Thursday, November 29, 2007

Can It Be This Simple?

I sat yesterday in my comfortable chair reading health-related articles on the Internet and wondered why my body seemed to have relegated the responsibility for fat loss to someone else, someone I didn't know and who refused to share. I mused that this person, who was very fit and probably sexually active to the point of perversion, didn't realize I had given him perpetual thinness and he didn't care. Just like a man, he pocketed my precious gift and went on, unaware that I was now hideously fat so that he could make dozens of booty calls and eat whatever he wanted, when he wanted, even who he wanted.

I became so enraged at the thought that maybe it was Shia LaBeouf who had stolen my health and fat-melting metabolism that I very nearly got up off my extra seat cushions and made myself a snack. Almost. After all, I needed to finish reading my health articles so I could finally figure out how I had inadvertently transferred my sexy athleticism to another person.

I shifted in my chair and looked at a promising article titled "A New Way to Control Weight?"


I wasn't particularly excited by the title since I had seen dozens of very similar ones before. Heck, most of them did without the question mark and went straight to dramatic and fat burning exclamation points. Those were called "advertisements" and usually shilled for products that made you soil your pants but did promote a loss of weight along with your dignity (see "Alli Oops!").

But unlike many research articles I had read in the past that claimed, at least preliminarily, to have created a new substance for fat loss, this one had a simple premise instead: Stand up more.

That was it. Stand up more, or sit less, and creatures big and small burn more fat.

Could that really be the key? The scientists claim that although we have known for some time that standing and walking use more bio-chemical energy ("food") than sitting, they only recently discovered that it isn't just sheer numbers of calories that changes with position. Apparently your body chemistry profoundly changes when you sit for long periods of time and the actual fat metabolizing process SHUTS DOWN if you sit for too long. Even if you have exercised earlier in the day, once you sit for a while, whatever fat-burning machine you thought you turned on by jogging for two hours simply TURNS OFF.

The implications of this are enormous and of course they need more study to determine exactly why the body ceases lipase production when you park on your giant ass for extended periods of time (lipase is the chemical that allows your body to "burn" stored fat). But the message they say is clear: in addition to regular exercise, you MUST stand and walk around more and sit less if you ever wish to lose weight.

It seems too simple to work, but I must say even anecdotally I know I was always thinner when I had a job or just hobbies where I sat at my computer less. I weighed 130lbs when I worked as a theater usher at the age of 16 and it wasn't because I vigorously "ushered" anyone. Mostly I just stood in one place and took tickets. But I guess the key was I "stood" there bored and unhappy, trying to imagine sexual relations with my cuter co-workers in skirts at the concession stand.

Years later as a night club manager, I spent most of my time walking around talking with staff and guests and, after closing, drinking thousands of calories in alcohol. I was maybe 150lbs. When I left club management and took a job as a director of marketing and advertising for clubs (I really liked clubs...) I gained thirty pounds in less than a year. I actually stopped drinking and snacking and had regular meals, but I also spent most of my work day behind a desk and a computer, wedged into a soft chair. At the time I convinced myself that it was my new-found sobriety that had caused the fattening... you know, because I was running marathons drunk.

But now I am not so sure.

For years I have contended that something was taking place that made it impossible to lose weight even though I exercised and controlled my diet. If this new research is true, it will still be my fault that I have gotten, um, less sexy, but at least I will have a better idea of what I can do to change my current condition. Just the idea that I can regain control over my own body fills me with an excitement I haven't felt in years and is for once unrelated to skimpy clothing draped suggestively over hott, easy models with loose morals and poor taste in men.

What if I can actually change my whole life for the better by just buying a tall desk and doing all of my computer research and on-line writing while standing? I already do the exercise that gets my body burning fat; what if I keep that healthy engine going by limiting my sitting?

What if it really is that simple?

I don't want to get too hopeful as I have become very comfortable with cynicism and frustration. I wear those two like an old sweater, soft and warm. But maybe this time things will be different.

Just maybe.


Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Biggest Loser - Hanging by a Pole

This past week has been busy, so I completely missed the opportunity to vote on a favorite challenge for the competitors. But when they announced the winner, I was happy because I wanted the pole challenge. It seemed the least dangerous and the best test of how far the contestants have come strength-wise.

Here's how it worked. The contestants went out onto a temporary cat walk and wrapped themselves around a large metal pole. Then the walk was removed and they had to hang onto the pole for as long as they could. The prize was a nice family vacation at a ski resort.

The way it went down was somewhat predictable...Isabeau was off that pole in a matter of seconds. Then surprisingly, Neil, followed by Bryan, Hollie and then Nicole. That left Julie and Bill hanging on...both wanted the vacation for their families. Julie put up quite a struggle but finally fell off. So Bill won, again. That man has been winning everything, but I am happy for him. He works very hard and earns what he gets.

Unfortunately, the other contestants, particularly his Black Team teammate, Hollie, weren't very gracious. Hollie definitely seems to have an attitude problem, and Jillian even talked about that on the show, saying she didn't really know how to approach Hollie. She got upset if Jillian honored her wishes not to train very hard because of an injured ankle, then when Jillian realized she was upset and offered to train her, she got snippy and refused to train. So she is basically one of those people you can't win with.

At the weigh-in, it came down to Bryan and Hollie, and I really wanted Hollie to go home, but I knew the Black Team would keep Hollie as a strategic move. So Bryan went home. He looks amazing now; he's lost a total of 118 pounds since starting The Biggest Loser. His departure marked a Biggest Loser first; it was the first time an entire team was eliminated. The Red Team is no more. I think Kim needs to look at how she trains because the reason the team got down so far is that they never could win a weigh-in. Her team pretty consistently lost the least amount of weight, even with the Blue Team cheating at the weigh-ins.

So another of my favorite players goes home, and we're another week closer to the finale. I can't wait to see what happens and who goes to the final four.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

The Fat Philosopher

I shall start today with a quote from Voltaire:

"One day everything will be well, that is our hope. Everything's fine today, that is our illusion."

I don't know what that means, but it had the words "hope" and "illusion" in it, so it seemed germane to the topic of weight loss and good health.

Far be it from me to suggest that most good health is a fantasy, but anecdotal evidence continues to mount that after the age of 30 we are really just delusional beings praying that we don't get sick. And don't even get me started on the insurance industry here in the States praying along with us that we never take ill or, Heaven forbid, stop making monthly payments.

If it sounds like I'm bitter today, or bitterer (more bitter?), then I have done an effective job of communicating my mood. You see yesterday was weigh-in day and let's just say things aren't "fine", even in an delusional sense:

I am now an Earth shattering 216 lbs.

When I walk across my apartment floor, the support beams now groan with the effort to keep my enormous ass from breaking through and landing on the downstairs neighbors. The walls literally rattle if I cross my kitchen quickly, say to get a healthy snack or return a small plate of cut vegetables to the sink. If I have a notion to exercise in front of the television, I have to alert the local emergency response personnel so they will not issue earthquake warnings.

