Thursday, 23 July 2009

I'm just on a roll

So, I'm sitting on my couch, thinking about getting up and taking a shower, drinking tea with white honey while listening to Joni Mitchell on And, this morning instead of the cereal that I bought new milk to pour over last night, I had one of Kellogg's new Cinnabon snack bars.

Yes, that's right. Its my ass and I'll add cinnamon roll snack bar to it if I want.

I've been thinking lately, and, yes, I'll get back to focusing on the dieting but right now I'm going to go off on another body issues and society rant.

I've been many weights and I will be honest with you, one of the things that off-putting about really committing to going from being a bigger woman to being a smaller woman is this:

Some men do not seem to know how to express their appreciation for the female form without being skeezy, leering, creepy and/or weird.

Now, I illustrate with examples. The last time I got down to smoking hot, I had more than one guy friend that had only ever known me at the higher weight walk up to me, put his arm around me, give me the visual once-over and then say something like, "Well, you're looking really good."

Now, these experiences admittedly probably freaked me out more than they would freak out the average bear because I'm very protective of my personal space. I just don't particularly care for a lot of people in my space. And, by a lot of people, I mean that if we don't have a hugging relationship I don't feel you should ever touch me for any reason and if we do have a hugging relationship, you should probably already have my attention or have me otherwise engaged before initiating physical contact. Also, I don't have many hugging relationships with men. (I can think of three off the top of my head of my head who aren't my father who get a hug *every time* I see them.)

So, here's the thing: I understand that these men just wanted to show their appreciation for something that obviously had required a lot of time and effort. They thought I looked nice and they wanted me to know that they appreciated that fact. But, I didn't come away from those experiences feeling appreciated, I ended up feeling cheap and as if I'd been stripped of my agency. I felt like I'd spent all this time and effort and that the pay off was that men who had known me for years and were (likely)* well aware of my protectiveness of my own space now felt it was appropriate to invite themselves into it. But, it doesn't matter what size I am, if I don't offer you a hug, I don't want you in my space.

I just think there has to be a better way to show your appreciation for how someone looks and the (possibly) obvious effort they put into looking like that.

*I say likely here because, while its unlikely that they were never told that I don't like being touched, it is possible that they never realized I was being serious. And, I say its unlikely because I used to wear a button on my name tag that said, "You are too close." Also, I say, "Oh, no touching." frequently. You know the mice in The Hitchhiker's guide posited that they could just replace Arthur's brain with a machine that repeated stock phrases like, "Cuppa tea?" My machine-brain would say, "Oh, No touching," "True Story," and "Well, that's less than ideal." Seriously. True Story.

Friday, 17 July 2009

I'm going to put one foot in front of the other, too!

So, even though I made all that great progress last month, according to my scale I've gone the other direction so far this month.

Also, I'm super stressed out and I hate the town that I live in and all my friends live somewhere else or aren't around for the summer because they are getting married or study cool things in which they get to play in the dirt. While this isn't exactly true and I'm really just kvetching it is certainly how I feel.

Anyway, it has occurred to me that perhaps I should follow Melissa's lead and start doing one (or more) of the many workout videos I have in my house and I much more regular basis. What could be better than expending some of my murderous, "I hate my life" energy while bouncing up and down on an exercise ball doing a lazy man's jumping jacks? (I mean, what could be better aside from not having murderous, "I hate my life" energy to begin with.) I have come to a decision. I am, starting today!, going to work out three times a week. If I can keep that going for a month, I think I may give myself a treat. Another orchid, perhaps? (Not that I can afford another orchid and another grow light so said orchid won't die during the winter, this is one of the source's for the murderous energy, but you know, I'll cross that bridge when I get to it. For now, Exercise ball ahoy!

Tuesday, 7 July 2009


I have been struck by an afternoon craving.

