Weigh-In and Warcraft

YEAH LET’S DO THIS

Last Week’s Weight: 130.6

Today’s Weight: 127.2

Loss/Gain: 3.2 pounds

This Week’s Exercise Schedule:

07/02: 7-mile run/walk + 20-minute weightlifting session
07/03: Yoga
07/04: 5-mile walk + 40-minute weightlifting session
07/05: 7-mile walk/run
07/06: 2-mile walk, 1-hour weightlifting session, 20-minute arc trainer session, 10-minute rowing machine session
07/07: 7-mile run/walk
07/08: 45-minute aerobic tape

Huzzah, right in the middle of my maintenance range! Poifect, and not too shabby considering I spent most of my week sitting on my ass, mourning the loss of this week’s pay check. It was nice to do a bit of a sugar-detox, too, even though I only made it until Wednesday sans dessert. I broke upon sighting the Dairy Queen (hey, I hadn’t had my annual “IT’S SUMMER” Blizzard, yet. Although, I’m not sure the Blizzard was the best treat to break the detox with: I remember them as being really tasty, and although the ingredients in my Georgia Mud Fudge Blizzard [Pecan and brownie pieces with vanilla soft serve] were fresher than one of those feisty, up-and-coming rappers I can never understand, the ice cream itself just tasted like … cold. Seriously, no flavor to it whatsover. Has anyone else had this happen?).

In other news, my week off spurred to do two things, one of which was productive, one of which was not:

1) I got a new job! Not one to replace my radio job, unfortunately, which I have to do tomorrow and have built WAY UP IN MY MIND to be horrible, but one to replace my seasonal job once it ends. Huzzah! It’s at a local coffee shop (not a chain, but a legit, “we-bake-our-own-donuts,” coffee shop), and I’m looking forward to having a job that puts me amongst people for the day. ‘Twill be good for me. And, I get to keep my cemetery job until the end of the season. HOWEVER, the coffee shop people are going to begin training me on the days I’m not working at the cemetery, so it looks like I might be working seven days a week sometimes. Ah, well, it’s only temporary.

2) I re-activated my World of Warcraft account. Derp. I started playing two (three?) years ago after my ex-fiance turned me onto it, but I quit a few months back when I found myself hating scheduled gametime* and the repetitive nature of the game. So, why did I go back? I have no idea! Mostly, I think, because I may have given up being social just a little bit in Real Life. Le sigh. ANYWAY! On a more cheerful note, if you play WoW and want to do an in-game blogger meet-up (which is way cooler than a RL blogger meet-up, PSH), then drop a comment, ja? Of course, I’m not sure how long this WoW stint will last, so … act now, I guess?

In conclusion, I leave you with a family photo:

This is a picture of my character and my mother’s when both of us were around level 50 (I’m on the right; warlock win). Aww! Memories. Also, yes, my mother and I play WoW together. Isn’t that nice?

* For those of you unfamiliar with the game, you have bring together many players (sometimes up to 40) in order to complete higher “levels” in WoW. So, if you want to complete these areas of the game, you have to sign on for scheduled “raids,” as it’s really quite difficult to just put together a random group of people at a random time.

Cemetery Blues

I enjoy my job at the cemetery. No, really! When I get up in the morning and say, “UGH BLERGH WORK,” it is just my horribly whiny knee-jerk reaction to the idea that I have to do something besides sit on my ass that day. And, when I get a phone call saying, “Nope, there hasn’t been any rain so the grass isn’t growing so there isn’t any work,” I’m reminded of the fact that I really need to shut my mouth, get rid of the negativity and just be grateful for the fact that I do have work. Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, I’m waxing reflective because I did get such a phone call this morning.

Yep … in light of this, I do realize that I really need to stop talking myself out of things/being so negative about work, social happenings,* things I have to do, etc. Honestly, I think I would enjoy my life a lot more if I just put a stop to mentally building everything up into a huge chore, because 90% I get to work/go to an event I was dreading and find myself saying, “Oh! This isn’t so bad.”

Anyway, with my surprise week off from work (which hopefully won’t turn into a two-weeks off from work) I’ve decided to catch up on my summer reading. Here’s what my “reading log” for the near future looks like:

1. Day After Night, Anita Diamant (I’m currently working on this, and I’m not sure how I feel about it, yet; when I went to a speaking-event featuring Diamant, she described the novel as being an introduction to the history of Israel and that it was for people who didn’t know very much about the nation’s origins. And yet, I feel that you kind of need some background in WWII/Palestine’s history to have a full understanding of the book.)

