Saturday, May 31

Silly Things

I'm a bred consumer. I have this on good authority, from my ex-husband who grew up in Czech under the communists. I admit it. I was raised with wanting-stuff indoctrinated into my tiny little brain. I know this must be so, because when my life goes completely wrong, my plans to dig myself out of that hole invariably include some shiny toy or appliance that will help me change my life.

I could use dumbells and cinderblocks, but I'd rather dream of Soloflex. You get the idea. I see those commercials with pumping big-drama music as sweat and shadows play on someone's perfect and tanned muscles and little stars enter my eyes like a disney cartoon character. It's a good thing I don't have TV anymore. I'd be even more broke than I already am.

It reminds me of the time my little girl saw a pair of high heeled all-lucite shoes. They looked like some kind of shiny princess shoe from a fairy tale. She tried to use my visa to buy it online. Fortunately I found this out as she'd mucked up the effort -- too young to know how, and the company understood. I wanted to be mad at her, but when I saw them, I just couldn't help but understood how this had probably affected her brain.

So on the endless list of ridiculous toys that I totally don't need but decided to spend my precious money on anyway, this month we had: the hamburger patty press and papers.

Yes, it's true. I spent money on a piece of plastic that probably cost 4 cents in china to manufacture, all so that I could make something by hand with a tool rather than making it by hand with my hands.

But oddly enough, it inspired me a little more than doing it by hand seems to.

And it packs them densely so they are easier to handle in storing and cooking.

And I can spice the burger in a big bowl first so they taste better.

And it's a lot faster and way less messy when making burger than doing it on the spot.

And it stores more easily due to consistent size.

And since they're consistent the cooking time is always the same.

And they're a nice size for dropping a slice of cheese over the top.

And I know exactly how many burgers I'll get out a given package of burger.

The burger doesn't stick to the press (as I worried). The papers are a few bucks for 1000, more than I might ever use. It's easy to wash.

I'm on a new wave of effort to EAT MEAT. While I realize burger is possibly the worst on the list, it's what I can afford and I'm just going to start sucking down fish oil to work on those Omega-3s. Being able to quickly cook something to eat gives a much higher probability I will eat at all.


I've had a lousy week for some reason. More emotional than anything, although I think that doing a few highcarb days just as I'd hit ketosis and then dropping back to LC did not help AT ALL (my poor body). I'm so glad the week is over!!

This weekend I hope to do lots of 'oopsie roll' experiments, savory and sweet. Then maybe we could have hamburgers ON something.


Wednesday, May 28

June Bugs and The Big Plan

June is usually a buggy month.

The cats go out till Oct-Nov because otherwise the flea situation KILLS ME.

And a ton of things start "bugging me" about my life that didn't before, probably because there is finally enough consistent light outside that I drag my sorry butt out of its D3-deprived state and start caring more about my life again.

As you know, I love plans. Making them... watching them crash and burn... looking back on them sorrowfully... that's me!

I'm a few days early this year, but it's June Bug time: time to take a serious look at my summer plans and "the rest of the year". And it's time for my summer BIG PLAN!

I've come to a few conclusions recently about my eating plan. Such as:

1. It is more important to develop a healthy habit, than to do anything perfectly according to any numbered plan.

2. It is more important to do something consistently, than to do something perfectly sometimes, and terribly other times.

3. It is more important to better-establish a healthy lifestyle, than to lose any specific number of pounds.

Because if those three things are worked on, stuff like "losing fat" and "becoming more active" are inexorably inevitable.

I have a list of goals to meet between now and the end of the year:

1. Eat vegetables regularly.
2. Take supplements.
3. Drink more water.
4. Exercise more.

The only thing that has a specific goal-measure on it is this one:

5. Lose 30# (to ~<350).

That is less than 1 lb a week. Which at my weight certainly ought to be do-able.

I've lost a whole lot of weight fast in the past when I bothered really trying for any consistent period. It's combining the 'intensity' with the 'longevity' of an eating plan that gets difficult for me. I'm a sprinter, not a cross-country sort. I can do most anything briefly -- and the more extreme, the better -- but sane balanced approaches, even in the short term let alone the long term, are hard work for me.

The last year I've been "off and on" lowcarb, to the degree that I weigh about the same as I did in 1/07 (maybe 20# lighter) -- but then, I haven't gained anything, so that's good! I guess I've been 'on' again just enough to balance the 'off' agains.

But as you know, it's still depressing to look back on a long period of time and think, "How much healthier would I be right now if I'd actually got off my butt and been proactive about this?!"


