Monday, February 28, 2011

Magic Weight

I always thought that there was a "magic weight" that would instantly relieve me of all my body insecurities. When I was 13, that number was 128 pounds. I'm not exactly sure why I chose that specific number. I think it's because my mom (who is just five feet tall) weighed about that much and I thought she was the perfect weight--neither thin nor chubby. I figured that if I could achieve 128 pounds, I would finally stop worrying about my weight and move on with my life. While I never did reach 128, I did hit 136 for a few weeks, and I don't recall feeling particularly thin or attractive. I just remember agonizing about getting into the 120s. Of course, I'm about 4-5 inches taller than my mom with a totally different figure (I have broad shoulders and a larger bust) but I still wanted to be the same weight as her. If that makes any sense...

Lately, I've been teetering in the 171-172 range, pretty damn close to hitting the 160s, a decade I haven't seen since high school. And yet, I still feel (at times) overcome with body issues, especially when it comes to being naked with someone new. The other day, I was trying on jeans at this boutique shop in Richmond called Buckle, which by the way has a great selection of jeans, and I kept freaking out about how the tight jeans were making my stomach rolls stick out. The cute 23 year-old salesperson kept telling me about Spanx and how a pair would change my life.

But I don't want to have to rely on spandex to feel comfortable in my own skin. I don't want to have to camouflage my worrisome body parts. Haha, now I know that the only way to really work on those "lumpy issues" is to really commit to an exercise regime. And the only way to really commit to an exercise regime is to quit smoking and eat healthier meals. Now, don't get me wrong, I've been eating pretty well for the last few weeks, in terms of the fact that I haven't binged in over two weeks and I've been limiting my portions. But, by no means, have I been eating healthy, well balanced meals. Case in point, on Friday, I had oatmeal for breakfast, popcorn for lunch (6 points total) and then a cheeseburger, french fries, and a few beers for dinner. All in all, I didn't really consume too many calories that day, but I felt pretty low energy until I had dinner. And then once I had finished the huge meal, I felt stuffed and sleepy. Not exactly an ideal diet for working out. And I'm not sure what to say about my smoking habits...I've been really bad with that this past week, due to the massive amount of stress I've been under.

So, to sum up this scattered post, I am pleased that my weight is slowly but surely going down and I'm excited to see the 160s (for the first time in nearly ten years!) but at the same time, I really need to work on making activity and health a priority in my life. Just simply being a lighter weight will not automatically make me feel like a healthier, more confident person. A few months ago (okay, maybe six) I wrote about feeling confident enough to climb a mountain or go on a jog. These days, I'm hesitant to go on a long bike ride, because I'm worried I'll get out of breath. That's what I need to work on. So, step one, throw out the cigarettes (done!) and step two, go food shopping and plan some healthy meals (that needs to wait until this evening).

Do you (or did you) have a magic weight? And do you ever struggle with focusing more on the number on the scale than your healthy goals?

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Rule Breaker

It may not come as a shock to you to learn that I'm not great at following rules. All you have to do is look at my flip flopping posts on the Weight Watchers plan to glean that I am pretty resistant to following a plan--even a respectable one like WWs--unless I 100% agree that the plan fits into my way of thinking.

I spent this past morning in traffic court among hundreds of other like-minded individuals--a.k.a the miscreants of society. During my four hour session in traffic court, I learned a few interesting facts about the rules of conduct in traffic court and life in general:

1. Apparently, it's not okay to read a novel in traffic court. I honestly thought that the court system would tolerate reading because (a) it's quiet and (b) shouldn't we be encouraging literacy among the nation's delinquents? So, I brought my book--a guilty pleasure by Rosamunde Pilcher (FYI--if you haven't read Shell Seekers you are missing out)--and commenced to read it while leaning against the wall. Just as I was getting comfortable, an angry looking policeman gestured wildly in my direction, pushing his hand down to mimic closing the book. He kept gesturing and making scary faces at me until I was forced to close my book. Strike one.

2. According to a stimulating case I overheard about a guy who got busted with cocaine and a concealed gun, Thursdays between 5 pm-7pm are a "drug running" time period. Here's why--people like to sell/ buy drugs for the weekend and rush hour is the best time to do those transactions without getting caught by the cops. Hmm...