2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Stieg Larsson (Everyone and their brother is talking about it, so I guess I’ll read it. Stop judging me.)

3. Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel Garcia Marquez (I love Marquez’s style of writing and his inclusion of magical elements in a realistic setting, so I think it’s about time I read what is probably his best known work.)

4. Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantel (I’ve actually had this book lying around for months, but since I bought it while I was still up at school and thus tied up with required reading, I never got around to reading it. Mmm, historical fiction focusing on the Tudors. I love them, don’t you? I don’t know why, but I’ve always been vaguely obsessed with Henry VIII and his unfortunate wives.)

I don’t know why, but I really enjoy planning out what I’m going to read next; it’s like, “Haha! Look at how intellectual my future is going to be! Suck it, stupidity!”

In other news, I went to the gym twice today, but I only made the second venture because I desperately needed to get out of the house (I enjoy my days off, but I hate being idle for extended periods of time; I feel like if I haven’t earned my time off, I can’t enjoy it) and also because I needed to burn off some PMS-anxiety (For some reason, I always get super anxious around my lady times. Right now, I’m obsessing about the prospect of not having work once my season cemetery job ends in September). Also, if I didn’t get out the house, I was definitely going to eat 100% of everything.

Do you have any bad “mental habits?” What are you reading at the moment?

* Yeah, most people probably find these enjoyable, but I’ve developed some kind of social anxiety, as I’ve mentioned before. Honestly, I worry a bit about myself; I can’t seem to get out of my own way to get out and do social things. Part of me says, “Well, what’s there really to do, anyway? Most people your age go to bars for social interaction, and you don’t drink!” But, on the other hand, I feel like I’m just making excuses for my anti-social behavior. WHAT’S A TEETOTALING LADY TO DO?!?

Weigh-In Day: Weeks of May 7th and 14th

I didn’t really have any expectations/worries going into today’s weigh-in … I basically ate an average of 20 fewer calories per day than I needed for maintenance, but last week was also my first “taper week” (wherein I replaced a 7-mile run with a day of active rest), so I figured it would all even out.

Weight as of April May 7th: 127.9

Today’s Weight: 126.2 (?!)

Loss/Gain: 1.7

Average Daily Caloric Intake: 1,880

Exercise:

05/07: 5-mile walk + 40-minute weightlifting session
05/08: 7-mile run/walk
05/09: 2-mile run + 1-hour weightlifting session
05/10: 7-mile walk
05/11: 7-mile run/walk + 20-minute weightlifting session
05/12: Yoga
05/13: 1-hour aerobics tape

05/14: 7-mile run/walk + 20-minute weightlifting session
05/15: Yoga
05/16: 5-mile walk + 40-minute weightlifting session
05/17: 7-mile run/walk
05/18: Yoga
05/19: 2-mile run + 1-hour weightlifting session
05/20: 45-minute aerobics tape

… Aaaand, I have no idea how that happened. Basically, I can only think of the following explanations:

a) My body has adjusted to more calories, and that amount that I’ve been eating for “maintenance” (1,900 calories per day)  isn’t actually how much I need for maintenance.

b) Sometimes, less exercise when you’ve been overexercising = weight loss. Maybe my body just really badly needed an extra day off?

c) I’ve been more active. But, I highly doubt that two days of cemetery work (which consists of riding a mower and doing about two hours of weed-whacking per day) and moving out of my dorm makes for over a pound and a half of loss, especially since I’ve been walking less since getting home; When I was up at school, I walked everywhere, but now I can just hop in my car whenever I need to go to the store, etc.

d) IT’S A TRAP! … I mean, fluke.

Regardless, I’m not going to look a gift loss in the numbers, and I’m certainly not going to complain about basically being able to gain three pounds before I have to do any kind of “diet” related thang. But, if my weight drops any lower, I’m going to have to go on a … weight gain diet.

/angelic chorus

Anyway, I am hell of nervous about starting my new job tomorrow. But, I’m not so much nervous about the work, itself, as I am about the schedule/being able to chomp. “What if they don’t let me go right at 7 p.m.? What if I get too hungry? WHAT IF I CAN’T SNACK?” … How did I get so schedule-oriented at 21 years old? Jeeze! Also, self, it’s not like you’re going to starve to death if you have to wait an extra hour for dinner. I worry about the most ridiculous things.

