Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Leper's Colony

Earlier today, I opined that even when I finally reach my weight loss goal, and I finally believe that might actually be possible, men will still ignore me simply because I am not 20 years old.

Hmmmph! Don't men ever stop to think what they might be missing by not getting to know older women? We're experienced, wise, kinder and less judgmental than we were in our first bloom, and more accepting of human failings in others because we're more aware of our own. But unlike other cultures where the wisdom of age is respected and relied upon, here in America, growing older is treated like a hideous disease. At least for women it is.

You know the old, true, but unfair saying, "Men grow distinguished while women grow haggard?"

Yeah, that one.

Haggard is terrifying to most of us. Here's an example. I am finally, at the tender age of 59, beginning to show a little age on my face. Just within the last week, as I've continued to lose weight, my face is collapsing ever so slightly as the underlying collagen infrastructure softens and settles. I was at the dermatologist having a mole checked and he looked at my face with concern. Then he softly touched the two gentle valleys that were forming on either side of my mouth.

"Don't you want me to fill those in?" he asked.

"No, I don't," I replied. "They're MY wrinkles, I've earned them and I'm proud of them."

He sent me away with a puzzled look, shaking his head as if considering whether he should have written me a referral to a psychiatrist. I mean, what woman wouldn't want to look younger?

This woman. I mean, think about it logically. If I look way younger than my age and I have lost all my weight, I might attract a much younger man. What could be wrong with that? Well, I've already raised my children. If there's going to be a man in my life at all, which at this late date I doubt, I want one who is my contemporary, who can laugh about the 60s and the 70s because he lived through them as a teen and young man, and not just because he read about them in a history book.

Alas, most of the available men my age, upon finding themselves single either through the death of their spouse or by divorce, immediately turn to the androgenous, anorexic "he-women," who weigh 95 pounds and 80 of those pounds are in their fake boobs. Most of the rest of the weight is taken up with hair extensions and gel nails. I mean really, you might as well sleep with a blow-up doll, but what from I read, many of you do anyway.

Geesh again.

This disrespect of and disaffection toward older women is not a problem I am going to solve all by myself. There are occasions, rare but undeniable, when I miss the comfort and warmth of an intimate relationship. But why risk it when I know all that awaits any forays in that direction is scorn and rejection? I can live without that.

Instead, like other older women, I am dismissed instantly and consigned to The Leper's Colony. It's where they send all women over the age of 30, all less than perfect or bothersome women, the place they'd prefer not to think about in case Fate ever sends them there.

On the whole, I am content with my life. I have two wonderful grown children, both a daughter and a son, a loving family of two sisters and a brother, supportive friends and work that I love. What more could I ask?

Oh, except for maybe...a day pass out of The Leper's Colony. That would be nice.

But by the Twelfth Day...

I had lost another pound! Gee, this one only took 12 days, just like i was waiting for Christmas...only not.

So I am down to 195 pounds, still enough to make grown men cry, which contrary to popular opinion, they do a lot anyway, if the exit interviews on this and several other seasons of Top Chef are any indication. But come to think of it, on Top Chef it's probably just the onions.

I am hoping that by the time I am down to 185 or 190, they'll stop doing that. It's very unattractive, not to mention disheartening, when a man sees you, bursts into tears, then turns and runs away, all while screaming for his mommy. Even more disheartening is when they look at you in abject terror, as if you were considering them for the appetizer course, or perhaps even the entreƩ.


Still, 195 pounds! That's 12 pounds down from a year ago, 12 miles up on my sense of self-confidence and 12 rocket-boosts of determination to keep going. 12 pounds really seems like something. The five pounds, not so much, but when this five pounds becomes 11 pounds and I finally fall below 190 pounds for the first time in many, many years, that will also mark a day of celebration. But just a day. I'll still have 44 pounds to go to reach my goal weight at which point grown men will stop, consider me thoughtfully and think to themselves, "Hmm, that woman has a pretty nice shape for an old broad," and then burst into tears and still run to their mommies because even though I will no longer be fat, I will still be OLD.