3. I learned that carrying a bottle of corked wine does not mean you're carrying an open container of alcohol. This gem of information took 45 minutes to figure out. If you're curious about the reasoning...the judge said a corked bottle of wine did not constitute an open container of alcohol because restaurants routinely send people home with corked bottles of their unfinished wine. Thus, if upper class, law abiding folk do it legally, the same should apply for everyone--even scruffy, hipster college kids (i.e. the guy who got a ticket for walking home with a corked bottle of wine).

4. Apparently, talking (even whispering) is a huge no-no in the courtroom, even when the judge is making everyone wait an hour to discuss one case. I learned this the hard way, since I (and my partner in crime) were sternly asked to leave the courtroom and wait in the lobby by a not-so-friendly cop. Now, the cop may have thought this was a punishment, but from my perspective, it allowed me to talk as loudly as I liked and read my book in peace. Plus, I got to sit on a comfy couch as opposed to stand up against a wall. Score.

Well, that's about all the knowledge I acquired from my morning in court. In the end, I missed half a day of work and ended up having to pay $100 in fines. Not so much fun. On the bright side, I must have looked cute in my conservative court outfit because a fellow miscreant asked for my phone number. Unfortunately, the court cops were not so entranced by my beauty. In fact, one cop threatened to throw me in jail if I didn't stop talking, and I was JUST trying to tell him my name and spell out the letters. I mean, Photiadis doesn't exactly roll of the tongue, which is why I treated him like a four year old and said, P, as in popsicle, H, as in hat, O, as in octopus. He did not find that very amusing, and I didn't get past O.

Anyway, since this is a health blog and all, I figured I should mention this week's weigh in result. 173, baby! That is, if I'm reading my scale correctly. But my weight seems to be going in the right direction =) Well, that's it for now. Wish me luck on my drive home from work. I honestly don't think I'll survive another day in traffic court. Do you know those scenes from My Cousin Vinny, where the judge keeps throwing Vinny in jail for being in contempt of court? Well, I could definitely empathize with that this morning, so I thought I'd leave you with a few lines:

Judge Chamberlain Haller: I don't like your attitude.

Vinny Gambini: So what else is new?

Judge Chamberlain Haller: I'm holding you in contempt of court.

Vinny Gambini: [to Bill] Now there's a ****ing surprise.

Judge Chamberlain Haller: What did you say? What did you just say?

Vinny Gambini: Huh? What did I say?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Do Brunettes Have More Fun (Part 2)?

It's official, I am no longer a blond. As you know, I've been fretting over the idea of dying my hair darker for some time. Part of me wanted to continue shelling out $100 bucks every three months to continue the illusion that I am a "cute blond." The other part of me wanted to make the economically sound decision and spend $10 on a box of hair dye and be done with it.

Quite uncharacteristically of me, I decided to make the economic decision and ditch the blond (see, I'm already acting like a brunette, haha). Since I have NEVER ever dyed my hair at home, I decided to call my former hairdresser Darria and ask for advice (yes, I have that kind of blessed relationship with my hairdresser). She gave me some useful instructions. She told me to forget about the box color and instead go to Sally's and buy the following: two tubes of color (that matched the shade I wanted) and some violet toner to mix with it. But when I arrived at Sally's last night, the store was closed.

Instead of driving home and trying again the next day (like a reasonable person might do), I headed next door to the CVS, where I walked up and down the hair dye aisle for about an hour, agonizing over the exact shade of brown to buy. I called Darria for help but she told me to go to Sally's the next day, and when I refused to listen, she pessimistically said she didn't want to get the hysterical phone call when my hair turned green.

Despite this foreboding prediction, I was determined to change my hair. ASAP. So I stumbled back and forth in the hair aisle, trying to figure out the difference between the shades (light brown, red brown, black brown, chocolate brown) and tones (warm, cool, normal). Fortunately, I met a girl in CVS, a cosmetology student and fellow Weight Watcher named Ariel, who turned out to be a life saver. She helped me to select a shade and didn't mind having to reassure me 100 times that it wouldn't turn my hair green. And she very patiently looked at the millions of nearly identical brown colors that I picked up before I settled on L'Oreal's Medium Brown, Cool. That was really nice of her =)

Afterward, my friend Brandi was kind enough to dye my hair, and here is the verdict:

That's a pretty big difference, right? Bizarrely, because I really wasn't trying to do this, I actually kind of matched my natural shade, so I have hopefully (fingers crossed!) ended my dependence on hair dye. It came out a bit lighter than I expected, even though the color on the box looked pretty dark.

