The Ongoing Adventures of Naked Girl

The story of my quest to look good naked -- really good.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Point of Arrival

It's funny when I think about when I knew I would be done losing weight. Up until this point, it's been a very fluid moment. Today, it was it. I bought a pair of Levi's 501 jeans, size 34x32. For some reason, this was an important moment, although I didn't know it until I was in the dressing room.

I used to love wearing 501s. I don't even remember the exact size, but I do remember mourning when I knew I couldn't wear them any longer. Getting back into a pair is like reclaiming a part of my youth, somehow. I loved wearing my jeans, a crisp white shirt and my black cowboy boots , maybe my second-hand tux jacket. I know, so 80s, but, damn, I felt good. Sexy.

Even though I was able to buy size 12 pants in freakin'-Eddie Bauer or a size medium top at NY & Company, the real prize was getting into a pair of Levi's. Go figure.

Not to say this has brought a total revelation in the food/eating department. But it's a small step in accepting my current size and being satisfied where I am now.

In other news, the de-cluttering continues to go well. I have pretty much gone through the living room and dining room and a good portion of the kitchen. Tomorrow, after taking the CRV in for a tune-up, I will be sans transportation so I can really get into it.

I think I am finally done with post-Christmas shopping. I did get a lot of things on sale and with gift cards - a spree at Eddie Bauer (jeans, black slacks, cords, 2 sweaters), Macy's (gold hoops, 9 West knee-high leather boots (retail $169 for $70!), Target (home organizing stuff, coat), NY&Co (jacket, shirt, 2 sweaters, cool gold ring). I still have a lot left on the gift cards, but I will need things for spring/summer so I can wait until those are in stock. Now, it's all about cleaning out the old and making room for the new.

In work news, one of my reports is getting promoted. I am so excited for her since she really showed a desire for this position but one of my other reports didn't get the job, so I am bummed for her. Either way, I was going to have to redistribute the workload and hire another scheduler. I'm also worried that the one who didn't get the promotion is going to leave, but it would have been this way if the situation was reversed. Just more transition for me to start 2007 when I was hoping for some stability in our department. At least it's happening early in the year so I have time to groom the next newbie.

Off to do some more organizing/de-cluttering. Tomorrow will be the big day since I won't have transport to escape from my duties here. I can't believe that my vacation is more than half over!! I still have so much to do!!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

First Baby Step Taken

I had my first appointment with a psychologist from The Emily Program, a center that specializes in eating disorders. Although they typically deal with anorexics and bulimics, because my behavior surrounding food has a little bit of everything compounded by surgery, they feel that I am a good candidate to qualify for their assistance. The first few appointments are all about getting history and determining the levels of disorder, depression, anxiety, etc. My next appointment is next Friday.

I did have a bit of an episode on Sunday night at dinner. I had spent two days preparing for a wonderful meal. I got out the good china, had a great table setting, uncorked a really good wine (Stag's Leap cab) and cooked an amazing meal. I got through the salad course fine, but as soon as I sat down when all the courses were out and I put food on my plate, I had a sudden panic attack. There was too much food; I had eaten too much because I was tasting throughout the day; I couldn't eat; I shouldn't eat. I mean, I panicked, had to leave the table and even had to partially undress because I was breaking out in a cold sweat. After I calmed down, I tried to go back to the table, but it was a no-go. The funny thing is that I had pretty much the same stuff last night and got through it fine.

I realize this seems crazy to most. Hell, it sounds crazy to me, and I'm living it. Right now, I'm trying not to judge myself and just work through the issues. I hate how I know what I'm supposed to do and pissed at myself that I can't do it.

