Atkins and Aaron and work. (oh my)

Even though my site seems to be down, I’m still going to post an update.

Aaron and I are finishing up Day #3 of the Atkins Diet, and doing surprizingly well. People have told me they felt like crap during the initial induction phase of the diet — I feel great. I feel less lethargic than I did, though I’d stop short of saying I actually feel energetic. I at least feel more alert… though that could have something to do with my attempts to get to bed before midnight this week and last.

I’m enjoying having him home when I get home. It’s like every night is a weekend-night. All except for Monday, when I worked 12 1/2 hours.

At work, we swapped off what clients’ accounts we each process, and our temp, Rama, has apparently hit her breaking point with the stuff I used to run. She’s now complaining to our boss that she should only be working 30-35 hours a week as a temp, and she’s working 40+, and she wants to swap off with one of the other temps, so they can process for awhile and let her prep the work like they do. No dice, as per our meeting last week, but our supervisor, Andrew, said he’ll step in whenever she’s ready to go home. She was not satisfied with that answer, since it seems like he’s just trying to placate her, and not deal with the problem at its source — the problem being that the processors work 45-hour weeks (soon to be longer still), and the preppers are scrambling to barely make their 35 to 40.

We’re all at a snapping point. We’re sincerely hoping that we can all quit at once, having found other jobs, and leave Andrew floundering. We’ll see…

Gravity Games

Hey, remember this from the front page?

Week #1
9/7 – 9-13
No Dew Week

Week #2
9/14 – 9/20
No Pasta Week

Week #3
9/21 – 9/27
No Candy Week

Well, nix that. I’m joining Aaron on his full-on foray into Atkins, starting Monday. (That’s tomorrow.) I’ve got my Atkins profile up on their website, and checked out some recipes. Aaron’s gone full-force and bought the carb-counter book and the Atkins cookbook, and borrowed another low-carb cookbook from the library. He likes to eat more meat than I usually do, anyway, so I think the hardest thing for him is going to be cataloguing the carb content of everything that goes into his mouth.

Me, I’ve already broken myself of my Mountain Dew addiction, and I’ve pretty much cut out pasta. Those were the hard parts. Now I just have to get up early enough to eat breakfast, and remember to make myself a lunch before I go to bed the previous day (since I won’t just be grabbing a frozen meal from the freezer on my way out).

So, we’ll see how that goes. I’m looking forward to it myself.

Yesterday, Aaron and I headed out to Cleveland for the Gravity Games. For those of you who aren’t big “Extreme Sports” freaks, the Gravity Games includes skateboard vert (ramp) and street (men’s and women’s), freestyle motocross, wakeboarding, inline skating street and vert, and bike dirt, street, and vert. We watch it on NBC every year, and it’s been in Cleveland for the past couple of years, but we haven’t gotten out to watch it live. This year, though, since we got the heads-up at the Taste of Cleveland, we went out and got tickets for this bad boy.

We left around noon, and got there around two-ish. Found parking for five bucks, walked the couple blocks to the Games, brandished our tickets, received loose-fitting wristbands, opened my camera case (for no one to actually search it), and we were in. We walked around the Festival Village, which was basically the marketing and merch fairway, and got some stickers and a sampler CD of some kind. Could have gotten more stuff, had we actually been able to approach some of the booths, but the stuff we got was pretty much shoved at us by booth attendants out in the middle of the fairway.

We wandered over and found a bike dirt venue, where kids were allowed to go down a ramp and do their best trick on a five-foot dirt hill. I finished up the roll of film that was in my camera by snapping photos of the kids, and of the one guy who was running the show, who would go down the ramp occasionally, to keep it interesting. He turned a backflip almost as soon as we got there to watch, so I didn’t get that on film. 🙁

One of the great things about the Gravity Games being in Cleveland (besides the fact that it’s close enough to drive) is that your ticket gets you into the Rock Hall for half-price. So, we spent about an hour and a half, I think, wandering around the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. And we didn’t even get upstairs! We decided that our little taste of the Rock Hall was just enough to make us want to go make a day of it sometime in the future.

