Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Who wears the pants around here anyway?

Not me, yet. But I’m getting closer!

First, let me apologize for not posting in over a week. I do have a really, really good excuse though:

I met a boy. :)

Well, a man, really. But since I feel a lot like a teenage girl around him I think I can appropriately refer to him as a boy without sounding like a total ass. Or not. Either way, I’ve been a little preoccupied--and I’ve been recently reminded by a few readers that simply being in the throes of new love doesn’t constitute a valid excuse to ignore my blog (what a bunch of taskmasters!). And I tend to agree, thus here I sit.

Rest assured that my shrinking butt is still planted firmly on the wagon, and even through it is three days late in coming, I present you with the following photographic evidence thereof:

I feel I should take this moment to mention that for the sake of continuity I have chosen to wear the same clothing items for each two-week progress shot, including the baby blue panties that feature so heavily in this photographic series. Rest assured that all the non-pants clothing you see has been laundered regularly, so snicker and make jokes about the perceived irregularity with which I change my underwear if you must, but know that it’s all fresh as a daisy in reality.

The Christmas Clothes Challenge page has been created, but I’ve held off on posting it:

A. Until my feet touch the ground again, thus giving me the traction necessary to maneuver my laptop into a position that is conducive to that undertaking, or

B. Until I suddenly develop a talent for web publishing skills beyond those of a chimpanzee.

I hope that one or the other will happen in the next few days…

Thursday, September 16, 2010

C is for Cookie...

I had a dream last night.

Not a notable dream, particularly. It wasn’t nearly as complex or interesting as some of the nightly film-festivals my subconscious likes to host in my sleeping brain. I wasn’t cooking tableside for a group of angry Japanese business men who were insistent that I add live baby chicks to their flaming steak-diane, head-butting my way out of a locked wooden box, or trying to remember why I hadn’t bothered to put on pants before showing up for my shift as a barista at Starbucks. (And can I just add here for the record that I have those terribly upsetting “Why the hell am I naked in this random public place?” dreams all the freakin’ time. The real world interpretations seem fairly straightforward to me, but it also seems a little silly that dream nudity upsets me so much when I have no qualms about splashing this little corner of the web with pictures in which my underwear plays a starring role. Go figure.) No, this dream was remarkably mundane.

I dreamed I was eating m&m’s.

That’s it. I wasn’t eating m&m’s while riding on the back of a flying dolphin on my way to the first Calculus class I’d been to all semester even though I needed the credits to graduate and I didn’t even have the book and the final started a half hour ago. I wasn’t chasing a horde of m&m’s down the hall because they’d sprouted legs and fangs and were fleeing from me armed with a bazooka that shoots blobs of rubber cement. And I wasn’t buried up to the neck in a continuous shower of m&m’s and being forced to eat them in great gulping mouthfuls lest they pile up over my head and suffocate me (though I’d be willing to take a shot at reenacting that one!). No, In this dream I was just sitting on the couch, eating m&m’s.

It was kind of awesome.

After surviving several wrestling matches with those candy-coated little boogers over the years, I don’t eat them much any more. I know that the beauty of the Weight Watchers program is that no food is off-limits, and that I absolutely could eat some m&m’s right now if I wanted to. And I do want to. But I also believe that if you opened the door to Hell’s waiting room, walked across the carpet of burning coals and up to the demon on duty at the reception desk, that nestled between a sign that said “Welcome to your Eternal Damnation!” and a picture of a couple of horned & fork tongued children would be a big, heaping bowl of m&m’s--because every good minion knows it’s just good business to keep the candy dish stocked with the infernal creation of the CEO himself.

So today, when a friend at work casually mentioned that she’d bought some m&m cookies for her department, I just as casually mentioned to her that I’d had a dream about m&m’s last night, and then promptly forgot all about the conversation. Until I needed to refill my giant water cup, and sitting there right above the ice machine was this little beauty and a few dozen of his friends:

So I ate it. Well, it wasn’t THIS cookie, because there wasn’t time in the approximately 5 seconds between when I laid eyes on it and when it resided in my digestive tract to snap a photograph. This cookie was the second one I took with me to my desk, and planned to send to the same fate as it’s twin…right after I recorded the indulgence in my daily weight watchers food journal. As I calculated the points for two cookies (two delicious, chewy, moist, buttery, fresh baked m&m cookies), a small bit of my sanity returned and I realized that I was totally fine with spending 5 points on one cookie, but spending 10 points for two of them was just a little too rich for my blood. So instead I took a picture of it, spent a few moments of quality time gazing at it, and then put it back where I found it for someone else to enjoy.

In the end I got to eat my cookie and keep my dignity too, my m&m jones satisfied for the moment.

