chocolate.

I love chocolate. I seriously, massively, LOVE chocolate. I want to marry chocolate and have little chocolate babies. I want to elope in the middle of the night with chocolate and move to Chocolatistan and spend my days and nights lounging with chocolate by the side of a chocolate pool on the chocolate terrace while a chocolate cabana boy (or girl, I’m not picky) fans me and feeds me delectable bits of pure chocolate bliss.

That said, it has been over a month since I have eaten the tiniest shred of chocolate. That’s right, a whole goddamn month. I say goddamn because I am in a relatively pissy mood. At least, I was, earlier today. I am a PMS-monster, a raging beast full of wildly fluctuating hormones and very little rationality. RAWR. Get out of my way.

Sean and I were over at Henrik and Johanna’s house tonight for dinner and socializing and toddler-playing-together. I was cranky. Crabby. Crotchety. Henrik asked what was wrong, and I told him I was having very bad PMS RAWR GRR and he said the most intelligent and perceptive thing ever: “Do you want some chocolate?”

I was actually taken aback, because I hadn’t thought of that as an option. I guess the self-brainwashing that I’ve been doing is working. I accepted a small square of some lovely dark 70% and was blown away by the taste and feel of it in my mouth. I still felt cranky, a bit. But I was starting to feel a little bit better. The four of us stood around for a few minutes discussing really wonderful chocolate (and sampled another bar that Henrik had), and then said our goodbyes and headed out.

As Sean and I were driving home, we talked. I realized as we were talking that I did not want to binge. Here I was, right in the middle of some of the worst PMS crank that I’ve had in ages, and I didn’t want to stuff my face. This kind of freaked me out. If I didn’t want to binge, what did I want to do? I don’t know. But it didn’t have anything to do with donuts or Tim Tams.

About halfway home, I felt a kind of quickening in my blood, almost like my heart racing, but not exactly that. My pulse was only slightly elevated. I realized that I was actually experiencing and noticing the physical effects of the theobromine in the chocolate I’d eaten. It was amazing. I hadn’t had any chocolate in so long that I’d completely lost my tolerance for it, and the effect from two small squares of premium dark chocolate was so utterly blatant and noticable.

As I sit here 45 minutes or so later, the physical effects have subsided, but I am having a nice, soft mental and emotional glow. Not unlike the feeling (albeit on a much smaller scale) I remember from taking Ecstacy, actually. Come to think of it, the onrush, the initial physical effects — that could also be compared to the initial physical onset of the Ecstacy high.

I don’t think I’ve ever really experienced chocolate as a psychoactive substance, before. It’s astounding. I feel pretty damn wonderful right now.

The trick at this point is to avoid chocolate until this time next month.

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love.

While reading Jezebel, I discovered that today is Love Your Body Day.  From their site:

Do you love what you see when you look in the mirror?

Hollywood and the fashion, cosmetics and diet industries work hard to make each of us believe that our bodies are unacceptable and need constant improvement. Print ads and television commercials reduce us to body parts — lips, legs, breasts — airbrushed and touched up to meet impossible standards. TV shows tell women and teenage girls that cosmetic surgery is good for self-esteem. Is it any wonder that 80% of U.S. women are dissatisfied with their appearance?

Women and girls spend billions of dollars every year on cosmetics, fashion, magazines and diet aids. These industries can’t use negative images to sell their products without our assistance.

Together, we can fight back.

.

I don’t love my body, but I’m trying damn hard to respect it. This change in eating habits, this change in exercise habits, that’s all a part of it. Eventually, I’ll get to a point where I can look in the mirror naked and say “WOW”, but that’s going to be a long way off.

The interesting thing to me, is that I don’t really want to look like those airbrushed and photoshopped fashion models. I want to continue to look like a real person, albeit a thinner and healthier one. I am not attracted to super-skinny women (girl bellies are even sexier than cleavage, sometimes), and I think that most of the supposedly “beautiful” Hollywood stars are kind of odd-looking, because of all the plastic surgery.

Boy, that sure sounds like sour grapes, doesn’t it? I honestly don’t think that it is; I think that my personal aesthetic is probably a lot more realistic than most of the country’s.

[post = short, as I really wanted to get something up after this brief hiatus. also: I have about 3 other posts I’m working on right now. Having my father visit threw off my rhythm, and I’m finally getting back into the swing of things.]

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memories.

