Let’s Get Real

Wakeup ButtonWhen I eat too much and exercise too little, the inevitable results will be weight gain. With a few rare exceptions, that’s what’s been happening to me since I moved in June. As of tonight’s weigh in, I’m higher than I’ve been in a long, long time. Something about recracking a particular ‘decade’ number made me wake up and pay attention.

I haven’t been working hard at weight loss or taking it very seriously and it shows. I’ve let the portions get sloppy, my food choices become unbalanced, and my exercise practically disappeared. What did I think would happen? That I had some invincibility and could eat whatever I want and have it not show up attached to my hips with superglue?

I was actually pretty shocked tonight when I got on the WW scale because the scale at home, which usually at least lets me have a heads up on the official weigh in, didn’t indicate that this was coming. I stayed for my meeting and we talked about winning outcomes. Specifically, how to manage to get through December and reach January having achieved the outcome we want – whatever it is.

I have no illusions that I will lose weight between now and New Years. My real goal is to lose one pound and break back through this unhappy place where I find myself. Frankly, staying basically in one place will be an accomplishment.

Losing weight takes a lot of energy and I haven’t put much into my process since I moved. It’s not that I don’t think it’s important; I do, and I know that I would both feel and look better with even 10% of my current weight gone. But I haven’t cared enough about it to do the work that’s felt more like punishment at a time when I was already scrambling to learn a new place and establish a new life.

I’m not giving myself permission to be lax. Being “kind of on program” shows me that just letting go completely would mean regaining it all, as I’ve done before. I just can’t go there again. I’d rather stay fat but smaller than risk gaining it all back and then some, which is my usual pattern.

For now I’m holding on by the skin of my teeth. I’ve planned my food for tomorrow and will try to get in some extra walking, though my knee gets very unhappy when I do that. I haven’t been to water aerobics in six weeks “because the water was too cold” which is a pretty stupid reason, although the water really was freezing. I don’t promise that I will go to class tomorrow but I will be back at the pool within the next two weeks because the water exercises were the only things that helped without pain.

Christmas Music and Office Decor

Christmas Music JukeboxMy current favorite Christmas song is God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings recorded by the Barenaked Ladies with Sarah McLachlan. I’ve added it to my iTunes both at home and the office, along with an assortment of other relatively soft Christmas tunes, where they play in “party shuffle” rotation while I’m working.

There’s something happy about plugging away on a project and hearing a few Christmas song every now and then in the office soundtrack. I’m already tired of the idea of all Christmas music all the time — it’s not even December yet, for heaven’s sake – but the occasional seasonal tune reminds me that this isn’t ordinary time.

We decorated at the office today, with people pulling out hoarded supplies of little trees, figurines, ornaments, and little wreaths. All of my office decorations were left behind when I moved so I need to find some new things that will work with my new space because I like the visual as well as the musical touches. My boss has an amazing collection of Christmasy frogs (who knew??) so our end of the office is already pretty festive.

You Are a Tree

You love every part of the holidays, down to the candy canes and stockings. And you’re goofy enough to put a Christmas tree ornament on your tree!

What Christmas Ornament Are You?

A Better Eggnog Option

Edy’s Eggnog Slow Churned Ice CreamEggnog is a major holiday weakness for me with its rich flavors. Spiked is wonderful but I’d drink it almost straight from the carton. Being around for only a few weeks once a year makes it so easy to pick up when I’m grocery shopping – no need to go anywhere special, it’s right next to the milk.

It is, however, deadly for the diet. One cup of eggnog (which isn’t much when you really like it) has 342 calories and 19 grams of fat, and 34 grams of carbohydrates. That works out to 8 points if you’re doing WW and who wants to waste 8 points on one cup of something, even if it is wonderful? It doesn’t last as long as real food.

So I was thrilled to see that the good folks at Edy’s have come out with Eggnog Slow Churned Ice Cream in a limited edition for the season. 1/2 C. has 110 calories and 3 grams of fat, for 2 WW points and lots of yummy rich flavor. That’s much more reasonable to include in my menu planning than 8 points for a cup of the liquid version – and it takes longer to eat, too. These things matter.