Please tell me your honest opinion. Too boring? Too gray looking? Since going to the dark side, two things have happened--one, a guy at the convenience store this morning called me "Ma'am," and two, a random guy last night yelled up at my balcony and complimented my cat. Hmm...I'm not sure what this means for my future as a brunette...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Reason I Sucked at Science Labs

In order to weigh in on the old fashioned (read: non-electronic) scale that my parents gave me, I had to first adjust the arrow to zero. I jiggled with the knob to the best of my ability, but I still wasn't quite sure that I was dead on.

Then I stepped on the scale, naked, with my contacts on, and peered as hard as I could at the tiny lines between the 175 marker and 180 marker. I'm guessing I'm at about 176. But it could be 175 or 177. For some reason, this bugged me.

So I repeated the process, and came up with a similar result. I'm calling my weight 176, which means that in the course of a week, I've lost three pounds. That is, if I measured my weight from last week correctly...

I'm not neurotic, I swear, but I miss the "exact" results from my former Weight Watcher weigh-ins. And I'm very suspicious of losing three pounds when, in the course of the week, I ate a whole box of Reese's Puffs (in one sitting!) ate a whole pint of Ben and Jerry's, and ate cookie dough. Now, I know that I am occasionally blessed by the Weight Watcher God, but this just seems too good to be true.

So of course, I had to double check the situation. Even though I had to leave for work in 20 minutes, I started rifling through my closet, pulling out former fat clothes and trying them on. Yes, all of the fat clothes still felt large, but not quite as large as I like. Then, I grabbed my completely non-stretch pair of size 12 Ann Taylor pants. They felt okay. But, again, not quite as loose as I'd like. I'm not really sure what's going on. Am I losing so much muscle mass that I've gotten to a low weight but still look fat? Or have I been staying at roughly the same weight for the last couple of weeks and fluctuating five pounds back and forth, depending on my water weight? Admittedly, the second answer makes more sense.

And then there's this gem of common sense: In the past, when I've gotten fatter, I've usually gained weight. That should console me...but unfortunately, I don't feel entirely confident with that either. How do I know I gained weight if I never weighed myself when I was in the process of gaining weight? Okay, Maybe I need to chock up the $40 bucks a month to Weight Watchers to avoid this neurotic behavior...Or maybe I need to invest the $40 in some good therapy, haha.

So, I will tentatively say that my first weigh in was "sort of" a success. I don't feel very confident about it though. Any words of advice? For those who weigh themselves at home, how do you deal with the inaccuracies of the scale?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Who are YOU doing this for?

Last night, when I jumped into bed with my two cats at the very respectable hour of 10:15pm, it struck me that lately my health/ weight goals have shifted over the past several a bad direction.

I had just spent the last several hours, hanging out with friends and agonizing over whether I looked as "good" as I did a few months ago. I couldn't help but feel the jiggle in my arms, the emerging double chin, the rolls of my belly, the massive expanse of my thighs which makes it difficult for me to cross my legs. I remembered the day when my friend Josh called me "beautiful" and couldn't help but think that these extra 5-8 pounds had transformed me from a hot tamale to a frumpy, chubby girl.

These are not good thoughts. As per usual, I vowed to make tomorrow a better day. I promised myself that come hell or high water I would break a sweat, resist sweets,and try to follow the Weight Watcher plan. But let's face it--impressing people is not good motivation to lose weight. It doesn't work for more than a day or two (for me, at least) and it never seems to work the way you want it to. You end up spending quality social time looking for praise or judgment, instead of just focusing on having a good time.

And more importantly, it's placing an unnecessary burden on my friends. I mean, I would be annoyed if one of my friends felt it was my duty to inflate her self esteem. I hardly ever notice if a friend gains or loses five pounds, wears make-up, dresses up, cuts her hair. Why would I expect anything different from my friends?