And that's a topic for another column.

A 195 pound...
Fat Cat

P. S. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

And on the sixth day...

I still haven't lost any more weight, even though the green tea guzzling continues apace. I think my body was so shocked that I tricked it into losing four pounds with green tea that my fat cells have dug in and gone into hiding for a long fight.

But I have to say, if I had my choice of hanging around the 200 pound mark, versus hanging around the 196 pound mark, I'll take the latter any day. I was so-o-o close to 195 today, 196.2 pounds, but I just didn't quite make it. Naturally, to console myself, I went off my diet, so tomorrow I'll probably be at 197 or 198. But I'll get myself back in hand soon.

One other interesting thing, my fancy scale that does everything but brush its own little teeth indicates I lost some body fat with the four pounds, so it wasn't just a fluid loss. And, my face is looking thinner. I didn't notice it, but three different friends on three different days have commented on it so it must be so.

Anyway, Top Chef is on, so I have to go torture myself for an hour by looking at fabulous food when I have already far exceeded my calorie count for the day.

Maybe I'll be back to 200 pounds tomorrow.

Ugh. I hope not!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Ups and Downs

I can resist tempting foods, but I admit I am helpless in the face of certain magazines when I am standing in line at the grocery store. You know the ones: Woman's World and First for Women. Their covers always include a photograph of a fetchingly shaped woman, a woman whose body looks like I want MY body to look, and it is accompanied by a headline that reads thusly; "LOSE 50 POUNDS IN 3 DAYS WITH MAGIC EYE-BLINKING TRICK!"

Even though I know what I'm in for, even though I know there will be more "trick" than "magic," and certainly more "trick" than "weight loss," my hand reaches automatically for the guilty issues, and they are plopped into my basket at the last minute, whilst I chastise myself furiously for wasting money this way. And yet, and yet, they remain in the buggy, then find their way onto the conveyor belt, and before I can squeek out, "Er-um..." I've bought them.

Then I bring them home and morosely thumb through the short romance and the mystery in Woman's World, and the recipes in First for Women, all while trying to tell myself I DIDN'T buy them merely to read about their latest outrageous weight loss claims, when in fact, I did.

The articles always feature women who have been miserably fat their entire adult lives, but BF or "before fat," they were miraculously pretty, happy and successful. Every American woman knows how being less than svelte, less than perfect body-wise, can ruin your whole life, right? And if you don't, may I refer you to Woman's World and First for Women so you can get up to speed? Because they will let you know how truly awful you really are at your current weight, straight from the mouths of formerly overweight women who swallowed the magic beans thus prescribed and somehow, the beans worked for them, even though they never seem to work for me. But there they are on the cover of a magazine, and here I am, huddled behind my computer, writing this piteous bleat.

The weight loss and exercise articles usually consist of an excerpt from the New York Times best-selling "fad diet du jour" book. I confess I have on several occasions read the articles carefully, and then set out to do just what they suggest, which usually involves an investment of several hundred dollars in special food, vitamins, herbs, and equipment, not to mention the suggested book, plus I also buy additional life insurance in case I accidentally kill myself while trying to follow the diets and/or exercise routine.

I did one that consisted entirely of three days of watery protein shakes and fresh juice. The whole idea was that you were juicing or shaking every three hours or so, so you wouldn't be hungry. The payoff? A 10 pound loss in those three days.


By the end of three hours, much less three days, I was so hungry I might have cheerfully plopped my neighbor on the barbee if I had happened to see her in the yard. I was so hungry I was gnawing the legs of my dining room table for fiber and sustenance. I lasted one day and lost two pounds which came right back on the next day, plus one extra for good measure.