What makes you anxious?

A Fitness Favor

Seeing as how I’m not at university anymore, I no longer have ready access to an indoor track/exercise equipment. And, the beloved treadmill that has resided in my living room at home for several years recently shit the bed. Alas. So, I went in search of a gym in my hometown, because I knew the first day it rained and I wouldn’t be able to complete a scheduled run (yes, I’m a wuss who won’t run in the rain), I would flip out.

I actually prefer going to the gym to run over using a treadmill in my home (whenever I would do the latter, it would take me hours sometimes to do a run, just because I would stop for a water break every 15 minutes. It would get pretty ridiculous), so I don’t have a problem with shelling out for external treadmill access. But, I would not have discovered one pet peeve of mine had I never stepped foot in a gym:

I can’t stand it when there’s a whole row of treadmills/exercise equipment open and someone chooses the machine right next to me—it’s like when there’s a parking lot full of empty spaces and the next person to pull in chooses the space next to your car. I just don’t get it. Maybe I’m the only one bothered by this. Maybe everyone else who goes to the gym partially goes to experience having a sweaty body in close proximity to their’s because they’re not having sex and running next to someone on a treadmill is as close to doin’ it as they’re going to get. I, however, do not want someone right next to me, and the minute someone climbs onto the machine next to mine I immediately start leaning away. I am getting an unbalanced workout because of you needy bastards! Get away from me!

Regardless, this wouldn’t bother me quite so much if all those who stationed themselves next to me didn’t all seem to belong to those populations that either don’t believe in deodorant or bathes in perfume. So, here is my request:

DEAR GYM-GOING DUDES/LADIES:

If you are going to be one of those people who tries to experience sexy time vicariously through running next to me, please do not use excessive amounts of body spray/perfume before coming to the gym. It makes me choke and gives me a headache, and I can barely run when I’m feeling well. Likewise, to those folk who don’t believe in deodorant, please keep in mind that deodorant isn’t for you—it is for me. Specifically, it is to protect me from your stank, so please use it.

Love,

Liz

In other news, I started one of my two jobs. Yay! You see, since my radio job is only part time, I need to do somethin’ else to bring in the money, honey. Fortunately, I was able to secure the cemetery job that I’ve worked for the past three summers. Yes, I work at a cemetery, and I actually really enjoy it. Here is a picture of a portion of the cemetery!

Awesome, graves! I know some people may find the idea of working in a cemetery morbid, but I enjoy being outside (the job involves mowing/weed-whacking the 40-acre area three days a week) and it’s nice to be active. Occasionally, it does get a little depressing (a man’s young wife passed away last summer, and he visited the grave site every day, and it was just about the saddest thing ever), but otherwise I don’t mind being surrounded by death. Mostly, I just find checking out grave inscriptions interesting/historical, especially since some of the graves date back to the 1800s. Neat.

Do you have any pet peeves, gym-oriented or otherwise? Do cemeteries/death bother you? These questions are really unrelated to each other, dang.

Restaurant Reluctance

Alright, now that I have all my grades in my possession, I can officially say that I have graduated. Thanks, professors, for not secretly hating me and failing me as a way by which to express your hidden distaste for my person.*

Of course, graduating means celebrating, and in light of the fact that my mum wanted to take me out to lunch to do so, I’ve come to the realization that I’ve developed a major aversion to restaurants. The reason for this is twofold:

1) The first reason—which is actually much more minor than the second—is my “fear of the unknown,” I reckon. It’s like I’d rather sit down with a pint of ice cream than a healthy grilled chicken entree at a restaurant because at least I know how many calories the ice cream has, whereas CALORIES COULD BE LURKING ANYWHERE IN THAT CHICKEN OMG I BET IT IS SECRETLY STUFFED WITH BUTTER. But, like I said, this is a minor concern, and I also am totally aware that the calories in everything can be reasonably estimated, and what do I care if I’m off by a few hundred calories? And, I (hopefully) won’t be counting calories forever, anyway. Bottom line: If someone said to me, “ELIZABETH WE ARE GOING TO A RESTAURANT RIGHT NOW AND YOU WILL LIKE IT,” I wouldn’t totally lose my shit.