In the meantime, I have started my vacation week. So much of the weekend was spent around getting to Christmas and then celebrating it that I didn't do anything around the house. I've started that today, beginning by finally filing some new CDs, some of which have been piled up for a year. I've laundered all my table linens, ironed the cloth napkins, organized most of the china hutch, culled some ceramic/glass bakeware and have begun the daunting task of going through my stemware. Holy crap - how many wine/martini/beer/margarita/champagne glasses do two people need? I mean, even if I hosted glamorous dinner parties (which I don't), I wouldn't need half that stemware I own. Part of the problem is the number of commemorative glasses we have. There are four Super Bowl champagne flutes, 4 Dick's Last Resort beer steins, beer glasses from the Baja Cantina/El Cholo/Firestone Brewery, a hurricane glass from Pat O'Brien's. Not only that, I have an additional 14 champagne flutes (3 different kinds), 8 martini glasses (3 different kinds), 8 beer steins (not including the commemorative ones), 4 brandy snifters in 2 sizes and 22 wine glasses in 5 different styles. What am I doing, running a bar?

Needless to say, I am busy trying to figure out what ones to donate, what ones to store in the basement and what ones to keep within reach. I was also going through vases, decanters and crystal bowls that I stored in the china hutch in hopes of getting rid of a few more items. I have a beautiful Tiffany decanter that has never been used in 7+ years, but I just can't part with it. The vases are from Waterford and Nambe and have also never been used. I hope the rest of the planned de-cluttering goes a little smoother.

There is already a fairly good-sized pile of things I know I am donating - table linens, glass bakeware, coffee mugs, picnic plates, etc. In other words, things I haven't used, in some cases, since I lived in New York (circa 1995). These items have moved from Los Angeles to New York (2 apartments) back to Los Angeles (3 apartments, 1 house), to Minnesota (1 house). The eye-opening moment for me on de-cluttering was when I came across a hard brick of dark brown sugar in my pantry in a plain wrap Ralph's label. I could date this back to at least 2003 since the last baking jag I went on in Los Angeles would have been Christmas, 2003 and we moved in October, 2004. So, yes, a package of brown sugar moved from Los Angeles to Minnesota and I still had it, 3 years later.

Besides doing some de-cluttering and organizing, my main project is getting some framed photos hung and order some photos so I can finish some photo collages. I also need to take my car in for servicing, which is massively overdue for a check-in. This is in addition to mounds of laundry, winter cleaning (delayed from the traditional spring cleaning), vet visits (Jager has a partially torn ACL which we are treating with experimental, 2x week shots for 4 weeks to, hopefully, avoid surgery), finishing 3 in-progress books. Oh, and, yeah, spending of some of the many gift cards we received for Christmas!!

It looks like a busy week, but I know I need to check in here often for my own benefit, so look for some more frequent postings.

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Saturday, December 23, 2006

Channeling Julia Child

I am in full holiday cooking mode. Last weekend, I made two kinds of fudge (peanut butter with pecans and chocolate with toffee chips) and two kinds of cookies (my dad's Mexican Wedding Cakes and Paula Deen's White Chocolate Cherry Chunkies - oh, my!).

Today, I was at the grocery store at 7:00 AM to avoid the crowds, but had to go back for a few forgotten items. So far, I have made Very Berry Scones, 2 loafs of bread (Vermont Cheddar and Italian Herb), chicken noodle soup for tonight, dressing for my Christmas salad, mushrooms duxelle & horseradish cream sauce for the Beef Wellington, gingerbread & blackberry sauce for the Gingerbread Lemon Curd trifle. The dinner menu is my Christmas salad (red & green lettuce, pomegranate seeds, bleu cheese, candied pecans and pears), Beef Wellington with horseradish cream sauce & wild mushroom gravy, mashed potato crisp, peas & pearl onions, roasted gingered carrots and the trifle. Christmas morning we'll have scones with coffee as we open gifts and then I'm making a Huevos Rancheros with a chipotle hollandaise sauce and guacamole.

We did get a hint of bad news today. Don took Jager to the vet since she has been limping a bit and showing some soreness in her left rear leg, which is not the leg she had surgery on earlier this year. I have to take her in for x-rays on Tuesday, but the initial thought is that she has a partial tear. That could mean another surgery. She was sent home with pain meds, which seem to have knocked most of her mojo to the curb, but she still has her frisky moments. Of course this means no walks or hikes for awhile...