And perhaps worst of all I am sick of my own complaints. I simply wish to be thinner and need to get down to the serious business of getting fit and healthy. No more whining; a lot more exercising.

Problem is, that's what I've been doing all year. I know it to be true because I keep a very detailed log of what I eat each day and how much I exercise. Since January when I weighed 219lbs., I have exercised, on average, 8 HOURS (up to TEN on some weeks) a week and consumed between 2000 and 2500 calories a day. Yet here I am, 11 months later, three pounds lighter... and gaining.

I would throw up my enormous, flabby arms in a sign of frustration and confusion, but the sudden change in air pressure in my apartment might blow out a window.

Instead I will sit and think, one of the things I am best at. My hope, it seems, is that I can one day figure out what I need to do to feel young and healthy again. My illusion is that time will stand still for me while I arrive at my answer.


Figuring it Out

Any regular reader knows I have a habit of complaining about my nefarious, back-stabbing body that always contrives to lose weight during the week, only to gain it back and then some just in time for Monday weigh-in. This week was no exception; I made it through Thanksgiving weighing in at 201.8 pounds, only varying up or down by a few ounces every day last week.

Knowing my history of weight gain just prior to weigh-in, I doubled my walking time on Saturday and Sunday to one hour instead of 30 minutes...and was especially careful about what I ate. I was so happy to have made it through Thanksgiving without a weight gain that I felt pretty good about the upcoming weigh-in. No such luck. Despite eating very lightly on Sunday and walking almost 5 miles over the previous two days, when I weighed in yesterday morning, I had gained two full pounds. I wasn't bloated or swollen so it wasn't water weight; it was just pure stubbornness on the part of my body; it's undying refusal to cooperate at all with my weight loss and fitness program.

Then I started thinking about it scientifically. I looked over my weight loss and exercise logs and realized that every single week, I weigh the least on Tuesday. For the 70 days I've been on this program, Tuesday is consistently the day of my lowest weight.

So I did what any right-thinking dieter would so...I changed my weigh-in day.

Now, as for why I always seem to gain weight over the weekend...I think it's because my Saturday and Sunday schedule is so radically different from my weekday norm. Monday through Friday, I wake up, walk on my treadmill, eat breakfast and get to work, which means I walk to my computer and start writing. I also do phone interviews and run a bit of laundry, wash a few dishes, go outside and pull a few weeds, rake some leaves, anything to keep the creative juices flowing. Writing is not a linear process. I don't get writer's block, (thank goodness), but over the years I have figured out ways not to get bored as I write. Sometimes that means a quick phone call to a family member or friend; sometimes that means a walk to the mailbox to see if the check really is in the mail (freelance writers live for mail delivery); sometimes it means a run to the grocery or the post office, or another 20 minutes of walking or exercise to get the old brain jump-started again.

Now, contrast that interesting, self-directed schedule to what happens on the weekend with my part time job. First I pack a dinner, then get in my car around 12:30 pm, and proceed to battle traffic over 42 miles of hideous major city Interstates. I'm surrounded by insane , enraged or chemically impaired drivers, drivers on the road with no citizenship papers, no knowledge of or respect for the English language or the laws and customs of this country, no legal drivers' license (they buy theirs at flea markets for $50.00), no drivers' training, no concept what a blind spot is, drivers who have 8 unrestrained children and 4 dogs bouncing around the bed of their pick-ups.

I can feel my blood pressure racheting up over the hour to hour and a half of the drive. I am sitting totally immobile, strapped into a seat as I fight to get to my job alive and in one piece. Sometimes I see horrible things. On Sunday, the Interstate was totally shut down. I called to work and they told me there was a major accident...a pickup driving wildly and at high speed on rain slick roads, weaving in and out of lanes, hit a puddle, lost control and flipped over.

I jumped off onto the service road. It was like swimming through molasses in January, but at least I was moving. The Interstate had been turned into a parking lot, full of police cars, two fire engines, wreckers...a real mess.

What I didn't know and the people at work didn't know since the police were being tight-lipped, was that when the pickup flipped over, the two unrestrained children in the back were ejected over the wall of the overpass down to the pavement 25 feet below. First of all, who makes their children ride in the back of a truck during a rainstorm? Secondly, as we learned later, who puts their children in their truck and then gets behind the wheel dead drunk in the middle of the day? The answer is, the guy who was driving this truck.

As I saw later on the tape at work, he was sitting hand-cuffed in the back of a police cruiser. But his children? Let's just say it was the most awful thing I have ever seen. As I crept up to the intersection, I began to see pieces of truck scattered all over the service road, and then I saw the blood. There was blood everywhere, dripping down the walls of the overpass, down the curbs, puddled in sickening circles on the pavement. It was a scene from a nightmare, one that is forever burned into my brain, one I would never have chosen to see in my lifetime.

By the time I got to work, I am sure my blood pressure was through the roof. But unlike at home where I can check it instantly and take some medication, do some breathing exercises or hop on the treadmill to bring it down, I was locked into an eight hour shift at a highly stressful job, producing the same amount of deadline work that just two years ago, they had three employees to do. Now there's just, because after all, the multi-billion dollar international conglomerate I work for needs to make even more money.

Mark my words: unbridled corporate and personal greed will be the downfall of this country.

While at work, I don't sit there knoshing all day or guzzling Coca-Cola. I drink water and eat the healthy dinner I packed and snack on an apple or pear or grapes.

When I get to work, I sit at my desk, close my eyes, do some deep breathing, try to recenter, refocus and calm myself, and plunge in. I sit unmoving for the next eight hours while news breaks all around me, the producer reorders the show and stories change. I write about murders, rapes, robberies, beatings, attacks on the homeless, and this past weekend, about a heartless 19-year-old mother and her Internet boyfriend who beat her 2-year-old daughter to death over a period of a few days, then stuffed her body into a tackle box in their storage shed just feet from their door, and then tossed the box into the Gulf of Mexico a few months later where a fisherman discovered her. Baby Grace. I couldn't sleep last night because of Baby Grace, and the terrifying, disheartening knowledge there are people like her mother and stepfather in this world.

There's hardly any time to eat at work, much less go to the bathroom. You're bombarded for eight hours with the worst of humanity, the violent, seamy bottom of the barrel dregs of awfulness. When it's all over at 10 pm, I am totally collapsed emotionally...a bleeding psychological wreck of a human being, my normal happy-go-lucky self completely turned inside out.

I still face the hour or more drive home, frequently in blinding rain (got to love these coastal climates) with a highway full of Saturday night drunks, thugs, gang members out to show how macho they are, rapists, robbers, and the odd, frightened older woman like me, just trying to get home.