Eating veggies has turned out to be harder than I thought. Aside from bell peppers (and those, more 'in' things than on their own), it turns out most the things I like aren't veggies! Onions and mushrooms are alliums and fungi. Peas are starchy, but even if I take the carb hit, they're legumes. I didn't eat veggies growing up and have little taste for them. I sometimes like broccoli in stir-fry. Tomatoes in small dose. I don't like salad unless it's buried in blue cheese dressing, although I can tolerate greek salad (which is tossed with feta cheese).

So eating "3 cups a day of veggies" as Regina recommended (you may recall I'm following the eating goals she outlined for me--or I should be, anyway!) turned out to be a real pain in the butt for me. She suggests, ever the sensible one, that eating whatever I can veggie-wise is better than giving up on it entirely. Still. I didn't expect it to be such work!

Humor: the USDA's "food pyramid" website -- not that this isn't the most moronic contribution to diet in history since cult koolaid anyway -- can't even get straight what is a fruit, vegetable, legume, etc. It's just embarrassing.

I'm falling behind in the required physical work of my life: near-constant lawn mowing, the backyard is a jungle needing several things before mowing can happen, the garden apparently had 2.7 billion weed seeds in the soil as the minute it started raining, the weeds were so high and thick I'm sure my seedlings are dying of shade, I still haven't finished shoveling potting soil from the dumptruck, and so on. I haven't been getting enough protein which I'm sure is part of not feeling "up to" more than I have lately, but that is changing.


I bought meat, meat, meat, and meat. While there I also bought a little bit of cheese and some fairly LC jarred sauces. I didn't have room at the time but am going back tonight or tomorrow to buy produce, soon as I figure out what to do with it.

I also bought the 5000 IU capsules of Vitamin D from the website where, interestingly enough, I went LAST, but I could hardly find any elsewhere and they cost more when I did. I'm going to use that the rest of the year and see if I feel any difference as a result. I'm light-olive complexion (the hint of cherokee in my ~14 nationalities) and grew up in a beach city so I suspect I'm probably chronically low on D3.


The kid is on this eating plan with me! She'll be 12 in August. This is a pic of her wearing my vastly oversized- on- her sweatshirt at the walking park a few weeks ago.

Well that's all I have to report for now. I'm a day late posting on my exercise blog, gotta do that tomorrow with my initial measures and counts of what I can lift and do for exercise. I'll be doing chair-based half-squats until I am finally light enough that my knees can stand full squats.


I recommend folks who want friends to learn with or hang with others, seek out the social forums for lowcarb, such as,, etc. I don't know what I'd do without my journal buddies, who put up with all my kvetching about everything in life, all my Mad Scientist plans and experiments, etc.

Hope y'all are having a good early summer! And marshmallow, wherever you are, I lost your forum address, if you'd be so kind as to resend!


Sunday, May 11

Living for the Day

I knew I needed to get up and do some raking and mow part of the backyard lawn, and maybe all of the front again. It's spring, the rain makes it grow like crazy. I was procrastinating. Just as I decided to do it, the phone rang. And a good thing I was lazy, because I wouldn't have heard it or answered it while mowing.

I yelled to the kid and she and I ran to the car, speeding five blocks away to my parents' house. Moments after we arrived, the local siren started screaming (signifying a twister has been seen within or from the city limits). Then we spent the next while underground, watching out the top of an open tornado shelter as clouds raced across the sky at truly incredible rates and the siren keened.

In the end, it missed us by just a few miles, literally annihilating the tiny town right next door (Picher), as part of a 1/2 mile wide, 90 mile long swath of destruction.

Which meant I didn't get the damn lawn mowed.

Which is really pretty insignificant next to the damage, injuries and deaths all around, obviously.

It's a little surreal when you see stuff on the national news that you just drove by on Tuesday and you realize "Hey, that small pile of boards was the school," or, "Hey, that big block of nothingness seen from the helicopter was the housing tract where Jim lives. Er, lived."

Rather like the winter ice storm that destroyed nearly every tree at about 18 feet and higher, making the whole town look like a war zone somehow, this has a weird psychological effect on the local onlookers. Me, at least.


I was browsing one of the lowcarb forums recently, and one thread was talking about things we don't do because we're fat. No, I don't mean because we can't do them, I mean because we're embarrassed to do them -- to be seen. The social horror is a more potent threat to stay inside for many than an armed curfew guard in a war zone.