There will be food everywhere for the next 5-6 weeks. Chocolate candy from vendors and homemade cookies at work, dessert parties, lunches and dinners out – and eggnog. At least now I have one option to let me have the taste without the damage.

Thinking about Warning Lights

Car warning lights

On the way to Thanksgiving dinner, the “Service Engine Soon” light lit up on my dashboard and I spent a good while fretting over what it might mean. I was at the car dealer by 8:30 on Friday to have them take a look and deal with whatever the problem was.

A car dealer service manager told me in the past that women are generally better than men at actually following recommended maintenance on their vehicles, including paying attention to warning lights. He speculated that men think they can take care of things themselves but underestimate how complicated automotive work is these days – and end up having caused more damage by ignoring the routine and early warning signs.

I was thinking about this yesterday driving back from my repair visit, about how carefully I deal with car stuff and how easily I ignore the “warning lights” for weight loss derailment. The signs are certainly easy to spot — clothes fitting tighter, measurements going up, the scale registering higher than I expect, feeling more lethargic, realizing I haven’t darkened the gym’s door in weeks, a “we miss you” note from my WW leader.

It’s easy to be aware of those as independent factoids and not to put the pieces together because I don’t really want to know the picture; it makes me feel like an unmotivated failure – which usually leads to more eating, which certainly doesn’t help. But with the car, I want and need to know the whole picture so I can take appropriate action to prevent bigger problems down the line.

If I were to pay the same kind of attention to the warning lights that clue me in to problems with my eating, I could take appropriate action to prevent bigger problems. That action doesn’t have to be overly dramatic, just mid-course adjustments to help me keep going; there’s no need to go up two dress sizes first.

Just some things to ponder. Putting things in a different perspective always is a good idea.

Moving Into Christmas

Star and Tree LightsStores opened at ungodly hours today for “Black Friday” shopping but I wasn’t in any of the lines. My Christmas list is small and I’m not organized enough to really know what I want to give, other than knowing that no one is getting a flat screen TV from me. I do know that my plan is to limit my spending so electronics aren’t gonna happen.

The best presents are really those things that you know the other person will love because you know them well and have heard those little “I wish I had …” comments uttered at random, not when asked what they want. That’s a deadly thing to ask, really, since most minds go blank, mine included. But it’s hard to know what to get people who live far away when you don’t overhear those things in the course of your regular life.

So instead of shopping, I took the car to the dealer to deal with the dreaded “Service Engine Soon” light, picked up some groceries, then came home and dragged out all the boxes of Christmas things. Yes, I know it’s a whole month away, but I really love my tree and wanted to see how well things would work in the new house. Some of it ended up staying in the boxes because I just don’t have the right space or interest this year.

Of course, I also have a cat now. So far she hasn’t climbed the tree or shown any interest in doing so but she’s been batting around her little rattle ball around the base of the tree, hitting the lowest of the ornaments. They’re not breakable but there’s no point in tempting fate; I’m moving them before I go to bed.

Unpacking Christmas always opens the door to memories of people and places, especially ornaments collected from travels or that mark specific occasions or were gifts. Unwrapping each one in turn takes me down memory lane and brings a smile. No two are alike: there are handpainted santas and angels, wooden shapes made of olive wood from the Holy Land, a plastic Heidi doll from Switzerland, my grandmother’s stuffed heart pincushion, a little squirrel with a plumy tail, mirrored balls from Harrod’s, cross-stitched designs in frames, little pigs and cats galore.

My other cherished Christmas decorations are a 56-year old stuffed Santa made by my grandmother for my parents’ first holiday together and a Nativity scene brought from my college days in Spain over 30 years ago. The little shepherds have lost a few arms and the sheep don’t stand up well anymore, but I love remembering how I came to bring it home.

I love them all. But they are just things. If anything happens – if, God forbid, Tessie knocks them over and they all break – I’ll be sad and miss them but the memories are still there and new traditions will take their places. Now that they’re out, maybe I’ll be inspired to find the right presents for those on my list.