Bob Burnquist, Rune Glifberg, and Andy Mac watch one of the lower-ranking skaters (Sandro Diaz?) pull off a tailgrab. (c)  Pat Wright, Gravity GamesAround 4:00, we headed out and tried to find a spot in the bleachers by the vert ramp. It took some patience, and several seat relocations, but we ended up on the top row of bleachers, right by the WKYC Channel 3 sign. (So, if you happen to watch the Gravity Games on some Sunday afternoon in the next two months, and watch the Men’s Skateboard Vert Finals, look for us.) We ended up watching the Women’s Skateboard Vert Practice and Demo, so we could have our good seats for the Men’s Finals later that evening. I spent one roll of film on the Vert ramp, so we’ll see how that comes out.

It was great being able to see some of the skaters live: Bob Burnquist, Andy MacDonald, Bucky Lasek, Pierre-Luc Gagnon, Rune Glifberg… Too bad there was no Tony Hawk, but I guess you’ll have that when you retire. *shrug*
We headed out around 9:15pm — after the Finals were over, but before the scores were announced. Made it to the car, found I-90 West, and stopped for dinner at a TGIFridays in Westlake on our way home. Got home around 12:30am or so, which is early for coming in from an out-of-town excursion. Usually it’s 3am. 🙂

So, good weekend. Yeah. And Aaron’s got the next four weeks off of work, so he’ll be home when I get home from work every day. w00t! That makes things a little better, too.

My Weight-Loss Plan… For Real This Time

All right, guys. I’m going to proclaim my goals out loud (so to speak) and unashamedly, so that I cannot renounce my plans.

I am fat. More than fat, I am obese. I can’t seem to locate the entry where I discussed how I’m not-quite-morbidly obese and linked to the scary Flash BMI calculator (Beth? Do you remember?), but we’ve gone over the fact several times in the months before the wedding. I am still the same weight I was in November… which could be good or bad. I choose to be grateful that I haven’t gained any more weight. I maintain that there is some validity to the concept of a weight setpoint, since I seem to have stabilized around a given weight.

Oh, hell. I’m not going to dance around it anymore. I weigh 250lbs. *collective gasp*

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am 70 pounds overweight by the most conservative estimate. Being my ideal weight (my personal ideal weight, not what "they" say) would put me back in middle school — though I’m now about three inches taller than I was then. (Yeah, I hit my growth spurt in sixth grade. Oh, the horror…)

So, you say, whatcha gonna do about it? Well, I’m glad you asked.

First, I’m going to create a little spot for current weight info in my sidebar on the main page. That way, everyone can cheer me on (*nudge, nudge*). I’ll include my current weight (embarrassing though it may be), BMI (body mass index), and body fat percentage, and indicators as to whether each is rising or falling.

Next, I’m going to set goals. Actually, let’s do that right now. *scribbles math problems on scrap paper* OK, let’s assume I can lose one pound a week. That’s fair and relatively simple, right? Right. So, that would put me at my ideal weight on New Year’s Eve 2005. Not this coming New Year’s, but the following. (Good God, that’s a long time.)

But I need short-term goals, too, so let’s figure I’ll aim for ten pounds in ten weeks? That means I’m shooting for 240 by… oh, let’s say October 1st. Certainly I can do that… right?

— There. I just wrote it on my calendar. Hang on, do I need a five-pound mark? Oh, OK… *writing on calendar again* There. The end of September.

…Oh, yeah. Don’t I need a diet and exercise plan now? D’oh!

Actually, I have several books on the subject (yes, yes, Aaron and I have the Atkins Diet book…), but my favorite is The 200 Calorie Solution. No, it’s not a super-starvation diet. 🙂 It tells all about thermogenesis, which is the body’s burning of calories after a meal, and explains how to get the most out of your exercise by walking or doing other exercise within an hour after a meal. The idea is that if you can boost your metabolism just a little, that will be enough to raise your basal metabolic rate so you continue to burn calories at a higher rate. The process expounds upon itself, and eventually your body actually becomes an efficient fat-burner. Theoretically. I like this program because it strokes my food-ego; I don’t think I eat more than your average person, nor do I eat worse food. I do eat too many starches, though, and I’ll admit to being a pastaholic. I’ll give you that. Overall, though, I think I’m just too sedentary. (Case in point: I’m sitting here blogging while I should be out practicing what I’m preaching.)

