Thursday, December 29, 2005

Status Update...

Since this is a pseudo-fitness blog I will start out with my current weight: 147 lbs. I have not done my fat percentage in months, so that is completely out-of-date. I have managed to walk and do other minor forms of exercise, but I haven't been to the gym and my count remains stuck at 75/200.

Now, that we have the preliminaries out of the way, we can move on to my New Year's challenge. I have not really gotten going on the list of talents and training needs. I have taken a look at the master's programs that I am interested in and am narrowing them down in case that is the direction I end up pursuing. I printed out the FAFSA worksheet in preparation for applying for financial aid, and have filled in all the blanks I am able. If I am going to grad school, I have to have everything in order, and I don't want a form or two to prevent my getting started. So, I am working toward what I want in my life.

In even more impressive news, I have both of the Christmas trees down, all of the ornaments and lights boxed up, and everything in the attic. There are a couple of stray Santa decorations and Nativity sets hanging around, but they will be outta here in the next 24 hours. Once all of the Christmas stuff is gone, I will set another step in the clutter-cutting goal. So, I am making great progress on the elimination side of the plan.

Now, to keep the momentum...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Yeah, That Would Be Me...

The one who manages to lose weight over the holidays and is currently weighing in at 147.5 lbs. I wish I could attribute it to methodical exercise and a stellar diet. It is more likely the fact that I have bronchitis and didn't feel like cooking or eating all of the standard holiday fare.

I will give myself credit, though. I kept myself away from the cases of spiral hams and allowed myself one small piece of pumpkin pie - no whipped cream. The bag of M&Ms that my wasband left at my house was more than I could manage - and I have managed to down a decent amount of it. So, it needs to go.

Outside of that, things are going along about as well as can be expected. My divorce is final (as of Dec. 21 - it gave a whole new meaning to the solstice) and I am looking to the future.

With 72 hours (or so) left in 2005, I have to admit that it has been a pretty impressive year. Yeah, I lost more than 40 pounds, a husband, and completed a year of school. But more than that, I began the journey of rediscovering myself.

2006 is the year I will either meet the MegaChallenge and complete my 200 workouts - or fall short. It is also the year when I will decide whether to tackle a master's degree or to head off to a real job or a combination of the two. Lots of growth and changes are in store.

I don't get into the whole New Year's Resolutions thing - but I do use the change of the calendar to reassess. My favorite question is: If I could have/do/be anything what would it be? Then I have to ask: What is the first step toward having it? When can I get that step completed? Who will hold me accountable for accomplishing it?

My second favorite question is: What is in my life that I would rather be rid of? Then the same steps apply. It isn't mindbogglingly difficult to ask, but it can have enormous impact on my life when I bother to actually implement the answers.

  • If I could be anything what would it be? A graphic facilitator/life coach. (See Christina's site and you will have a pretty decent idea of my bliss.)
  • What is the first step toward being a life coach? Doing an assessment of my current abilities and the areas which need development.
  • When can I get that step completed? By New Year's.
  • Who will hold me accountable? My blog readers.
And on the other side:
  • If I could get rid of anything what would it be? The clutter in my house.
  • What is the first step toward decluttering? Taking down the holiday decorations.
  • When can I get that step completed? By New Year's.
  • Who will hold me accountable? My blog readers.
Okay - so before the ball drops in Time's Square I will have a list of my current talents and training needs as well as all of my decorations put away.

What are you going to do to get 2006 rolling in the right direction?

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Yeah, I Wish...

I wish I was here to tell you that I am back to working out. Fact is that I doubt the folks at the gym would recognize me. Yeah, it has been that long. I still have a small desire to make my goal of 200 workouts this year. I haven't looked at the math to see if it is still possible - but I do like finishing what I start.

The person who started out doing this with me is in the same boat. It looks like Renee and Allan and Trish have sort of drifted from their goals, too. Perhaps this isn't a sign of failure, though. Perhaps it is a normal part of life. When I set my goal to work out 200 times this year, it was with the idea that it would take that to get back into my summer clothing. Well, I actually reached that goal in 75 workouts. Does that mean that I never need to work out, again? Of course not! But it does mean that my focus has shifted.

Brenna perfectly illustrates this point. Does she want to be physically strong? Absolutely. But she wants to be a mommy more right now. So, her focus has shifted. That's not to say that a couple months after those babies (yes more than one) are born that her focus won't readjust. But growing babies is a big job - and sort of requires that you give up the goal of fitting into anything smaller than a circus tent - at least in the short term.

So, am I struggling with finding the motivation to get to the gym? Absolutely. Am I freaked out about it? Can't say that I am. I will say that I need to fit some fitness into my life.

My real struggle is with making room for all of the things I need to do along with the stuff I want to do. When working out was a want, I was motivated to work it into my daily routine. Now that it is a need, and not my heart's desire I am a little (okay, a lot) less likely to squeeze it in. This portion of the challenge is to find a way to remain motivated to do things that aren't at the very top of my to do list.

Yikes. This stuff just gets harder and harder!

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Two Weeks and Two Days Later...

I am still weighing in around 149. Some days a little more, some days a little less. The lowest evah was 148 last week. And don't ask about workouts. They aren't happening. But that is so not the focus of my thoughts right now.

My focus is on getting my house in order - literally and figuratively. I am reading tons of books, planning the holidays for my kids (I am not into it at all, but I know better than to skip the festivities.), and throwing out piles of stuff.

It is amazing what you (I) will hang onto way past its usefulness. Like who needs 75 buttons from the 80's? If you were around when Robin Williams was better known as Mork, you will remember the suspenders he wore - complete with sun and moon buttons. Well, that was early in my formative years, and I took that fad and carried it all the way into my adulthood by way of a massive collection of buttons that refused to die. Yeah, they ended up in some box along with several Swatch watches, ticket stubs from concerts and movies (remember the Police? How 'bout the Goonies??), and gawd knows what else. I finally made a clean break with middle and high school and dumped the whole shebang into the garbage.

Yeah, here's where I could make the leap and say the same thing about my marriage. But that would be way too obvious. So, how about I wait right here while you think through that thought and then we can move on.

You back? Great!

So where were we? Oh yeah, cleaning house. See the trouble with cleaning house is that you spend way too much time looking at the stuff you are throwing away and get really close to forgetting the point of the cleaning part. Now you want to know the point? Okay, get ready for it...

The point of cleaning house is to make room to live in it.

If your life is cluttered with all the memorabilia from what you have already done, how will you ever make space to experience anything new? You won't. Of course, you risk throwing away the one thing that you will desperately need in a week and won't be able to replace for anything less than $600 on eBay. That's why we hang on to all of that stuff. It seems too risky to let it go.

But at some point it has to go. Either that, or you will find yourself sitting amongst your piles of already-dones and wondering why you aren't happy. Don't get me wrong. I am keeping my grandmother's dishes and all of my CDs and lots of other things that I love. It isn't that things from the past are bad - but they need to grow with you. I mean, how ridiculous would I look walking around wearing rainbow suspenders covered with buttons that say things like, "I Heart Garfield"? Yeah. Not pretty.

So, out with the tasteless, dated, rusting garbage. I am making room to live again.

Monday, November 21, 2005

All In A Day's Work...

So, you know how sometimes you build a day up to be a really big deal and then you are all let down when it isn't such a big deal? Well, I don't have that problem. At. All.

November 21, 2005.

It was already scheduled to be a big day as I had my court appearance for the divorce this morning. It took all of 5 minutes to get the judge's signature on the order, and I managed the whole thing without tripping over my feet and landing in his lap. That's a good thing.

As quickly as the court part went, the clerk part was not. Quick, that is. I waited 2 hours for the court clerk to make a certified copy of my decree. See, you have to have that to change your name on your driver's license and social security card and all of those other places where you have told someone that you have a name. So, I waited. I was absolutely convinced that she was hand scribing the damn thing.

So, I am divorced. Yikes. I have had a couple of panic attacks when I think of the reality of being single with two small children. Beyond that I am just really, really sad.

Knowing that (I am sad) think of the mind blow when I stepped on the scale and discovered that I have achieved goal weight. Yes! On the day I end my marriage, I end my diet. Funky weird mixed emotions are everywhere. And, get this, I didn't just hit goal weight. Nope, I sailed right past it to 148.5 because why would I ever be allowed to actually see my goal weight pop up on the scale? Yeah, because that would be the expected outcome. Not that I am complaining. Since I am aiming a little lower for good measure (like to the low 140s - I will fine tune it as I see how I look/feel) the bonus half pound is all good.

We are going to move the car, but it does weird things when you lose more than your goal. So, I am going to put in that I am at goal and not beyond goal. If I can adjust to all the stuff that is going on around here, y'all can deal with the ticker confusion. Right?? Thought so.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

So Close...

I am finally out of the 150's with a morning scale reading of 149.5 lbs. Yep. I am a half pound away from my goal weight! Yeehaw! It feels amazing and surreal to be this close to a goal that seemed so far away when I started the MegaChallenge back in June. Let's see what this does to the car:

I am also less than 24 hours away from seeing the judge to finalize my divorce. Yikes! I am sort of in shock - numb and disbelief are the feelings of the day - but at the same time I realize that what we are doing makes sense. Of course, no one walks down the aisle in 40 yards of organza with the hopes that they will end up divorced some 10 years, 4 months, and 6 days later (but who's counting?). I said those vows believing that we'd be a couple until death. Luckily neither of us resorted to murder to keep that vow. Though, I am sure we were both tempted a time or two.