2) The major reason I no longer like restaurants is that the better care I take of myself, the less I want to feel gross. And, restaurant food makes me feel gross 90% of the time. When I think of food, now, I think of it like fuel/what kind of affect it’ll have on my physical capabilities, and the last thing I want to dump in my tummy the day before a 7-mile stint is a bunch of fat and grease that’s going to make me slog along like someone who has had a ball of lead take up residence in their intestinal tract (this is along the same reasoning as to why I no longer have the urge to binge, either). Also, I find that restaurant food rarely lives up to my expectations, and I would rather have something that I am able to prepare myself exactly how I want it. ALSO, restaurant food is expensive! Man, you go out for a meal, and you could have bought a t-shirt for the amount of money you dropped on an overcooked steak.**

But, I reckon that going to restaurants is kind of like dating; you tell everyone you’re not into it at the moment, and then a really great Thai place/an attractive firefighter shows up in your town and you’re the first one wantin’ the Pad Thai, if you know what I mean. But, no, seriously though, I’d probably want to go out to eat if there was actually somewhere appealing to dine in my general vicinity, but most of the eateries around here aren’t exactly mad delicious.

Regardless of my reasons, though, I felt kind of abnormal saying I’d rather stay home and have a home cooked meal than go out to eat. But, my eating habits have been the focus of other people over the years (My ex’s friends, for example, always used to make fun of me for choosing skim milk at breakfast. Why do people feel the need to draw everyone’s attention to things like your food choices? Peh), so I guess it has just made me paranoid that other people may perceive my choices as being motivated by restrictive tendencies and consequently think of me differently.

A side note: I totally made/reviewed that Parmesan risotto, dudes, but I forgot to take a picture for the entry! I’m going to make it again this week, though, so I’ll post the review once you can … see what the food looks like, too, I guess?

Do you prefer home cooked food or restaurant cuisine? Have your food choices ever challenged, discussed or made fun of by others?

* By the way, professors, if you had done this I would have just re-enrolled in your class next semester and been horribly disruptive every class. Just so you know.

** I measure all purchases in terms of how many articles of clothing I could have bought for the same amount of money. So, if someone buys something ridiculous/hell of expensive, I will have to exclaim that they could have purchased FIVE PAIRS OF PANTS or something WHAT WERE THEY THINKING.

Goodbye, Brandeis

College—it is over.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am more than happy to be hoofin’ it out of here. But, it’s still odd to say goodbye to a place where I spent the better part of four years of my life. I’m looking forward to going home, though, and starting a career; I feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels for a while here, now, and going into broadcast has been my entire reason for going to school. Now, I finally get to be a reporter and an anchor.

As an aside, though, I think the university system could stand to be revamped: For someone like myself who wanted to be a journalist, was it really necessary to take courses like astronomy, which I only enrolled in fulfill a university requirement? And, when am I ever going to use the skills I learned in English classes in which we discussed Proust? They were great classes, sure, but should I have to take classes that aren’t relevant to my career just because you have to take courses for four years to graduate? Peh.

Anyway, I’m a bit nervous about today, just because I’m a celebratory eater. If something rad happens,* I want to eat to celebrate, and I’m hoping that since I haven’t binged in six weeks I can keep up my good habits today. And, really, why be worried? Everything that I eat is my decision; no one is going to force me to binge, so having decided not to binge, now, I know that everything is going to be fine. Problem solved!

Wish me safe travels, dudes! I’ll try to start posting more often soon, but at the moment, I need to just get home!

* I’m also a stress eater. And a sad eater. … Alright, I guess any emotion is really an excuse for me to chomp, whatever.

Copyrights and Cooking

You guys, I only have four days left at University! Unless, of course, my school’s professors are horribly sadistic and enjoy springing failing grades on graduating seniors. Eep.

Anyway, professors/God willing, I’ll be home in a few days, and home means having a kitchen. Hooray! And, with access to said kitchen, I’m hoping to start a new blog feature; that is, recipe reviews.

However, I’m a little uncertain as to whether it’s OK to post recipes from books. Granted, I could probably find out with a little digging, but I am horrendously lazy and would rather ask you dudes, instead. So … does anyone know the policies regarding putting up a recipe from a cookbook on your blog site? Also, are recipe reviews a thing you dudes would enjoy? Personally, I really love buying cookbooks, but half the time I feel like the recipes in most books end up either a) using too many ingredients or b) just being not that good, so personally I would find this to be a helpful thing, but would you?