Another favorite book of mine is The Setpoint Diet. It’s more dietary than exercise-based, but it’s portion control rather than calorie-counting. It also includes an exercise factor, though, as should any good weight-loss program. The hook to this diet is the groupings of foods into the stardard food groups, plus an "A list," a "B list," and "freebies." The concept is that complete elimination of any food group (ahem, Atkins Diet) is unhealthy for the body itself and a dieter is less likely to remain on a diet which completely removes a given food or group of foods. Eventually you’ll go off the diet, or just cheat, and the weight will come back. (Yes, I know there is a throng of Atkins supporters out there… I side with the anti-Atkins bunch, even though I haven’t tried the diet myself. Call me a skeptic, call me hypocritical, call me stupid, but I still say it’s just not sound.) Anyway, on this diet, you’re allowed to have, say, a couple beers or a piece of cake or some real mayo. Just not a whole lot of it, and not all the time.

The reason it’s called the Setpoint Diet is because the author is one of the believers of setpoint theory, which says that your body tries to stabilize itself at a given weight, just like it does with temperature (with shivering and sweating). If you kick-start your metabolism with exercise, and reach the lower setpoint without your body thinking it’s starving, your body will attempt to stabilize at the new, lower setpoint. Setpoint theory has also been supported with underweight people who try to gain weight, fyi. (I’ll look up some references later, for the skeptical.)

So, yeah. My first obstacles are a.) walking for 30 continuous minutes a day, and b.) eating breakfast. Speaking of, I should go for a walk now.

Anybody need a diet buddy? Come on, I know you’re out there…

T-minus Two Months…

Yep… I’ll be Mrs. Schnuth in about 60 days. Kinda scary in a cool kind of way.

I guess I should keep all the girls who read this updated on the wedding planning thing. Oh, yeah, and maybe Dan and Eric will be moderately interested, too. 🙂

Well, Sheryl has been kind enough to act as a surrogate bridesmaid while I’ve been getting my dress altered, traipsing 20 minutes north to Rossford on Tuesday, then on Saturday, then again a couple weeks from now. She’s also helped me find some appropriate undergarments, since the neat thingy I bought online totally peeks out of the back and armpits of my dress. Gah. Anyway, I’m sure she’s seen more of my pale flesh than she ever bargained for.

I was totally lucky to get as nice of a dress as I did for only $99 on eBay. (The auction’s expired now, but once the wedding’s done and Aaron’s seen the dress, I’ll post up the auction page that I saved.) I’m not used to wearing form-fitting apparel, so the dress actually makes me feel thinner, I think.

Speaking of… Now that I’ve been on a weight-loss kick (sort of) for four or five months, making a graph of my weight as I go, I can really tell when I gain my monthly few pounds. My graph makes a pretty picture like waves now. 🙂 I’ve pretty much accepted the fact that I’ll look like I do now at the wedding. I won’t look like I did during drumcorps, and I won’t look like I did even five years ago. (Would you believe I put on 50 pounds between 1997 and the year 2000? Seriously. That’s amazing to me. What’s even more amazing is how much longer than that it’ll take to get that weight back off…)

This week’s goal is to take two walks daily, preferably after meals. Should be a good week for it, except for Sunday, when snow flurries may rear their ugly heads.

Man, my writing is all over the place today. I can’t seem to concentrate on one topic long enough to get a good thing going. Bah. Maybe I should go watch the news… although I know what’ll be on.

Random Thoughts

Today at work I jotted down several blogworthy thoughts I had over the course of the mind-numbing workday:

When the temperature in the office reaches a certain point — say, 75°F or so — the vents open to allow outside air to filter in and cool things down. Over the past couple of days, this outside air has smelled of a slight tinge of spring. So cruel… so cruel. Barely above freezing, and my nostrils are dreaming of the spring thaw.