Then on Sunday, a traditional day of rest, I get to do it all over again. It's no wonder I weigh so much on Monday morning. I've just been through two incredibly stressful days, driving through horrible traffic, (which I hate) and driving myself mercilessly to get my job done accurately and well before that red light goes on and we hit the air.

I need the entire week just to recover.

So, now that I have all that figured out, I have set some new goals. Within one year, I want to be well enough established as a free lance writer that I can give up my stressful weekend job. I am changing my weigh-in day to Tuesday, which may seem like a cheat to some, but to me, it seems a cheat to myself to weigh on Monday when my weight always spikes on that day.

Finally, despite my less than stellar results, despite the fact that my legs hurt all the time from the walking, despite not losing any more weight or inches even though I am faithfully sticking to my walking program and nutritional plan, I am going to keep walking and keep exercising and keep trying to lose weight. I am on Day 70 of my 90 Day Fitness Walking Program, and I am not about to give up now. I sometimes struggle to finish things but I will finish this program. I will get all 90 check marks in my journal.

And I will probably still weigh 206.4 pounds.


Planet Fat Cat

Friday, November 23, 2007

Happy Thankspigging!

Fact: Between Thankspigging and Christmas, adult Americans gain an average of 7 pounds each.

Declaration: Between Thankspigging and Christmas, I will not gain a single pound. In fact, I will do my darndest to lose a pound. And seeing as how it's taken me more than two months to lose 4 pounds, that's quite a feat.

Ah, Thankspigging. As I lie here in my recliner, spread out in all my somnolent post-prandial stupor...ah, I mean, splendor...I reflect upon how I fared turkey wise. I went to a neighbor's, fully intending to be disciplined...and proceeded to behave myself for the most part.

During the appetizer course, I had one cracker with spinach dip...ONE! During the meal itself...small servings of turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, beans, cranberry sauce or bread other than the stuffing.

Good, huh? But then came dessert. I had been eying the groaning dessert table with something akin to disdain; everything looked like it had trans fats in it and trans fats are something I have avoided like the plague for years; you might as well drink concrete as far as your arteries are concerned. And the weird thing is, ever since I found out how detrimental they are to your health, I have had no trouble passing on foods that contain them. That has nothing to do with trying to lose weight and everything to do with trying to prolong my own life.

Anyway, all the desserts looked greasy to me so I was more than able to pass them up until they opened the refrigerator and brought out a homemade-from-scratch Southern Banana pudding in a big old midnight blue ceramic bowl that reminded me so much of my mama's cooking I almost started crying. Well, what was I supposed to do? I couldn't disrespect the memory of my mama by turning down the pudding, now could I?

The problem was, this particular banana pudding is legendary in this particular crowd. The second the refrigerator door swung open, I was surrounded by rabid men and women swinging knives and forks through the air before them as they battled their way to the front of the line. Okay, they were plastic knives and forks, but it was scary I tell you. For once in my life, I was standing in the right place at the right time, right next to the refrigerator (Okay, again. I stand next to the refrigerator a lot, but usually, it's not such a good thing).

However, on this particular day, it was a very good thing indeed and I was handed one of the first servings of banana pudding. That elicited such shrieks of dismay from the crowd that I consider myself lucky to have gotten out of there alive, much less with my clothes still on and my banana pudding mostly intact. One lady may have stuck her thumb in it as I passed by; I'm not sure. But she didn't pull out a plum, just a piece of banana.

Oh, my God! What can I say? That banana pudding made from scratch was the single most divine thing I have ever put in my, creamy, just the right touch of sweetness, with the bananas firm and fragrant and the Vanilla Wafers still crisp. I have no idea how she did it.

All thoughts of a second and even third helping went out the window when I walked back to the kitchen and found two grown men wrestling on the floor in a sort of Banana Pudding Death Match 2007, to see who would get the last serving. Meanwhile, the extremely popular creator of this ambrosial concoction was staring at the empty bowl and saying, "Well, I declare. I made a triple recipe," like the good Southern woman that she is.

A triple recipe, ya'll. And it disappeared in 3 ticks of the clock.

All I can say is, I'm glad some of it disappeared into me.


I mean, meow.

Planet Fat Cat
(still licking banana creme from her whiskers...yum!)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Biggest Loser: Hooray for Hollywood (aka: A Legend Goes Home)

It never ceases to amaze me what the makeup wizards in Tinseltown can do to an ordinary Jane or Joe with just a few pots of eyeshadow and blush. I mean, I have those items sitting on my vanity, too, but somehow, even after I slap them on, I still don't look ready for prime time. Yes, last night on The Biggest Loser, the remaining contestants were transformed into stars with nothing more than a little flick of cunningly applied powder. And the funny thing worked.

Not that I claim to be any different, but as a group of human beings, this year's contestants are fairly average -looking. I don't say that to be mean but as a statement of fact. Most of us, myself included, are average-looking (still, I'll take that over being dog-butt ugly any day). But after these average people underwent their Hollywood transformations last night, they looked amazing...especially Isabeau, Nicole, Bryan and Bill. I mean, what do they put in their makeup out there in Hollywood...fairy dust?

No, wait. I forgot. It's star dust.

The makeovers were a special treat with a purpose; Prevention magazine was looking for a cover girl or guy for this month's issue. Bill looked like he could have just stepped off the cover of GQ and Isabeau's transformation was so startling I almost couldn't recognize her, but I think if I'd been doing the picking, I would have chosen Nicole. She looked completely different and so happy in her photos. But despite her success thus far, Nicole is still significantly overweight and looks it, so in the end, I was not surprised to see the editors chose Kae for their cover. At that point in the competition, she'd already lost 30 percent of her starting weight, and she looked the most "normal" among the contestants, many of whom still had a long way to go to reach a healthy weight.

They flashed a nanosecond shot of Kae's cover, which is on newsstands now, and I thought, "Wow! Aren't airbrushes great?" because she looked way smaller than what she was on the show. Turns out the picture wasn't shot then, but much later after Kae had lost a total of 88 pounds and gotten down to 137 pounds. So Prevention's offer to put a "fat" person on the cover of their magazine was a bit bogus I think.

The nice part was after the makeovers when one-by-one, the contestants checked themselves out in a three-way mirror. After they had ogled the stunning transformations for a while, the mirror opened and a significant other walked through, every one from spouses to brothers to best friends. The reunions were great and seeing the reactions of the S. O.'s to the contestants' progress was pretty cool, too,

Now on to the challenge. The contestants had to hoist themselves up on a pulley and a rope and physically hold their bodies above a line of yellow tape strung 3 feet off the ground. The winner got a $5,000 shopping spree from Prevention. It was a challenge that obviously favored lighter people. Nicole, Isabeau, Holly, Neil and surprisingly even Julie fell down pretty quickly, the first four because they had a lot of weight to keep up in the air. Julie's well under 200 pounds now so I was surprised how fast she fell down; I guess she just doesn't have much upper body strength.