Since I lost down to 400# (375 if LC, about 390 when not -- water weight), my perception of myself has changed a little. Sure, I'm still ashamed to exist in some social respects, because having been brainwashed by the same skinny-white culturally retarded meme as the rest of North America, the reptilian part of my little tiny brain thinks that's what I should be. I'm neither skinny (at all) nor white (much) so it's pretty irritating that my brain got washed with that just as well as anybody else's.

But on the whole, my willingness to be seen has increased slightly, recently. This is in part because for the first time ever, after lowcarbing and losing some weight, I:

1. Got shoes. Don't laugh; I'd been wearing generally house slippers or thongs for years, zero foot support for a person who desperately needs it more than most, because I couldn't find shoes I fit into. The ladies in my LC journal told me that men's shoes have a 'wider toe-box' than women's and to try that, and what do you know--I had my first pair of tennis shoes ever. Lost weight, and more weight, and now I can go to payless and slip on a pair of size 10. (I'm 8 1/2 US when normal weight.) I like the VANS-style slip-on shoes and mostly wear those. Call it stupid, but actually being able to walk comfortably has made a big difference for me.

2. Got pants. I hadn't been able to fit in any form of pants for years, and wore skirts, usually 2-3 of them layered, instead. Skirts are no fun in wet weather, in sub-freezing weather (especially if you don't have underwear that fit...)--I think you get the idea--or when mowing a high lawn filled with bugs... sigh. But I was able to get into a 6x, and then--less gracefully, but they stretch a bit and become loose and work fine, into a 5x--of Junonia's "cargo pants", which are almost, not quite, like "real" pants, something I hadn't seen since on my hips since my early 20's.

3. Had a day where I was unusually, deeply humiliated on the very busy street I live on. To begin with, I was already horribly embarrassed to be outside without my normal long-tent-shirt. These go from neck to knees like a giant bag preventing any onlooker from the ghastly spectre of any possible detail of my obesity. On top of that, I was trying to start a pull-cord lawnmower, which means I was also bent over with my back end sticking out and my whole body shaking wildly from the effort. I'm relatively certain it was a horrible sight to behold, and there may be passing drivers still waking up in a cold sweat from the memory. My mortification at this only added to my rage that I couldn't get it started. But as a bizarre side effect, later on, I felt rather like I'd had the worst possible exposure issue AND SURVIVED.

And suddenly I just cared a whole lot less. I actually wore pants WITHOUT the tent-shirt to the store. And then to another store.

Nobody fainted in the produce aisle. Small children did not wail in fear. The devil-child cheerleaders of high school did not manifest like the Ghosts of my Social Outcast Past to mock me for my Levi 501's, let alone for the current size of my butt (you never know when those cute blonde horrors are going to crop up in some public place to test your coronary health).

And after a few days I realized that instead of wearing sandles and 2 skirts, I was wearing comfortable shoes and pants. And instead of wearing sleeves and multiple layers on hot days, or skirts and sandles on snow days, I'm actually dressed sanely for the climate.

It's really astounding how much more willing to MOVE I am, and to spontaneously do things like run out to the backyard to do a little weeding for ten minutes, or run to the store for something, or run out to the car to get the book I forgot, or grab a rake and work on the front yard while I happen to be out on the front porch anyway, when I am physically comfortable and don't feel quite so mortified as I did before. I feel as if I am getting so much more exercise in a million small ways.

Do people still look at me with that "don't- look- at- her- it's- rude" evasion or the "good- god- imagine- how- many- bonbons- she- must- eat- to- be- that- fat" response? Absolutely. Do I care? Not nearly as much as I did.

You know what? I'm fat. There is no hiding it. There is no clothing, no careful posing position, no tent-like covering, that is going to fool anybody within 2 states of me into thinking I am a normal size. No matter how many layers or tents I wear, no matter how many bland and dark colors I wear, nobody is ever, not for an instant, going to NOT NOTICE that I am ABSOLUTELY HUGE.

So get the hell over it, you know? Ya don't like it, don't look.

While I'm not to the bathing suit in public without something over me stage yet, I am at least to the "pants and tank top while mowing on a busy street" stage. I am going out in public dressed like -- I mean, acting like -- I mean, ALMOST like -- Gasp! --

A normal person.


I think I've lost count years ago of the things I would have liked to have done with my little girl but didn't, because I was embarrassed; because people would look at me that way, with that revulsion, rejection, disgust, avoidance, etc.

So we didn't go bowling, or to the pool, or any number of other things we could have done. If I couldn't sit in the car or lurk on a bench (replete in 3 skirts and a tent...), I didn't do it.

She's nearly 12 now. We still have a great relationship, but she is heading into the teenage years. How much longer will my little girl trust me implicitly? How much longer will she want to go bowling with mom? She isn't a "little" girl anymore.