Hint: You know your marriage is over when your spouse is 4 hours late getting home and you start thinking of ways to spend the insurance money rather that calling hospitals. It is never a good sign when you are disappointed that they showed up alive. I never wished my wasband dead. And I actually still care a lot about him. So, don't worry that I have come completely unhinged. I'm just sayin'.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Not Nearly Enough...

Yeah, I went to the gym. On Monday. It isn't just the fact that I am falling behind on my goals. It isn't that my weight loss is slow going without the workouts. It is the fact that I am tired and unmotivated and sluggish and depressed when I don't get to the gym. Physical activity (or lack thereof) has a direct impact on my spirits. Given that I am going through one of the hardest transitions of my life, I am not at all surprised that I am feeling a down, but I really do need to take better care of myself.

Having said all of that, I can report another half pound has gone missing from my rear. Yup. I am down to 150.5 lbs and 1.5 pounds from goal. I toyed with the idea of buying myself a super-huge MP3 player as a reward for hitting my goal weight, but looks like I am giving myself a new life instead.

Oh, and for all you race fans, here is the latest result in my efforts to move the car:

Monday, November 07, 2005

Move The Car...

Yeah, I have hit 151 pounds. Which means that I only have 2 pounds to go to reach goal. The fact that I am losing anyting at all is due to my continued awareness and restriction of my food intake and has nothing to do with fitness. I am about to change that, though. Yes. Believe it. I am off to the gym (75/200). But first let's move the car.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

Fast Forwarding Standing Still...

I am still not going to the gym. I still weigh 151.5 lbs. I am still in the process of going through a divorce. I feel like I am standing still. But life is on fast forward. I am dealing with attorneys and court dates and divvying up our art. It seems somewhat surreal. If surreal means super-real and unreal all at the same time.

Soap Box Of The Day: Oh, and what if your child had a disability and you found out that the disability was caused by something that is completely preventable and that someone knew that potential before your child was injured and they chose not to tell anyone and now it is too late for your child - and about 1% of the children born since 1991 - and now they are working to make sure that those children never get their day in court under the auspices of national security and no one seems to care except a few parents and scientists who know the truth when ultimately thousands of children could be affected and not be given the antidote until it is too late because some very powerful people are embarrassed/afraid that they will be held responsible and so they are rushing to cover their asses and ship the stuff to China under the guises of "humanitarian aide" when it should be called "bioterrorism" because Chinese children shouldn't be given this stuff any more than American children but we are doing it anyway because we have figured out that people buy into this "better them than me" shit and won't do anything to stop it? Yeah, it is one hell of a run-on sentence, but when you are fucking angry and sad and disillusioned, who cares about punctuation?

It is just a theory, but China is going to hate us. It isn't going to be pretty when a fifth of the world's population finds out that we screwed them. On purpose. Just don't say you weren't warned.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Yeah, No...

So, you think you have a handle on what makes your body lose or gain weight. So, you track those things and tweak them to maximize the subtraction from the poundage. And you plateau. So then you hit a marshmallow-filled holiday (say, Halloween) and eat your age in s'mores and the next thing you know you have dropped another half a pound.

Makes you want to say things like, "What the hell? I think I will just eat my face off and lose those last couple of pounds." But you know that it is really the diet gods playing tricks on you. It is the mantra of the season, afterall. Trick-or-treat. It looks like I get both.

Don't tell the diet gods that I haven't been to the gym. They might see fit to give me flat abs just to mess with my mind.

Oh - and it is time to move the car. Vrrrooooommmm...

No Tricks there.

Friday, October 28, 2005

Given Everything Going On...

The fact that I can move the car seems somehow of very little import. Well, except for the fact that it makes my son happy. Oh, and it means I am only 3 pounds from goal. And, yes, it is a sign that I am still taking care of myself as I struggle through this period of my life. So, maybe it isn't such a tiny deal after all. So, let's see where a half-pound loss puts the car.

Yup. I weight 152 pounds. Never mind that it took me 3 days to lose 3 pounds and then 3 weeks to lose another half pound. Never mind that I was hoping to hit goal by Halloween. Well, if I can lose 3 pounds in 3 days, I could still, theoretically, hit goal by then - but I ain't countin' on it. As Jules pointed out, I am very close to goal, have an optimal BMI and look and feel pretty great about where I am.

I do think I will aim a little lower than 149 lbs, though. Probably another 10 pounds lower. That puts me at 10 pounds over my college weight. I know there was a study about adult weight gain that said that 11 pounds of gain over the course of your adult life is the upper limit. I am taking that seriously. I will say that at 129, I was rain-thin and really don't want to get that small. So, 149 is good but 139 will be my next target. I figure then that the 4 pound fluctuations I do through the month will still keep me under 145. 145 will be my "OMG I should probably run an extra mile" number.

All of this babbling to avoid the real topic of my thoughts. The appointment with the attorney went fine. We have everything nailed down but one last number. You know the number. Yeah, that would be the child support. My wasband is self-employed, and as such is hard to pin down when it comes to income. But, I am officially not going to worry about it. I am perfectly capable of taking care of my children. If we can't come to an agreement, the courts will make a decision. It is not within my control. So, I am not going to spend energy attempting to control something that I cannot.

Having said that, I am off to do the things I can control. Namely, taking care of my kids, eating properly, getting some form of exercise, and doing my homework for Marketing. Eight months from now I will have my Bachelor's. The timing of this split will not derail my dreams. So there.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Judging from the overwhelming number of comments, the details of my life outside of shedding pounds and running to nowhere are of little interest to the folks who frequent the MegaChallenge. There would have been a time I would have chosen one of two courses: stopped talking about my life or to have taken it personally and moped for a week.

Well, this isn't that time.

I really have nothing to report in the fitness quest. I have maintained a 152.5 lb weight for two weeks. Not exactly stellar if you are trying to weigh less than that - but not a bad effort when you are close to maintenance.

In divorce news, I meet with my attorney tomorrow afternoon. In some ways it can't come quickly enough. In others, it feels like it is all blazing by faster than I can process it all.

Monday, October 24, 2005

Fall. The Season of Corn Mazes and Attorneys...

In an attempt to bring some semblance of normalcy to our children's lives, my wasband and I headed out to visit a local pumpkin patch. It is a decent hike out there, and there are two main ways to get there; via interstate or via curvy surface roads. Of course, our lives being the mixed up weirdness that they are, we took the curvy path. Funky weird thing is that it is the same route that my dad took to get to the church the day we got married.

As I mentioned, it is a hike out there, so we don't often drive past this particularly scenic church - and I hadn't seen it in several years. So, how perfect is it that as we approach the place where this marriage started that my attorney called me to discuss arranging our divorce?? Yeah. It really happened exactly that way.

We made it to the farm without ripping each other apart. As a matter of fact, so far there is very little ugliness going on. Which, come to think of it, is a nice change from our normal routine. Maybe it is the fact that we have both given up. Maybe it is the fact that we are too sad to fight about it. I dunno. Regardless, so far there has been less bickering over the details of our divorce than there generally is over which rellies get to see us over the holidays.

The pumpkin patch was lovely. It is (finally) cold enough outside that it feels like fall. So, we were all bundled up in sweaters and jackets for the hay ride out. The kids each chose the very best pumpkin from the rows and rows and rows of options. To top it off, the farm has a corn maze - not a terribly elaborate one, but curvy and confusing enough to excite the sub-8-year-old crowd. We spent the better part of an hour (73/200) weaving and backtracking through the stalks until we found the exit.

Hmmmm. An overly-obvious metaphor? Perhaps. But walking out of that maze felt quite a bit like walking away from this marriage. While I enjoyed some of the mystery, excitement, and surprises of the time in the maze, I was really happy to get out into the open field in the end. After all, there is only so much weaving and backtracking you can do before you begin feeling a little confused and claustrophobic.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Running to Nowhere...

I think I am beginning to understand how hamsters must feel on those little wheels. I finally made it back to the gym and spent some time with the elliptical trainer (72/200). If it weren't for the fact that it removes layers of fat from my ass it would be such a ridiculous waste of time. Frankly, it probably is even with the physical benefits, but I am too *me* to do something else. So, I am sticking with it.

It sort of makes a nice metaphor for my life, though. I have spent the past 10 (12?) years of my life running to nowhere. Sure, I have given birth and partially raised two children, completed all but 20 hours of my degree, read books, prayed, worked on my own emotional health, and stuff along those lines. But, I have also spent an enormous amount of time and energy trying to stay connected to someone who just doesn't get it - in order to be a healthy couple, you have to work on being healthy individuals. One person can't make it all work out for the other.

So, yeah, I am pretty sad about the fact that we are breaking apart. And I have spent plenty of nights wondering if I could have done anything else/differently/better to have made everything work out. But, I can't help but hope that this divorce will be my chance to make my life into something more than it has been. To this point, I have been defined by my relationships to other people - and obviously I will still be a mom, sister, friend, daughter - but I am looking forward to getting to know who I am - authentically, without the pressures to fit into someone else's picture of who I should be. This is probably the ultimate MegaChallenge. It somehow feels easier and safer to perform an assigned role than to branch out and try something new - however poorly the assigned role actually fits.

So, here's to getting off of the hamster wheel and discovering my own path. But I am sticking with the elliptical trainer at the gym - for now - I can only manage one major life change at a time.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Still Here...