That left Kae, Bill and Bryan holding on for dear life. Kae immediately hoisted herself all the way to the top of the rig, about 50 feet above the ground. Though he couldn't get himself quite as high, Bill did the same. Bryan never got himself very high up the rig but maintained where he was with sheer guts and intensity for quite a while. Finally, Bryan dropped down and slowly, slowly, Bill lost his grip, too and there was Kae, the smallest person in the competition, the heroine of the weekly weigh-ins, still hanging on doggedly way up in the air. It was nice to see her win the money.

When it came time for the weigh-in, most of the people I worry about, Bryan and Isabeau, people who have posted pretty low numbers regularly, stayed above the yellow line easily. When Nicole fell below the line, it wasn't shocking. She's been there before; she just doesn't seem to lose weight as easily as some of the other contestants. But when Kae fell below the line even though she posted her usual 3 to 4 pound weight loss, it shocked me. She's physically the strongest of the contestants, the most consistent and the biggest threat to win it all, so I knew instantly she was going home. Nicole is a threat to no one. Kae was the one to beat.

Her transformation at the live weigh-in was miraculous. Even though she only lost another 19 pounds after going home, that put Kae down to 137 pounds and she looked fabulous. Her trainer, Bob, grabbed her in a bear hug and wouldn't let go. I was afraid they were going to have to pry him off her with crow bars. I was afraid Kae's husband was going to have to call him out in a duel to the death for Kae's tiny little hand. He finally let go for a few nanoseconds so Kae could weigh in, then he grabbed her again. She probably has like three or four broken ribs this morning, but when Bob Harper's grabbing you, I guess it has to come under the heading of "hurt so good."

On a personal note, I finally quit staring with horror at the horrid pink balance ball, got it out of the box, blew it up and did the beginner's exercise routine. The good news is I didn't fall off and kill myself. The bad news is that I hurt in places where I didn't even know I had muscles. Actually, I guess that might be good news, too.

Anyway, I'll tell you all about The Big Pink Ball...tomorrow.

Planet Fat Cat

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Some Things You Don't Forget

It's funny what you remember about the people you love.

My wife Trina, for instance, used to love soft sugar cookies with sweet pink icing. She was a wonderfully beautiful girl with a great, athletic figure on her small frame, and she did not usually indulge in sweets or fatty foods. But she had a weakness for the tasty, happy-looking little cookies with the multi-colored sprinkles and a thick layer of colored butter and sugar we call icing. I remember so clearly it was her favorite: I can still see her eating one, little cookie crumbs lining her mouth; a huge smile lighting up her whole face.

How I wish I could see that smile again.

It would have been Trina's 33rd birthday today, and the fourth I have had to commemorate without her. I don't have any huge parties in her honor, I don't reminisce with friends. I just sit and try to remember what she was like and how much she could enjoy all the simple things in life. I think of all the things she made better just by being around.

Trina tried so hard to stay in shape; she was a master at denying herself indulgences like overeating and laziness. She inspired me and others to try harder and sacrifice more. When I was with her I don't recall having any problem with losing weight or finding the motivation work out. She kept herself in shape through diet and exercise. She kept me young.

If I could hear her now, she would probably tell me I shouldn't celebrate her birthday as I have been, it isn't good for my health. But I don't care. I know she would join me if she could.

Which is why this day of the year, as the three before, I light a candle on a pink sugar cookie and sing Happy Birthday to her.

I certainly hope there are no calories in Heaven so she can have as many of those wonderful cookies as she wants. I hope each year she is eating one with me and grinning that big grin.

I hope she knows for the rest of my life I will never see one of those cookies and not think of how much I love her.

Happy Birthday, Trina

Sunday, November 18, 2007

A Poundstone

A few days ag0, I reached what I like to call a poundstone. Other people might call it a milestone, but since it involved me reaching a particular weight loss goal, I call it a poundstone.

I finally broke through the 200 pound barrier to 199.8 pounds. Yes!

Of course, when I woke up the next day, I weighed almost 202 pounds again, but the general trend is slo-o-o-owly...but down. And I have proven to myself that I can break through that mythological 200-pound barrier.

That means that one not too distant day I will break through that barrier permanently. I know that for sure. And that means my motivation to keep going is stronger than ever...important since my results weight loss results so far certainly have been less than stellar.

Now all I have to do is make myself inflate that awful pink balance ball and get going with that program. Then I might really start seeing some more significant results and see them more quickly.

I just have to keep this vision of myself as a Goddess in longer the porcine Goddess of Blubber, but a Goddess of Healthy Fitness (and of course, slamming hotness...)

Gentlemen, start your engines.

Planet Fat Cat

Thursday, November 15, 2007

A Mirror Is In Cahoots With My Scale

Being a sane person, at least in the absence of alcohol, drugs, woman, chocolate, select ethnic foods, fast cars, tennis, ping pong, or online video games, I don't actually believe that a random office mirror can conspire against me with the help of my scale. I mean for the six or seven seconds a day when I am away from the above-mentioned "distractions" I am of such an even temperament and solid, rational mind-set that I couldn't possibly imagine an inanimate object made of reflective materials and cheap glass would be out to "get" me.

Yet, apparently it is.

This morning I agreed to drive one of my friends to his optometrist's appointment and therefore was required to shower and dress in a manner acceptable to the general public. I make it sound as if that were a burden or that such activities were rare and arduous, but I assure all that at least once a week I undertake such adventures. At the end of the "dressing" period, I stood in front of my bathroom mirror (we'll call him "Cindy") and gazed upon my image in contemplation and examination. I explain this procedure as if aliens from the nearest galaxy were reading this blog, because you never know; everyone else should understand that I was "checking myself out".

I looked pretty hott.

Granted I was wearing some fairly inexpensive cargo pants, a very inexpensive and plain blue shirt, a worn (with love!) baseball cap, and some comfortable but undistinguished black shoes. But since the raw material of my awesome body was underneath the ratty clothes, I made the rags look intentionally stylish in a street-urchiny way. After all, you can sprinkle dust on a Ferrari and it will still go fast. So it was with me: My mirror showed me an image of an Adonis dressed unpretentiously yet with just enough style to flatter my obvious assets.

But something went horribly wrong.

Later as I was waiting in the optometrist's office for my friend to finish his eye examination, I happened to glance at a wall-length mirror and catch sight of my reflected image. Actually at first I was sure some aging, fat, low-life had walked over and I had become invisible, so I wasn't positive it was me. But since I only ACT like a vampire with regards to my sleeping habits and perhaps my affinity for black, I was pretty confident that I wasn't invisible. Which meant, ipso facto, that the aging, fat greaser was ME!