So, at the end of the day, this journey has to be a personal one. I have to want to be healthy because it makes me feel happy and good--not because others will think I'm attractive. Let's face it--no matter how much I weigh there will always be people who find me attractive and those who don't. Getting to a magic number doesn't ensure that I will be the most popular girl in the room. Plenty of guys liked me when I weighed 240, and plenty of guys like me now. I fell in love with a guy when I hit Onederland (198 officially) and he thought I was beautiful and sexy.

I need to find a way to see this journey for what it is--a personal road towards self improvement and self love. I need to stop worrying about how people perceive me and focus on how I perceive myself. I need to make decisions that make me feel good, whether I opt for a salad or a piece of cake. I need to love myself, flawed body parts and all.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Woes

Good morning everyone. As you are probably aware, today is Valentine's Day. Now I'd like to preface this post by saying, I have absolutely no problem with Valentine's Day. I like chocolates, flowers, and dinners out just as much as the next person. In fact, I have gone out of my way to wish happy "couple-y" people a a happy valentine's day. I have even, albeit halfheartedly, asked what their plans are.

This is just to say, that I am not trying to be a Valentine's Day grinch. However, I feel obligated to warn you of the following: If you are in a happy, upbeat mood and want to stay in your mood, maybe you should skip the rest of this blog post.

I am not exactly in the Valentine's Day spirit. This past weekend, I had some pretty frustrating conversations with men that resulted in me burying my face into a squirmy dog's tummy last night and wishing that more men were like Max (the dog). But then again, who hasn't done that?

All of the conversations revolved around the same issue--I'm looking for a meaningful relationship (or at least looking to being on the path towards a relationship) and both guys are freaked out by that very notion and wish that we could just keep things more casual...and have sex of course. At that point, we would reach a sort of stalemate because I have made (and am following) a new rule not to sleep with guys I'm just casually dating. So the conversation went something like this:

(In the middle of making out)

Me: Wait, we need to talk about this. What are we doing here?

Guy: What do you mean? I think we're having a good time.

Me: No, seriously. I'm really concerned that we're headed to the "friends with benefits" zone and I really don't want that.

Guy: No, of course not. You know I like you. (Then, he makes attempt to smother my questions with kisses)

(But I am not so easily deterred)

Me: So are you saying you think you could see a future with me?

Guy: Katie, Katie, Katie...(Bizarrely, both guys used that exact expression.)

Me: Look, I'm not saying I want a relationship now, but that's what I ultimately want.

Guy: (Mumbles something and then successfully distracts me with making out.)

Now the stupidest thing about this whole exchange (and believe me, I know how ridiculous these conversations were) is that if both of these guys arrived at my apartment with roses and a card that said, "Will you be mine," I'd probably freak out and feel that they were pushing the commitment issue a little early. I'd probably start to wonder how much I really liked them.

So, the real problem isn't the guys (or their frustrating habit of wanting to have sex rather than talk about the future), it's me. What on earth do I feel that I will accomplish by jumping into a relationship? A relationship, while it may come with regular sex (if I'm lucky) and may ensure that I always have a date for Valentine's Day, won't complete me.

Sometimes I feel like I'm the most confused person in the world. I'm still trying to figure out who I am, what kind of music I like, how I like to eat, how I like to exercise, how I like to socialize, etc...I get into a groove for a while (socializing and drinking like a maniac/ acting like a hermit and eating dinner alone with my cats) and then I decide things need to change and I spiral in a different direction. I spend nights drinking too much with friends to feel relaxed enough to be myself. I (often) mismanage my biweekly paychecks, so that I occasionally end up paying for gas with quarters. I have over three loads of laundry hidden in the back of my closet. I run out of clean underwear. I sometimes spend entire days, sprawled out on my couch, eating raw cookie dough and watching some arcane television show.

But distracting myself from my problems with men doesn't solve the deeper problem, and in fact, as this weekend has shown, sometimes it makes me feel even worse. So, as per usual, Valentine's Day is shaping up to be a dismal 24 hours. I'll try to avoid eating the Valentine's Day candy (from considerate coworkers) on my desk.

