Thursday, February 18, 2010

Nine Days in February

February 2, 2010
Day 1
I was always extremely thin as a child, teenager and young adult. And then I turned 26 and I popped. It was weird. It almost literally happened over night. I simply exploded!
It sucked!
I have gone up and down 25 pounds every few years for nearly two decades.
I struggle with self-loathing and low self-esteem.
I suck!
This is my diary of cleansing, soul-searching and (with God’s grace) weight-loss over a nine day period at the beginning of February. My husband was working in New Orleans for two weeks and I felt like this would be the perfect time to “cleanse” my system and get rid of the excesses in my life. I had visions in my head of being a noticeably thinner version of myself upon his return. Little did I know, we were about to be attacked by a record-breaking blizzard in our area that would leave me trapped in my home alone for the better part of two weeks!
On the very first day, I first started thinking about food at 9:45am. Not even so much hungry as just thinking about food. I didn’t start to actually feel hungry until 9:57am.
I am doing meal-replacement shakes for five of the nine days and a liquid fast for four of them.
My first shake was good! Large! I made it in the blender and since I only use the blender for frozen fruity beverages, the only thing missing to me was a banana and some booze. I am like one of Pavlov’s dogs .... hear the blender, think frozen adult treat. Putting that aside, I did enjoy the flavor of the shakes and readily accepted the fact that this was a meal, not a cocktail!
As time went on, I realized that I was cold and I am lazy. So I think about eating. I think about what food would taste like. I am not hungry. I am bored.
It snowed overnight.
I was able, however, to stick to the plan and lost over 4 pounds the first day! I am drinking the Kool-aide now, baby! This stuff really works!!
Okay, on day two - I am inspired! I think I will do a fast today and tomorrow. I feel slightly hungry this morning but more, I believe, out of habit than hunger. I always wake up, grab a diet soda pop and make something to eat. I am going to get a glass of water and plan my day! I can’t believe I lost over 4 pounds in a day doing NOTHING! This is amazing! Fasting will be far more difficult, I know, but it will so be worth it in the end!!!!!
I am feeling very positive right now!
I first started feeling my real hunger pangs at about 4pm on the second day of my plan, the first day of fasting. It’s the first I’ve actually felt my stomach growling and I found myself thinking about food constantly. The commercials and television programs seemed to absolutely bombard me with images of lovely meals and treats.
I am giving it up to Jesus.
I am reminding myself how much I do not like ME right now. I am reminding myself of how ugly I feel and how I shy away from social situations and cameras simply because I cannot stand the way I look. I really want to be successful with this plan.
I have a pack of green Jell-o looking at me. It is my cheat. It is ten calories and no sugar. If I DO cheat with the Jell-o, it’s not really that bad, I think.
I stare at the Jell-o snack pack and it stares at me. For three hours.

I didn’t cheat!! I am going to bed feeling good about myself!!!!

I did not sleep well at all that night! When I did sleep, I dreamed of food and cockroaches! And drowning.
I felt very tired the next morning. I felt a bit shaky, but not terribly hungry. I was not looking forward to another liquid day, but I believed I could do it!! I was so pleased with the results!! I lost 6.6 lbs in two days! I only expected 7lbs total, so I was extremely pleased!!
This is a note I wrote to myself:
I can totally see how eating disorders happen. After 2 days of fasting, I am sitting here worried that there won't be much loss tomorrow. I am stressing about putting on weight when I get to eat my one meal for the next four days. I am feeling some bizarro power over myself and my hunger and desire to eat. It's weird!!! I don't think it will last, sadly, but for right now I am feeling it. And it's gross that I say "sadly"! Like I freking WANT an eating disorder!”

Feb 5, 2010, first official snow day - although it hasn’t even started snowing yet! I made it through two days of fasting and was losing weight.
I was absolutely thrilled with my results!! I was a little shocked, truth be told, but absolutely thrilled!!
We were expecting and received a ton of snow starting that day, so I took a vacation day. I was worried about getting stuck in DC, which normally would have been fun! I could have stayed with a friend and it would have been an adventure, but with Jerry gone, I couldn’t take a chance on not being able to get home to my dogs.
And in a very selfish way - I was thrilled! If I was home, I would not face as many temptations. I knew that if the weather got as bad as they were saying, Metro would be closed the next day which meant I wouldn’t be back to work until the following Monday!! I was really thinking “this is it”!! I had lost over 8 pounds and it was only the beginning of Day 4!! I had 5 more days of the program and a couple of extra days just to be safe!
I was so happy!!!
I had my first shake of the day at 11:15am. I was ready for it! After 2 days with no food, it tasted like heaven! It was like having a treat!! I bought myself some bendy straws and I was feeling rather decadent!!
I was feeling fantastic!
Journal entry: “I am home during a snow storm. The news is saying we are in for a huge blizzard. It is gently snowing now, but it started right on cue. They are talking about losing power and water, but I think I am fine. I have plenty of bottled water and enough food for my meager meals anyway. The timing is actually perfect! Since I don’t even have to be at work, there is nothing to stress about as far as the weather! If I lose power, I will just bundle up my pups in the bedroom and grab my book. I have plenty of candles. It’s almost exciting!!”