I was so shocked for a moment that I actually turned around to make SURE no one so... so... unsexy had gotten between me and the mirror. But aside from the three people sitting in the waiting room staring at me spin around like a tail-chasing dog, I was alone. It was me in the Wal-Martesque clothes and the somehow oily-looking mopish hair poking unbidden from the nasty old baseball cap. It was me with a couple of really solid "love" handles and a few extra chins. That guy without an ounce of sex appeal was me.

Well that just wasn't possible. Something demonic must have designed and manufactured that awful mirror.

And then it hit me: THE SCALE DID IT!

Yes, you see that same morning the devil-made scale had told me that I had in fact lost a pound of something and it was feeling vengeful. Forced by the laws of physics to finally register a lower weight, it cast about for a fellow diet saboteur to trick me into an unreality... one where I was fat and icky.

But I was on to the plan.

I straightened up and looked into that false and nefarious image and gave it my biggest, toothiest grin. It's power wained against the might of my conviction that there is no way to hide all this hott. I closed my eyes and remembered what I really looked like, the REAL me behind that scary, dreary guy.

And VOILA! When I opened my eyes again I was back, sexy and youthful and smiling like always. Crisis averted.

After a second or two checking myself out to make sure no love handles had survived and I only had my original, artist-sculpted chin, I looked around the waiting room to see who was simultaneously checking me out. Sure enough both women and even some guy were staring at me, doubtless wondering if I was single and available for romance and whatnot. I sighed. It's an nice ego boost, but sometimes the attention can be tiresome.

Anyways, wanting to stay away from a possessed mirror I quickly sat down on the floor of the office where a huge stack of Legos was left out, ostensibly for children to busy themselves with while nervous parents were getting laser-corrective surgery. There were no kids to spread germs to me, so I gathered all the blocks and made myself a nice multi-colored Lego city.

If you thought the other patients and staff stared at me with lust before, you should have seen their expressions then!

It's a cross I'll have to bear.


Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Biggest Loser - Shaping Up in More Ways Than One

Well, things are finally beginning to shape up on The Biggest Loser. Despite NBC hinting breathlessly at more Neil drama to come, he actually behaved himself for the most part last night, especially after his trainer, Bob Harper, called him out for voting out his "friend," Ryan, last week. I'd be lying if I didn't admit I enjoyed watching him squirm, and kudos to Bob for not letting Neil off the hook.

Talk about squirm-inducing...that little scene with Amy and Kim was bad. I'm not a huge Amy fan, but I thought Kim over-reacted when Amy said she was hurt by Kim telling the Red Team to vote her off right in front of her face. Kim also lost points with me for her use of the "f" word; that wasn't professional at all. It seemed like the two of them were trying to out-whine, and out-accuse each other, and both did a really bad job of trying to portray themselves as a victim.

Kim, you threw Amy under the bus in a very pubic way. Step up and own that and stop feeling sorry for yourself. It's unattractive.

You had conflicts with Amy, and even with David, who seemed like an absolute sweetheart. He got off the treadmill and left the gym rather than listen to your mouth any more. So maybe you have some soul searching to do about how you interact with your team members?

Amy, the reason Kim picked you to go is that you did nothing but complain from day one. You didn't ever want to do the work; you always had some cry baby excuse about why you couldn't do your share. Last night, instead of being happy for Julie to get picked to go home, you whined and cried and complained that you didn't get picked. Why would you have been picked? Did you and Hollie have some great friendship? No, you didn't. But congratulations on successfully continuing your journey at home. You look great, and I hope you have learned a few lessons about your own character as a result of being on the show.

Now on to the challenges. I continue to be stunned by the ongoing junk food challenges. On a program where contestants are supposedly being taught new ways to look at food and better nutritional and exercise habits, to force them to eat the worst possible food in order to win some prize or benefit is downright sadistic.

This week, contestants were faced with a sea of doughnuts, thousands stacked one upon the other and inside one, a wooden disk good for $5,000. The catch was, in order to be able to dive in and search for the disk for 60 seconds, the contestants had to eat one 300-calorie doughnut.

No one found it, so they had to eat a second donut to search for another minute, and then a third to be allowed to search until the disk was found. Every single contestant went for it instantly, except for Kae. She was the only one with the intestinal fortitude to pass the temptation. The others inhaled their donuts, willingly downing 3 each in order to be able to search for the disk. Bill finally found it and won the money, leading some contestants to complain about his luck since he won the car last week, too.

Okay, I would have been jealous, too. I don't understand karma, how some people just seem to have good luck and good things happen to them over and over again.

I think it's disgusting that all that food went to waste. The temptation was like a college cafeteria food fight. With all the hungry people in the world, the idea that probably several hundred dollars worth of donuts simply got destroyed is disturbing.

But what really makes me mad is that ever since I watched the show, I can't stop thinking about donuts. I am probably going to have to just go and eat one just to remind myself how bad they make me feel.

Hint to The Biggest Loser producers: I watch the show for inspiration on my own weight loss journey; not to be reminded that there are bad but wildly tasty foods out there I have purposely eliminated from my life.

Congratulations to Bill who reached the 100 pounds lost mark this week! I think he and Bryan are probably my two favorites out of the remaining contestants.

In the end, Amy went home. I was amazed that Jillian Michaels tried to get her team to vote out Bryan and keep Amy. I think Jillian was just trying to be supportive of Amy and keep her word, but Amy was dragging the Black Team down.

As for my own weight loss challenge, I'm back down to 201 pounds again, not in time to be able to post it on weigh-in day, but a hopeful sign that some day I will get below 199 pounds. I have this weird mental thing that once I break 200 pounds and stay there, my weight loss will somehow accelerate. Probably a goofy thing to think, but that's my fantasy.

I'm glad The Biggest Loser is shaping up to be more entertaining and less gag-inducing than the last few weeks, but I do wish they would either cut way back on the product placement or do it in a less disingenuous way. Bob Harper seemed truly ill at ease when he advised a contestant that eating instant oatmeal loaded with sugar, salt and preservatives was a good idea for a weight loss program.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Dangerous Territory

Four days ago, I blogged with a great deal of excitement about reaching 200.8 pounds, and pledged that I would reach 199 pounds by today. To that end, I doubled my walking time from 30 minutes to one hour, and was especially careful about what I ate.

Now mind you, I am logging everything I do, good or bad, keeping track of my food intake and exercise in a journal so that I can study what I do and when I do it and see if there are any patterns emerging that might help me tackle my weight problem a little more effectively. When I slip off my diet, I say so, both in my journal and on this blog.

Saturday night, I made a conscious decision to eat something I normally don't eat, french fries. I truly don't enjoy them all that much; I prefer my potatoes mashed and slathered with butter. But Saturday was a very busy day and I had no time to prepare a healthy, delicious meal to take to work as I usually do. I had skipped lunch altogether because of time constraints, again, an unusual thing for me to do. By seven p.m., I was starving. I had my most immediate deadlines out of the way, so I asked my supervisor if I could run pick up a sandwich or a salad; there's a healthy market about two miles away from where I work, but he was expecting something new to come over the wire any second, so he asked me to make it quick. There's a burger joint a block away, so a burger it was.