Anyway, the big plans for the rest of the long weekend are having some soup and playing Scrabble tonight, cooking and watching football tomorrow, and opening gifts and vegging out on Monday. I have next week off and a lot planned to do including housecleaning and errands, and maybe taking advantage of a few post-holiday sales with (expected) gift cards...

Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday!!

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Friday, December 15, 2006

The Daily Struggle

I have been spending a lot of time talking about my issues around food, dieting, weight loss, etc. I've had long conversations with my dad, Don and Phil (the nutritionist). It's interesting finally being able to put into words some of my feelings and the more I'm able to verbalize it, the more I think I can get it together.

I am working on making sure I am accountable for eating my food and following the plan given to me by Phil. This week, we're keeping it kind of loose in order to calm my anxiety around eating. I'm also not allowed to do any weight lifting since I'm not getting the number of calories in to support that kind of activity. I am, however, still allowed 5 days of cardio. I have eaten "on plan" the last two days and not freaking out about eating, so I'm taking that as a good sign.

Some have wondered how did I get to this place. It's hard to explain, but here's my thinking. I've been on some diet or another since I was probably 13. Granted, there were stages in my life where I didn't watch what I ate, hence weighing 300+ pounds. But I have been aware of food, the scale, my weight for damn near 25 years. Over these 25 years, I have been trying to control my food, whether by restricting the amount I ate, or conversely, overeating in mass quantities.

The overeating usually followed a time of dieting/calorie restricting. I would trip up or not see any result on the scale so I would binge to show I didn't care what other people thought, I would control what and how much I ate. One of the things that would trip me up was feeling hungry. Anyone who has ever dieted knows what I mean - that deep-seeded pang of I need food now. Granted, it was partly physical - the body does need food - but often it was emotional hunger as well.

After surgery, it seems that I am one of the "lucky" ones who do not feel hunger, at least not in the sense that most people do. At first, I thought it was great and not having hunger did play a big role in my early success. As time went on, I really believed the hunger would return and I would have to use the size of my new pouch as the main way to limit my food intake. Most people I know who have had the surgery talked about how their hunger did return and they had to battle that demon every day and I figured I'd be the same. My problem seems to be my hunger has not returned. I cannot tell you how different life is when there is no physical driving force making you want to eat. About the only time I feel compelled to eat is in group/public settings and when I can smell good food.

Of course, this means I have to rely on my brain to remind myself to eat. The issue there is, my brain is so conditioned to NOT to want to eat, it's having a hard time coming to grips with encouraging me to eat. I still have the mindset I shouldn't finish what's on my plate, I should feel guilty if I have a handful of popcorn or a Christmas cookie, I need to restrict how many calories I put in my mouth. I am trying to un-do 25 years of diet thinking.

I am still a food addict. I do love the taste of good food. I still love to cook. I watch cooking shows and read cookbooks and menus. I plan elaborate feasts (Beef Wellington for Christmas dinner). But, it's like being an alcoholic who's a bartender but who doesn't drink - I consider it (in a sick way) a badge of strength/accomplishment/success to be able to surround myself with temptation but able to resist it. I could never do this prior to surgery, and now I feel that my "willpower" is working.

Yeah, I can't say it makes much sense to me, either, but at least I think I've been able to express exactly how I'm feeling. And, yes, you can now bring in the straight jacket...


Sunday, December 10, 2006

It's Starting to Look A Lot Like Christmas

Don and I finally got our lights out on Saturday - except one part of the icicle strand on the deck is out and one part of the green lights are out on the small bush in the front. I'll have to check those out when it's light outside. I thought I figured the deck lights out but they are now dark - just one portion. Grrr...

I spent today preparing some meals for the week. I made a batch of tuna salad for sandwiches, a meatloaf (just needs cooking) and my fire roasted tomato soup. I usually serve turkey sausages in puff pastry with the soup, but those are best the day they are made. They're easy to make and only take 20 minutes to cook so not that big of a deal to prepare. I'm just doing all possible to make sure I have food to pack for lunch so I don't have the "excuse" not to eat.

