Thursday, January 31, 2008

3BT Thursday

1. I got my Dunkin Donuts gift card this morning, my reward for burning more than four hundred calories on the my recumbent bike seven days in a row. The first sip of coffee is warm and flavorful. I have mine with caramel syrup added to sweeten it even more than the Splenda I have in it.

2. The peace that comes with knowing I can pay my bills comfortably this month. It hasn't always been that way, and the change is nice.

3. When I get to my car at the end of a shift at Rite Aid, I see a message written in lip balm on my driver's side window: "I <3 U" from my friend L-Unit. I am warmed and touched by her thoughtfulness.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

You Probably Want To Know How It Went

Well, it didn't. My class, that is. I worked on a syllabus and power point presentation all weekend. I spent the hour after school furiously getting things together, nervous but excited. No one showed up. And I mean NO ONE. As each teacher left school for the day, they all stopped by my room. "What are you still doing here?" They asked. I had to explain to them that I was teaching a class, only my students weren't there yet. But they never showed up. I am disappointed, confused, and if I'm honest with myself, more than a little heartbroken. I was so looking forward to this class! Not just for the money (which would be half of the down payment on a new vehicle), but for the joy of teaching what I want, how I want. It isn't often that I get to do that any more.
So where do I go from here? I'm not really sure. Part of me is still hoping that this class will happen. Part of me is disaffected with teaching entirely. I'm sure I'll snap out of it eventually. The question is in which direction?

Monday, January 28, 2008

This Week

There is so much going on this week! I guess this post is a sort of continuation of the last one. Today I teach my first Adult Ed class from 3-6pm. I'm excited about it, but nervous, too - three hours is a long time! I am still working on my course syllabus and welcome presentation, but I should have those done during regular school hours today.
I have Tuesday off this week - I work at Rite Aid Wednesday through Saturday. Tuesday Bear and I are going to visit his sisters for dinner. I enjoy his sisters, so this should be a good time. I am going to try to ride the bike before we go, so that I don't have to ride it after. I also will probably make Bear's brother-in-law his favorite cookies for dessert.
As I already said, I work the rest of the week at Rite Aid. Saturday night is a night for catching up on chores, as well as for spending time with my darling husband. The past couple of weeks I feel like I've hardly seen Bear at all. We did have the entire weekend off together, though, and that was really awesome. We got a ton of stuff done around the house (including cleaning the upstairs bathroom, which hasn't been usable in over two years!). We also had a very frank and open discussion of our finances, which I think helped us both see where we are and where we need to go. We did our taxes this weekend and have already discussed where we'll be spending our refund.
If I'm not working this coming Sunday, Bear and I are heading down to Augusta to the Home Show. We'd like to build a pro-fab home when we finally can afford a new place. They've come a long way in the past ten years or so, and are really nice. They rent out the civic center and build homes right inside! It's pretty cool. My parents go every year, and I'd like to go with them.
There is, of course, the possibility that I will have to work Sunday night, which would mean no seeing my parents AND missing the Superbowl (or at least the start of it). I will be so disappointed if this happens! I love football, and aside from the ProBowl, this is the last chance I will have to see any football until September. I'm kind of sad about it.
Finally, my friend L-Unit and I haven't had any good bonding time at all lately. Her children are sick and we run pretty opposite schedules during the week. She wants us to go get pedicures soon, and I'd love to - I just don't know when that's going to be. I'm hoping within the next couple of weeks - I miss my L-Unit! I even miss her children C-unit and N-Dogg, too... just don't tell her I said so. ;)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

My cup runneth over

Do you ever wonder if you have too much on your plate? Too many balls in the air? Too many things that you must commit time and energy to? Lately I've been wondering if this description fits me.
First of all, I am starting my third job next week. I am teaching an adult ed class on Mondays from 3-6pm. It's a writing class, and I'm really excited about it. For the first time in a long time I will be able to teach what I want, how I want, and no one is mandating that I do things their way instead. I really feel that I need this class to rejuvenate my love of teaching. No Child Left Behind and school politics are really killing my joy. Of course, taking this job (which pays $1,000 upon completion of the course) means I can't work on Mondays at Rite Aid any more. I'm still going to get twenty hours a week there, though, so I will be home even less often than I am now. The only unscheduled night I had this week was Wednesday, and I had to go to Bangor for groceries so I didn't get home until after nine pm. My day job (teaching) isn't all that strenuous, but it takes up a lot of hours and is very far from home.