Some people at my work have accused others of being resistant to change. One person in particular, by the name of Loni, has done this accusing. Since our boss has begun a transition in our record-keeping from Microsoft Excel (which Loni set up herself about three years ago) to an Access database, it’s amazing how resistant this accuser is to change…

I read an article about premarital counseling in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. It had mundane but important questions like, “will you love your spouse if she gains 50 pounds?” Then I realized how much Aaron must really love me… because I have gained 50 pounds since he met me. Literally. I’m surprized he hasn’t staged an intervention in the meantime. 🙂

I’m not eating enough. (Nice segue.) I wake up too late to eat breakfast (I have to be awake awhile before I can stomach it), then when I eat lunch, I just have one of those little Weight Watchers-type frozen meals. When I’m done eating, I’m still hungry. I wait the prescribed 20 minutes after eating, for the food to “hit bottom,” and I’m still hungry. It’s easier to ignore the hunger while I’m at work, but I’m sure that it’s not healthy, anyway. Then I come home and am either too hungry to eat, or I go on an evening-long food binge. Ramen… canned veggies… hot dogs… ham… plum… all the stuff I probably should have eaten (or not) during the course of the day, crammed into a few hours of down-time at home. I need to fix this if I want to lose weight and be healthier.

Loni was telling about the wedding she went to in Chicago over the weekend — apparently the bride wore a scarf over her shoulder, bearing her family’s Irish colors. Neat idea. Then it occured to me… if I were to claim so-called citizenship of only one family in my genealogy, which would it be? There are certain lines I’ve been inclined to research more than others — some because they’re easier to find, some because they’re more interesting to learn about, and some because I’m closest to their descendants. I think I’d probably claim citizenship in the White family if I had to choose one. That’s my Granny’s mama, Maudie (which would be my mom’s mother’s mother’s mother, my great-great-grandmother). Interesting that I choose the matriarchal line; we’ve got some strong females in my family. …So what happened to me?

As far as my last blog entry, where I wondered if I’d become less of a person because I’ve ceased to struggle against my less-than-relevant job, I’ve come to a conclusion of sorts. I’d rather be sated, unruffled and relatively content in a job I didn’t intend to work than be miserable and unsatisfied in the same job. If I can ride things out, waiting in the wings and watching for opportunities, and make rent money in the process, why not?

Mary at work thinks I’ve lost weight. I was wearing my new black pants with the elastic waistband that doesn’t make my fat ooze out where it shouldn’t, and on top of that I wore a thigh-length blouse. I think it was all an optical illusion, since I’ve really only lost six pounds.

Oh, and in case you were wondering: no, I didn’t write all of this at work. I took notes so I’d know what to write later. I don’t have that kind of free time at my job…

Heroes

No, no, not David Bowie.

I have weird trains of thought. I hadn’t done my daily blog checks for a few days, so I headed first to Sheryl’s site, then to Beth’s, where I got impersonally schooled for not updating more often. (::ouch::) Anyway, I read about her weight-loss frustrations, which turned my thoughts to my own weight-loss kick. (After, of course, wondering why Beth would think she needs to lose weight.)

To help bolster my weight-loss motivation, I put a big scowling picture of Henry Rollins on my desktop. He’s looking directly at me, silently chanting his seven-word solution to losing weight: "Eat less. Eat better. Move your body." This has become my mantra since seeing Henry’s spoken word gig in Columbus on Saturday.

This thought led me to the conclusion: Henry Rollins is my fitness hero.

I’ve ruminated on the hero/role-model concept ever since my pre-teen years in Sunday School, when they told us to find a role model and emulate him or her. It occured to me even then that I couldn’t find anyone who was quite where I wanted to be, who was quite who I wanted to be. Since that point, I’ve denounced the idea of an overall personal role-model as absurd. If I try to be Person X… then who am I? And how does my attempt to be Person X belittle him or her — especially if I’m successful? Her uniqueness factor is kicked down a notch. As is my own.