Sorry for the downer Valentine's Day post. But I gotta say, it can be a rough holiday for single people.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Binge: A Definition

Binging is one of the most self-destructive things a person can do. According to the Mayo Clinic, binging is defined as, "A serious eating disorder in which you frequently consume unusually large amounts of food...When you have binge-eating disorder, you may be deeply embarrassed about gorging and vow to stop. But you feel such a compulsion that you can't resist the urges and continue binge eating." Binging is the most common of food disorders, according to the Mayo Clinic.

But for those who struggle with binging, you know it's not really about the food (because you eat it too quickly to really enjoy it) and it's not really about feeding an actual hunger (because you eat so much you feel sick). It's an experience that's hard to explain, even to yourself. After I binge, I usually look at the discarded boxes of crap (aka, ice cream, cookies, crackers, etc...) and wonder why I really needed to eat that much. Wouldn't a bowl of ice cream have sufficed? Why did I need to eat the whole carton?

There's so much shame associated with binging that it's hard to talk about, despite the fact that it's a common eating disorder. Now, I'm going to make an imperfect comparison here--perhaps binging is somewhat similar to self mutilation. Just to be clear, I've never struggled with self mutilation, but I want make the comparison because they seem to have some similarities. Both are destructive. Both are compulsive acts. Both are shrouded in shame. And both are typically about control. As someone who has never struggled with self mutilation, it's hard for me to imagine take a sharp object and cutting my skin. Likewise, it's probably tough for someone who has never binged to imagine compulsively stuffing yourself until you want to throw up.

But I have binged several times in the last few weeks, and right now it's a daily struggle for me to fight the compulsion.

Last night, I randomly came across a passage by one of my favorite contemporary authors that described the binge experience really well. Anne Lamott, in Grace (Eventually) Thoughts on Faith, writes the following:

Until a few weeks ago, I had been scootching along pretty well for a while in size-ten pants, having lost a little weight, feeling I'd nailed the food and weight and body-image business, when all of a sudden my foot met air, and I was unmoored. Within minutes, I was on the edge of a full-on food binge, assault eating.

I can definitely relate to this sentiment. When I had lost my first 50 pounds and was fitting comfortably in a size 12, I really thought I'd nailed the weight/ binge/ body issues that I'd struggled with for the past decade. My recent struggles with binging have been a wake-up call for me. It's so disappointing to learn that six months of healthy living doesn't wipe out years of unhealthy behaviors. But it makes sense.

She goes on to describe the binge:

All I could think to do was what every addict thinks of doing: kill the pain. I don't smoke or drink anymore, am too worried to gamble, too guilty to shoplift, and I have always hated clothes shopping. So what choices did that leave? I could go on a strict new diet, or conversely I could stuff myself to the rafters with fats, sugars, and carcinogens. Ding ding: we have a winner.

It's fascinating how similar binge eating is to strict food deprivation. In some ways, the two opposite courses of action stem from the same urge--the urge to control your life through food. I've had the same thought several times. I'll come home in a terrible mood and feel like (a) either starving myself for the night as a punishment or (b) like eating until I can't feel anymore. And like Lamott says so succinctly, the eating option is usually more appealing.

At the end, Lamott describes how she recovered from the binge:

I got myself some cool water, a pair of soft socks...Then waves of nausea and self-loathing, backtrack bog. I thought of all the times my friends have given off light in the darkness...So I was simply kind to myself...I burped my terrible Cyclops burps, which brought such relief that I remembered who I was: one of the sometimes miserable all-of-us. I was a soul, not a faulty digestive system...A woman with a few, small, unresolved issues.

To me, this is one of the best passages in the whole book. Binging can make me feel like a disgusting excuse for a human being, but when I look at myself through Lamott's eyes, I see a young woman with a few, small, unresolved issues. A young woman with a lot of good characteristics and a few challenges.

And I think that is the only way to really recover from binges--respect yourself enough to be kind to your body. Exercise regularly and honor your hunger (and your full-ness). And if you fall off the wagon, remind yourself of this passage and start again.

For those who don't binge, I hope this sheds some light on the experience. And for those who do, I hope this helps to remind you that you're not alone in this struggle.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Meeting in Real Life

Now that I've officially recovered from my Gilmore Girls day of hibernation, I can tell you about what an exciting weekend I had. On Friday after work, I drove up to Northern VA (again!!) because I had a big interview all day on Saturday. I'm not going to go into details here, but I'll let you know when I hear back (hopefully two weeks). So, on Friday night, I kept things pretty low key and went to bed early.