I was supposed to meet a friend for coffee this afternoon but she was then detained by the maintenance man in her building. The roof started leaking a while back and he came to fix it once already, but it didn't stay fixed. So, they waited for there to be some dry days so they could re-tar the roof and now that has been done her ceiling can be fixed. I am for apartments with complete, whole, and non-leaking ceilings, so I'm okay with the cancellation. Its just that I had it in my head that I was going to get to drink a tall, skinny, white mocha with just an itty, bitty bit of whipped cream and now I'm not. There is really no point in me going for coffee myself when the point, really, was to catch up with a friend I've not seen in a few weeks. Especially since there is nothing wrong with my coffee pot and I am not lacking in the skills necessary to make a good cup of joe.

Here's the thing, I promised myself this treat and now I'm not getting it. And, I feel denied. So, the part of my brain that likes treats and will not be denied is casting about looking for other options. And, it has presented me with an option that is appealing because it gives the illusion of doing something that is only moderately bad for me. I could walk to the doughnut shop that is kinda near my house and get that blueberry doughnut that they have been advertising a lot of late. It would be a nice walk. I would get out of the house. I would...being eating a doughnut that I don't need. (Also, it may rain. I'm not really in the mood for being rained on since its only 65 degrees Fahrenheit out.)

I don't know if I'm going to win this round with myself or not. I'm thinking that I might make myself a smoothie with the flavored decaf, ice and skim milk in my fridge. I am also pretty sure that I have some 100 calorie snack packs in my house. I'm hoping that will do the trick.

Sunday, 5 July 2009

Off Hand Remarks

You know when I said this was probably going to turn into a place where I come to rant about body issues and society? Well, folks, today is that.

I recently exchanged comments with someone (whom I respect and admire. It would not go too far to say that I may have a little fangirl crush on this person and that I hope to one day be where this person is) on a social networking site about a woman on who owned H.P. Lovecraft on Mastermind. Someone quoted this guy, further joking ensued. A great time was had by all.

Except for about an hour afterward, I felt uncomfortable and a little odd. Then, I figured out what was bothering me. Here was a woman that I identified with. I watched that video and I thought, "She's my people." And, when I contributed to the exchange, I used gender neutral words. I thought I was setting an explicit boundary that said, "This is a person and this is how I want to see her." The invocation of her sexuality (and, I do not know her and so could not say. It is perhaps true that Lovecraft really, really turns her on) was shocking to me. She was not doing anything that was an explicit performance of sexuality. Everyone views things differently; I don't have a problem with people seeing things that turn them on. I don't even have a problem with people expressing that. My problem is that it seems like feminine sexuality invites commentary. I have an intellectual relationship with the person on the other half of the exchange. We don't hang out. We don't exchange birthday greetings. I don't know if this person has siblings or if they have pets. Its just not part of our relationship. So, I didn't expect to be joking about how smart women are hotter in bikinis. And, as a smart woman who never wears a bikini, I was a little freaked out.

Now, I'm pretty sure that part of this has to do with losing weight. I'm back on the path to hotness and as I know from previous attempts this always brings up questions for me about identity, what is attractive, and where I fit in the world, and how to best perform my sexual identity so that I'm the one that is getting something from it. These are complicated issues because I grew in an era where Kate Moss reigned supreme and every model from Seventeen to Cosmo (the real Cosmo, I'm too old to have read Cosmo Girl) looked like she was about one accident with a needle away from being a drug statistic. My notion of myself and my notion of what is attractive do not often have large overlaps. And, when they do, I've found myself the recipient of much unwanted attention. So, how do we deal with these things? How do we deal with being smart and sexy? How do you successfully express ownership of a sexual identity that has been objectified and work it to your advantage? I'm at a loss about this.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

Putting One Foot in Front of the Other

I am genetically programmed to be a sloth, sitting around with my feet up reading a book, knitting, drinking tea, and/or feeding my face. If I want to live to see grandchildren (assuming I have children in the first place) I have to be active, end of story. I'm my father's child and, on the paternal side of the family, we're all short, barrel-chested, and prone to cardiovascular/cerebrovascular disease (my paternal grandfather stroked out at the age of 59; my father is turning 62 this year and is pretty proud of himself).