But in a disjointed, out-of-body sort of way. Lots going on emotionally that I just can't put into words.

Nothing much going on in the health and fitness department - though I did walk a couple of times this week (70 and 71/200). Fall weather is my favorite - so I will probably do more walking than gymming until it turns cold.

Someone wrote that getting a divorce was like ripping your veins out. I have never done the latter - but I would tend to agree. Of course, there is a part of me that is looking forward to life without my wasband. Right now that life seems really far away.

I am really craving a sleeve of Ore0s. Of course, I am using all my powers of resistance to avoid any such purchase - but don't think that the thought hasn't plagued me quite a bit. I don't want to lose track of my goal: a healthy, happy Gina. Ore0s aren't in that picture. Really. Not even one sleeve.

Creme Brulée... well, that's a completely different discussion.

Friday, October 14, 2005

For Those Keeping Score at Home...

I have taken a day off from my pound-a-day loss trend. The scale said the same thing today as it did yesterday: 152.5. How odd that it is somehow a relief to not lose weight for a day. Yeah, I am the same woman who was bitching endlessly about being stuck at 159. What can I say? I am fickle that way.

Anyone want to place bets on how long it takes me to panic that I am not dropping weight?

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Whodda Thunk...

That divorce would the be secret to rapid weight loss? Okay, maybe it isn't. Maybe I am finally letting go of those pounds my body was holding on to during the stuck-at-159 stretch. Regardless, I have dropped 3 pounds this week and can't claim to have exercised other than taking a long walk (69/200) yesterday.

As this morning's scale visit revealed a 152.5, it is time to move the car, again.

I feel like I am driving without brakes. Great if you are trying to move a little graphic ticker car representing your weight loss. Bad if you are trying to coast through the mountains of doubt that come with a major life change.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Now the weight is flying off and I am really at a loss to explain it. But I will happily take it. I have less than 5 pounds to go to reach goal weight. Let's see where weighing 153.5 pounds puts the car.

In other news, I am poised to lose 180 pounds in one fell swoop. It looks like I have added a new wrinkle to the MegaChallenge: being a healthy single mom. I am terrified and relieved and sad and nervous and hopeful and a little nostalgic. Sigh.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Popping In...

I feel like I am neglecting the real purpose of this blog - doing the 200 workouts - but I really haven't been getting to the gym at all. I am losing weight, though. Go figure. I saw 154 and 154.5 on the scales this morning. Just to be on the safe side I will count the higher number for now. Let's see what that does to the car...

I am pretty excited about the 22.8 BMI. It seems somewhat surreal to be so close to my goal. Don't pinch me, though. I am a bit of a wimp when it comes to pain.

My life is doing its typical messy explosion thing. Breathing seems to be the only thing I am able to accomplish with any regularity. Ever have one of those days (years)?

Monday, October 10, 2005

Later That Same Day...

Yeah, I like to get on the scale. Today my double checking actually paid off. Yes. There is a weight update. 155.5 lbs. Don't hate me because I am skinny. Just concentrate on the car...

Holding Steady...

I weigh exactly 156 lbs today. That means that I maintained my weight while out of town - no small feat.

I also managed to work in a nice walk (68/200) while I was on the road. It breaks a very long workout dry spell. I gotta get back on track in the exercise department.

I'd love to sit here and create an incredibly insightful post - but I have to catch up on my life. It kept going without me while I was away.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

On The Road Again...

I am off on another business trip, but I need to move the car before I go.

Yeppers. After a year (slight exaggeration) at 159 lbs, I have dropped another pound to 156. I am wearing size 10 jeans, and can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Here's hoping it isn't a train.

No, I have not managed to get to the gym. I thought I might try to fit in a swim, but getting ready to leave town with a sore back has proven difficult. Ah well... There is always next week.

And Robert, you are right, 157 lbs at 5' 9" is pretty svelte. 156 is even a little better - thus my goal of 149 lbs. For my height, it is a pretty decent weight. And I am so, so, so close to getting there!

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Eight to Go...

Pounds, that is. Getting this close to goal is a little scary. Right now, I am really focused on seeing 149 lbs on the scale. But what happens when I get there? Do I keep going? If so, how far? Will I maintain my new weight or lose motivation and end up back in pushing 200 land?

I realize that mine isn't a unique struggle. Well, and that is what makes it both easier and more difficult. Easier because I am not alone. More difficult because I have all of the statistics flying around in my head - and I don't want to be among the 95% of dieters who regain the weight.

I know a big part of the battle is getting into the habit of being healthy - and not just dieting to lose weight. I am trying to keep that focus by setting the 200 workouts goal. Of course, going whole weeks without working out isn't the way to meet that goal. I also know that beating myself up for not working out isn't healthy, either.

With all that said, 157 lbs feels great! Wearing size 10 jeans feels fabulous! I am enjoying the rewards of my 4 months of fitness. So, let's celebrate my half-pound loss by moving the car!


Down In Back...

No, not you. Me. My back is in knots and I am very, very whiney about it. All I did was vacuum. And, snap! My lower back twisted into some reasonable facsimile of a pretzel and refuses to ease up. Even with powerful strong meds. Waaaaaahhhh!! I wanna feel good! I wanna work out!

I did take advantage of the horizontal nature of my day and read all of Karen Armstrong's The Narrow Gate. I have a thing about feminine spirituality memoirs. It is part of my quest to find me - the genuine me - under pounds of fat, years of abuse, and layers of dogma. Sheesh, it is hard. Every time I think I am making progress I realize that the process is a thousand times more complicated than I first thought.

It is like cleaning out a closet. At first you are just going to straighten things up a bit - but before you know it you have everything out all over the room. And you are reading old letters and checking the pockets in purses you haven't carried since high school - and then it is midnight and you can't even see your bed under all of the stuff and you just want to go to sleep, but now you have this huge mess.

Well, it is midnight around here. Everything is piled out in front of me and I am trying to decide whether to throw it on the floor and get some sleep or to dig in. Hmmmmm...

Monday, October 03, 2005

I Just Don't Understand...

How I can go weeks without losing an ounce and then suddenly lose a pound in less than 24 hours. I am sure there is some rational scientific explanation about breaking fat down into water and holding onto it for awhile or something equally as eye-glazing. I mean, I'll take losses of a pound in less then 24 hours. But I am one of those girls who likes order and predictability. Granted, I don't get much of it, but I like it.

So, yeah, I lost another half a pound. I didn't work out. I didn't stick strickly to my diet. (My family went to an all-you-can-eat deal on Saturday. I was sooooo careful, but it is just impossible to walk out of there without doing a little damage.) And I lose weight.

What am I whining about?? I weight 157.5 lbs! Move that car!

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Fits and Starts...

All in all, I would have to say that the MegaChallenge is going very well. Sure, I have slacked some in my intensity and progress, but from what I gather that is typical. We all start out like gangbusters. It is the long-haul, day-after-day, month-after-month follow through that tends to get hard. So, the fact that I am still plugging along after 4 months of this fitness quest gives me great hope.

That... and the loss of another half pound. I am never this upbeat when I have stalled out! That puts me at 158 pounds - or 30 pounds gone since the start of the MegaChallenge. So, let's move the car and pretend that no one notices that I haven't worked out since Thursday. Okay? K.

Oh, and beefore I forget, check out Renee's new site, Fatfighters. You won't bee disappointed. ;)

Friday, September 30, 2005


Yup. I finally saw something other than 159 lbs on the blasted scale this morning. Actually, the first 26 times I stood on it I saw 157.5. I must have swollen with pride because when I went back a few minutes later to re-verify the amazing new number the scale wouldn't budge off of 158.5. What the... So, I am going to count the 158.5 lbs as my official new weight, and send lots of tributes to the scale gods in hopes that the lower number will return very soon. In the meantime, here is the car for your viewing pleasure:

Today is the last day of the month ("No, kidding?" you say.) and one of the two times a month that I do measurements for the body fat percentage. According to the fat gods, I have gained a pound of lean mass and lost two pounds of fat in the last two weeks. Thus the stall out on the scale. My body fat is down to about 27% which puts me about 5% above my goal. So, even though the scale is being a bit (okay, very) stubborn, I am seeing progress elsewhere.

Oh, and since this supposed to be a fitness blog (you know, including such things as working out) I should tell you that workouts 66/200 and 67/200 are in the bag. 66 consisted of a very long (4 hour) walk. 67 was completed via an hour of lap swimming. Still no joy on my elliptical buddy, but I am holding out hope that I won't have to replace my hip before I can use it, again.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Stay Busy While I Wander About...

Just in case you find yourself with loads of free time because I am not being the good daily blogger, here is something to keep you busy. It is likely the most addictive and challenging puzzle I have attacked in my life. Oh, and in case you don't have that kind of free time, you can do simpler Sudoku here.

Don't say I didn't warn you. (Yes, I am still stuck at 159. I don't want to talk about it.)

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Hey! Look! Over there...

I was hoping to distract you from the fact that I have stalled out for an entire week in the weight loss thing. I still feel very good about where I am, but when you get into the swing of losing a couple of pounds a week, going this long without a drop feels like an eternity. From what I understand, it isn't an official plateau unless it stretches for 2-3 weeks. I am hoping I won't have to report on that phenomenon.

I did get my butt to the gym for workout 65/200 today. I was completely unmotivated to get out the door, but once I got there it was better. I made it 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer before I headed over to the bike to finish up my 36 minutes of cardio. I know I need to get back to lifting, I just don't feel like it! Since when has that been a viable excuse? It isn't.