The Binge Beat-down Post

First off, I feel the need to make a disclaimer: Although I have been without a binge for quite some time (four weeks, I think, and I’ve only binged twice in the past 13 weeks), I reckon I don’t really think I’ve “beat” binge eating. I don’t think that I’ll go without a binge ever again, but there is a big difference between bingeing every few months when you’re presented with delicious noms at the holidays or you just really want deliciousness and bingeing every week and feeling like you’re an emotional wreck afterwards. Everyone binges sometimes, and that’s OK, but the key word here is “sometimes.”

Anyway, if you don’t recall, before my blogging break I was bingeing about every one to two weeks. Part of this was because of stress, part of it was because of a mish-mash of other reasons, but regardless I know other people struggle with this, and I want to share some of the changes I made that allowed me to shake this, somewhat. I hope it helps, because I know how frustrating being a binge eater can be. Also, you’ve probably seen some of these tips before and are going to be like, “OMG I’VE READ THESE IDEAS ALREADY.” Yes, but have you tried them? Regardless, if I’m reiterating them here, it’s because they worked for me. Also, some of these tips may be more “don’t-binge-while-on-a-diet”-oriented then others, as I was trying to lose weight AND quash bingeing at the same time, so if you’re just trying to maintain your weight some of these may not apply to you.

a) You gotta want it. Or, you have to be ready. Honestly, I think for some time I didn’t really care if I continued binge eating. For me, I was in college, i.e. not the “real world,” and I could always just lose the weight next semester before I started my “new life.” Granted, impending graduation is what finally made me get my act together, but if you really don’t want to stop bingeing, then you’re not going to be able to. And, in this same vein …

b) Find an alternative motivation for wanting to lose weight/stop binge eating besides “being thin.” My primary motivation to stop binge eating was, as I just mentioned, not wanting to graduate and enter a new stage of my life as a binge eater. But, I was really helped through the first few weeks of trying to break the habit by two other motivations: The first was that I was thinking of joining the military at the time (and am actually still pondering this), and I kept telling myself “The lighter I am, the faster I’ll run at the physical exam.” My other motivation actually came from someone else’s blog post: A 50-something year old woman happened to comment on a post about how she had been a yo-yo dieter for the last 30 years. It hit me at that moment that if I didn’t put my foot down and stop binge eating, I could be that woman. I could be that person who avoids social events because they are constantly on a diet and spends their whole life obsessing over food. And I didn’t want to be that person—I wanted to be someone who, you know, actually enjoyed my life and wasn’t constantly worrying about my weight.

c) Make a pro and con list when you feel like bingeing. Alright, the frenzy is on you, IT IS HERE. What do you do? Personally, I trained myself to make a pro and con list relating to binge eating. Usually, my thought process went like this:

“OK, what are the pros to binge eating right now?”

“I’ll feel better for a little bit. Also food is tasty.”

“Anything else?”

“… No.”

“OK, what are the cons?”

“I’ll be disappointed with myself. I’ll feel terrible tomorrow. Excessive quantities of food are expensive. I’ll gain weight.”

“Then you shouldn’t do it, should you?”

“No.”

“OK, then.”

And that was that. Once you realize how irrational it is to binge eat, it becomes easier to get through the moment.

d) Distract your mind. OK, that list thing didn’t work. But, guess what? I found that if I could just get my mind off of it for about five minutes, the feeling would usually pass. So, what did I do?

Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video is about five minutes. Turn it on. Rock out.

Buy a coloring book so that when the frenzy strikes, you can color. No, really. I bought (or, my mom bought for me, because she is awesome) a coloring book entitled “Danger from the Deep.” It has pictures of Batman, and I found that when I took a crayon to that sonofabitch, I became so focused/lost in thought it was easy to get through those five minutes. Not in an area where you can color/at work/in a store? Bring your music player to the store/work and when you’re in a munchy-mood, take a “bathroom break” with your mp3 player or crank up the music while you’re cruising the aisles; I found if I was playing tunes that conjured up sexy gyrations, etc., I didn’t really want to overeat.

