Thursday, January 31, 2013

Lean Eating Week 3 - On Track and yet Still Off

I entered Week 3 of Lean Eating still under the weather, but at least well enough to start working out again.  I haven't missed a workout all week despite a lot of residual coughing.  To top off the coughs, I seem to have pinched a nerve in my neck from all of that coughing.  Now I have one more injury to work around at the gym.  At least these days I am doing the workouts exactly as they are given.  I'm not adding anything.  I'm trying to be a good girl and not over-exert myself so I make myself sick again.

*Sigh*  Two nights ago I had a dream where I was doing pushups effortlessly.  I kept doing them and doing them and even adding claps to some of them and that wasn't even hard.  I need to be well enough to challenge myself more.

I still have to do the fish oil and probiotic thing, but this week's tracked habit is eating slowly.

I don't eat slowly.

I always wolf down my food.  It's as if I want to shove as much food down my gullet as possible so I make sure I shove food down quickly.  I can out-eat any man with my fast eating.  Even though this habit sounds easy, it's a huge challenge for me.

 I'm trying to just remember to put my fork down between bites and not pick it up again until the last bite is swallowed.  What I'm noticing is that in order to pick my fork up and eat again, I'm not really chewing food well.  I'll swallow something and go for the fork thinking, "I really only chewed half of that mouthful." This habit needs work.  Although I do track it as having done it, I feel as if I could be doing better.

You know what else is hard about this habit?  I eat slowly and understand my body's satiety cues, but I still want more?  I actually went back for (small) seconds on dinner the other night.  I ate slowly, chewed well, took at least 20 minutes, to finish, and felt satiated.  I still wanted a second helping.  Appetite still supersedes hunger for me right now. 

I have learned this week that slowing down does alter how food tastes.  Last night was a perfect example.  Kevin and I were trapped in the house all day nursing our illnesses.  Both of us felt the need for some comforting chocolate desserts.  I considered baking, but I plan to bake for the Superbowl party this weekend and wanted to save my eggs and butter for that.  We decided to make a trip to Cafe Mozart and take home a piece of one of their beautiful cakes and pastries.  We love Cafe Mozart.  They have all manner of pies, tarts, cakes, and pastries.  I have adored them all throughout the years.  I trekked out in the rain and purchased a piece of German chocolate cake for Kevin and for myself, something called "mud" cake, which is a dense combination of mousse and cake and frosting.

After dinner I put my mud cake on a plate, poured a glass of water, and was determined to eat it in a calm, slow, and civilized manner.  I took a bite and savored it.

What I found after a few slow, well-chewed bites, that the cake wasn't all that.  The texture was dense and creamy, which is exactly what I was craving in that department.  The taste was lacking. It wasn't as chocolatey as it looked. It really didn't taste like much at all.  The more I ate, the more I noticed a graininess in the texture.  Earlier in the evening I felt as if I had to have this cake, and yet once I really paid attention, it wasn't as good as I'd hoped.

How many desserts out there actually seem better than they actually are?  We taste things that are sweet and assume they are delicious, but we're really not cued in to how they really taste.  It's something to think about the next time I swear that I just HAVE to order dessert.  If it's from some industrial bakery and not from some top pastry chef, or homemade in someone's kitchen, is it really worth it?

When is Lean Eating going to give me a good, "Don't Eat Sweets" habit?  That's what I want to know.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Lean Eating - Impressions From Week 1

Today completes my first week of Lean Eating.  So far nothing about my life or my body has changed radically.

I had such anticipation and even fear regarding what was going to happen next.  What would my tasks be?  Who would my coach be?  What habits would I be adopting right away?

I very badly wanted my coach to be Krista Scott-Dixon.  It was the Stumptuous website that led me to Lean Eating in the first place.  Then I found out that she isn't going to be coaching the LE teams this year and is working more as a program developer for the parent company.  I looked at the coach bios and tried to see if one looked more appealing than the other.  I liked Veronica the Colombian woman who has curly dark hair like mine and rides horses.  I liked Krista Schaus, whose work and websites were always recommended by Scott-Dixon.  I liked the one coach who looked a little thicker than some of the others because her body looked more attainable.

I couldn't believe the negative reaction I had when I received my first email from my coach, Mariane.  I thought to myself, "That little red-headed pixie is nothing like me."  She's a former competitive gymnast, which would make her a natural athlete to begin with.  It's not that I really thought any one coach would be so superior to any other.  I think I was just mentally resisting everything.