Dreams really do come true. :)

Monday, September 13, 2010

Does my butt make these pants look small?

WARNING: The following post contains an image that shows far less swimsuit-area skin than the one that preceded it two weeks ago, but still a goodly amount of baby blue panties. My apologies to the squeamish.

As you know, there’s a gorgeous pair of white wool pants that have been hanging in my closet for over two years. They’ve been mocking me from their hanger, size 20 tags still attached, for so long that I started to believe that I’d never wear them. But all that changed on August 28th, when I posted a somewhat inappropriate picture of myself wearing (read: squeezed partly into) them, and vowed that I’d do the same thing every two weeks leading up to Christmas Eve 2010 when I would post a picture of myself wearing them to dinner that night.

Unfortunately for you, I am a woman of my word.

I fully expected this first progress shot would be more “shot” than “progress”. After all, two weeks isn’t a very long time in fat-girl years. I mean, sure, I’ve lost nearly 7 pounds in that time but that doesn’t exactly translate to much appreciable sizing movement in the plus-size fashion world. The old convention that you go down a size roughly every 10 pounds doesn’t hold true once you leave the realm of “Misses” sizes to foray into the world of “Women’s” clothing. In fact, in my experience it’s somewhere closer to about 30 pounds between sizes, and can even be more than that the higher you go.

This phenomenon makes perfect sense to me. I think about it like blowing up a balloon. The first few puffs into a deflated balloon make a really big difference, but as the balloon inflates the increase in circumference is less noticeable with each breath of equal volume. It works the very same way in reverse—a slow, steady flow of air out of a full balloon causes it to decrease in size slowly at first until it gets small. It can be frustrating for those of us with so much to lose, and often we have to post really impressive numbers at the scale before the balloon has deflated enough for the world to take notice.

And so I wasn’t terribly hopeful that a seven-pound loss would translate into much pants related progress. But just a scant 14 days since I promised I’d do it, I gently removed those creamy, dreamy trousers from the hanger that’s been their home since I bought them, took them down to the kitchen, slipped them over my legs, up my thighs, to my hips…and up them a few inches! Check it out:

Left: 2 weeks ago, Right: Today!

It’s not like I’m going to wear them to work tomorrow or anything (though if they suddenly dump Casual Friday in favor of Almost Naked Monday, I know what I’m wearing!) but I can actually see the difference. And so could my son! Which, now that I type it, feels a little on the creepy side but I’m going to ignore that feeling in favor of one that’s more pleasant: Hope. I'm starting to really believe that I’ll be wearing these pants come Christmas Eve, and it’s a GREAT feeling.

So I’m putting out the call: Do you have something hanging in your closet that YOU want to wear by the Holidays? If so, I invite you to join me for Sara’s Christmas Clothes Challenge!

The rules are simple, and all they require is the desire to change and a tiny bit of bravery: Pick a piece of clothing that doesn’t fit you right now, power up your camera, and take a picture of yourself in it today. If you’ve got a blog, post that picture for the world to see, along with your pledge to post a new picture every two weeks and send me an email letting me know that you’re in! You can link to my site in your blog if you like, and I’ll link YOU in my bi-weekly white-pants posts. Over the next few months, we’ll have a parade of shrinking, well-dressed bodies to display for the world to see!

And even if you don’t have a blog, you can still play along. You can email me your pictures for me to post (or not to, whatever you prefer) and tell me about your progress, or you can be a silent partner and make a private pledge—but I hope you’ll share your progress with someone when you feel comfortable. I’ve already gotten a few starting pictures from some great readers, and I can’t wait to show you their progress as the weeks pass!

So what do you say, internet? Are you ready for the Christmas Clothes Challenge? Who’s with me?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Looking for the Lightning...

I love this time of year. September rolled in over the plains last week and brought with it the clear sunny days and crisp cool nights of fall, with a pleasant little shower or two thrown in wetting things down enough that I didn’t have to water my lawn (my pathetic, scorched, gasping lawn). This transition time between summer and autumn, when that perfect combination of open windows and lots of covers on the bed makes for the best sleep I’ll get all year (which is totally worth the inevitable teeth-chattering sprint into a hot shower when the alarm goes off) is my favorite season-that-isn't-technically-a-season.

When the oppressive heat of the typical mid-western summer starts to lift (Q: What did the humidity say to the heat? A: It’s not you, It’s ME.), everything around here looks a little brighter. The leaves begin to change colors, the smell of BBQ grills and wood burning fire pits fill the air at dusk, crowds gather to watch padded boys and men of all ages toss around the pigskin, and suddenly I’ve got to find another source of white noise to get to sleep because the constant hum of the air conditioner is missing from the soundtrack of the night.