e) Distract your mouth. OK, you are still in a frenzy. Start drinking—tea, water, whatever. Pop a hard candy. You know Lifesavers? They should also be called Dietsavers; I was in the grocery store one day and was 90% sure I was going to binge when I spotted the sugar-free Lifesavers (One of my few exceptions to the “Minimal artificial sweeteners” tip below, so long as I only eat them when I’m in danger of bingeing). I tore that bitch open and popped a few right there, and the taste kept my mouth busy and lessened the binge-edge. And, if you’re worried about the cashier giving you the evil eye for eating a product in the store, trust me—They could care less. And, if they do care, screw them. In fact, right now, stop giving a shit about what everyone else thinks and just start caring about what you need to do to get over binge eating, because whatever that may be is way more important than the opinion of random check-out girl/guy.

f) Always be prepared. Remember those mints I just talked about? Keep some in your kitchen cabinet/purse/desk drawer for when the binge monster rears its ugly head. Always have a bottle of water on you. Keep a protein bar with you, unless you’re like me and can’t wait to eat it when you actually need it. Keep your music with you. Have distracting YouTube videos bookmarked so you can fire up something amusing right away. Be ready.

g) Take a look at your diet. As I mentioned in this post, integrating more healthy fats into my diet made a HUGE difference in my appetite. And, according to science, if you’re constantly craving food/always feel as though you could binge eat, you’re probably missing something important in your diet. It may be fat, it may not be, but regardless it might be a good idea to tally up the protein, iron, fat, fiber, etc. that you get on a normal eating day; you may be surprised to find you’re lacking an element in your diet that could easily be integrated into it.

h) Minimal artificial sweeteners. For a while, I’ve wondered if artificial sweeteners were wrecking havoc on my appetite. So, this time around, I pretty much cut them out altogether. Granted, I still pick up a Diet Snapple every once and awhile (because it is a tasty beverage), but I probably have a product that contains artificial sweeteners at most once a week.

i) Take a multivitamin every day. This is in line with the “take a look at your diet” idea. You may be missing out on some essential nutrients by dieting, so try and a pop a multivitamin so you are at least covering some of your bases.

j) Pretend you’re someone else. OK, this is the most ridiculous of the bunch, but just hang with me for a second. When I wanted to binge, I would sometimes think, “This is not behavior befitting a Naval Officer!” (’cause, you know, the military thing). And, the thing is, binge eating isn’t behavior becoming of anyone. So, the next time you’re thinking about bingeing, think about what future you/your trainer/someone else you think is rad or healthy would do.

k) Think about what you really want to chomp. Whenever I had a ravenous appetite, I would think, “OK, self, you can have one thing—what do you want?” If I couldn’t pinpoint one thing that I reallyyyyy wanted, I knew I was just looking to eat copious amounts of food. If I could name something, though, and I legitimately, seriously craved it, then I chomped it. Chances are, if you give yourself a break every once and a while, you’ll be less likely to binge in the future. BUT, I always made sure I only chomped that one thing, because Naval Officer-me would practice restraint like a dignified lady who eats normally.

l) White knuckle it—you’re forming a good habit. OK, you’re in the store, and you see all the treats you want to buy, but you can avoid a binge by just making ONE GOOD DECISION to not buy the chomps. The same goes when you’re at home and want to plow through cupboards. And, here’s the thing: Every time you make that one good decision, or every time you start to binge but put the breaks on, you’re forming a good habit. Basically, you’re building a “Good Choice Muscle,” as I like to call it. Every time you make a good decision, making good decisions in the future will come more easily to you, and the more good decisions you make and the longer you go without bingeing, the less you’ll want to go back to square one. Is it hard sometimes to make a good decision and outlast the frenzy? Yes, but just grit your teeth and bear it—If not eating is the worst experience you’ll ever have in your life, consider yourself lucky.

m) Integrate some yoga-time into your schedule. Yoga practitioners are more likely to practice mindful eating, too. Neat, no? And, it’s certainly proved true for me.