They gave me my first set of exercises to do.  I was a little put off by them as well.  The program seemed geared toward women who were out of shape.  I do pushups from my toes and burpees.  I work on TRX and kettlebells.  What was this simplistic program supposed to do for me?  Then there was the issue that the scheduled exercise days were totally off from my own workout schedule.

Then there were my daily lessons and habits.  The lessons mostly focused on how the program worked.  My daily habit was to take a fish oil supplement and a probiotic every day for two weeks.  Let me tell you something, fishburps are no fun.  I hate fish and tend to be gassy.  This means I burp often and it's no fun to be burping up a taste I find repulsive.

I also didn't realize just how many women would be on my team.  I was thinking it would be twenty.  It's more like two hundred.

I think all of my resistance is natural.  As much as I want to change my body, I fear the changes I will be making in my life.  I paid good money for this program and I want it to work, but it seems I want it to work only on my terms.  Yet I know exactly how far losing weight on my terms has taken me in the past (losing and regaining the same 10-20 pounds over and over).

I'm just surrendering to the program and trusting that if I follow it as directed, it will work.  Sometimes I do add a set or two of pushups or some TRX-assisted pullups in the gym, but otherwise I do the exercises they give me with as many sets and reps as directed.  I take my fish oil supplements in capsules rather than liquid even though I'm supposed to do liquid to help me deal with the taste (that does mean taking more than one a day though).  I don't deal much with my coach directly, but she has responded to me in forums that I can set my own schedule for workouts and not use theirs. 

As for the size of the team, I have been finding ways to make new friends.  We started an "accountability partner" program where you find someone with similar interests whom you can count on to help you on the path.  I found Stefanie, who is a Boston-based, petite, 40-something, DINK, equestrian, and foodie.  In other words, someone very much like me (except she rides in dressage competitions at first level and works at second and third level with her horse - I am in awe).

I'm frustrated because up until today I had 100% compliance with the program, but I'm sick and it's keeping me from the gym.  It hurts just to think about talking.  I want to sleep constantly.  I know I need a day or two to recover before hitting the gym again.

Right now with no nutritional habits to follow, I'm not losing any weight.  I'm just still doing some of my bad eating habits.  I have sworn this week I want to try to lose one pound.  I just want to get myself on track with eating better.  I know I can do that much without the help of the program.

Let's see what our next week has in store.

Friday, January 18, 2013


Tonight I was planning to bake cookies for a theater group event that is happening tomorrow night.  I had a bit of a conundrum though.  I needed to go to the store for supplies and my car is in the shop.  I wouldn't be able to drive to the store to get them.

I had two choices.  One would be to walk home and get Kevin's car and drive it to the A&P.  The other would be to walk.

I hate parking Kevin's car.  The lot in our building is small and tight and Kevin's car, while no behemoth, is inconveniently large.

The train station and the store are about equidistant from each other as my home and the train station.  That would mean double the walk home.  It's really cold out tonight too.  I did not enjoy my walk from my office to Grand Central Station tonight.  Did I really want to walk in the cold?  I considered again having to deal with getting Kevin's car in and out of the parking garage and decided to endure the walk.

I walked to store, made my purchases and headed home.  I didn't take Mamaroneck Ave. back home.  I walked back toward the train station through the park.  I suppose that might be risky in the dark when no one was boarding and leaving the train at the time, causing me to be all alone, but nothing happened and it was extremely peaceful.

I took the back way down Philips Park Road toward my building.  I stopped feeling the cold.  I had been walking a while and even worked up a little sweat beneath my coat.  My bag of groceries was beginning to feel a bit heavy.  There are several benches along the river.  I stopped and sat for a while.

It was a clear night.  I looked up through the trees and saw the moon and stars peeking through.  I don't think I have looked up at the night sky since the summer.  I tried to identify constellations while taking in the smells from Rani Mahal across the way. I could hear the river rushing below me.  Instead of thinking about the cold, or about how inconvenienced I was having to go out of my way, I just enjoyed how peaceful I felt.

I was very happy I chose to walk home tonight.  Sure, it would have been a more natural choice on a warm, sunny spring evening, but this cold winter night had a beauty of it's own.  I think I learned a lesson tonight that we shouldn't ignore the chances we have to stop and smell the roses (or the Indian food).

Sunday, January 13, 2013

So What's In Store For 2013?