Friday, September 23, 2005


Several things seem to be glued in place around here. My eyes are glued to the weather. My weight is glued to 159 lbs. I could keep going, but suffice it to say that I would like whatever it is that is helping create hurricanes to find something else to do, and I would like my body to let go of the fat. I doubt that the two things have anything in common. Well, other than the fact that the more I sit in front of the TV the less I move.

I have noticed that I do tend to hold on to weight for a week or so and then drop it all at once. Maybe it is time for another one of those flurries of weight loss. I haven't noticed any brilliant patterns regarding the hurricanes. But, heck, if they want to call it a season, I am all for it.

Oh, yeah. I did go to the gym today. No elliptical due to the hip thing, so I begrudgingly spent 36 minutes peddling the bike. Workout 64/200 is in the books.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Better Than a Workout...

I am not going to the gym today. I did workout 63/200 yesterday. It hurt. It still hurts. I am disgusted but determined to stay positive.

So, I did one better - I got my hair done! It is fall, and I am ready for new. New routines. New clothes. New hair. Maybe it is the years of going to school with all new things that set this pattern up for me, but I can't help it. When September rolls around I get the urge to revamp my planet. So, since I am waiting until the last 10 pounds are gone to buy my new school clothes, I went for new hair.

I feel fabulous! I look fabulous! Well, so says my hairdresser. And that's a key to a good hairdresser: they never let you leave without first making sure that you believe you are the most gorgeous thing to ever sit in that chair.

So, yeah, I am worried about the folks in Texas as Rita barrels across the Gulf. I am still all emotionally involved in the aftermath of Katrina. I am watching the continuing sit-in in Nashville over TennCare with amazement and disbelief that our government can kill people with a straight face. But you know what? Life is pretty good here. I have so much to be thankful for; fabulous new fall hair for starters.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Blogger Test for Allan...

Allan is the most regular blogger I have ever encountered. So when I opened up his site this morning and found yesterday's post staring at me, I ran to the window to check the sun. Yes, it came up, but I am certain things are out of order.

Allan has a theory that there is something amiss in Bloggerland that is preventing updates, so I am attempting to post this in an effort to either prove or dispel that theory. Here goes...

Update: Allan has moved his blog to: I have changed the link on my sidebar as well as in in this post. Whew! Life goes on!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Cleaning Out The Closet...

I have been putting it off for weeks, but I finally spent a couple of hours trying on the clothes in my closet. It is amazing how little of it fits me. Now comes the hard part: getting rid of it. I am such a pack rat. What if I gain the weight back? I don't want to have to go out and re-purchase clothes at every size. But another part of me keeps saying, "If you don't have those clothes you might be more likely to avoid needing the larger sizes."

With hurricane came the real imputus to purge my closet. I got an email requesting larger-sized clothing. Evidently people are not donating clothing in bigger sizes, and those folks are doing without. I don't need them. Someone esle does. They need to go.

Cleaning out the closet really makes me feel better. I have space for the things I actually wear. I don't have to dig through 20 blouses to find the 3 that fit. Having some margin really is nice. I am sure there are other things that I need to let go. Perhaps that is one of the steps of the Mental Health MegaChallenge.

Oh, and in Fitness MegaChallenge, I did a 36 minute ride to nowhere this afternoon that takes care of workout 62/200. My Rio battery died at the 30 minute mark, so those last 6 minutes were some of the longest of my life. I may make a new MP3 player my goal weight prize. The upside would be the ability to carry more than 30 tunes and play it for more than an hour. The downside would be that I would be so overwhelmed with music choices that I never actually get around to working out. Hmmmm.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

And So It Goes...

And goes, and goes! Another half of a pound vanished overnight to put the scale solidly on 159 this morning. So, yes, race fans, it is time to move the car!

As I get closer to my goal weight, I am working hard to ignore the failure voices that keep trying to pop into my head. They say things like, "The last 10 pounds are always the hardest." They threaten me with, "You will never keep it off. No one does." And then there is the always-encouraging, "Just because you have lost 30/40/50 pounds doesn't mean you will ever be happy." These thoughts are the real hurdles to my health. Sure, I keep track of every calorie, work out regularly, and continue to make progress, but the true MegaChallenge is improving my mental health. Unless I work toward being my genuine self, find my bliss, discover balance, or ________ (enter your mental health mantra here), no amount of weight loss is going to make me a happier person. My happiness should not ride on whether I am able to run 26.2 miles or fit into a size 10.

The MegaChallenge started with a rather flippant comment, but it highlighted a reality: that my dreams are achievable if I set goals and work toward them. I have wanted to be fit for years and just kept putting it off. When I was whining that my clothes woudln't fit and that it would take 200 workouts to get into them I didn't really expect to do those 200 workouts, and here I am with 61 of them behind me. Having someone take me seriously and say, "Do them!" is what finally got me off my ass.

Taking a hard look at the reality of what it will take to get me where I want to be and then setting out to get there is something I am getting better at doing. I returned to finish my degree in a similar fashion. Not finishing college had been hanging over my head for more than a decade, but I kept only half-planning to do something about it. I mentioned it a bunch but it wasn't until I said it to someone who took me seriously that I was able to actually put a plan into action. I am scheduled to finish classes next June. I am 9 months away from completing something that I beat myself up over for 10 years!

I am certain that there are other dreams that I need to turn into goals. Thank goodness I am finally healthy enough to seek out positive, supportive people. They tend to be the same people who give me those nudges to seek my bliss. It may seem like a small thing, but it is a huge change from my history of seeking out folks who live to put me down. Like eating sleeves of Oreos, it was a "comfortable" way of living for years, but not a healthy one.

So, now I am faced with a deeper MegaChallenge and I have to wonder if there is anything I can do 200 times in order to achieve mental health. Nudges happily accepted.

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Hip to be Square...

I am still babying this hip. Yesterday I tried to get some shopping done, and had plans for a late afternoon workout. Unfortunately, the pain in the hip overruled my desire to check off workout number 60. I thought about going to the pool, but just didn't get it in gear. I refuse to let this get me down.

About a year ago I was training for a half marathon (with hopes of turning it into a full 26.2 at some point) when I developed a heinous case of tendonitis in my ankle. If I stood up the thing swelled to twice its typical size. I ended up doing loads of physical therapy, taking loads of meds, and severely curtailing the training. There were obvious physical implications, but the most damaging effect of the injury was the emotional toll. I had this plan, you see, and it got botched up and I didn't know how to replace it. I mean, there really isn't much out there to replace running a marathon.

The hip thing is lots like the ankle thing in that it threatens my ability to reach my goal unless I can come up with an alternate plan. I cannot spend hours on the elliptical trainer if I am not going to be able to walk afterward. I still intend to complete the MegaChallenge. So, I have to come up with an idea of how I can pull it off. Again, I refuse to let this get me down. Much.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Goodbye 160s...

You heard it right! I am outta the 160s and onto the final leg of the weight loss portion of the MegaChallenge. 159.5 pounds feels so close to goal. Perhaps it is because it is only a little over 10 pounds away. Perhaps it is because I am okay with the weight I am carrying right now, so losing the last ten doesn't seem as urgent as losing that first 30.

(I know I have 188 as my upper weight so if you are a math whiz you may be thinking, "But, Gina, you have only lost 28.5 pounds!"- but that was as of the beginning of the MC - 6/6/5 - and not the beginning of my working out. I was in the low 190s somewhere, but didn't get a scale and get serious until I started the MegaChallenge. Further, the idea of needing to lose 39 pounds seemed infinitely more doable than 40. Heck, I may even aim for 145 - which would be around a 50 pound loss. But not until I get to 149. So there! End of parenthetical tangent...)

Whatever the reason for my current state of contentment, I am thrilled to be here. I am not thrilled, however, with the continued pain in my hip. I pushed myself yesterday and extended the run to nowhere (59/200) to 50 minutes. Not smart. My heart and lungs and brain felt great. My hip didn't say a whole lot until I got off of the elliptical machine. Yeouch! This has been going on for weeks and I am just about tired of it. I have rested, backed off, switched routines, and it still hurts. Gah!!

Ick. Enough pity partying. It is time to move the car! And since I know that is the reason you keep dropping by, here ya go...

Thursday, September 15, 2005

Kristopher Donnenhoffer...

If that's your name, get outta my head! I had a dream just before I woke up that included a guy with that very long name. How do I know that was his name?? He wrote it down for me. He must have noticed that I am officially down to 160 lbs and ready to be noticed by Ginger's honest-to-god hotties. Well, at least in my dreams.

Oprah was in my dream, too. I was in a shoe store full of people and she walked right up to me and we started chatting like old friends. We discussed diamonds and how a "Bay Window" cut was such a waste of stone, but so lovely that it was worth it. At least my dream self has some serious self-confidence. Gotta work on that in my real life.

In case you missed the reference in the dream recall portion of the MegaChallenge, it is time to move the car. Yes, again!! I know! I know! I keep waiting for the morning that I step on the scale and it laughs and says, "April Fools! You actually gained 2 stone!!"

Yesterday's workout (58/200) went pretty well. I managed a 36 minute run to nowhere. My hip is still a little creaky, so going an hour isn't happening without some serious pain.

Wednesday, September 14, 2005


Make that 160.5! I am so close to the 150s that I can feel it. Can you see the smoke coming out of the back of the car?