Today I was thinking, and then what?

What if I'd been killed by a tornado, by anything from an act of god to an act of stupidity to a side effect of a lifetime of lousy eating? If I died tomorrow, what brave adventures would I have lived? And how would my kid remember me?

I was the person not courageous enough to do any number of things because I worried about what people would say or how they would look at me or even treat me.

I was the person who sat in too many clothes in a hot car in the sun watching while my kid swam because there was no place to sit in the pool area and I couldn't go in.

I was the person who sat around with a computer rather than doing any number of things with the people around me I loved, because they would require being around other people I didn't love who would look at me wrong.

You know, you, me... anyone could walk out of here and get killed by some drunk in a pickup. I could slip in the shower and break my neck. When your number's up, it's up.
from "The Zero Effect"

It used to be that black people had to sit at the back of the bus. But you know, severely fat people can't even get on the damn bus. They don't or barely fit in the seats, they can't or barely (sideways) fit down the aisles, and there's not even a contingent of their own people at the back, at least, waiting to welcome them as one of them: they're just the social pariahs of a thin-for-sex- obsessed culture, and are treated poorly by every gender, age, race, and economic class.

There is no Cheers bar "where everybody knows your name;" there's no pub where your fellows recognize and accept you for no better reason than your stubborn nose and fiery hair prove you're one from the clans. Just about the only place to find people likely to accept you as you are is on the internet, a virtual world apart, where people on forums gather to talk like normal people to other seemingly normal people without the horrifying social-filter that in-person relations often provide.

Bizarrely enough, in a world seriously overstuffed (no pun intended) with fat people, somehow most of us manage to be alone with it. We are outcasts in our culture and sometimes even our families, and don't have any bonding-place for our commonality aside from online.

And today I realized:


Tina is digging through the rubble for baby clothes or anything she can salvage from the trash heap that used to be her house. One woman found two sons dead. An entire town just vanished off the map. With stuff like this going on in the world every day, going on nearly in your own neighborhood, how can obsessing on the LITTLE STUFF like how other people treat you, seem to matter in the slightest anymore?

The whole "comparative scale of what matters" suddenly seems different to me. My God. The "social rejection" of me for being fat seems so utterly absurd all the sudden.

Why does some bozo who doesn't even KNOW me, looking at me with "that look", matter more than me spending time doing something with my kid, for myself, whatever?

How many fat people get vastly less exercise because they're too socially mortified to leave the house, or the environ doesn't "fit" them to allow them basic things people need (chairs they fit in. bathrooms they can fit in. etc.), or they haven't got the decent or comfortable clothing any smaller-sized person would to allow it?

I see people, normal sized, going out to kids baseball games. They drag out a lawn chair and they sit and drink beer and soda, use the restroom, or climb up on the bleachers. When you can't climb, when you're wearing skirts, when it's freezing and you've only thongs or it's wet and you've only slippers, when you don't fit in a lawn chair, yet you need to sit vastly more than those people do given your size, you don't go to those baseball games. Or you watch from the car 500 yards away. "Yeah, I saw you baby! That was great!" yeah... sure.


But who wants to die un-lived? Who wants to be remembered by their kids as the big fat woman who hid in the car or under neutral or dark colored tents?

Worse, who wants to regret what they didn't do with their kids due to cowardice?

Why does being fat not only mean all the misery that comes with it physically, but such a social nightmare that we restrict our OWN lives?

Why the hell am I wearing tents? What, am I morally obligated to spare every other person the possible fright of seeing my fat jiggle?

Who needs some evil cultural conscience acting like the guard, telling you that jews negroes fat people aren't allowed in this store or pool or bowling alley, if YOUR OWN BRAIN is acting out that damning voice?

Clarissa Pinkola Estes is a psychologist who wrote the book "Women Who Run With the Wolves." She talked about the voices that we "internalize" until eventually we have the negative, punishing, demeaning judge and jury inside our own heads, even without our parents or schoolmates or social peers for that role. (I was surprised that I liked the book, but I did.)

People die every day all around us. Nobody knows how much life they've got left in this focus-reality. All we know is we are here, now. The people we love are here, now. We may not be later. They may not be later.

Maybe it's time I quit caring so much what other people think. Maybe it's time I did the fun things I want to do, those I can do.

It's one thing to not be physically capable. It's another to be a coward.

I wake up each day and say, "Thank you God, for my life."

Maybe I should start with that, and then actually GO LIVE IT.