I said in my last post that I'm going to distance myself from FB a bit.  The main reason was that I feel it will improve my IRL interactions.  The secondary reason was that I have a new project in 2013.

My new project

I'm afraid this isn't going to be some kind of touchy-feely, get-in-touch-with-my-better-self, embark-on-a-new life quest kind of project.  It's quite a literal one.  I have dug down not into the depths of my soul, but into the depths of my wallet, and joined the Lean Eating Program.

The Lean Eating Program is a personalized fitness coaching tool where a trained coach slowly walks you through new exercise and eating habits on a daily and weekly basis.  The coach provides the program and guidance.  There is also online support from the other members of the group.  The program lasts a year and is costing me an arm and a leg.

I just feel I have to do something.  I'm at the end of my rope.

I wasn't a fat kid, but once I hit my pre-teens, I began packing on the puberty pounds.  In my teens I always carried around an extra ten.  I briefly took those off when a broken heart rendered me unable to brush my teeth without gagging, let alone eat real food (It's not a diet I would recommend), but gained them back eventually.  The ten became 15 in college.  By the time I was in my late twenties, it was a good solid twenty extra pounds.  At age 31 I returned from my honeymoon and weighed myself for the first time in months only to find I was even heavier than that - and was heavier than I had ever been in my life.  I struggled to lose that for years, but soon found myself in my forties with a good extra thirty to forty pounds on my body.

I have a figure one might call "voluptuous".  I carry it well in that respect, and don't look too overweight in normal clothes, but it's not healthy. I'm really beginning to despise the way I look.  When I'm in dance class I dread the constant presence of a full-length mirror more than I dread a tricky tap combo.  I have a hard time finding clothes that flatter me.  Currently I don't have a single pair of jeans that aren't painfully tight.  I find myself wearing sweatpants to restaurants now.  If you asked me to use a word to describe my short, lumpy, dumpy body, the one word that comes to mind is "troll."

I know that's a lot of negative self talk.  One of the goals of the program is to end that.  Since the program hasn't started yet, I'm still doing it. 

I know what my problem is.  It's not inactivity.  I've been active for most of my life.  In high school I rode nearly every day and often supplemented that with dance classes, aerobics, and calisthenics.  In college I tried to make frequent visits to the gym and the pool. I spent my summers in those days as a day camp counselor, so I was very active running around with kids all day, plus riding on weekends. Since graduation I have been a devoted, active, nonstop gym member in addition to dance and riding.  I'm fit as a fiddle in that department.  I think I'm fitter and stronger than most women my age.

My problem is food and it has always been food.  I love eating.  I take such joy in it.  I truly do mean joy.  I love to eat.  I love to cook.  Anyone who reads my food blog knows this.  It seems I can only get my eating habits under control for so long.  I've tried a few different programs (Weight Watchers, etc.).  At the beginning of 2012 I read The Paleo Solution and lost 15 pounds in six months.  I even kept most of it off for a few months longer (although I never lost the 40 I truly wanted to lose).  It took me two months to gain most of it back.  The time comes when I don't want to resist the sweets and the pizza and the burgers anymore.  I just want to eat them and eat them and eat them.

It's also true that I gain weight much easier than I take it off.  My body type is in my genes. The fact that it took six months to lose fifteen, but only two months to gain ten is proof my body likes to hold onto excess fat with all its might. It also works against me that I'm short.  I once heard it said on a dieting website that short women gain weight in "dog pounds" - one pound for me is equivalent to seven pounds on a woman of normal height.  I don't use that as an excuse for not losing.  However, it is a bit distressing that I have to work even harder than many other women out there.   I need even more discipline than a woman of average height with a more forgiving body type. 

Lean Eating promises to slowly introduce new habits so that they become natural.  They don't overwhelm you with too many changes at once.  They don't start tying you to low calorie menus plus an exercise program plus a mind makeover all at once.  They guarantee results as long as you're compliant.  They don't expect perfect compliance.  Eighty percent compliance can qualify participants for a cash prize.  When I asked them what the average compliance is they said it's about 73%  The coaches do everything possible to keep participants on the wagon.  This is important since I won't get my money back if I lose momentum in six months and stop participating.

About that cash prize:  Eighty percent compliance might qualify me for a cash prize.  The biggest transformations and the highest compliance rates can qualify participants for a $25,000 prize.  If that isn't incentive, what is?

Tomorrow it all begins.  In order to start, I have to weigh myself, take measurements of both girth and bodyfat, and take the dreaded "Before" pictures. 