As noted by my personal blog URL, I'm a dancer and started when I was very little. That whole "short and stocky" thing makes a professional ballet career an impossibility, combined with a wonky back, a phooey knee, and a tendency to grind off the soft tissue between the bones of my left foot, but I can hold my own in a professional level class. Even now when I'm the oldest by ten years of the students on a given day. I'm naturally flexible and have a decent core but I'm also a lazy bones who has a little trouble bothering to go to the gym for additional exercise beyond ballet class.

Hence the flab that won't ever give up the ghost.

I sucked it up today (literally) and tried out a new Pilates DVD - Pilates Body Sculpting Workout with Ana Caban - that came with a little ball that you squeeze to activate certain muscles.


I can generally do pretty well with a 20 minute mat class - I haven't had a formal class in years because no one has classes when I'm not at work - but this one had me dying after about 10 minutes. This is definitely a challenge. I also got a another DVD - Mari Windsor Pilates for Pink - so I might let Mari kick my gut tomorrow. I picked up some new therabands and a lightweight travel yoga mat so I can work on some knee exercises and foot exercises when I'm on-the-go.

Have I yet to mention that I have been slacking on my prescribed physical therapy exercises? I have and that does me no good either.

It's all about being consistent and consistency is a problem for me. I'm used to just going 110% percent everyday and that just doesn't work anymore because my body doesn't recover as quickly as it used to (combined with my current out-of-shape status).

Goal: Tomorrow do a bit of Pilates with Mari and then hit the gym for at least 30 minutes on the elliptical. Repeat Monday.

Off to have a soak in the bath.

Also improvements: I have been drinking more water of late (particularly at night when my fridge-forages urges become more apparent - currently foiled by there being no food in the fridge) and I also bought a new *aluminum* water bottle to have PBA-free water. Just watch - in a few years we'll have a report about how we're all ingesting aluminum with our water bottles.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Uh Oh. Really?

So, I'm sitting here, chilling out, drinking a beer (not on the South Beach diet, but always on my diet) and catching up on my reading list. I just finished a piece of salmon with an improvised citrus chili glaze (one spoonful of chili sauce from a jar in which nothing is written in English but the words "chili sauce" and a couple spoonfuls of homemade orange-cider marmalade) served over a bed of some of that great lettuce I got from my CSA share and I'm feeling pretty good about things.

That is, until I read what Vegan Dad has posted about meat. The National Cancer Institute has recently published a study that concludes the risk of heart disease and cancer goes up by 30 percent if you eat 125 grams of red and/or processed meat a day. Horrifying. Apparently, cutting that down to eating meat once a week can eliminate most of the risk. Vegan Dad suggests you just cut it out entirely, and I completely see his point.

Except, I really, really really like red meat. Really. Few things in this world are as tasty to me as a Kansas City strip steak grilled just right (read: rare) next to a whole mess of veg with a good beer or a great, light and slightly fruity syrah or merlot. Given that I'm a student, I don't eat that with any frequency. You know what I do eat with much frequency? Processed Turkey slices. During the school year, it is not uncommon for me to toss a couple slices of turkey lunch meat on a salad and to head out to class. Oh, and bacon. One can not forget my love of bacon.

Last Fall, when I first moved into my new place sans Ex-fiancee, I briefly experimented with weekday vegetarianism on the suggestion of a book I was reading at the time, Clean Up Your Diet. Since I was trying to stem the flat-tire tide and I was also trying to save money, it made sense that, for most of the week, I should try to plan meals without meat since it tends to be a big ticket item (at least good meat does.) I got back into meat eating because I adopted some stray kittens and I was trying to acclimatize them to people (at least that's what I told myself.) I have a vegetarian crock pot cookbook that has some pretty amazing sounding things in it that I haven't tried (including a recipe on how to make your Seitan.) The problem with that is that I have to keep up on what I'm freezing and what I'm thawing. Its great to make recipes that serve a family when you live alone, as long as you remember what you've frozen for later consumption. And, of course, as a part-time vegetarian that enormous bag of frozen chicken breasts will last me forever! I'm going to have to conisder this further because I'm trying to commit to things I can turn into good habits and I don't want to burden myself with a bunch of changes that won't stick and that will just interfere with each other.