It always feels like a renaissance to me, when people begin to come out of the off-season hibernation period and emerge from the cool shelter of their homes into a world that no longer threatens to melt them into the pavement if they linger too long in the merciless sun. All of a sudden we’re making excuses to leave the house, reminding each other to take a jacket just in case we need it, and things like mowing the lawn or running to the grocery store don’t feel court ordered punishment anymore. People seem happier, less grumpy, like they’re no longer weighed down by the never ending heat.

And me? I feel good too.

A good friend of mine at the office keeps a basket of candy on her desk, and when she noticed yesterday that her supplies for it were running low, she asked me what she could buy to fill it that wouldn’t tempt me too much. It was such a thoughtful question, borne out of her concern and support for my ongoing battle with the fat (and probably due in no small part to the day I had a run in with a particularly dastardly confection in that very basket). I surprised myself a little by immediately replying “Anything is fine with me, nothing tempts me that much lately.” And I wasn’t just being polite. I actually MEANT it.

Since May of this year, I’ve been back on my weight loss game with a focus and drive that continues to amaze me. It’s not so much the fact that it exists that I find fascinating, but rather that it’s a different feeling than I’ve ever had before. It’s not completely unfamiliar, but it’s not the old feeling I longed to get back for so long either. It’s something totally new, which is a bit of a surprise. I always hoped that if the chaos of the last few years finally abated (and I wasn’t always sure it would, to be honest) that I’d be able to get back where I was before, that those old fires would start to burn again and I’d pick up right where I left off. But that didn’t happen.

When I was finally able to focus on my weight loss goals again, things looked different from my new vantage point. I’d learned a few new things along the way, lessons taken from my successes and won from my failures as well. When I decided that I was ready to get back on the wagon, I took a different seat than I had the last time I’d climbed onto it. The road was the same as it had always been, the map was full of the same landmarks and symbols and the route was clearly marked…but the view wasn’t the same. It wasn’t bad, in fact it was pretty darn good. But something had changed--and eventually I realized what was different this time around:

It was ME.

Motivation is a tricky beast, and many a weight loss journey (or most, if not damn near all of them) have seen setback or two. Or seven. And inevitably when get back down to the business of losing we find ourselves longing for the way things were back when it was all fresh and new, when we felt invincible and couldn’t imagine why we waited so long to take control. We retrace our steps, stretch our arms to the heavens and beg for lightning to strike us again…and it doesn’t. It can’t.

It’s true what they say: lightning never strikes in the same place twice. But that only matters if YOU stay in the same place, and if you keep moving it can strike again. It won’t be exactly the way it was the first time, but you won’t be the same person you were the first time either. You may never forget that first strike, but take it from me--new lightning packs one hell of a jolt.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Feelin' Groovy...

If you’d have told me six months ago that by September I’d have been filling a blog post with all the good stuff that’s been happening lately, I would laughed in your face. And by “laughed in your face” I mean I would have pulled the covers back over my head and grunted something approximating “Go and peddle your optimism elsewhere and leave me to my misery”. But you’d have been right because the glass, these days, is decidedly half-full:

· I lost 3.4 pounds at my weigh in on Saturday morning, capping off another great week with an excellent showing at the scale! I’m just six-tenths of a pound shy of 35 pounds lost since I got back down to business in May, and I’m less than five pounds away from seeing a TWO as the first digit of my weight. All in all, not too shabby!

· I’m three weeks into my online dating experiment and, despite my fears, I haven’t been relegated to “last kid picked for kickball” status. There have been a few bites; some I threw back, some swam away, and few are still on the line…and there’s at least one that I’m willing to keep reeling in. So far, so good.

· My little foray into inappropriate photography in Saturday’s Christmas pants post yielded me some fantastic feedback. The response was overwhelmingly positive (though there’s always a hater or two in the bunch, and I invite those who found the sight of my panties objectionable to remove their finger from the orifice it is currently lodged in and use it to click their mouse right on off of my site), but my favorite email was from a reader who sent me a picture of herself in the pants SHE wants to wear this Christmas—which got me thinking about just how many other people might have something in their closet that’s been mocking them, and wouldn’t it be cool if we could all cheer each other on in some kind of challenge? So take a look in your closet, dust off your camera, and STAY TUNED FOR DETAILS!

· I’m happier more days than I’m sad, I feel good more than I feel bad, and I was lucky enough to catch a glimpse of that silver lining they’re always saying every cloud has while I was out walking tonight, and I have the photographic evidence to prove it exists:
Against all odds, today life is GOOD. I realize that all this optimism might be inviting the universe to drop the other shoe that, even as I write this, is likely dangling precariously just overhead. But on days like this, when I begin appreciate just how long it’s been since I’ve had days like this, a potential Nike to the noggin is a risk I’m willing to take.