Second, I am still working on my New Year's resolution - to bike twenty minutes on my stationary bike every day in 2008. If I don't get home until after nine, well, I still have to do it. I am not sorry I decided to do this, but after a long day I don't approach it with the enthusiasm I might otherwise. In addition to my resolution (or perhaps the cause of it), I'm trying to lose weight. almost thirty pounds, actually. This is taking a gigantic effort on my part, and is waaaaay more work than I'd anticipated. Again, I'm not sorry I decided to do this, but it's another thing on my "plate" (no pun intended).

Finally, Bear and I would like to continue our forays into the home-improvement area. We have many things we still need to do before we can insure the house or even have company. It will take a lot of planning and work to get this done, and honestly, I'm not sure where I'll find the time.

As I proofread this post, I'm struck by how whiney I sound. I apologize for that; it wasn't my intent. I guess I just wonder, if I keep adding things to my life, what will have to go? My husband will tell you that I haven't been much fun lately. He's probably tight, I haven't. but how can I be when my mind is so full of everything that has to get done?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

It Takes Two, Baby

Last night I got home from work tired and hungry. My kitten Briggs was home from the vet's office where she was spayed and her thumbs declawed (kind of like dew claws, but she had two on each foot). I was looking after her, trying to eat my after-work snack of multi-grain Tostitos and maragrita's salsa, and spend some time with my husband. I was also watching this sick-but-riveting show on a man who had warts so bad he looked like he was part tree (waste products of the warts created root-like structures on his hands and feet). About nine o'clock, I realized I still had to ride the bike. I still had some chores to do and had to give the cat her meds, too. My other cat got new meds also and I had to medicate him. I turned doleful eyes on my husband. "Do I really have to ride the bike, hon? Can't I just skip one night?" Bear, wonderful husband that he is, said, "Nope. you have to get on that bike. You made the commitment - now do it." So I did, grumbling and complaining. It was made worse three minutes in by his pronouncement that he was going to go to bed. He must have seen my pained expression and thought I'd skip out early, because he sat at the desk in the office and talked with me while I pedaled. He talked with me until I got over my grumpiness at having to bike so late at night and my anger at myself for making such a stupid resolution. When I was done, and we were tucked warmly into bed, I looked at him. "Thank you for making me ride the bike, Babe," I said. "I really needed the motivation." "No problem," he replied. "That's what I'm here for."

He's right. I need him to help me. I need him to be my motivator, to push me when I wouldn't push myself. If it were just up to me, I would have quit a week ago and still be railing at myself for not being able to lose any weight. Thanks to him and my friend L-Unit, I've lost two pounds. That doesn't seem like a lot (and you're right, it isn't), but I didn't do it by luck - I did it through hard work. Okay, not as hard as I could have been, but I'm getting better! I'm realizing that I am often my own worst enemy when it comes to losing weight. Why is that? Why do I sabotage myself? One day I ate almost 3,000 calories for no good reason! I've been thinking about this for a while, and I am beginning to think that I sabotage myself so that if I fail, it's not because I am physically unable to do it, but that life got in the way. It's a convenient excuse. This time, I don't have any excuse - I have Bear and L-Unit to keep me honest. Thank you both!