Then on Saturday night, I finally got to meet Beth! Quick back-story--I found Beth's blog, Beth's Journey, last spring when I was starting my weight loss journey. I was hooked from the start, and commented pretty frequently on her posts. Then, when I started a blog, Beth followed along and commented on my posts. Since then, we realized we had a lot in common (big weight losses, love of food, etc...) and we've been talking, via e-mail, g-chat, and the phone.

Needless to say,I was so excited to meet her! We met at Cafe Asia, a trendy sushi bar near Georgetown. I let Beth do most of the ordering since she'd been to the restaurant before. Plus, if you follow her blog, you know she has pretty awesome taste in food. Anyway, Beth took the photos, so if you want to know in detail what we ate, check out her blog. All I know is, we got a bunch of yummy appetizers including edamame and this fried thing with a delicious creamy sauce. And we got lots of amazing sushi. I also got a Gin and Tonic and we ordered several glasses of wine. Check out my stained teeth in the photos-
Beth and I at Cafe Asia. Note--unfortunately, this angle was awkward for Beth. Not sure why the bartender took the photo from the side...But did you notice how curly my hair was? Gotta love DC humidity and rain...

Me and Beth outside of Cafe Asia. I'm the one with the purple teeth =)
All I can say is, we had an awesome night =) It was fantastic to finally meet Beth and I'd definitely like to hang out with her again soon when I'm in DC. It's so awesome that you can actually make real friends through this health/ weight watchers community. I would never have expected this before I started this journey...

Anyway, moving on, speaking of weight loss journeys, I'm sure readers are curious to know how I'm doing--especially in light of my recent oreos meltdown.

Let the bragging begin:

1. I actually went on a jog yesterday. Granted, it wasn't my typical 2.5 miler (it was probably more like 1.5 miles) but hey I got out and started moving. And today, I can definitely feel it in my leg muscles. Note to self--must stop smoking cigarettes!! They made me so out of breath during my jog.

2. I gave away ALL the junk in my house. My friend's Brandi and Josh are now the proud recipients of a container of Nuttella, a roll of cinnabons, a microwave pizza, and a brownie mix. Good riddance, I say! Now, I'm going to survive on beans and rice and maybe some chicken, haha.

3. I attempted to count points yesterday and I'm determined to count points today! The only way to lose weight is to become accountable, so that's what I'm going to do.

4. I weighed in this morning. Now, here's the tricky part. I cancelled my WW membership a few weeks ago because (a) I'm broke and (b) I felt like I was wasting money because I wasn't following the program. So, when I was visiting my parents, I brought back their old scale. Will you, as the reader, be okay with the fact that I'm changing the scale/ time of weigh in/ day of weigh in? I'm 179, as of this morning, but I know that I'd be higher on a WW scale. How do you feel about this? I'm tempted to put 179 in my weight loss ticker, but I don't want you guys to feel like I'm being misleading...Let me know!

Okay, that's it for now. I'm excited to be back on track...although it's 10:11 am and I'm already hungry for lunch, grr...Well, as they say, "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels." Or at least, that's what I imagine, since I've never been thin ;)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Justifying Anything

Yesterday, when my alarm went off at 6:15 am, I looked at my cats sleeping peacefully next to me, and figured that the responsible thing to do would be to stay home with them. After all, I've been gone the last three weekends and clearly my cats were being deprived of some essential Mommy time.

Then, we slept until 2:30 pm. I woke up to a disordered house, disgusting litterbox, sink full of dishes, clothes strewn over every surface of my apartment, and figured that the responsible thing to do would be to go buy some lunch. Because, after all, how can one tackle domestic chores on an empty stomach?

So, I got in my car and decided to drive to the closest restaurant (to save gas obviously) and ordered a McDonald's chicken nuggets meal with fries and a vanilla milkshake (for calcium of course). And then I went home, parked on my couch, turned on Gilmore Girls, Season 5, and watched it for the next five hours. I also managed to eat a package of oreos and some garlic bread. I went to bed at 8:30 pm.