Speaking of Christmas lights - do they multiply when we're not looking? When I went down to sort things out, I had boxes of unopened lights plus many, many strings of lights that I know we didn't use last year. Where did they all come from? I mean, I have enough lights to decorate our house, our tree plus your house and your tree. Where did I think I was going to use these?

I do have the stockings hung (with care), the banister covered in garlands and bells, the wreath out. I still need to do the dining room table and the centerpieces but I have all the components except the right color candles. For someone who makes candles one would think this isn't and issue but I don't have "Christmas" smelling candles! I am now done with Christmas shopping. Chocolates and Barnes & Noble gift cards for my staff, Bath & Body Works stuff for my admin assistants, wine for my boss, Wine Cask club membership for my brother, parents and best friend. I won't blog about what I got for Don since he reads, but I am pretty much done other than checking one one thing to see if that's within the budget.

We did get the carpets cleaned on Friday - what a difference!! They actually look cream-colored. The real upshot was we found a new kennel for Baja & Jager. Granted, it's a half-state away (OK, it just feels like that - it's really only 30 miles), but they really show an interest in Baja & Jager. Plus, the dogs were tired from Friday night through mid-Sunday. Any kind of play that wipes them out like that is alright in my book!

Off to clean up the kitchen and get ready for Don to get home tonight.

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Thursday, December 07, 2006

First Steps

Thank you for all the great responses. They have really helped me get out of my head and focus on what's really important - my health.

I've made the first few steps in getting healthy physically and emotionally. I spoke to my nutritionist, Phil, and he came up with a food plan that won't freak me out too much - meaning he isn't forcing me to eat to my limits. I'll be eating 6 small meals (contrary to my surgeon's preferred 3 medium meals) with a focus on protein. Meal 1 will be 1 1/2 eggs and 3 flatbread crackers. Meal 2 will be a protein shake and 1/2 oz. almonds. Meal 3 is 2-4 oz. of chicken/steak/fish, veggies and a 1/2 serving of carbs. Meal 4 is fruit and nuts. Meal 5 is some cheese. Meal 6 is 2-4 oz. of fish/chicken and veggies. Granted I should be eating more but this is just a first step in getting my metabolism back in gear.

In addition, I will be weight lifting 3 times a week, yoga once a week and cardio 5 times a week for 1 hour. Again, the increase in exercise is to stimulate my metabolism in the hopes of creating hunger which will make me want to fuel my body. All I can say is that it worked last night - after getting home from the gym I downed 4 oz. of protein and 1/2 c. of coleslaw without a blink. The net result of actually eating over the last two days is a gain of 4 pounds but I also have to keep in mind that I get some wiggle room in that number. I just need to keep my weight between 167.5 and 172.5. I think by getting "permission" to stay within a weight range has helped me get a single number out of my head.

Finally, I placed a call to a group that has psychologists who specialize in eating disorders and body image issues. There is a 3-week waiting list, but I think that just by coming to terms with a few things, I can wait to see them until January.

I will be getting on the treadmill at home tonight since Thursdays are a late day for me at work and the gym can be such a madhouse after 5:00 - 5:30. Yesterday, when I was on the treadmill at about 5:30, some trainer came up with a child care group of about 7 kids and put them on treadmills running. The kid in front of me could barely keep up at 6.2 MPH and kept jumping off or grabbing on to the rails. I thought for sure he was going to lose his footing and fly right back into my machine. Of course, what really bugged me was that the staff thought using these resources for kids during the post-work rush was a good idea. I'm not paying $50 a month to have to share exercise equipment with a bunch of 12 year old kids.