Now you may think that the "accidentally killing" myself part was somewhat of an overwrought reference, but sadly, it did almost happen. I, a strong woman who stands proudly on my sturdy, if somewhat overlarge "Pillars of Hercules," was reduced to a mewling kitten by one day of following some exercise routine posted in Woman's World. My doctor looked at the magazine and said any untested, out of shape ewe like myself who even tried to follow it would end up with a 100% chance of injury. And I did. I, whose back had never hurt for a day in my life, spent three days curled up in a fetal ball in my bed, howling in agony whenever I rose up from the haze of painkillers.

Fortunately the damage was not permanent.

So, you would think that I had learned, but no. I just bought a First for Women last week with a cover that reads: "Lose 47 pounds by Christmas!" I turned inside and found an article laden with claims but few facts. A thorough re-reading convinced me I could lose the weight by simply drinking 4 cups of green, black, white or oolong tea per day, sweetened with one ounce of orange juice per cup to increase its weight-reduction benefits. So I bit. I like tea, I like orange juice, so why not? At least it would be a relatively painless change.

And in four days I lost four pounds. I did. And they have stayed lost, even though I am still eating as per usual, and still half-heartedly exercising a few times a week. In other words, I didn't change a single thing except add the green tea, which I think must have flushed out some excess fluid from my body, and nothing more.

So, you do the math. I lost four pounds in four days, then nothing for the past five days, even though I'm still swilling tea like an intemperate barfly. That means I still have 43 pounds to go before Christmas. Today's the 18th of November, which means I have to lose more than a pound a day for the next 37 days. Which ain't happening.

But I did lose those four pounds, and I am now finally below 200, those four pounds below, and I have to admit it is nice to see my weight fluctuate between 196 and 199 pounds during the course of the day, rather than between 200 and 203. It's just a psych thing, but it matters to me.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Back again

Even though it's been a long time since I posted anything about my weight loss journey, I'm back again. I finally broke the 200 pound mark and now weigh 199 pounds. Since I started at around 207 pounds, that's an amazing weight loss of - "Ta-dah!" 8 pounds in 13 months. Yeah, I know. Hold your applause.

But at least, unlike previous years, I weigh less this year than last. So my walking must be doing something. Even if I can't really see any visible changes, it seems to have kept the usual 7 to 10 pound yearly automatic weight gain from accumulating. So, instead of weighing 214 to 217 pounds this year, I weigh 199 pounds. That's good.

That's how I got to be so overweight, was the yearly creeping up on me of a few pounds here, a few pounds there. At least this year, I lost weight instead of gaining it.

Since I'm a visual person, I like to use little reminders that serve to keep me on track with my goals. I now have 54 pounds to go to reach my goal weight of 145 pounds. I got a free ticker that shows my progress. I started a few weeks ago at 200 pounds and the slider shows the one pound I have lost since then.

Here it is:

I'm kind of mulling over a new approach to this blog, but have to talk to Pigassus first.

Anyway, that's all for now. Top Chef Season 5 premiered last night and I was disappointed that, on first look at least, I didn't find anyone to root for. The Biggest Loser is wrapping up its 6th season and it's been a doozy, with some of the nastiest contestants ever. The producers seriously need to take this show back to its original inspirational format and stop selecting contestants who are mentally unstable and who exhibit vicious personalities on air. It's embarrassing. The show has become such a conglomeration of product placement that it's ridiculous. Very little in the way of tips and nutritional information anymore.

Until next time! Hope that will be in a few days or weeks instead of months!

UPDATE! - I didn't realize the ticker was dynamic, meaning it would update on this blog as my weight drops and I change it on my weight loss management page, which is my private way of tracking my progress and encouraging myself to keep going. I made one small change this week; I started drinking 4 cups of green tea a day, each sweetened with one ounce of orange juice. I just read a study that said mixing one ounce of unsweetened natural citrus juice with each cup of green tea greatly enhances the tea's fat-burning properties by allowing the release and activation of more of the tea's catechins. So I have lost 4 pounds nows, not just one. I'm down to 196 pounds, the lowest I've been in years. I hope this keeps working, and that I'm not just dreaming, but so far, so good. The ticker will continue to change as I keep losing weight.