I woke up this morning at 5:30 am to the same chaos (and a mouth that tasted like garlic and frosting) but this time I managed to clean like a maniac. In 45 minutes, I cleaned the dishes in my sink, took out all the trash, cleaned the litterbox, and straightened the living room.

The upshot of this confession is to tell you that I can justify ANYTHING. And that bad things happen when I decide to stay home for the day and watch Gilmore Girls.

When I got to work this morning, I realized that by hibernating yesterday I had let many people down. My coworker had brought in McDonald's oatmeal for me (he mentioned this on Friday but I forgot), my e-mail thread buddies had posted their menus without me, my friend Beth had posted a blog post partially about me, my friend's Brandi and Josh had cooked dinner without me, etc...

And I opted out of everything so that I could hibernate with my cats and eat junk?

Well, yes, I did.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Do brunettes have more fun?

So with all this talk about weight, health, and financial goals, it's easy to lose sight of the more important aspects of life.

Namely, my hair.

Now, you may not have noticed, but I artificially lighten my light brown hair. If you scroll through my photos, you will notice that my natural hair color is a boring shade of brown. What I really prefer is a rich gold-ish blond color, but (as fellow high-lighters know all too well) every time you re-highlight your hair it gets lighter and lighter...and lighter.

Until you start to look like Christina Aguilera having a bad hair day.

Not that I'm saying that's necessarily a bad look...I'm just not sure I have the cheek bones to pull it off. And I'm also not a glamorous pop star, in case you needed reminding;)

So, usually I try to shove thoughts of my crispy, lightened hair out of my head. I figure that from a distance, I look like a pretty blond. Strangers (i.e. random guys in bars) usually guess that I'm German or Swedish because of my coloring. In fact, I'm composed of a swarthy mixture of Italian (Southern Italy), Greek, and Russian genes. But that is a whole other story, as my Grandma would say.

But today, my coworker wore a wig to work. It's a gorgeous redish/ brown curly wig and I just had to try it on. I always wondered what I would look like with red/ darker brown hair. Here I am:

For comparison's sake, I figured I'd take a picture of my normal, blond self (note, the squished hair).

By the way, with the red hair, don't I look kind of like Drew Barrymore in Riding in Cars With Boys, no?
Anyway, readers it's up to you--please help to solve one of the most crucial issues of the day--Katie's hair dilemma--by posting a comment saying which color you prefer. Or if you hate both options and have a different suggestion, feel free to post that too.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

10 Reasons Why You're Cooler Than Me

I was inspired by Katie's post this morning, who writes a fabulous blog called Keeping Up With Katie, so I decided to list 10 Reasons Why You're Cooler Than Me.

1. I spoil my cats to an absurd degree. I sautee chicken for them, let them jump on the counters and the kitchen table, and let them sleep in my bed. I EVEN give them slices of turkey off my Subway sandwiches. Yes, I too, am concerned about what this says for my (potential) child rearing skills.

2. I have an atrociously bad sense of space/ sense of direction. In high school and college, my friends often told me I had a "lost" expression on my face as if I had no idea of where I was going. And that's because I generally didn't. All I can say is, thank goodness for GPS.

3. I only drink coffee with lots of cream and sugar. These days, my parents are impressed when I only put in two teaspoonfulls =) And yes, I still use cream, although I occasionally use skim milk when I'm feeling saintly.

4. I like some RIDICULOUSLY bad music. While my music tastes have generally improved over the years, I still own (and occasionally listen to) that awful 80s song "Don't You Want Me Baby," and Fabolous' "Can't Let You Go." And I don't even know why I like those songs...It's sad really.

5. I stomp when I'm angry. Yes, you heard right. I behave exactly like a three-year-old when things don't go my way. I pout, I cry, I throw tantrums. Yup, haven't grown out of that bad habit...yet...

6. I never floss. Which resulted in my first ever cavity this past month. Here's a photo I took of myself when I was all Novocained up. I think I look like the Joker from The Dark you see the resemblance?

The Joker

Me, numb from Novocaine

7. I named my other cat after my favorite movie character of ALL TIME, Fanny Brice, from Funny Girl. Perhaps this resemblance will be harder to see. You'd have to meet my cat to understand what a comedian she is =)

Fanny Brice, the character

Fanny Brice, the cat.