n) Know thyself, and stop keeping that junk food in your house. My hairdresser is stick thin, and it’s not because she doesn’t love sweets or hates food; in fact, she told me that she can’t keep packs of Hershey bars in her home, because she’ll eat them all. Bottom line: Non-binge eaters have portion control problems, too, but they just don’t keep certain trigger foods in their house.  Is that “value size” pack of candy on sale, and you know this time you won’t eat it all? YES, YES YOU WILL, STOP FOOLING YOURSELF. SERIOUSLY. I know if I buy a bag of Dove chocolate, I’ll eat the whole goddamn thing, so, guess what? I buy a single serving bar, instead. And, 90% of the time you can buy your favorite foods in single-serve portions. And, just because you can’t exercise portion control doesn’t make you a bad person, it just makes you human. Recognize that, learn from it, and put down the gallons of ice cream that are buy one, get one free, because if ice cream is your trigger food, you’re just putting yourself unnecessarily in a lair of temptation.

o) Don’t be afraid of hunger. One of the big things I see when I look at dieting tips is “Don’t let yourself get too hungry!”, which is, in fact, a good idea. But, I also think it has made people afraid of hunger when they don’t need to be. “HOLY GOD,” they think, “WHAT IF I GET HUNGRY AND I CAN’T EAT/DON’T HAVE ENOUGH CALORIES?! AHHH ANXIETY/AHHH FEAR OF FAILURE BINGE BINGE BINGE.” Whoah. Chillax. Think about the worst case scenario: OK, you get hungry. So what? The human body can go quite a while without food before it gives out. If you get hungry, you’re not going to starve to death. Hunger is not an emergency (unless you’ve been hungry for a week and you really are going to starve to death); it is uncomfortable, but you can tolerate a headache/being tired, right? Then you’re going to be OK if you become hungry. And if you’re out of calories for the day and you’re hungry, then have an apple/carrot—those 50 calories are only going to amount to 1/70 of a pound at the end of the day. Not hungry enough for an apple? Then chances are you just have an appetite and need to discract yourself.

p) Stay off the scale for a bit. I used to weigh myself every day. And, guess what? It made me bat-shit anxious. But, SCIENCE IS RIGHT: YOUR WEIGHT FLUCTUATES. Sometimes, on a Wednesday, I’ll be three pounds heavier than I will be on Friday. So, if you’re dieting, weigh yourself once a week, at most; otherwise, if you’re anything like me, the number will just make you crazy-anxious and you’ll try to remedy that anxiety through binge eating.

q) Brush your teeth. OK, this one is also pretty ridiculous. But, you know how you finish a meal sometimes, and you feel even “hungrier” after you’ve eaten than you did before having done so? Brush your teeth—it kind of works along the same lines as the mint-popping deal. Regardless, I can’t tell you how many times it kept me from having my meal turn into an afternoon snackfest.

Phew. Wall of text. I think that’s it, though. If you have any questions/want me to elaborate on anything, don’t hesitate to ask, and I hope this is helpful to someone, somewhere.

Ch-Ch-Changes!

So, one of the many reasons (and, perhaps, actually the worst reason) I wanted to stop bingeing is because I knew it would make losing/maintaining weight—both now and in the future (because, let’s face it, everyone gains a few pounds on occasion, though I would hope I don’t find myself staring down a 10-pound gain again)—much easier. And, it has. For the sake of accountability, here’s my weight from the pass 10 weeks in addition to how many calories I ate on average per day in the week leading up to that particular weigh-in day:

Date: Weight, Average Daily Caloric Intake (Notes, If Applicable)

1/15: 142, Calorie Count Not Available (I ate hell of terrible up to this point. Oops.)

1/22: 139.5, 1700

1/29: 136, 1700

2/05: N/A, 1850 (I started weighing myself ever other week around this time, something I’ll touch on in the anti-binge post. This is also the first week where I introduced the “Anti-Binge,” increased-calorie week [See Below])

2/12: 134.6, 1700

2/19: 137.6, C.C. Not Available (This is the week I slipped up and binged.)

2/26: 132.8, 1640

3/05: 132.2, 1700

3/12: 131.9, 1700 (At this point, I was a little frustrated, so I introduced a “Plateau Week.” [See Below])

3/19: 131.3, 1900 (The Plateau Week worked!)