On the other hand… if I could find someone who personifies each aspect of myself, and emulate that aspect of them, our uniqueness as individuals remains intact. Plus, I’m not forced to cheapen myself on other aspects of my being that Person X might not have, or have as strongly as I do.

Some of my other heroes are a little personal, so I won’t blab them here. Some of my personal heroes change from year to year. Some are famous (like Hank). Some of them are people you know.

I challenge you to identify your own personal heroes. Be truthful. It might be strange on some levels, but you might be surprized at who you actually emulate.

Wedding Obsession — er, Planning — Continues

This evening, on WeddingChannel.com, I discovered something that disturbed me as I had not been disturbed since discovering the Tony Hawk Pro Skater Create-A-Skater mode.

The link said, “try on gowns on a model that looks like you!” I shrugged and clicked like the trained internet monkey that I am. After a few minutes of clicking and thinking, thinking and clicking, then a little gasping and rethinking and clicking again, I created VirtuaDiana. Fortunately or not, the gown sizes available required me to downsize VirtuaDiana from current actual size to projected wedding-day size. This will require a weight loss of 1.4 lbs per week from this week until the wedding day. It could happen.

(As a side note… I’ve noticed that VirtuaDiana’s breasteses are severely lacking. Her only choices, unfortunately, were small-med and med-large. The Create-A-Model designers failed to take into account those of us with a large build who count on our enormous hooters to balance us out.)

In related news, today I played Dance Dance Revolution 3rd Mix for 15 minutes in Diet Mode, and also discovered that pomegranate seeds a.) are a good snack, and b.) are a good carpet dye.

Gone for a Walk

I decided this evening after work, around 9:15 or so, to go deposit a couple of eBay checks that had been living in my wallet for way too long. I stuck my pen in my hair, wallet and keys in my pockets, and I was on my way.

Once I’d hit the ATM and checked my balance, I didn’t want to go home. It was too nice out. So, I decided to walk. I walked down Main Street, trying to decide where to walk. I glanced up at the Huntington Bank clock. Flip — 67 degrees. Flip — 9:22pm. Flip — 67 degrees…

At any rate, campus would be ideal for walking, being dimly lit and without through streets… but I wasn’t going to walk 15 minutes just to walk around, then walk 15 minutes back afterwards. Maybe I’d walk the residential streets. And that’s what I’d decided, until about five steps from the crosswalk by the Corner Grill. I could see the Administration Building down Court Street, and decided that the University wasn’t that far away… I crossed the street at the signal, and walked past the Corner Grill, past the Methodist Church, past the Courthouse, all the while fixating on the Admin Building and the cool, still night.

About five steps from Enterprise Street and three blocks from BGSU, I decided that the University really was too far to walk just for sport, and I made a quick left. This is where the usual mental drift that accompanies my solitary walks began. Not that I walk in front of moving vehicles or get myself lost, but that I think of the strangest random things, like:

  • I really don’t have that many friends I can hang out with anymore. My Senior year at BGSU, I’d finally made enough friends that, if I felt like being social, I could call up Beth or knock on Donna’s door upstairs or go visit Tim two floors up. I still have two local acquaintances that I went to BGSU with, but I really wouldn’t feel as comfortable just calling them up out of the blue and going to their apartments to play PS2 or something.
  • I’ve had this weird habit ever since that Creative Writing curriculum in third grade. When things happen around me or near me, I involuntarily try to compose the appropriate prose in my head — as if I were writing my life’s story moment by moment. I heard some guy make a noise down the alley and thought, “It sounded like a a retch, or grunt, or some other incoherent cry.” Hey, I never said it was good… only involuntary.
  • I really have gained a lot of weight. I realized this as I looked down at my shadow before me. Then I realized that my arms touch my sides when I walk. Not just at my hips, not just my armpits, and not just my boobs. My entire side. This was somehow more disturbing to me than my recent discovery of a “gut flap.” It only strengthened my resolve to somehow lose 45 pounds in eight or nine months.

At any rate, I finally looped back around and joined up with Main Street again, this time the opposite direction. Walking back under the Huntington Bank sign, I looked up. Flip — 9:47pm. Flip — 63 degrees. Flip — 9:47pm…