Thursday, May 8

I Found Gold

Eons ago I wrote a simplistic little folk song (as a teen) that ended with the line, "I was looking for a rainbow... and I found gold."

I've been reading the lowcarber forum recently and it struck me:

I have learned so, so much from lowcarbing.

Ironically, only some of the things I've learned have much to do with the carb count of foods.

And a good dose of the things I've learned are about me, and my psychology, and my relationships, and a whole host of things--some of which I learned because getting healthier made me see things differently, and some of which I learned because maybe, just maybe, there is a complex web of social, psychological, mental, emotional, and physical things going on that result in a person being overweight let alone morbidly obese, so if you're working toward weight loss or health improvement, you're bound to stumble on some of them.

Even how I evaluate other people has changed in some respects. I actually grant some slack now when I know someone is living on a doctor-approved low-fat diet; I know they are miserable and probably feel like death warmed over. I have a lot less tolerance for people spouting their politicized pseudo-nutrition jargon at me, now that I've learned at least a little something about food and metabolism. I have a lot more faith in myself to "deal with" -- even if it never reduces to anywhere near what I'd like in my dreams -- my body. I have a lot less humiliation socially in some respects, because I'm smaller than I was, so there is a small sense of pride in that.

A couple years ago I hadn't been able to wear anything but skirts, usually a few of them at a time layered, and thong-sandals, as I couldn't find shoes to fit -- even in the dead of winter wetness and ice I wore this. Now I wear slightly stretchy cargo pants and a tank top if I want. I just recently got to the point where I was actually brave enough to wear, get this: "pants and a shirt." That is, WITHOUT a tent-sized knee-length long shirt over everything, no matter what the temperature, to be utterly certain I was sparing every person in visual range from the hideousness of my fat.

Back then I couldn't stand for 60 seconds without a searing, burning, screaming back pain, and walking to the car nearly overwhelmed me, and now I can mow, and weed-eat, and rake, and shovel some garden soil. Granted, I have to rest between, but I'm wearing normal clothes and acting like a normal person... well, as normal as a weirdo like me is ever going to get, and that has nothing to do with fat haha!-- the change in my life from 5/06 to 5/08 is STAGGERING.

I can't tell you how much more I feel like doing something physical and constructive, when I can just put on normal clothes and tennis shoes and go out and do it. When I can walk without major impediment, stand without pain, do minor exercise (very minor) without instant exhaustion.

Lowcarb did that for me. But the process of doing lowcarb over time is a big part of far more than my body.

I never cooked. I'm still learning. I still have not whipped egg whites stiff or successfully and edibly cooked a whole chicken and used the bones for a follow-up soup, but that is coming. I can make a whole lot of other stuff. I can even experiment now and then and it usually comes out pretty decent. I actually feel halfway competent in the kitchen which is making me a little more courageous. Not as courageous as the fabulous Niki at O.2.B.Fit whose zillions of recipes leave me drooling, but still, in my own way, braver than I've ever been.

Being influenced by people like Regina at Weight of the Evidence has made me pay more attention to nutrition. I'm still alternately doing well or not-at-all on lowcarb with a nutrition angle, but I pay a lot more attention to veggies and vitamins than I ever did, and it's gradually getting better. I sometimes wonder, if my life is so different and better two years after beginning lowcarb, what might it be like in five years?

I'm so happy to have found lowcarb.

Even when I am not ON lowcarb, I'm happy to have found it. Funny huh! Even if I am eating a Butterfinger because I'm not doing LC at the moment and feel like it, I am still not having rice for dinner or donuts for breakfast because of my concern for their carbs. I hadn't thought about it until this morning when I realized that even when I am eating really badly, not LC at all, I still eat vastly better -- much less junk and for much less duration -- than I ate before I learned about LC.

Merely SEEING the Gary Taubes book on my shelf can re-invoke days of almost nothing but meat, eggs and veggies frankly, heh!

When I wake up bloated, aching, can barely move, my brain is fogged, now I think, "Need to do lowcarb at least a few days, you've been eating crap, that's why you feel like crap." It is astounding to me that I used to feel that way every single day of my life and that was NORMAL.

I've learned a little about people. I've made more women-friends through lowcarb than every other source and all the previous 40 years of my life combined, go figure--I've found more women "like me" in lowcarb than anywhere, and I don't know why that is, but I'm pretty happy for it.

I hope you guys are learning more than the carb counts of foods too. I bet you are. It's fascinating to me, in a sociology and psychology sense, how nearly every serious pursuit no matter what it is, explores a deeper and wider aspect of as individuals than it ever seemed like it would from the outside.