that I am not the rugged outdoorsy type. I learned that I do not like excessive heat. And I learned that I really am an east-coast city girl.

The second thing, that happened was I met my friend Cherilyn. I met her about a month after I moved there. I was working at  call center with American Express, and I was seated next to her.

We hit it off immediately. We talked nonstop. We would talk from the minute that we arrived at work until we left. We often hung out after work as well. We became very good friends. She is one of the reason I feel my move to Phoenix wasn’t a complete and utter disaster.

I have missed her a lot over these last ten  years. I have a lot of great friends here in DC, but Cherilyn is a good friend too. Wouldn’t it be nice if we could have all of our good friends in one place?

I think I have linked a picture of me from her wedding previously, but I will link it here again.

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Obviously, she’s the bride. (And this one’s for you, baby sis), I’m the one on the left in pink.

That’s how Cherilyn knew me. That’s what I looked like for most of my stay in Phoenix. That’s what I looked like when I left Phoenix in 2004. And that’s what I looked like when I went back for a visit in 2007.

Now, she has been following my progress with the surgery and weight loss. She reads this blog sometimes. And she follows my updates on Facebook.  But still, I don’t think she was taken aback by what I look like now.

This is us outside the White House with her kids. She’s the one on the left in black and white next to her son. And I’m on the right with the obnoxious pink shorts. The hamlette next to me is her little girl. Her son is so cute. They took a tour of the Capitol and I met up with them after. I asked him how the tour was, he shrugged and said. “OK, but we haven’t seen the White House.” So, we had to do that first.10403230_10152875391775299_2429342450171835273_n

Cherilyn and I have lived full and complete lives in our separate respective cities. She obviously got married. She has two children.  I’ve had surgery. I lost weight. I am trying to be a writer. I blog. We are very different in many ways. Still, when we met up again, it was just like we had never parted ways.

She was so excited to see how much weight I have lost. She was even more excited that I was able to walk all over the city with them. And walk all over the city we did. Miles and miles. We walked to the White House, the Washington Monument, the WWII Memorial, Korean War Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, and Vietnam Wall. Then we walked to the Foggy Bottom (near GWU) area for dinner. We walked so much, we wore the kids out. The kids and her hubby, couldn’t get out of bed yesterday. I have to admit, I did a little happy dance at the thought that I wore out kids.

While they were sleeping, Cherilyn wanted to see the Jefferson Memorial, so I took her on my Blossom Walk. Then we walked back over to the Smithsonian Metro station to meet her family and took them to the American History Museum. Her little girl wanted to see the ruby-red slippers worn by Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. (They are in trouble with this one, let me tell you!) I made her see the original American Flag first. Then the shoes. Then Miss Piggy.

Then we had an impromptu visit to the Urgent Care. Her son’s eye started hurting and got a little red and puffy. She wanted to make sure he didn’t have pink-eye, especially since were getting on a plane today. We had thought to do paddle boats in the Tidal Basin or to do a Moonlight Bus Tour. We no longer  had time to do either. So, I suggested we just take the Metro out to Rosslyn and walk over to the Iwo Jima Memorial. That was one of two things left on Cherilyn’s “must do” list. Once we were in Virginia, Cherilyn suggested we go to my apartment.

We took the Metro then a bus to my neighborhood. We went to dinner at Busboys & Poets down the street. When we left the restaurant, it was pouring down rain and none of us had an  umbrella. We were SOAKED by the time we got to my apartment. We walked into the building looking like a pack of drowned rats and the guy at the front desk just cracked up. We cracked up. “I think it might rain,” I said to him and pushed the button for the elevator and we all just laughed even harder. I don’t think I have laughed that hard in a long time.

Obviously, I gave them towels and wrapped the kids up in thick plushy robes once we got inside. And I made sure they were good and dry before I sent them back out into the rain for the metro ride back to DC.  Because I rock like that. If I didn’t have a Smart Car, I would have driven them back to the hotel. I guess I still could have, I just would have had to do it one at a time.

OK, all of that to get to my point. The last few days I have been riding an emotional high. Having one of my dear friends be so obviously happy for my weight loss. The surprised gasps and hugs telling how good I look. How happy she was that I could walk all over town and they couldn’t keep up with me. Nothing feels better than having the people you care about sincerely tell you how wonderful you’re doing and how happy they are for you.

It is hard as time goes on and I get less and less of that. The people who see me every day are used to seeing me the way I am and don’t sing my praises every time they see me. I hit a prolonged plateau and haven’t lost anything for a long time.  I have to depend on myself to feel good with what I have done. It is nice that my friends celebrate my success. They should not be required to celebrate every day or every time they see me, however much I may want them to.

It has been a struggle for me during this prolonged plateau to remain positive. Still, I have to find a way to stay focused and positive on my own. This visit from Cherilyn was awesome. I enjoyed spending time with my friend and showing her everything I love about living in DC. I also enjoyed her telling me how great I look and how nice it is that I am so much healthier than I was before. It’s been a nice reminder of how far I have come. But now that she’s gone back home, I have to be my own cheerleader.

That’s not always as easy as it sounds. I know that I write some pretty positive posts on this site, but sometimes it is very difficult not to be very hard on myself. I am hoping that with the walking challenge going on at work, that will kickstart me into really increasing my activity level and start the weight loss again. We shall see.

If you want to follow my progress in the walking challenge, check my daily updates on my Skinnygirl Facebook Page.

A Few Of My Favorite Things

I am a huge vegetable fan. Two of my favorites are kale and spinach. I have a great kale and spinach recipe that I want to share since today is Wednesday, and therefore food day

Now I’m horrible at measuring things. I’m one of those awful cooks who just throws things together until they “look right”. It’s hard for me to write down a recipe accurately. This is not one of those recipes that require precision, thankfully.

I hope you enjoy it!

Spinach & Kale

1 bag raw spinach

1 bag raw kale

1/2 red bell pepper

2 cloves garlic

sesame oil

wok

red pepper flakes

parmesan cheese

salt & pepper

Wash and dry spinach and kale. Cut red bell pepper into strips. Heat wok with sesame oil. Saute garlic, kale, spinach, and bell pepper together until soft. Add salt, pepper, red pepper flakes. You can add a splash of soy sauce at this point too. Serve with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese.

It’s simple and fast. I often eat it with a little bit of grilled chicken.

Sorry if this post seems rushed today. I have friends visiting DC and I have been dragging them all over the city. Or they have been dragging me. Anyway, for today, we are going to the top of the Washington Monument and hitting a couple of museums. Since I do the museum circuit regularly with my brother, I know just where take the kids. My friend’s little girl is very interested in seeing Dorothy’s ruby-red slippers and Kermit the Frog. She seemed somewhat wary of the bug suggestion, but the thought of seeing the Hope Diamond was exciting.

I’ll post an update on Thursday.