I keep a separate blog for my health and fitness pitfalls, but it doesn't have much audience, so I'm not very accountable.  I'm recording my Lean Eating journey here on Shipwrecked & Comatose because I know there are people who read this blog and I'm hoping it will keep me truly accountable.  Three months from now I don't want my friends and family to see me slacking off and laugh. 

So I'm going to be upfront and honest here.  I'll post the ugly truth of the beginning.  Hopefully this will motivate me to have progress to show here.  I'm sharing my "Before" photos in all their trollish glory along with my stats.

Bodyfat %: 29
Waist: 33
Hips: 41
Thighs: 25
Arms: 14.25
Bust: 39

Monday, January 7, 2013

My Facebook Diet

No Muffins, this is not a new way I found to lose weight through Facebook. I mean that even though diets supposedly don’t work, I need to do some severe restriction. By the end of this week I am deleting Facebook apps from all of my mobile devices. The only time I will be able to go on Facebook is if I’m home for a stretch of time and have the time to turn on the desktop computer to play, and don’t have Kevin interrupting me to say he needs the computer for something more important than Facebook.

At the beginning of the year I just made a New Year’s Resolution not to put any political posts on Facebook. I know I have a large group of like-minded friends who enjoy them. I also know I have collected a fairly diverse group of friends in the online space who aren’t always as like-minded. I’m cool with that. It keeps the world interesting. Unfortunately I have noticed a few unfriendings along the way and I’m sure many more have deleted me from their feeds. What’s the point of being connected to over 300 people if they’re ignoring you anyway? Then I have to deal with the people who want to “bait” me and always seem to be gunning for a debate, which I think is a pointless exercise since internet debates are almost always just about one side trying to prove itself correct and never does a friendship any good. As much as I love sharing certain things, it was time to put an end to it.

That made me start to really examine why I’m on Facebook in the first place. The main reason is I do love the fun of interacting with all sorts of people on a daily basis. The people I talk to most on Facebook have become a whole new subset of friends for me. I adore my daily Facebook gang. On the other hand, I really have become reliant on their company. I am constantly checking Facebook for updates. I think I react more with my Facebook gang than I do with my family or even my husband sometimes.

I also find that every action I make, every thought I have, must be made into a Facebook status. It feels as if I always have to have an arsenal of witty observations to share. I fell into that trap years ago when I first started my blog on MySpace. I began to feel as if I were living my life in blogs and not really being present in my own life. All I was thinking of was how I was going to blog about whatever was happening to me. What’s worse is that I am under the delusion that people care. Sure I do receive a lot of “likes” when I say something clever, but no one needs to know what I had for breakfast (unless it’s some special recipe I stick on my food blog), how I feel about the weather, or the hygiene habits of the person sitting next to me on the train.

There is also a more sinister reason why I’m so addicted to Facebook. I’m addicted to the attention. I have been an attention seeker my whole life. When I open a Facebook page, I’m not just looking for my friends’ updates. I want to see how many people have responded to me. I want to see how many “likes” I get for my clever and witty status updates. I want to confirm how many of my friends are Dr. Who fans. I want the world to know just how special and different I am. I realized that I am starting to believe that I am holding court on my Facebook page, as if I have convinced myself that I am a queen entertaining her adoring subjects.

I should be the one to know my constant love of attention can backfire. When you do whatever you want for attention, the attention you get isn’t always what you want. That’s a lesson I should have learned in school. I have shown a fair amount of restraint in the past couple of years both in Facebook posts and my blogs, but the little demon comes out now and then.

The biggest fallout of Facebook though is how it is actually creating distance, rather than closeness, with my friends in real life. The most communication I seem to have with my closest friends is through Facebook posts. We all share a lot of the trivial stuff on Facebook, but there is much we don’t share. There are personal stories that we don’t want to broadcast to the world at large, but do want to share with friends, but somehow that isn’t communicated anymore. It’s amazing how little I know about my best friends these days. It goes both ways. For example there was a big upheaval in my family a few months ago. It didn’t affect me negatively, so I wasn’t desperate to talk about it with someone, but I know that if I were in regular, personal contact via phone, email, or snailmail, I would have told my friends all about it as soon as it happened. Instead it was months before some of them knew the story and I’m not sure all of them know it now. It works in reverse as well.  I read surprising things from my friends and wonder what's going on, but I just assume Facebook will eventually explain everything rather than just typing up an email or picking up the phone. My friends and I all think that as long as we’re talking on Facebook every day that there is no need to catch up, but it seems to me that Facebook has left us farther behind.