As many of you know, I live in the Central Maine Woods, home of trees, mountains (I drive past the end of the Appalachian Trail every day), and more trees. We have had over six feet of snow fall so far this winter, although some has melted. In this weather, I hate going outside. This morning it was -5 degrees. As in five degrees below zero. And that's not counting the wind chill. I am increasingly frustrated by this, because the more I turn to healthy living, the more I want to become a runner. I want to run for many reasons - exercise, of course, but also because I want to connect to my body, to feel the earth under my feet and the wind in my hair. I have this image of myself as a runner, hair in a sloppy ponytail, earphones in my ear, my feet moving in rhythm to whatever it is I'm listening to. I look good - lean, powerful. I know where I want to run - there's a nature trail near my house that follows a river tributary. It's about six miles long, and I'd like to be able to run the whole thing by the end of the summer. Of course, that's what's frustrating me - I can't run in Maine this time of year! Maybe I could in a bigger city where the sidewalks and roads are plowed clean, but where I am now, there is nothing but snow and slop as far as the eye can see. Not to mention how cold it is. I worry that if I don't begin down this path soon, this desire I have to be a runner will desert me, and I will be left with a pleasant image that slowly fades from memory, still running. Still powerful.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Today I Feel Like Listing

I'm in a list-making kind of mood today, so I thought I would post some lists for you. The first list is made up of things I do that I refuse to feel guilty about:
  • I only look at myself naked in one mirror. It's the medicine cabinet mirror, and if I stand right where the two mirrors meet (each half is a sliding door), it magically thins me. When I stand there, I am miraculously thin. I love it.
  • I sing in my car - loudly. I'm secretly convinced that I will be discovered at a stop light someday, thus starting my singing career. Sometimes I even make faces as I sing.
  • Whenever possible, I take the best of whatever I'm offered - the biggest piece of cake, the center brownie, the prettiest pencil.
  • I don't like or watch American Idol, Survivor, or the Oprah Winfrey Show.
  • I can't respect any adult who wears Mickey Mouse, Winnie-the-Pooh, or Tweety clothing.

Or course, the sister to this list are things that I DO feel guilty about:
  • I love my cat more than I love my mother.
  • I don't ever write to my grandmother, and sometimes when I come home to my parents' house, I don't go next door to see her.
  • I have taught books to my students that I haven't read (The Red Badge of Courage was one)
  • I know what I'd write to Postsecret, but I'm afraid if I do I'd be discovered.
  • I was thrilled when I learned I wouldn't be the fattest bridesmaid at my brother's wedding.
Finally, I thought I'd leave you with a list of things I wonder about:
  • Who wrote the first chain letter? Did people send it on?
  • If you pee in a dream, do you pee in real life?
  • Are Jessica Simpson and George Bush representative of all people from Texas? They can't all be that stupid, can they? Is it because Texas is the textbook capital of the world? Can they even read textbooks?
  • Do calories in corn count if the kernels pass through undigested?
  • Why do I love applesauce, apple pie, and apple juice, but hate apples?

Friday, January 11, 2008

Learning as I Go

Yesterday, as I was standing behind the counter of my second job (a cashier at a local drug store), staring at shelf after shelf of Valentine's Day candy, I realized something. I'm different than I used to be. Before I made the commitment to losing the weight and bettering my life, I would have stalked the chocolate candy aisles like a mountain lion after a rabbit. I'd have looked for the piece or pieces that would have best satisfied my chocolate craving. The new Reese's Peanut Butter Hearts would have called my name, begging me to pounce and eat them.

But as I looked at the beautifully displayed chocolate, I realized that I didn't want it. As in, didn't have a craving. I knew it would taste good, but it just didn't appeal to me. I would rather be healthy than eat what is undeniably sweet-tasting junk. This is a first for me! Usually a meal isn't over until I've had a serving (or four) of chocolate.

I realize that I'm only two weeks into my new lifestyle, but already I feel different. The things that were so important to me before aren't important any more. I can't see a difference, but I'm convinced it's there. For the first time in my life I'm moving in concert with my body instead of against it.

And it feels really good.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

You know what I think?

I think that dieting makes people boring, and that's why people quit. Seriously - it seems like that's all I've talked about lately - how many calories I have eaten, what exercise I need to do to burn off said calories... blah blah blah. So in honor of that, I am going to post something witty and wonderful. Right now. Really.


You see? I can't. I've become so focused on myself that I'm unable to make conversation. This sucks! All my updates (like an entire pound lost, thank you very much!) revolve around my weight loss. Like I'm some kind of planetary body with satellites of info making lazy orbits around my body. Ugh. That's a comparison I could have done without.