I am heading out for workout 58/200 in a couple of hours. I wonder how I will do after being away for a week.

Keepin' On Keepin' On...

The scale goddesses were smiling this morning. I am down a half a pound from my pre-trip weight to 161 lbs. So, the TOM/trip bloat theory was accurate. Huey, show the nice people where the car is, now.

Workout 57/200 consisted of 4 hours of walking all over the fair on Monday. I need to relocate the gym, today. Wish me luck. Send a map!

Monday, September 12, 2005

Travel Success...

I made it the whole weekend without attacking the free desserts (I did have 75% of a chocolate chip cookie on Saturday, but I passed up the cheese cakes, pies, and ice cream) and snacks. I ate a bit more than I would at home - but left at least half of what I was served on my plate. It felt wasteful, but I overcame my "clean plate club" mentality and did the right thing for my health.

The scale was pretty kind this morning. It read 163. Considering it is my TOM and I tend to suffer from travel bloat (being away from home and sitting in meetings all day is hell on my system) anyway, I fully expect that pound to vanish without much fanfare.

One area that was completely neglected during the trip was exercise. I did walk some, but I never made it to the fitness center. Gotta get back in the groove now that I am home.

Oh, and Ginger is right about the 160 mark being when guys start noticing me, again. Not that I am trolling for men, but whether it is a boost in my own self-confidence or something else, I got lots of attention this week that I didn't get in May when I did a very similar trip. It is so good to be back.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

It's Off to Work I Go...

I am travelling for the next several days, so no news will be - well - no news. Before I go, I do want to catch y'all up on the latest MegaChallenge stats. I made it to the gym for workout 56/200 today and met 161.5 on the scale for the first time in a long time. Let's move the car, please.

Okay, now that that's done, my goal for the trip is to maintain my weight. I won't have a lot of choice about when and what I eat - only how much of it - so, keeping tabs on calories will be a little more difficult. I do plan to locate the fitness room at the hotel and become acquainted with some form of stationary motion. Maintaining my weight on a business trip will be a huge victory for me. Historically, I have taken baggier clothes to wear toward the end of long trips. Not this time.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Nothing to See Here. Move along...

Okay, so the gym was closed for Labor Day and I don't do Tuesdays, so no gym progress to report. I still weight 162 lbs, so nothing new to note there. I am keeping track of food on FitDay, and it looks just like last week's intake, so that isn't news.

Yeah, I am fresh out of information.

I did get a papercut, yesterday. Yow! But, funny, that doesn't seem blog-worthy.

So, on your way. Read something else. Nothing to see here.

Monday, September 05, 2005


Well, there finally seems to be some progress toward helping those folks who have been affected by Katrina. I really want to help. I know money is important, but that doesn't seem to be enough to fill the chasm of need. Our local Red Cross is setting up several shelters in town and a local church is hosting a volunteer training tonight. I am planning to attend the training so that I can get connected to the network and be of some use.

Volunteering with the Red Cross is a good use of my skills. If you live in the US and are not one of the folks who can go help at the site of the disaster, there is probably some local activity you can join, too. If you own a business, perhaps you can employ a couple of evacuees. If you can teach, perhaps you help set up a literacy initiative or job training. It looks like we are in for a long haul. The least we can do is to pitch in and make life as comfortable as possible for the folks whose lives will never be the same.

There is progress in the fitness area, too. I completed workout 55/200 yesterday. I also met 162 lbs on the scale this morning. So, I have lost 2/3rds of the weight I set out to lose! That sends me to 23.9 on the BMI chart, which is solidly in the "healthy" range!! I also broke the 30% fat plateau - and am finally down to 29% body fat.

And, yes, it is time to move the car.

Sunday, September 04, 2005

Today's Car Progress...

I am still sitting in front of the TV, but I ran over here to update y'all on the fitness thang. I did go the gym yesterday (They have cable on the TVs in front of the elliptical trainers, so I was able to keep my eye on the news networks.) and completed workout 54/200.

I'll be seeing my friends who got me into this whole MegaChallenge deal next weekend. It is the first time they will see me since the beginning of the summer. I am pretty excited that I am going back short some 25.5 pounds. (Here's the car, son!)

When I started this it really was about the workouts - and I knew that workouts would cause me to lose some weight. But getting the eating in line made a bigger difference than I anticipated. (Here's where you say, "Eureka! She gets it!") I was counting on losing about a pound a week, so doing double that really makes the overall effect seem radical. I was squeezing into baggy size 16s in June, and I am struggling to keep my body-hugging 12s on, now.

Part of my motivation for keeping track of my eating was Renee's Beaker Babe Challenge. It pulled me off of my 173.5 plateau and I lost 11 pounds over the course of that 6-week period.
Anyone up for another challenge now that the Beaker Babe challenge is officially over?? Huh, huh, please??

It seems inconceivable that in 3 months I could be so close to my goal weight. The nice part of where I am is that I feel fine at the weight I am, now. I am happy with the way clothes fit. I have tons more energy. I can only imagine how I will feel in another 13.5 pounds.

Friday, September 02, 2005

The Car Has Moved, Again...

Speaking of kids with autism. My son needs some normalcy to his routine. He keeps asking me about the car, and in my concern for the folks south of here, I nearly lost track of his needs. So, here ya go, sweetie!

It actually should have moved twice this week, but here is where it sits for today!

I gotta work on keeping life "normal" for him when things are so out-of-whack that I can barely function. There has to be a middle ground between the planet stopping to take notice of a disaster and maintaining our lives. Damn, there is that balance thing, again.

Glued to the News...

There are plenty of things I should be doing. I should be doing my Econ homework. I should be doing laundry. I should be going to the gym. I should be living my life. But I am stuck in front of the TV and Internet watching endless updates on the happenings on the Gulf Coast. Each story is heartbreaking, and I gather them to me and try to figure out what I can do to help.

I think about the folks with disabilities who are stuck, scared, hurting, confused, or dead. I try to imagine what it is like for someone with autism to be completely out of their routine and around strange people and with no hope of things getting back to normal any time soon - if ever. I wonder how folks with physical disabilities are faring. They would have had a very hard time evacuating and can't climb into attics or onto rooftops. I worry and worry and worry.

There are some things that can be done. Donations. Information sharing. (The Arc of the US has a site set up specifically to help put folks with disabilities in contact with resources.) I can and will do that, but I am a mom. I mother. My urge is to get my hands on people and make everything okay. Of course, that is not within my power or ability. And since I can't seem to do the one thing I want to do, perhaps I should turn back to the things I should be doing. Right after I check the news.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Man the Lifeboats...

Call me crazy, but it seems somewhat self-centered to be focused on weight loss while folks are drowning in their own homes. With the knowledge that many of the folks in the most dire circumstances didn't have the financial means to get out of dodge, it brings up thoughts of the Titanic. Here we are nearly a hundred years later repeating history. If you can afford to go first class (ie hire a limo for $3700 to drive you to Chicago) you get out. If you can't, you drown.

I admit that I am a bit of idealist, but if we can get busses to transfer 25,000 people to Houston after the hurricane, couldn't we have gotten busses to transfer them out of town before the hurricane? I have lived in a hurricane zone. I know what it takes to prepare for a storm. I know what it takes to evacuate an area. It isn't like we don't know ahead of time that these things will crop up from time to time (say between June and September every year). Why aren't we better prepared to get out of the way of them?

Someone really needs to make sure that we learn our lessons from these very scary/sad/tragic events. We need more lifeboats.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

Quarter Of The Way...

With yesterday's workout (50/200), I reached the 25% mark in the MegaChallenge. I got past the quarter mark today with workout 51/200, though I was totally unmotivated to hit the gym. I piddled around all afternoon and finally laced up the shoes just in time to make a 45 minute run to nowhere before the place shut down.

I am sure there is more to tell, but I am busy watching hurricane updates and working Sudoku. My brother-in-law is one of those brave/crazy folks who flies into these storms on purpose. I sort of sit vigil when I know he is out there - and this particular storm is so scary. I just keep praying for it to lose strength over night.

Saturday, August 27, 2005

That "Life" Thang, Again...

I am really excited about completing 25% of the MegaChallenge - which I was scheduled to do, yesterday. I was dressed for the gym and changing the batteries in my Rio, when my son winged a toy at my daughter. He managed to hit her in the face, and drew blood. Of course she needed stitiches. Poor baby. So my gym trip was replaced with a heart-rate increasing hospital trip.

For the record, this child is the bravest kid I have ever met. At four years old she accepted all the stuff they had to do to her - including a major shot into her eyebrow - without flinching. She took it so much better than I did! Her only request was that we go get "sparkeldy" nail polish when we left the hospital. Done! (And a princess nighty, flavored lip gloss, and popcicles.)

As I mentioned, this lovely gash is on her face. So, if everyone would send no-scar-healing vibes her way, I would appreciate it.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

One More Funky Statistic...

I have already confessed that I am a numbers girl. Love them. So, it should not come as a shock that noticing patterns is something that I sort of do naturally. With that said, I think I have spotted a trend. I lose about a half a pound every time I work out. I have worked out 48/200 times since June 6. In that same time period, I have lost 23.5 pounds. I noticed this phenomenon a couple of weeks ago. It may not be scientific, but damn if it isn't motivating! I gotta get to the gym!

Oh, and for those keeping track, the car has moved, again.

Now, don't anyone tell my son that my going to the gym moves the car. He'd be all over it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Mom, Is It Time To Move The Car???