I got the small meal, really not happy about doing it, but so hungry I probably would have cheerfully gnawed on cardboard at that point. I calculated the calories, then wolfed down all the fries, ate half the burger and drank half the soda, the first I'd had since starting the program.

The soda tasted sticky sweet, the burger was grey mystery meat on a gluey, pasty white bun that looked like someone had sat on it. The lettuce was limp, the tomato flavorless and I had just downed 956 calories, even with halving the portions. Bad choice and I knew it.

Eating that disgusting meal was like swallowing a hand grenade. No sooner had I finished than the yucky stuff started expanding like a hot air balloon, churning precipitously around in my stomach. I felt nauseated, not from guilt or shame; I had made a conscious choice based on expediency, not desire. But I was actually nauseated from the food I had eaten.

My body is used to me treating it better. I just have to ask, why doesn't it return the favor?

Yes, I ate a bad meal, but my calorie count for the day was still under 2,000. With all the regular physical activity I now do, a nutritionist I consulted told me it would take 2,300 calories a day to maintain my weight. If I eat 1,800 calories a day, a perfectly reasonable plan, I should lose a pound a week.

Should lose. Should lose.

I eat about 1,800 calories every single day, some days closer to 1,700, and that one day just a little over 2,000. Remember I have doubled my exercise time from what I told the nutritionist I was doing. And yet, on the morning after that one fast food meal, I weighed FIVE POUNDS MORE than I had the previous morning. I was swollen like a bad melon and just a few ounces away from my original starting weight.

That was yesterday, Sunday, and I walked and walked and walked on my treadmill until I was dripping sweat from every pore. I ate a small breakfast, large lunch and no dinner, so by this morning I had it back down to 203.2 pounds, meaning that I gained weight this past week, didn't lose it, and my blood pressure has sky rocketed, too. It also means I can kiss 199 pounds goodbye, at least for several more weeks.

I still simply cannot make myself believe I gained five pounds overnight from just one heavy meal. Did the rest of the week not count at all? Did I really negate all my hard work by going through one drive-up?

Yes, apparently I did.

I ate 20 reasonable meals over the course of last week and 14 healthy snacks. Even on the day I ate the yucky meal, I still stayed within 200 calories of my daily goal. And yet my weight shot up to almost 206 pounds overnight after that one meal. How is that possible? How can two months work of work and sacrifice be wiped out by a single meal?

Yes, I learned a valuable lesson. But my frustration level is almost unmanageable. I am drifting into dangerous territory, the "dammit, if I'm going to weigh 205 pounds or so for the rest of my life, I might as well enjoy it."

Then I have to remind myself...I weighed 206 pounds and was gaining weight, 6 pounds in as many months. So maybe my reality is that I have to keep exercising and watching every bite just to keep from turning into The 700-Pound Blob.

I am a geek girl, a science-based writer who knows quite a bit about health and wellness. So what I know intellectually, is that what I am doing should work. I should be losing weight and getting more fit and healthy. But here's what my utter lack of success is doing to me.

I suspect most of my friends don't believe I am exercising 6 days a week even though I am, and I suspect they think I am a midnight snacker or closet binger, because any time someone has stuck to a well-designed, thoughtful program for two months and produced no measurable results, well, they think the only answer is, I must be cheating or lying, or deluding myself. I can assure you I am not cheating or lying, but I most certainly am deluding myself...because I thought if I stuck to a good diet and exercise program faithfully I would be rewarded with some positive physical changes.

I have seen none. Yes, my resting heart rate is now down to 60, and my blood pressure is usually under better control. But guess what? You don't walk into a cocktail party and get rewarded with admiring glances for lowering your resting heart rate. That hot guy in the corner isn't going to look at me and say, "Hey, that chick has a slammin' resting heart rate."

No, he's going to look at me and say, "Oh, my God! Look at the size of her ass! I better get out of here before she knocks the whole planet out of orbit."

So, I am discouraged today. More than discouraged. I haven't lost an inch in weeks, my weight keeps going up, not down, and I have been at it for two months. I know it's going to take time to see real results, but this much time?

I really just want to quit, but I won't let myself. I have to believe that if I keep going, some halcyon day I will wake up, look at myself in the mirror, and like what I see...not just who I see.

Planet Fat Cat

Friday, November 9, 2007

Anticipation is Gaining Me Weight...

The only reason I ever like rules is that I then have an excuse to break them or, more likely, make fun of people who are caught and punished for breaking them. So when I set a "rule" for myself that I would avoid the dreaded scale except at weigh-in on Monday morning, I fully expected that eventually I would, you know, weigh myself at other times, perhaps constantly.

Because I live on the edge folks. Watch out!

But what I didn't expect was that the damn thing would keep disappointing me by claiming that I had gained weight. Come on, people. It was supposed to be something more like, "Golly I'm sorry Fat Cat, but every day I get on the scale it keeps going down... maybe I should get that checked out while I'm buying some new, smaller, sexier clothes down at the Abercrombie store and auditioning for that GQ cover model thing."

It was NOT supposed to be: "Congratulations Fat Cat for losing fifty pounds while I continue to baffle medical science by proving that a human body can in fact create matter out of nothing. Goodbye conventional physics! Hello, Sea World's newest attraction, Pinky the Flesh-Colored Whale!"

Which is a long way of saying that this morning I weighed an ass-tounding 215.5 pounds, dry.

Since declaring that I would, for snickers and doodles, lose weight along side Fat Cat, I have gained five pounds.

Now I haven't come each day to explain what I have done to promote weight loss, but I assure any skeptics out there that I have made an effort to do so. I exercise, vigorously, at least ten hours a week. Already this week I had four days where I exercised 2 hours each or more and included both aerobic and muscle building activities. Since some people are squeamish, I won't detail my exact training methods, but I promise that my program is legal, strenuous, and exceptionally sweaty.

But I am not losing weight... and that disappointment makes me want to eat a candy bar... factory.

So instead of taking Saturday and Sunday off to rest my aching joints, I will go ahead and exercise another few hours and try to pull off a miracle for Monday morning. Any prayers to that effect would be most appreciated.

Unless prayers have mass, in which case keep them to yourselves.


Thursday, November 8, 2007

The Biggest Loser - This Week, Not So Outrageous

Well, I have to admit I liked this week's two-hour edition of The Biggest Loser. My favorite part was the challenge. It was amazing to see all the refuse that junk food generates, especially the mountain of 148,000 soda cans.