I could tell you about the books I've been reading. A few new ones, a few old favorites, a few I just couldn't finish. Here's what's been on my nightstand recently:

Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides. The first part of the book was great - a lot of his family's history, the cause of and tracing of a genetic defect in his family. I lost interest halfway through, though and stopped reading before he began talking about his own condition (hermaphroditism). It's written well, though, and you are made to think that the author is the narrator and it is a true story. As far as I know, it isn't.

Jemima J by Jane Green. A must read for anyone trying to lose weight. It's motivating, funny, and makes you feel like if Jemima can do it, you can do it. Jane Green also nails the thoughts of "women of size." Read it - you'll love it.

Never Have Your Dog Stuffed by Alan Alda. I've read about seven pages so far. It's mildly interesting (he grew up in his father's burlesque show... interesting!), but it doesn't flow chronologically and that bugs me. I'm not sure how much further I will go with it.

Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot. I LOVE Meg Cabot. She's funny, clever, and writes a great story. This book is great so far (I'm about halfway through it), but the narrator sounds really young to me - not like a college graduate at all.

That's all I have for you right now. Wasn't that interesting, witty, and fun? No? Hmmm. Any suggestions? What do you want to hear about?


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

A lesson in frustration

I stepped on the scales this morning - 176.2. I officially weigh more now than I did when I began my body makeover eight days ago. What the Hell?! I'm so frustrated. I know why the weight went up - I overdid my eating yesterday. By a lot. I ate my Outback leftovers from the weekend and THEN went out to eat last night at 99 Restaurant and pub. I did pick a healthier choice than most (a turkey panini with spinach and avacado). I was all proud of myself until I got home and calculated the day's calories and realized it totaled almost 3,000. Ugh. So close, then so far away again.

So where do I go from here? What do I do to get back on track? I joined, a calorie tracking website that will help me calculate what I'm eating (and how much), as well as my water intake and activity levels. It's pretty cool, actually, and only costs five dollars a month. I'll let you know how it goes.

I also need to learn to satisfy my hunger in healthier ways. I ate the leftovers last night not because I really wanted chicken and fries, but because I didn't want to go through the effort of making anything. I am going to have to learn to get past that (or learn not to put high-calorie leftovers in my fridge ready to re-heat).

The one thing I have gotten right so far is my daily bike ride. My resolution for 2008 was 20 minutes of pedaling my stationary bike every day all year (366 days). Yesterday made eight days in a row (I started 12.31.07). I haven't wanted to most days, some days it has been painful, and I definitely don't increase my time/calories burned/level every time, but at least I'm on there. If I can find the motivation, tonight is also a night for my yoga DVD. I also have a ton of chores to do. Chores burn calories, right?

I guess today I'm struggling not to be discouraged. I'm trying to remember that it isn't about what I did wrong yesterday, but what I can do right today. I sure could use some outside encouragement, though... can you help me?


Monday, January 07, 2008

a 3BT of the weekend

1. Finally being added to the email list of bridesmaid's for my brother's wedding. I am the fifth of five bridesmaids, and being a bridesmaid is a first for me. All of the ladies are sweet, articulate, intelligent, and funny. We are all over the country, but connect daily via email. It feels great to be included. I'm to try on bridesmaid dresses this weekend if possible.

2. Bear and I went to Portland this weekend to spend my Christmas gift cards. I am the proud owner of new sneakers, two pairs of jeans, a pair of pants, two knit shirts, a pullover hoodie, six pairs of underwear, and one bra. Bear's attitude was awesome - he was so patient! We ate an amazing meal (cheese fries and Alice Springs chicken!), and enjoyed our hotel room. All in all, it was another awesome weekend with my Bear.

3. Despite eating my way through the weekend (I didn't count calories, per L-Unit's instructions), I only put on 2/10s of a pound. I managed to bike both the day I left home and the day I came back. It felt awesome to keep that commitment to myself. I'm back on the wagon as of yesterday, and it was easier than I thought it would be. I am actually looking forward to tomorrow's weigh in.


Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Last night I did my twenty minutes of biking, in between folding laundry and putting away Christmas decorations. I'd carefully counted my calories all day and even took the fit test on When I went to bed, I felt happy. In fact, I was smiling and giggly when I went to bed. Finally, I thought, I'm starting to lose the weight. My inspiration must have been catching, because Bear rode the bike for ten minutes and went downstairs to his punching bag, too. It's the first time I've seem him exercise in over a year. I just remember thinking that I am going about it right this time - I'm not fobidding any specific foods, I'm concentrating on changing the way I eat (and how much), as well as trying to help myself by increasing my physical activity level. Surely I would be rewarded for that, right?

Nope. At least, not yet.

While my friend L-Unit lost two pound in two days, I actually GAINED half a pound! I couldn't believe it when I weighed myself this morning. I actually got off the scale and looked underneath it for anything it might be sitting on that would give it a false reading. A ha! I said as I retrieved a barett from the floor under the scale. Now I would get my reral weight. The scale (very) quickly flashed the same number on the scale. 176.4. Ugh.

I'm trying really hard not to be discouraged. I new I wasn't going to lose it all immediately, right? Right?! So why am I SO disappointed? Because I was hoping for fast results, actually. I was at least hoping not to have moved UP on the scale. Sigh.

So where do I go from here? Do I stay the course or make some changes? I'm going to stay the course, I think. As soon as I finish this I am going to get on the bike. When I'm done that, I'm going outside to shovel some of the snow we got yesterday (school was cancelled today, as we got about two feet of snow overnight!). I'm going to drink a lot of water and continue to count my calories. I'm going to look for some inspiring stories. I may even do yoga. And when I'm done all that, I'm going to L-Unit's house to become re-inspired. She does that for me, and right now, I need it.


PS I was told about a website - that has an awesome calorie counter - it even had info on my homemade pumpkin butter! Check it out if you get time.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008


So yesterday was the first day of the new me (I know that today is New Year's Day, but when you've made a decision, why wait to start?). How did I do? Better than I thought I would. It was also SO much tougher than I thought. I'm so accustomed to eating when I'm hungry or when I see something yummy that breaking that cycle was almost physically painful. I had to take my lunch at Rite Aid almost two hours early so that I didn't just grab some snacks off the shelf and eat them. what I really couldn't get over was how hungry I was, and it seemed that because I had to watch what I ate, I was going to be stuck in Hungersville forever. It sucked. It may also be part of the reason I already overate at breakfast, chomping down almost half of my caloric intake. I'll get into that later.

I need to give you my stats, so here they are:

Weight: 176.0
Height: 5'9"
Age: 26
BMI: 26.0
Waist: 34"
Hips: 41"
Arms: 13"
Legs: 26"

My first goal is to get under 170 pounds. That's six pounds, equalling roughly the size of three and a half grapefruits. A pound of fat = 3,500 calories, so I need to lose 21,000 calories. According to's calculators, to maintain my weight I need to eat 2,112 calories a day. Cutting or burning 500 a day will drop me a pound a week. Yesterday I ate about 1,335 calories (cutting 777), and burned approximately 281 calories on the stationary bike. My pedometer says I walked about 8,000 steps yesterday (the recommended total is 10,000 but I'm shooting for over 5,000 a day to start). That was a lot of numbers to throw at you. Sorry. The total is 1,058 calories lost yesterday. At that rate it will take me about twenty days to lose those six pounds. It's kind of funny when you look at it that way, because I've been trying to lose those six pounds for two years. I will be both shocked and disappointed (and psyched) if it comes off that quickly. Seriously - if it were that easy and I just didn't do it for two years, that means I'm lazy! Why the hell didn't I do that sooner?

Of course this morning, I used my new Belgian waffle maker and made waffles. I consumed 767 calories. Ugh. I ate 225 yesterday for breakfast. I'm hoping to stay full through lunch (it's eleven-thirty now) and do better for dinner.

I'm looking now for a good website that lists caloric info - bananas don't list their calorie amounts, nor do most fruits or vegetables. Do you know of any? I'm also looking for a way to represent my progress graphically. Maybe a widget? Do any of you know a way to do that? Thanks.