Well, yes it is, son!

"Moving the car" has taken on a whole new meaning around here. Luckily I dropped another pound so that I can keep up with the demand for advancing the car.

I wonder if anyone ever developed an eating disorder because their kid wanted their ticker to move faster.

You know, pleasing other people is probably what got me into this mess. (Sure, Gramma, I'll take thirds. No, really, it is delicious.) I'd like to think that I am working toward a better/healthier way of interacting with the other life forms on this planet. I still feel guilty when my daughter brings me food and I turn her down. (Mommy's full! Her tummy doesn't need crackers right now.)

One thing I have learned is that that pleasing thing is genetic. I mean, my tiny daughter already does it. When I am sad or frustrated she does back flips to cheer me up. Part of my inspiration to be healthier (physically and emotionally) comes from her. When I gave birth to my daughter, it became crystal clear to me just how blighted my inheritance was, and I didn't want to pass that stuff along to her. Don't get me wrong, I love my family, but we manage to do things to one another that are less than graceful. I doubt that I am wise enough to end all the weirdness, but I am trying to be mindful of what I am teaching my children.

First lesson: Self Care is important! It is not "selfish" (in the sense of being a person who wrongfully denies someone else their due) to take really good care of your own needs. Eating well, sleeping plenty, getting exercise, taking time to relax/read/reconnect, and pursuing passions are all things that a healthy life is built on. I learned that those are all things that come secondary to making sure everyone else's needs are met, and - you know - being responsible. My inheritance was that martyrdom is respected: the more work/pain you experience, the more you are worth. Blech. Hedonism isn't the way, either. It is about - all together, now - balance. But isn't everything?

Monday, August 22, 2005

Keeping My Son Happy...

My son is very interested in the tickers at the top of folks' health blogs. Obviously, he has been exposed to plenty of them as I catch up with what y'all are up to. Anyway, he was concerned that I didn't have one, so he designed this for me.

He wants to make sure that lots of people get to see it. Mainly because it involves a car. He really likes cars.

So, there ya go.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

To Go Boxes...

I did something I have never done before. I requested the nutrition information from the waitress at the restaurant this evening. She sort of cocked her head to one side, golden retriever style, but she went and found it. They had a binder with a page for each menu item, and I flipped through it to see what would be decent choices. I didn't choose the healthiest thing in there, but I didn't end up with a 2,000 calorie meal, either. (Their honey mustard dressing alone has over 300 calories per serving! OUCH!)

I did something else that was somewhat new. I ate less than half the food on my plate and asked for a to go box for the rest and gave it to my mom. She's happy to have lunch for tomorrow. I am happy to have eaten a yummy meal and estatic that I avoided ruining it by stopping when I had eaten what I needed. Now, before you get the wrong idea, I have taken to go boxes before - but only when I have eaten way more "extras" like a basket of bread, appetizers, and likely a dessert, too. This time I stuck to eating my dinner without all the other, and still had lots of leftovers. I was pleasantly full, and actually recognized the feeling and - gasp - honored it.

Of course, all of this novel behavior is motivated by my continued fitness success. Having 46/200 workouts completed feels really good. Seeing 167 lbs on the scale feels really good. Wearing size 12 jeans feels really good. I like what I see in the mirror. I like how I feel. I like how well I am sleeping.

I love that I have gotten to the point in the game when my efforts are starting to show. Sure, I still have 18 pounds to lose, and 154 workouts to complete to reach my goals, but I have no intention of waiting until I get there to enjoy living.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Different Rules for Different Days...

Nikki asks: "Do you often take a break from healthy living on the weekends? If so, why do you think that is? If not, how do you manage to make being healthy part of your life 24/7?"

The quick answer would be that my weekends are just as "healthy" as the rest of the week. But when I really look at my life, I have to admit that I don't do the 5-days-on-2-days-off bit in any area of my life. I am a college-attending, homeschooling, mother of 2. I don't do a 9-to-5 M-F schedule that makes the weekends seem like mini-vacations. (What is the deal with all of the hyphens?? --) So, with that said, I can honestly reiterate that I don't take a break on weekends.

I do, however, behave differently depending upon my circumstances. i.e. I eat out after class, which can be tricky if I am not careful. I also take class days off from working out because I (1) need a day off, and (2) already have too much to do on Tuesdays. So, in a way, Tuesday could be considered my "weekend."

So, I suppose I should answer how I manage to make being healthy part of my life on Tuesdays. Well, it came from the realization that going out to eat after class didn't mean that I had to consume a week's worth of calories at one sitting. I don't have to avoid activities that are different from my daily routine. I just have to look ahead and make sure that I don't undo my hard work because I am unprepared.

Case in point: I won't go into a whole rant here, but I am not a fan of McDon@ld's. Regardless, we ended up going there yesterday. I was dreading it until I went on their website and found a salad and a dressing that would total 300 calories if I left the croutons and crackers off. The sodium content was higher than I would like, but overall it was a decent choice. Without the information from the website, I could have easily picked nearly 1,000 calories worth of food - ie a double cheeseburger (460 cal) and fries (520 cal) - based on price ($1 each) and gone backwards.

So, part of it is vigilance in being aware of my options. Part of it is finding that balance (yes, there is that word, again) that allows me to continue losing weight without dreading life.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Banner Day...

For the past week or so I have been walking around hiking up my jeans every 4 steps. It finally occurred to me that I probably ought to pull out a smaller size. When I started the MegaChallenge, I was stressing the outer limits of a generous size 16 (so probably should have been wearing 18s or even 20s). So, even though I have been losing weight, I really didn't need to go down in size.

Until now.

Well, folks, I am officially a size 12!! And not a lie-on-the-bed-and-suck-it-in-to-zip size 12. I can actually zip a size 10 - but it makes that unpretty bulge above the waistline - and I haven't lost 20 pounds to wear pants that make me look like I have gained it. So size 12 it is! Happy dance.

I also met 167.5 on the scale earlier this week, and it has held in spite of my adding food back into my day. Today's workout (44/200 - the first since swimming on Monday) consisted of a 35 minute walk at our local park. I am feeling a little bit better, but I don't want to push it until I am sure I have licked this virus. The MegaChallenge requires 200 workouts, not 200 marathons. I have to keep reminding myself of that as my all-or-nothing brain attempts to take over.

All-in-all I am pleased with my progress. It isn't in a straight line, but what in life really is? Unlike past efforts, which focused on getting rid of pounds ASAP and then going back to "normal" life, I am trying to make this new way of life stick. In order to have that happen, it has to be realistic. I am going to get sick/eat out/miss workouts from time to time, and I am going to have to learn to adjust my stride and keep moving. Though only 44 workouts into my "new" life, it seems to be a good fit.

As are my jeans!! Yay me!!

Thursday, August 18, 2005

It Was Heaven...

Well, actually it was a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. But it was my first solid food in two days. And it tasted really good.

I hate being sick. I hate that sweaty, half-awake, groggy, nauseous, head-achy feeling. I am an incredibly whiney person when I am sick. I am really ready to be all better. Now.

Unfortunately, whatever virus has invaded my body isn't ready to leave. So, I will keep this post short and spare y'all from the endless complaining.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

New Craze Diet...

Because there aren't already enough wacky diets to try, I am helping to spread another one. It is the LexySmash Diet. It is so simple. You catch some horrendous virus and are reduced to a ball of dehydrated mess. It is hell on your schedule, so plan the diet for a week when you can pack the kids off to a camp somewhere.

Unfortunately, I didn't do the advanced planning for my trip through sickdom. Does anyone want to move in for a couple of days and play mommy? No? Damn.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Eating Is Not Cheating...

I plan to eat for the rest of my life. That means that I need to balance good, healthy choices every day with a few of those not-such-great-choice splurges once in a while. I will not go the rest of my life without pizza, cheesecake, martinis, and pasta.

Some folks may have read my posts the other day and tried to put them together: I reached the halfway point and "rewarded" myself with pizza. Not so. I reached the milestone and ate pizza on the same day, but they were in no way related.

I don't spend a whole lot of time thinking about what I am going to eat, but everyone once in a while I get a hankering for something. I can live without it, but if an opportunity to eat that something comes up, I am going to go for it. The paradigm shift came with the realization that I cannot eat pasta in cream sauce 3 nights a week and maintain my health - but I don't have to deny myself all access to it, either.

It's that balance thing, again. Is it really neccessary *for me* to be absolutely perfect in my eating and working out? Um. Nope. As a matter of fact, perfectionism is an illness that I am trying to overcome. I am able to moderate what I eat and do and have managed to lose nearly 20 pounds without losing my mind in the process. Whether it takes me 2 months or 2 years to lose the next 20, I am heading in the right direction, and at some point I am going to want to maintain my weight. When that day comes, I do not want to have to re-learn how to live. Because, like I said, I plan to eat for the rest of my life, I figure the best time to learn how is now.

My approach to fitness is not for everyone. Heck, it probably isn't for anyone but me! I am all about choice and self-determination. If you have determined that you cannot go off plan at all, you know yourself best, so stick with it. Either way, here's to long, healthy lives. Oh, and pass the pasta. Thanks!

Monday, August 15, 2005

Swimming Seems Like Cheating...