So, yes. As you can, although my weight loss has slowed down a bit recently, it’s a big improvement over steady, big loss followed by a huge step back. What’s made for better progress?

a) Not bingeing, obviously.

b) “Plateau/Anti-Binge” Weeks. My mom actually came up with this idea when she noticed that, about every three weeks, the diet tended to go out the window. So, rather than just tossing it entirely, she decided to give herself a week—every three weeks—where she got extra calories. Not a ton, mind you (about, on average, 150 extra calories per day), but it was enough to keep her from falling off the wagon. And, it worked for me, too. Eventually, when I went a few weeks without bingeing, I decided I didn’t need the help, anymore, and got rid of the “higher calorie” week in the interest of losing weight more quickly. But, when I hit a plateau, I re-introduced it and ended up losing more that week than I did the week before, when I ate less. Neat! So, now I institute a “Plateau Week” whenever two weeks pass and I lose less than a pound.

c) A higher fat diet. Inspired by Susan‘s “Fatty February,” I made a conscious effort to start including foods with higher amounts of healthy fat. And, it knocked out my appetite. Now, this may not work for you, but getting rid of the “diet foods” in my diet (e.g., “Light” bread, products engineered to be fat free, etc.) and including more fat (and, consequently, more protein, as many sources of healthy fats are also goods sources of the p-stuff) helped me feel more satiated and, thus, less like bingeing. Also, my hair is super silky now. Seriously, it feels like I have a kitten on my head. Want to try a higher fat diet, yourself? Try having hard boiled eggs with miracle whip for lunch instead of a turkey sandwich, or introducing more tuna and nut butters/nuts into your diet. Good stuff, and good for you. HOWEVER, if you’re not counting calories/Points and you decide to switch to a higher fat diet, keep in mind that a lot of food with healthy fats are also higher in calories than their leaner counterparts. So, when you make a PB + J, make sure you aren’t putting as many ounces of P on your bread as you would have of turkey if you were making a turkey sandwich, otherwise you’ll be gaining teh weightz and wondering why.

Other changes:

d) Fewer miles per day. When I stopped writing in January, I was working towards running 10 miles in one set. But, I’ve found I really don’t enjoy long runs (packing snacks for excercise? Water coolers on your back to stay hydrated? No, thanks; too lazy). So, now I do a maximum of seven miles in one session, but my total mileage for the week is the same.

e) More strength training. I used to have my Cardio/Weights/Yoga weeks, but now I lift weights three times a week every week, and I really feel like it’s helped me maintain muscle mass and that, now, I’m losing more fat than muscle. NEAT.

Yep! Of course, the basic structure of my diet is pretty much the same (1,500 calories per day and 1,400 bonus calories per week, unless it’s a Plateau Week, in which case I get between 2,450 and 2,800 bonus calories for the week), and I hope it keeps workin’ for me. Who knows, maybe if I’m lucky, I’ll be in my 120s by this Friday (Eeeeee!)  Last time I started a diet post-holiday season, it took me until September to reach the point I’m at now, so I’m pretty pleased, regardless. But, I’m also going home on Friday and will be celebrating Easter in that time, so hopefully I can keep it together while splurging in moderation. Woot.

ANYWAY … any questions?

Decisions, Decisions

So! I have done some blog-oriented thinking, and here is what you can expect to see in the future:

1) More reviews. I love to judge things. It’s true! I am a horrible person in this way, but it is to your advantage, as it means I am going to try and post more opinion-type deals on this blog. And, not just on food items, but movies, video games, books, etc. Which also means …

2) This is going to be more of a “lifestyle” blog, now. More media/journalism centric, but still “healthy living.” I may also share weight loss advice/details on occasion (though, hopefully it’ll be more “maintenance” advice/details, soon), but I’m not really ever going to do a “this is what I eat in a day!” post, again; there are enough people out there who share pictures of the apples they eat every day, at the moment.*

Also, I’ve kind of come to terms with writing about the details about my diet, seeing as how a) I advocate losing weight in a healthy way, and eat more calories than most people do while losing weight and b) I think it’s helpful to people to know that others struggle with binge eating/dieting. So, maybe I’m making excuses for myself just so I can write about losing/maintaining weight, but whatever. Anyway, I’ll make a “Beating the Binge” post and a post detailing what changes I’ve made to my diet/excercise program in my absence sometime in the near future.

c) Theme days, maybe? In addition to doing reviews, I may do something like “New Things Thursday” where I share some kind of new product/food/Web site that may not necessarily be brand new, but new to me.

d) MAYBE I’LL ALSO WRITE ABOUT SOME STUFF YOU LIKE BUT I’M NOT A PSYCHIC YOU HAVE TO TELL ME WHY CAN’T WE COMMUNICATE WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

*That was kind of harsh, sorry.

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