I also have another big project in the pipelines for 2013. If it comes to pass, I hope to be devoting more online time to it. I will certainly be blogging about it if it happens.

My blogs will remain and I’ll still post them on Facebook for those who like to read it and want to be notified of a posting. Yes, many of them will be political. I will also update photos on Facebook so you can all envy my fabulous life. :-) I will also be maintaining the Facebook page for my food blog.

Anyway, while I enjoy seeing a diversity of posts (even if some of them irk me and cause me to blog about how much they irk me), when one of the progressive pages I subscribe to tells me there is a page called "Ted Nugent for President", I know it's time to pack it in.  Facebook has just gone over the edge.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Irksome Facebook Post of the Week

I was seeing this one almost daily.

Unfortunately, every posting I see of it has been taken down or just plain disappeared, which makes it so much harder to post about it her on S&C.  I swear sometimes people are psychic and therefore take their postings down before they can be reprinted as "Irsksome Facebook Post of the Week."

What is says:

Should Children say the Pledge of Allegiance in School

Like if Yes
Comment if No

Every time I see it, I do what it says and post my comment with my emphatic answer.


I can hear the outrage being directed at me. I’m a godless, America-hating, filthy liberal scum not worthy of residing in our great country. Republicans are demanding I pack my bags.

That is exactly the reason why I am against the Pledge. Why do we wrap so much of our patriotism up over whether or not we swear allegiance to a piece of cloth? Is that all there is to love of country – a rote piece of recitation? Do you seriously believe that I must hate the United States and everything it stands for because of that rote piece of recitation (one that was written by a Socialist who worded it a bit differently from what it is now)?

It’s funny how Republicans keep saying how much they hate government and government intrusion into our lives, but think it’s perfectly fine for a government institution (public school) to force children to swear an oath of allegiance to their country every day. What do they think will happen if children aren’t forced to recite these words? Will they come to hate their country? Are you afraid they will rise up in rebellion?

 Most kids hardly know what they’re saying when they say the Pledge. Once they know, they probably don’t care that much. I would wager most of the adults who are wringing their hands, clutching their pearls, and gnashing their teeth over the Pledge now, probably felt the same apathy about it as kids that today’s kids feel now.

I wish Republicans and the government in general would put as much energy into the rest of the school day as they put into the Pledge of Allegiance. We are raising a nation of kids incapable of critical thinking. Children can’t find their home state on a map. They have little knowledge of world events or civics. American children are way behind the rest of the world in math and science. We water down science out of fear of offending a handful of Americans. Science, a rational and dispassionate study, should not be altered to fit with the worldview of a small group.  We should be more outraged over this than we are about the Pledge of Allegiance.

I just don’t understand why we are prioritizing jingoism over education. Why are we wringing our hands over the Pledge of Allegiance (and whether or not it contains the words, “under God”) rather than wringing our hands over the fact that children are receiving mediocre educations? To me, to love our country is to do right by its citizens. That means giving all of them access to a high quality education. If we want to do right by America we need to equip our children with the tools needed to truly make a difference in this world.  Right now, all we're doing is making them capable of doing nothing more than waving a flag.  That's not patriotism to me. 

Things I Will Probably Never Do: The Anti-Bucket List

In my last post I enumerated the travel-related items on my bucket list.  What are my priorities for seeing the world for the rest of my life?

Here is my opposite list.  These are the things I never intend to do.  I won't say outright that I'll never do them, because one should never say never, but I can guarantee you they are on no "To Do" list of mine for the foresseable future.

1.  Vote Republican
2.  Get a tattoo
3.  Live in a major city
4.  Read the next two Fifty Shades books, the next 6 Harry Potter books, or any of the Twilight series.
5.  Watch beyond the first season of House, the first season of Mad Men,  the first episode of Breaking Bad, the last 6 Harry Potter movies, or any of the Twilight movies.
6. Do meth, cocaine, or heroin
7. Own an SUV
8. Become an active faithful member of a patriarchal religion
9. Pronounce the t in often
10. Call olive oil "EVOO"

I'm sure there is something on this list to offend just about every one of my friends.  As I see it, it's not so bad.    My life is full of possibilities of the things I just might still do, either out of necessity,curiosity, or actual desire.  It's really not bad at all.