I made it to the pool for workout 43/200 today. Spending time in the (heated, indoor) pool felt great. I really babied my hip - which basically left me with arm strokes - so I don't feel like I got that much of a workout. I didn't work up a sweat, and I didn't have a heart rate monitor and a stride counter flashing in front of me, so it is hard for me to judge my effort. However, I am not going to obsess over it. I miss my elliptical pal. Sniff. But, I will forge ahead, undaunted by lack of electronic feedback. I am going to celebrate my ability to be flexible and to keep moving and motivated in spite of the weirdness going on with my hip.

(Music swells and dies.)

Why We Keep Track...

On this fitness adventure we like to mark progress and milestones. By we, I mean I. Anyway, I am very resistant to writing everything down for fear of turning into my IronMan brother-in-law who is famous for his shoe mileage charts. However, every once in a while, I manage to jot something down that turns out to be very inspiring. Case in point: when I got home from my first elliptical run to nowhere, I wrote this on my calendar:

Elliptical Trainer: 7 min. 700 Strides.

That is 7 minutes at 100 strides per minute. That statistic is meaningless unless you compare it to my last workout. I didn't write it down, so this is an estimate, but it is fairly accurate.

Elliptical Trainer: 57 min. 7000 Strides.

That's almost an hour at 122 strides per minute - and keep in mind that I was hurting the entire time. I can recall hitting nearly 9000 strides in previous weeks. That's an hour at 150 strides per minute. Just over two months ago it was all I could do to move for 7 minutes at a walk. Now, some 40 trips to the gym later, I literally run for an hour straight and then go on to do weights and have energy left over to function for the rest of the day.

Our bodies are amazing.

Because It Ain't Gonna Be Easy...

I had to go and botch up my hip. Either that, or I am having a serious flare of arthritis. Either way I can barely walk. It was a little tender this morning, but I tend to have aches and pains, so I ignored it. Once on the elliptical, it didn't loosen up. I should have quit about 10 minutes in, but I did all but the last couple of minutes of my hour run to nowhere (42/200). My pace was off quite a bit, but I still should have stopped. Bah!!

The good news is that the other branch of my gym has a pool. So, in spite of the fact that I don't feel even close to ready to show off my body in a suit, I am going to venture into that forum tomorrow. My one saving grace is that school is back in session, so there shouldn't be any 85 pound teenagers running around.

Oh, and at the risk of sending Allan into fits, I have to share what I ate for dinner. Pizza. Loaded. I thought about it all day, and decided that I really wanted pizza for dinner. I ate two slices and was full. But there was a whole lot of pie left, and I took the third piece without even wanting it. That was where I went wrong. I am sooooooo full.

The pizza made me think of the Discover Card adds that showed the couple digging into lobster and saying something about a splurge being an occasional thing. That's what is different. Over the past couple of years tonight's dinner had become routine. Now, it is a treat. Once in a month instead of several nights a week. And when I do "splurge" I actually get to look forward to it and enjoy it. How cool is that?

Sunday, August 14, 2005


Mark this day on your calendars, because history has been made, today. Yes, folks, I have officially hit two MegaMilestones in the fitness quest.

Drum roll, please.

I have officially entered the Normal BMI category. Barely. My BMI is 24.9, but it is green for the first time in recent memory. Okay, the last time I was here was in 2000. But, I am back! And I am staying. So, goodbye Obese and Overweight! Welcome home, Normal!!

In order to reach milestone number one, I had to reach milestone number two.

Another drumroll, if you would.

I am halfway to goal weight! No, really!! I weight 168.5 lbs (76.4 kg). That means I have lost 19.5 pounds and have 19.5 pounds left to lose. Woot!!!

In case you need a visual:

And, no, I am not celebrating with ice cream. I didn't really set up rewards for reaching various milestones, so I dunno know what I will do to mark the occasion. Dancing around (a la Rocky atop the Philadelphia Art Museum Steps) might be a start, though. Hang on while I get my Rio cued to Gonna Fly Now.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Hooray!! She did it...

I actually made it to the gym to complete workout 41/200. I was seriously getting wigged out from lack of exercise opportunities. I never thought I would say that. But it is addicting. The run to nowhere was actually pleasant.

The eating is going okay. I probably need to eat - gasp - more food. I just have no appetite right now - and this is salt and chocolate week. What's up with that?? I'm not complaining, mind you. Just noting how weird my world has gotten.

I Might Actually Make It...

To the gym, that is. I used all of my childcare favors while I was helping my sister out, and subsequently have not been able to carve out the hour to go workout. I could use the childcare at the gym except that my kids aren't potty trained (please don't send me links to sites/books on teaching kids with autism how to potty - I have read them all) and I end up getting interrupted like 4 times in order to change them. By the time we go through all of that, the childcare closes and I am no closer to getting a good sweat in. I decided that the increase in blood pressure out of sheer frustration was worse for me than missing the gym when I can't get coverage at home.

Having said all of that, I think I might actually get to go workout, today. I really miss my hour runs to nowhere. Truly! Which is sick, I know. But I feel better after I work out - and I sleep better, too. So, say prayers to the gym gods that I can still find all of my gear and get to the gym before I completely forget where it is located.

Oh, and that weight (170) in the stats area is correct! I can almost taste the 160's. I am incredibly close to a green BMI, too! At that point I can officially claim to be "normal" - and how often do I get to assert that??

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Still Hanging Around...

Though I havent been posting much, I have been updating my stats this week. One really cool item is that the scale finally fell a little more (171 - it is the lowest reading to date and comes just before my TOM) and now when I step on the scale fully clothed after eating all day it reads 173. Kinda cool to not see 175 pop up anymore.

I have been pitching in at my sister's all week, so the gym trip didn't make it into the schedule today. I did go Sunday (39/200) and Monday (40/200), so I am not completely falling apart! 20% of the MegaChallenge is behind me. It is so cool to hit these milestones. I suppose I am still a sucker for a gold star - though elementary school is a foggy memory.

In other news, my eldest munchkin turned 7 this weekend. He seems all grown up to me. Of course, put him in a room full of 15 year olds and he reverts to his true stature. I never stop being amazed by my children. A girlfriend once said to me, "Get where they are and just enjoy the moments as they whiz by." She's right. Sure, I gotta think ahead a little. Of course, I get misty when I see baby pictures. But right now is the only moment that really matters.

Gotta go smooch my babies.

Friday, August 05, 2005

So Tired, So Very Tired...

Being at the hospital wastes me. I don't know if it is the stress (yes!), the lack of the normal routine (yes! yes!), or the chairs (most definitely yes!) but I can barely function from exhaustion today. Bleck.

In MegaChallenge news, I actually relocated the gym today! It was right where I left it, though after a 5 day break, my muscles weren't. I slogged through 50 minutes on the elliptical carousel and limped home happy to have the very elusive workout 38/200 in the books.

I also found a 171.5 waiting for me on the scale this morning. It took me a month to lose one half a pound and a day to lose the next. Funky strange body. I am not arguing, though. Being over 40% to goal weight is nice. Very nice.

I have lots of rants that I would love to stick onto soap boxes, but my arms are telling me that typing is out of the question. Maybe later. :)

Thursday, August 04, 2005

That Whole "Life" Thing...

I seem to recall a post about a month ago that expressed the hope that Life would calm down so that I could keep my gym commitment. Well, hmmm, it seems that I may not have control over that. Ahem.

My sister is in the hospital with complications from her C-section which birthed my niece (also the subject of a previous blog.) I am not counting the all-day lugging of a carseat filled with nearly 12 pounds of baby, and all of her requisite accessories as an official "workout" but I am feeling my efforts today!

In scale news: I am down to 172. It is an all-time low, even if it did take about a month to lose that 1/2 of a pound. I'll take it! (And more, please!)

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Um, Yeah, The Gym...

Being as this is Tuesday (okay very early on Wednesday) no one who is familiar with my routine will be shocked that I missed the gym today. However, Sunday and Monday both ended up gymless, as well. What (gasp) could keep me from the gym 3 days in a row? Well, hmmmm, shopping for my not-so-baby boy's birthday present covers Sunday. (Really, I only get a couple of hours of childcare a day, so I had to choose - gym or presents and presents won.)

Monday we spent hours touring our downtown area via the free trolleys. We caught a Wurlitzer organ concert, grabbed lunch at that restaurant that all kids somehow recognize at birth, and played on the playground - all with trolley rides in between. We had a blast, but I missed the workout window.

And you wanna know what? I am cool with it. See, it is about balance. And I typically don't have balance. I am such an all or nothing kinda gal. It would be so typical of me to get "workout" stuck in my brain and not be able to see around it to schedule anything else, but not this time. I am still on track to make my 200-in-a-year goal, so I refuse to beat myself up.

In other news, I am still treading the 173 pound mark. If it continues much longer, I am going to take the scale apart and look for a hidden camera.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

From the Files of "Should Have Been Obvious"...

I am feeling all tired and run down, and I couldn't figure out why. And y'all know that I have recently begun tracking my eats on FitDay. Well, as much as I have fought this whole track-what-you-eat thing, there might be an upside to getting around to doing it. It seems I am consistently missing the mark on iron, selenium, and zinc. I eat 2-3 cups of spinach a day, so I never would have thought that getting iron would be a problem. There is a chance that I am anemic.

The three minerals that I lack are all easy to get if you eat meat. Well, I really don't eat much meat at all. So, I am going to find a supplement to help me cover these nutrients and see if my energy returns.

I did make it all the way through my workout (37/200) yesterday. At about the 30 minute mark I thought I would quit at 45, but then I got a second wind and made it to the end of the hour.