I am a big recycler and have been for almost 20 years. In fact, I have to watch myself to make sure I don't take it overboard because when I get busy and can't get to the recycling center, it does clutter my house. I recycle plastic bags, bottles and other containers, clear and colored glass, cardboard, paper and aluminum. One really nice thing about giving up Coca-Cola other than the health benefits is that I don't have dozens of cans to recycle every week. That used to take up a lot of space in my utility room. I know I am only one person but I figure I will do what I can as an individual to help the planet. Most people can just throw stuff away but I practically have to appoint a standing committee before I can decide if something is garbage, trash, compost or recycle. I am very careful about what I put in the garbage.

Well, enough about recycling. On to the show. When I heard Julie's story about giving up her car so she and her husband could afford for her stay home with their new baby son, my opinion of her immediately shot up. I used to feel rather neutral toward her; she seemed very nice but didn't really stand out. But on Tuesday night, I really wanted her to win the car. She and Bill busted their butts to win, in fact, Bill was almost superhuman, with the result that they gathered 96 pounds of cans, more than twice what the two lowest teams each gathered. I was really glad they won the cars. I feel like the two of them are really deserving. When I saw Julie's emotional reaction to finally having a car of her own, I felt even happier for her.

I was glad Ryan got booted instead of Isabeau. It's about time that one of the cheaters went home. But Neil seems to stay on week after week. And the promos don't augur well for next week because NBC breathlessly hints that Neil again does something funky to "change the game." So I guess he'll just be allowed to cheat and get away with doing whatever he wants to do, just because the producers like the drama he creates when he cheats. Ugh, it makes me sick but I can already see them setting him up to be the big winner. The Biggest Loser winners are supposed to be inspiring people; not cheaters.

I just saw the promo for The Biggest Loser again and it's nagging at me like a thorn in my shoe. I know its probably nothing; just something the promotional people cooked up to lure viewers, but it sure does seem like they are hinting that Neil does something bad again.

I guess we'll see next Tuesday.

Planet Fat Cat

A Moment for Posterity...and for Posteriors

Okay, I know it's not my regular weigh-in day but I just had to record this moment for posterity. This is Day 54 of my 90 Day Fitness Walking Program. I was discouraged yesterday because I had to climb a long flight of stairs and seven or eight steps in, I was blowing air through my nose like a whale. Is this what fitness feels like? I asked myself, because it didn't feel fit to me to get winded just by climbing stairs. And seeing as how I am more than halfway through the program and have not only been faithful but done more than asked each day, including doing my walks on a 2% incline, I think I should be more able to handle stairs by now.

Then I remembered. I may have been walking for almost two months now, but I've only lost 3 pounds and my body fat percentage and muscle mass have not budged on my fancy-dancy scale. Hauling more than 200 pounds up a long staircase would be hard work for anyone, but especially for an overweight someone born in the Jurassic Age. Still, I was ticked when I got to the top of the stairs and was huffing and puffing and sweating like a pig, even though my dainty little, erm, not-so-dainty big self usually does not sweat no matter what the provocation.

So imagine my surprise and delight to get on the scale this morning and see that not only am I down to 200.8 pounds, a loss of almost 6 pounds since I started this program, but my body fat has actually dropped by point-two percent and my muscle mass increased by point-one percent. Yay! Those are the first positive changes in my body composition I have seen and that is very encouraging to me.

So, you may be asking yourself, why is she being coy about her total percentage of body fat when she's not coy about anything else? It's because, if my readers knew how much fat I was toting around on my carcass, some sensitive or paranoid soul among you might report me to the Department of Defense as a weapon of mass destruction.

Oh, heck. I just remembered. I published my percentage of body fat on this blog already. Okay, so I'm down to 40.2% from 40.4% and up to 28.9% muscle mass (it was 28.8%). I consider these HUGE changes because it is the first time since I started this journey that my schizophrenic scale has noted any changes whatsoever in my body composition. I can weigh six times in a minute and get weights varying by as much as two pounds, but the body composition and muscle mass NEVER CHANGED. And now they have.

In physiological terms, it means simply that I am a bit stronger, even if not long staircase worthy, and that my body is now slightly more efficient at burning calories than it was before.

And as far as I'm concerned, this is the biggest triumph yet! Next stop, 199 pounds. At the rate I'm going, that should only take another three or four months.

Wait. No more negative thoughts. I will weigh 199 by next weigh-in. My foolhardy little self is predicting I will achieve that milestone in just four more days. Never mind that it took me two whole months to lose six measly pounds. I will prevail.

Now I really have to exercise.

Planet Fat Cat

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Attitude of Fatitude

The weigh-in this week wasn't as tragic as I expected it to be. I think the time change fooled my body, which I have by now figured out is my mortal enemy. Because we "fell back" one hour, my body forget to gain the usual 12 pounds in time for the weigh-in, so I actually lost a full pound this week, down to 202.8 pounds. I'm still a long way from my goal; I still terrify grown men on the street, but I lost a pound. I will gain it back again 20 or maybe even 40 times over the next month but for now, I can truthfully record in my journal that the pound is down.

My body is a wonder of weird science. It will not comply with the laws of nature, nor succumb to threats of extreme surgery, physical violence or bribery. It just keeps blubbering along, all proud of its fatness, while I hang my head in shame and shop in the "Big Woman" section. I hate it.

I haven't missed a day on the treadmill for 50 days now, but still no results. Maybe I'm living in a state of delusion, a fat-altered reality. Maybe when my fevered brain thinks my body is up on the treadmill pounding out the miles, in reality I have my head stuffed in the refrigerator licking butter. How else do you explain my body's stubborn refusal to shed fat?

So I have decided to develop an "attitude of fatitude" (sorry, Oprah) to match my body's behavior. Maybe that way I can trick it into doing what it's supposed to do...shrink...dammit...when confronted with far fewer calories and many more hours of intense physical exercise.

Today I went shopping for the tools required to pull off this hoax. Since walking isn't working, I'm adding a new exercise routine. I know, I said I was going to do this last week, but it takes about a week for an idea to get from my head out into the realm of reality, and then another week or two of chewing my cud before I actually get up off my double-wide and do something. Anyway, I decided I wanted to get one of those big balance balls you see on The Biggest Loser. I thought that my help me flatten my stomach so I would no longer look like "The World's Oldest Pregnant Woman."

And for those of you who are worried, no, I won't stop walking. I'm determined to finish the 90 Day Fitness Walking Program and get all 90 little checks in my journal. I just want to do the balance ball thing, too.

I went to the store and was immediately confronted with about 15 different configurations of balance balls in various colors and sizes and even more confusing, with different accoutrements. This was going to take hours, because I had to read every line of text on every box, I had to pick them up, look at them, touch them, feel them, smell them, chew on the edge of the boxes, ruminate, cogitate, correlate and relegate. That's a lot of work, and it all had to be one without raising the angst level of the store clerks who were scurrying up and down the aisles looking for places to stick up more Christmas merchandise. After all, it is November 6th already.