8. I can (and have) eaten an entire jar of nuttella in one sitting.

9. I used to believe that my mom's dead ancestors haunted our downstairs basement. I convinced all three of my younger siblings of this fact and for YEARS we all avoided the basement. Even when we were older, we would race up the stairs to avoid being the last person to turn out the lights. (You'd understand if you saw a photograph of my Mom's ancestors. One of them was carrying an empty bird cage and honestly looked like a witch.)

10. I occasionally sing along to music while I jog. If I get too out of breath, I at least attempt to hum. And yes, I sing along to my terrible music, so I am quite popular at my gym =)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

There's More I Wanted to Say

I'm not sure how to address this, but here goes--

Lately, I've been obsessed with how I look when I'm in social situations. No matter whether I'm wearing a cute, fitted outfit or a baggy sweatshirt with jeans, I constantly feel like a fat, frumpy, unattractive girl.

It's driving me crazy. I know that I hardly ever judge others as harshly as I judge myself. And I know that my friends and family will love me, no matter whether I'm a size six or a size 26. But at the same time, I keep having these irrational thoughts like, "He's staring at my stomach," or "I need to be funny and nice to compensate for my extra weight." I'm constantly adjusting my clothes trying to hide my lumps and bumps to no avail; every time I look in the mirror I'm reminded of the overweight person that I still am. I notice my double chins, the bumps of my stomach, my gigantic arms, my huge ass.

At times, it's almost hard for me to interact with others because I feel like such a slob.

And does this make me want to diet? Hell, no. Unfortunately, it has the exact opposite effect. It makes me want to stuff my face with carbs and sugar so that I don't have to feel anymore. You know, I've heard many fellow WWers talk about the moment that made them want to change their lives. Many are prompted by an unflattering photo or ill fitting clothes. But I have always been depressed by those things, which makes me eat even more. In my case, when I'm feeling good about myself, I want to take better care of my body and vice versa. But once I start feeling this way, it's a bit of a challenge to come to grips with myself, to recognize that my feelings of inadequacy are blown way out of proportion.

Here's what I do know. Exercise helps. Eating well helps. Taking care of stuff helps. And basically patting myself on the back and saying, "You are not a total failure--you have a lot going for you," helps too.

So, today, I'm on a mission--eat well, get in some form of exercise, take care of some stuff, and try to remember that I've come a long way this past year.

New York, New York!

As you can see from my post title, I went to New York this past weekend.

Well, not actually New York City, but Long Island, New York--which is good enough for me.

When I think of New York, this is what comes to mind:

Bagels with lox and cream cheese =)

And pizza =)

There is nothing as good as New York bagels and pizza, haha. When my mom called me on Friday morning to ask if I wanted to drive with her and my sister Sara to New York, I gave her my conditions--pizza and bagels. I am happy to report that she met up to her end of the bargain =)

Overall, the trip was fun. It was nice to catch up with my mom and sister on the long car ride and to see my huge, Italian extended family. I have 20 first cousins on my Mom's side and now most of them have children so you can imagine how big (and loud!) family gatherings are when we visit her family. I hadn't seen them in over two years because I've been living in Richmond so it was nice to see everyone. My little second cousins are getting so old!

While this past weekend was fun, it had a couple of drawbacks. One, my house is an absolute disaster and I haven't gone food shopping so my meals today (at work) are going to consist of what I have: a banana, apple, and sweet potato, haha. Also, my diet is seriously out of whack. Once again, I feel like a bloated whale and none of my clothes are fitting as well as they ought to. Boo. Also, I'm feeling stressed out because there are so many things I've let slip in the past week--laundry, cleaning, bills, car maintenance, etc...which is making it really hard for me to take care of myself the way I need to. When I'm feeling overwhelmed, I'm often tempted to binge on food or drink too much.

But I know what I need to do. I need to make a list, set small managable goals, and try to get back on track with being healthy TODAY. Here are my tiny goals for the day:

  • Go to work (haha, I was really tempted to sleep past my alarm today) check!
  • Straighten my house
  • Do one load of laundry
  • Eat meals--no grazing!
  • Change my sheets
  • Go to bed at a decent hour
  • No alcohol

Well, today is a new day and I'm determined to make it a success. Wish me luck!