Oh, and I ate cereal for breakfast instead of the typical diet shake. It was nice to chew my food instead of drinking it. Odd for me, because I am typically nauseous when I wake up and tend to have a hard time choking down food - thus the liquid meals even when I am not "dieting." There's a whole shrinky dink session in that one statement - how wonderful life must be if I wake up nauseous every day in anticipation of what I will face. Yeah, I am making some changes so that won't be the case - but tiny little baby steps at a time.

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Peaks, Valley, And, Oh Yeah, Plateaus...

I am working out for an hour 6 days a week, eating an average of 1100 calories per day, and have spent the past two weeks doing a dance around 173 pounds. I don't know if it is officially a plateau or just some joke being played by the scale gods, but it has me down. I refuse to let a little plateau put me off track, though.

I had to do a bunch of mental games to get my butt to the gym for my workout (36/200) yesterday. I felt awful the whole time - and ended up cutting my cardio from an hour to 45 minutes simply because I didn't feel like doing any more. That is completely unlike me. I typically feel great all the way through the end. I just didn't have any legs left.

So, I am thinking about several approaches. I could bump up my calories to 1200 in case my body thinks we are starving. I could be overtraining (thus my lack of enthusiasm and wobbly legs) and might need to cut back on the cardio a bit. I might need to alter my gym routine so that I am getting a better variety, though I am not bored. I might need to just stick with what I am doing and ride out the rough patch.

Since this is about my health - physical and emotional - I am going to try to honor my mood and my body. It may be the added focus of looking at what I eat has turned this from a positive challenge to workout 200 times into a stressful forced over-haul when I am not ready to look so closely at everything I eat and why. I haven't come to any conclusions, yet. Just laying it all out.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Updated Update on The Guy...

It turns out that the guy who had the seizure at my gym has epilepsy and had recently had a change in meds. Evidently the new meds weren't working. He was released from the hospital the same day as his seizure. He didn't break anything, but is very bruised.

The folks at my gym have taken this incident very seriously and are installing AEDs at all of the branches and putting everyone through advanced training in CPR and the like. Hopefully, they will never need to use the stuff.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

A Total Creature Of Habit...

I belong to a gym with several branches. I typically go to the one closest to my home, but it is light on the amenities. If I drive another 7 miles, I get towel service, nicer locker rooms, and a better view during my workout. With the price of gas and my inability to take an extra 15 minutes for travel each way, I typically just shower at home and skip the locker room altogether. Well, my workout (35/200) got pushed back in the day until it was too close to my class meeting to come all the way home to shower, so I headed to the plush gym.

Ya know, I had the hardest time functioning at the "other" gym. They have the same elliptical trainers, but different weight machines. So, I did my run to nowhere, but skipped the weights. I just couldn't get my brain to do the adjustment. It took me just about forever to get showered, dressed, and out of there, too.

Oh, and since I had to go to a different gym I didn't get an update on the guy who had the seizure. Sorry 'bout that. I keep thinking about him, though.

Soap Box of the Day: As I have mentioned, I have finally gone back to college after being away for several years. I attend a satellite campus that is about 2 hours from the main campus, so we have to do a bunch of stuff by phone (no they are not internet savvy.) Well, I am trying to find my book for the next class so I called the school bookstore to get the ISBN, and the girl who answered told me that it is their policy not to tell us that. They have switched to a new system of numbering (likely to prevent our purchasing the books elsewhere) and only those numbers can be told to students. When I asked if that policy was a written policy she offered to "let me talk to someone."

When I got the bookstore manager on the phone, he made me wait about 10 minutes on hold (the store is the size of a one-car garage) before he gave me a number, but it doesn't have all of the digits. Nice, huh? He left one out. I would say it was on purpose. He thought he was dealing with an amateur, because it only took me about 5 minutes online to find the book - at less than half what the school wants for it.

I am getting really fed up with this money-grabbing school I am attending. It is bad enough that they charge us more tuition than the on-campus students. But then they mark the books up above the list price and then charge us an outrageous shipping fee. And now, the only people who have the book edition info are the ones who *make money selling the books* and want to protect their interests by not giving us enough information to make a purchase unless we get it through them.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Update on The Guy...

A couple of folks have asked about the guy who experienced the seizure. He fell very hard onto another elliptical trainer, where he had most of the seizure. There was some concern that he might have injured his neck/back, thus our having to keep him calm and on the floor. He was very disoriented and upset - and was still pretty out of it when he left for the hospital. He does have epilepsy, and his seizures are evidently few and far between - rare enough for him to drive. I am hoping to get an update when I go to the gym, tomorrow. I will let you know if I learn anything more.

After the ambulance left, my adreneline levels were through the roof, thus the continued workout. It felt like the best way to get calmed back down.

Life's Never Dull...

I overcame my serious apathy and headed out in the heat to complete workout 34/200. About 20 minutes into my run to nowhere, the guy on the elliptical trainer next to me experienced a grand mal seizure which threw him off of the machine, and rendered him unconscious for a couple of minutes. Everyone acted very quickly, and his dad and an ambulance were there in minutes. Luckily there was a doctor on the treadmill in front of us. (I thought it was only in the movies that a doctor was always hand for such emergencies, but evidently not.) He was able to sort of take over the scene and kept everyone calm.

For my part, I did manage to keep my wits about me long enough to call 911 (The dispatcher argued with me over where my gym is located. Gee, dude, I come here every day. I think I know where it is!) and talk the guy who had the seizure into staying on the floor until the ambulance arrived. He seemed scared and so I talked to him like I do my own kids. I am such a mom. It can be annoying to people who are attempting to exert their independence, but I mother everyone. It comes in handy when something like this happens.

(The preceding is a message brought to you by Gina's New Mission to Be Self Affirming.)

Oh, and for you who tend toward the fitness-obsessed end of the scale, I did get back on the elliptical trainer for another 50 minutes.

Playing With My Food...

I really love to eat. The sad thing is that I rarely take the time to eat something that is really yummy, but manage to overeat stuff that barely registers on the food radar. Why is that?

Oh, oh, wait! I know!

In my family, we have this strange value system that says, "If you enjoy it, then it isn't work, and it doesn't count." Suffering is highly prized. I come from a long line of martyrs.

Hold on, there is a point, here.

So, if I eat something that I don't enjoy, then I am not getting off easy. It doesn't count against my martyr points. So, if I deny myself the Penne Gorgonzola and eat a bowl of cereal, even though the calorie counts might be similar, I am "working" by suffering through the cereal. Working = value. Cereal = increased value. Penne = pleasure = lower value. So, as long as I don't enjoy the food it doesn't count against me - even if it is not healthy or nutritious.

Ick! I don't want to do the martyr bit.

I knew looking at the food was going to be a hard part of this whole challenge.

Soap Box of the Day: I am too tired to rant right now. I am so tired that I think I will simply curl up on the soap box and take a nap. Wake me when all is right with the world. Well, okay, then wake me up when the laundry is all put away.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Warning to Lurkers...

If you are reading this and not posting comments, you are officially a lurker. You may feel safe, but you aren't. One day you will get overcome by the urge to say something in response to one of my brilliant posts and *blam* you will be exposed! You might even say something that gets me so inspired that I mention you by name in my next post along with a kick-your-ass challenge to lose 5 pounds by Labor Day. Impossible, you say? Well, scoff not, because I speak from experience.

Deep breaths.

I can lose 5 pounds by Labor Day. And I am so excited to think that in 6 weeks I could be well on my way through the 160's. Of course, I am not going to get there eating Happy Meals with Allan. So, I promise to redouble my fitness efforts. I got a good start on it this afternoon by completing workout 33/200 with a 60 minute run to nowhere and a trip around the upper body and ab machines. But this is a double challenge - not just workouts but weight is on the line here - so I will also begin keeping track of my - gulp - food.

I am not going to determine a calorie/fat/carb/protein limit at this point. I am simply going to keep track of what I eat/drink and own it. You may follow along if you like.

Oh, and if you are interested in joining the challenge, head over to see Renee to get signed up.

Soap Box of the Day: My kids are allergic to the majority of the American diet. I'm not kidding. Between the two of them, they are unable to eat oats, barley, wheat, rye, soy, chicken, pork, seafood, dairy, and many dyes. What do they eat? Well, lots of fresh fruits and veggies. And very, very expensive replacement grains.

What do I mean by expensive? Well, a package of 10 cookies runs $4.79. These aren't large cookies. They make Oreos look like saucers. Hot dog buns? $4.00 for 4 half-length facsimiles. It isn't like my kids live on cookies and hot dog buns, but they are kids and they want to eat what their friends eat - or at least something that passes for similar.

Now, don't get me wrong, I understand that it costs more to make small batches of product on specially dedicated lines, but when I consider the fact that 80% of the ingredients in our food supply are absolutely unnecessary, I get peeved. There is no reason we should have to purchase a special brand of rice cereal - except that manufactures love to add "barley malt" or "caramel color" or dye to everything. Don't even get me started on the phenolmethylstearate stuff.

Sigh. I guess what it really comes down to is my issues with the food battles I have had all my life. My parents were on a perpetual diet, and even though I was a skinny kid/teen I was watched like a hawk when I ate for fear I might take after them. I swore that food would be a non-issue with my kids; that I wouldn't harp and portion and push or deny them what their bodies told them that they were hungry for. And it makes me nuts enough to have to tell my kids, "no" because of all of their dietary restrictions without the added barrier of the financial consideration.