Some kits had resistance bands in the box, others had weights, others had resistance rings. Some had accompanying workouts on DVD, which I considered essential since I basically don't know what I'm doing when it comes to balance balls. In fact, if I followed my usual routine, I would blow up the ball, sit down on it, lose my balance, fall over, break my neck, and that would be the end of my exercise routine, if not the end of me.

So the DVD was a must-have, but equally important to me was there had to be some kind of device included to blow up the ball. Oh, shut up! I can hear you all now; "Surely she has enough hot air to blow up anything," but in fact, I don't. I am so old and decrepit I can barely breathe, must less blow up a giant ball with air from my own lungs. So naturally, the kit I liked best, that had the DVD and a pretty blue ball with color-coordinated resistance bands...did NOT have a blow up thingie included. Okay, says me. I'll just buy one, only the store clerk tells me they don't carry them since all the balance ball kits come with them.

I beg to differ and show her the soothingly designed kit with the ocean blue ball and accessories. She insists there is a blow up thingie in there and proceeds to rip open the box and scatter its contents all over the exercise aisle. Hmm, guess what? The little picture on the side of the box that shows everything included in the kit, only it didn't have a blow up thingie, well it was right.

The clerk refused to believe it and stared meanly at me as she struggled to get all the parts back in the box, which brings to mind another of Sir Isaac Newton's Laws of Physics: "Any item once removed from its box will never again go back into the same box without first performing extreme acts of legerdemain and uttering copious curse words. Even then, the box will be distorted according to the precepts inherent in the following equation: cm–1/(kA/cm–2)."

Actually, that's a lie. I just made it all up because I am fascinated by things I cannot understand. I stole that equation from a paper entitled:

Self-consistent solutions to the intersubband rate equations in quantum cascade lasers: Analysis of a GaAs/Al x Ga 1–x As device

just because I wanted to. But equation or not, things still won't ever go back into their boxes without a struggle and lots of broken nails. Trust me on this one.

Anyway, I suddenly spied a kit that had the balance ball, the resistance bands, the resistance rings, hand weights, a DVD and a blow up thingie, all for less than $30.00!

Only, it was one of the thousands of items designed specifically for October Breast Cancer Awareness month, and it was all titty pink.

I walked away. I could not bear the thought of bringing this hideous pink thing into my carefully crafted Zen bedroom. The color was so alarming that sleep would have been impossible with the damn thing in the room. But as I did a little math inside my head (always a dangerous thing to do...) I realized that to get all the stuff in that box individually, I would have to spend at least $100.00.

So now I'm home with the damned titty pink ball and still staring at it. I haven't yet had the nerve to take it out of its box and blow it up. I think I'll wait until it's dark, but this thing is so bright it might possibly glow in the dark.

It doesn't match a thing I have except for a bra I bought when I was feeling all girly one day. I can feel my entire house sending feelings of disapproval and puzzlement in my direction.

The Mrs. doesn't usually bring home such ugly things. Do you think she is sick?

No, that wasn't my husband saying that; it was my house. I don't have a husband, remember, because I am the size of a small out-building. I am an entire planet. When I stop losing weight it isn't because I have hit a plateau; it's because I AM the plateau. Men don't like women who are bigger than them. It scares the foo out of them, okay?

Anyway, my house, which is used to a calm, Zen vibe, which has soothing, tasteful colors, reacted viscerally to the introduction of the titty pink balance ball. I could swear I heard little groans and shrieks of disapproval emanating from the walls as I brought it through the door. But that's just too bad. I want to learn how to do a balance ball routine. I want to do resistance bands and I want to lift weights. I have no confidence that any of this strenuous physical activity will have any impact on my body composition whatsoever, but so what? I know I am destined to go to my grave composed primarily of fat cells, most of which have apparently migrated to my brain, but I don't care. I still want to do this.

Now, how's that for an attitude of fatitude?

Planet Fat Cat

Monday, November 5, 2007

A Retraction

In an earlier post I implied that didn't consider government intervention on a free society's eating choices a good or moral thing. I think I have changed my mind.

A few days ago I saw an advertisement for Domino's new twin-crust double-stuffed, deep fat pizza. Keeping in mind that they don't advertise it as "deep fat", it was still irresistible. And so I ordered one on a day that I was supposed to be eating slivers of lettuce and drawing in the vapors over boiling chicken broth (which is called, not surprisingly, the "lettuce slivers and chicken vapors diet"). I HAD to have one. I saw the crispy crust and the melty cheese and my hand shot out to the phone and dialed without even one conscious thought to the contrary. My mouth salivated in anticipation and all thoughts of diet, exercise, weight loss and health were gone.

Three or four hours later after I awoke from my carb heavy coma, I didn't quite feel the same about free markets and open societies. I no longer believe, for the sake of my hottishness, that they should offer things that tasty and delicious.

A similar thing happened at Target yesterday. I was heading down the isle with a friend shopping for healthy, organic, unspoiled Earth-centric foods and such crap when I saw a huge sign that said "ALL HALLOWEEN CANDY 50% OFF". Every non-fat cell in my body screamed "Don't do it!" but instead I grabbed five bags and headed for the checkout as if I had a football and was about to make the winning touchdown. I could not resist a sale on chocolate, it was impossible.

And so, I don't think they should allow the possession or distribution of chocolate.

Now I know that seems extreme, but something has to be done before I gain weight. Hershey's should be forced to make candy bars using only broccoli and brown rice. McDonald's chicken nuggets should be coated in soy protein, not tasty golden batter, and then boiled in ancient glacial waters instead of fried in oil. Milkshakes must be outlawed completely and replaced with lightly seasoned organic celery stalks lovingly washed with a baby's tears. They can call it the "Unhappy Meal".

Trust me, with a menu like that it will very unlikely that I will be able to afford to eat out, much less gain any weight. And it really could be that simple: make it impossible to enjoy food and VOILA! we are all thin and beautiful.

Of course I hasten to add that ancient Roman slaves ate nothing but organically grown grains and wilted lettuce and they died at an alarmingly early age. They rarely ate meat, were never fat, and got more than enough exercise yet they managed to have a life expectancy of around seven or eight minutes. Since the third minute was concerned with reproduction (and what has changed!), that left like six minutes to live.

I don't think I want to go out quite that fast.

So I guess I will just have to treat my desire for really tasty foods like an addiction and act accordingly. But I warn all of you out there: If I fail this time to lose weight, don't be surprised if legislation prohibiting the sale or use of flavor is introduced in the next Congressional session.

You have been warned.


Post Script: This morning was the dreaded weigh-in and at 214.0 lbs I gained one-half pound of muscle... MUSCLE. Not fat, not a half-pound of fat. Or bone. Maybe I grew a half-pound of bone. Or brain cells, though I don't feel a lot most smarter. But could be brains. Or bone.