I am off tomorrow with a ton of stuff to do. We're taking the dogs to try out a new kennel. They'll just be there for the day, but I want to be able to test it out and see how the staff interacts with them and how they play with the other dogs. The kennel we had been using just seems overwhelmed and understaffed. Plus, I really didn't like the owner's attitude. She seemed so put upon whenever anyone brought their dogs in. When I spoke to the owner of this new kennel, she seemed genuinely interested in Baja and Jager, their background, their personality, etc. While the dogs are enjoying "4-6 hours of play time," we will be getting our carpets cleaned. They are in sore need of it. The cream color is hidden by a fine layer of muddy paw prints that no amount of vacuuming is going to clean. Plus we had a little run in between Baja's furious head wag with a newspaper and a glass of red wine. Also, while I have some time, I need to break out the exterior Christmas lights and get those sorted out so we can hang them on Saturday before Don heads to Detroit. We only do the deck railing and the front porch railing, although I am hoping I can find a way to do 3 pine trees as well. I also need to hang the front door wreath and the 3 wreaths on our garage lights and do the evergreen garlands on the front porch. We will do the Christmas tree next weekend when Don has a home game. We went fake two years ago, and as much as I miss the Christmas tree scent, I don't miss the watering, falling needles and disposal of a real tree.

While Don is gone this weekend, I am trying to keep myself busy outside the house so I don't recluse too much. I have made a pedicure appointment for Saturday and have tentative plans to hook up with a friend on Sunday at the mall. Even if I don't need to buy anything, I can get some exercise in as well as getting into the spirit of the holidays.

I can't believe I only have 2 more weeks of work this year. I have the week between Christmas and New Year off, and I am really looking forward to having that time off, even though I don't have anything planned. It's just a good time to make sure the slate is clean for the start of 2007.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Welcome to the Grand Illusion

I actually do have a lot to post about, I just needed to get my head on straight before putting pen to paper.

First, I am officially below my target goal of 170 - I weighed in this morning at 167. That's the good news.

The bad news is that I am not doing it in a healthy manner. Over the weekend I had about 800 calories total (1 biscotti, 1 skim latte, 1/4 of a burrito, 1/2 c. soup, popcorn, 4 crackers and 1 oz. almonds). I am so terrified of gaining the weight back I have become afraid to eat.

I still watch the Food Network, read cookbooks and menus, cook for an army, plan meals, etc. Yeah, maybe not the healthiest relationship with food right now.

I finally told Don what is going on. I have an appointment tomorrow with my nutritionist in Los Angeles. I also have a call in to The Emily Program, which is a local eating disorder clinic. My hope is that, although not a true anorexic, I can get in to see one of their psychologists who has experience in dealing with food and body image issues.

I know I should be able to eat normally and not gain weight on 1200 a day, but I just can't wrap my mind around how much to eat. I might have to have Don hide the scale again.

There were some good moments this weekend. I am officially finished Christmas shopping, save what I need to get my staff. We are given a small amount to spend per person which is usually used to purchase gift cards. I'm not sure if I should get some from different stores and let them pick, ask what they want or just go with Barnes & Noble. In addition, I usually get them something paid for out of my own pocket. I went for the tried and true Godiva chocolates which was always a big hit with my staff in L.A. Actually I do need to get some goodies for the dogs, but they're easy - a big bone and some festive treats.

While out and about at the mall, I screwed up the courage to go into Victoria's Secret and buy new underwear. Now, I know this probably isn't a big deal for most of you, but I have been buying my panties at Lane Bryant and knew what size I was since they size the same as their pants. I purchased some new ones about 6 months ago, but that was when I was in a size 18/20 and I am currently wearing a 8/10 skirt and a 10/12 pant. I ended up getting large, although I might be able to get away with a medium at some point. Man, are underwear expensive! I purchased 5 cotton and 3 lace and that was about $50!! I couldn't continue walking around with baggy drawers though. Maybe Santa will be nice and include a VS gift card in my stocking.

I also went out on a limb and purchased a black leather skirt. It was on sale and under $60 so I figure that's my reward for reaching goal. I'll have to make sure Don takes me out so I can wear it since it's not really work appropriate.

So my commitment is I am going to be better about journaling, especially regarding my food and body image issues. I am going to make sure I follow my nutritionist's food plan, no matter how much I don't want to. And I will work at not obsessing about my weight, my weight loss and my size. Easier said than done, but it's all about progress, not perfection.