My first solid meal since noon on Tuesday was 560 calories. And delicious! The flavors almost seemed .... intense.
And, expectedly, I had boo-boo belly.
Day 5. Snowed in alone with my dogs and my appetite. Alas, my weight did not drop overnight. It did, however, stay the same. I was worried about adding food after the fast, so I am so pleased that my weight didn’t go up!
“Today I am facing the kiss of death: Boredom! I will not let myself eat out of boredom. Or convince myself that I am starving out of boredom. Or talk myself out of sticking to the plan out of boredom.”
I have several FEET of snow to remove from my driveway so I may possibly leave the homestead and venture back into the real world at some point. People will think I had been snowed in without food, I am so damn thin! I drank gallons of water while I shoveled, scooped and pushed the heavy snow. I was freezing, exhausted and hungry.
Feb 10, 2010
Day 9
Another freking blizzard!
This is day 9 of my program. The last day! It is a fasting day which means no solid food. I went to work the day before and successfully fasted the entire day. Today is also yet another snow day for me. I have only worked two days since I started this program! Both were Fasting days, ironically. I am thinking, I can actually do this!! I can’t believe I have lost 10lbs!!
I am thrilled and scared!
I am also freezing!
The heat in my house can’t keep up with the cold outside. Especially with the added pleasure of 35 mph winds. I thought, What Would Jerry Do? Oh yeah, he would turn on the oven for heat!
I did that.
And the ghosts of every wonderful thing ever baked in that oven are visiting me like it’s Christmas Eve in Victorian England! Every pizza, every cookie, every cake, every Thanksgiving dinner and pasta casserole, every turkey, cheesy potato, and brownie ... all marching by me like a Mardi Gras parade. While I slowly freeze and starve to death, my oven is whistling “When the Saints Come Marching In” ....
... but I WILL NOT CAVE!!!
Day 10
The program is “officially” finished!! However, I am going to continue to lose on my own. I am positive of this fact. I am not super thrilled to weigh what I weigh, but it is an awesome start !! 11.2 pounds lost in nine days! That is amazing!
I am remembering Bridget Jones’s Diary (the book) when Bridget lost a bunch of weight and was so tickled with herself. She couldn’t wait to go to work so everyone could tell her how amazing she looked! She got to work and everyone looked at her with disgust, “What happened?! You look terrible! Were you sick?!?!”
I was expecting that to happen to me. I was prepared for that reaction! I had several quick comebacks for their reactions. 11.2 pounds in nine days is huge! People will feel sorry for me. They will think I was stuck all alone out in the woods in the blizzard of a lifetime ... no food ... perhaps an illness.
But I could handle it. I would handle it with grace and humor while feeling delightful inside my new svelte frame!

No one noticed.
Not one coworker.
Not one friend.
Not one husband who had been gone for two weeks.
No. One. Noticed.

Yesterday, a colleague came into my workplace looking wildly thin! I couldn’t believe it! I gushed over him! He was happy and said he just reached his goal weight the day before! He had lost 75lbs! Amazing!!
Another coworker and friend said, “He looks the same to me.”

....I felt a little better!

Where the God of Love Hangs Out by Amy Bloom

I am not sure what is wrong with me. I choose books that other people seem to like. I choose books that are recommended on television, magazines, newspaper reviews .... I choose books that are supposedly amazing. I choose books because I like the cover.
But, for some reason, I am not getting it.
Where the God of Love Hangs Out is a book of short stories. I love short stories and was excited to read this novel. Some of the little tales in this book connect to each other and some stand alone. A little weird, honestly, but I could live with that. And the author is obviously talented. But, for me, the stories were just sad and a little .... well .... sexual.
Now, I am no prude, but I was a little unimpressed with the infidelity and near-incestuous sexual content. Perhaps in one story, I wouldn't mind on the grounds that it was one story and a look into that specific life. But the theme popped up again and again and I just wasn't enjoying it, frankly.
Her characters were lovely, however, and I could easily believe each and every scene she created. Her writing is extremely real.
All and all, definitely not a bad book. It was simply not one that I would recommend or even look back upon with any degree of fondness.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

What Mr. Eliot Said ...

“Books are the quietest and most constant of friends; they are the most accessible and wisest of counselors, and the most patient of teachers.”
— Charles W. Eliot

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

The Draining Lake by Arnaldur Indridason

Honestly, The Draining Lake will not go on my list of favorites. I didn’t hate it, necessarily, I simply did not enjoy it as much as other novels I have read.
The title, to me, had very little to do with the story itself, firstly. I could dig deeply and find a meaning, I suppose, but it would be a stretch and not really worth my time.
It was tough for me to get started, though, because I became tangled up in words. I do not speak Icelandic. For awhile, I didn’t know if the author was talking about a person or a lake. Many characters were introduced very quickly, and with their unrecognizable names, I didn’t know if they were women, men, proper names, titles, ... cities .... ?
This book is part of a series, apparently, and perhaps I would have struggled less with the names if I had read a few of the others, but I doubt it.
I liked the mystery of this book, especially the back story about a group of Icelandic students attending university in Communist East Germany during the 1950’s. But the mystery was more interesting than the outcome and some story lines were left completely unresolved, which irritated me.
I feel like I struggled through so much confusion with language only to be disappointed with the story in the end.