My father and his wife are in town visiting his grandson. This is difficult for me; he and I have always had a somewhat strained relaitonship for various reasons which I don’t really have the energy to get into right now. Suffice it to say that I’m stressed. And when I’m stressed, what I really want to do is curl up with a nice big pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

Can’t do that.

Okay, okay, technically I can do that, but I’m not letting myself do that. Instead, I’m busting into tears on the way home after picking Sean up from work, freaking out in the kitchen, and then hiding out in the bedroom with the laptop while Sean and Critter play in the living room.

I was thinking earlier about high school. About how, once I had my license, I would stop at the store after rehearsals to buy those aforementioned pints of ice creamy goodness. About how I would sneak them up to my room when I got home and eat them furtively. About how, when I didn’t have enough cash on me to do that, I would instead mix up a bowl of confectioner’s-sugar-and-water “frosting”, and sneak that up to my room for the furtive eating.

I think there was a lot of “nobody loves me. I guess I’ll eat, because it tastes good and it’s not like anyone will notice and/or care if I gain fifteen million pounds” in my actions. And the problem is, I was kind of right. I went from a size 16 up to a size 22 during high school. My mom noticed, I’m sure, but she never said anything. I can kind of understand that; she has dealt with her own weight-related demons for her whole life, and she probably thought that if she said anything, it would destroy whatever shreds of self-esteem I had left. I wish she’d said something. I might have gotten off of the path I was on a lot sooner.

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melting.

My friend Clarica came over for a visit on Friday. She gave me a hug, asked how I was doing, and then exclaimed that my back fat was going away.

Of all the areas that could be losing fat, that’s one that you don’t really think about. It’s not like you can see your own back easily, and if you twist to look at it in a mirror, you’re going to make yourself have lumps and rolls anyhow. But sure enough. she was right. I reached back there and poked around, and where I once had rolls and rolls of back fat (sex-AY), I now have padding. It’s still a lot of padding, but it’s not rolls and rolls anymore.

I’m glad she noticed. Sean is pretty damn unobservant (partially because he looks at me and sees “beautiful” rather than “fat” [I love this guy]) and as such doesn’t really notice any changes unless they’re in-your-face obvious, like dying your hair hot pink or getting a full-body tattoo.

Apparently, when Clarica loses weight, she loses it first in her back as well. So I’m not that unusual (well, at least, not in that respect). I wish I were losing some of this ass, though. And belly. And granny flaps (the lovely dangling fat of the upper arms). Heck, I should just be grateful that it’s not my boobs that are melting away.  Right?

Feeling good. I can’t tell if my clothes are fitting more loosely or not; I’ll be able to tell after I do some laundry (nothing like a pair of jeans fresh out of the dryer to make you feel fat and bloated).

I got a flyer in the mail yesterday for a women’s health day, sponsored by Swedish Medical Centers. There’s workshops/seminars/etc, and free screenings and tests. I’m actually thinking about going, because I can get a bone density screening and a body composition screening. When my friend Ivana did a diet study with Fred Hutch, they did those and it sounded pretty interesting to get that information.  I think it would be cool to have that as a baseline, and get the tests again once I’m closer to my goal weight/size.  I already know that my bodyfat is somewhere above 40-something percent, so it’s not like I’m going to have a huge crisis when I see the numbers. Plus, they feed you lunch.

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numbers.

I had my once-a-month 30-minute session with Justin the Personal Trainer today. It went quite well. We focused on upper-body work interspersed with intervals on the bike.

I kicked ASS. He was totally impressed with how much strength I’ve gained in the last 4 weeks. He’d set the machine to the weight he thought I was going to be able to handle, and almost universally, I’d have to bump it up 10-20 pounds. RAWR.

So now I have another workout cheat sheet to use on days when I am not doing Pilates or Yoga. And this one was pretty intense. Yay!

I’ve discovered (again) that I really like strength/resistance training. I like feeling strong, and noticing the differences in my body’s abilities.

I weighed myself today at the end of the workout. 280 (including shoes and sweat). I was 285 a month ago. Considering that I’ve cut my caloric intake massively (fitday.com says I had about 1900 calories yesterday, and on a typical binge day (of which I had probably 3 a week), I was eating something like 5600 calories a day), I’ve probably dumped a ton of fat, and I really feel like I’ve gained a ton of muscle, so that makes a lot of sense, numbers-wise.

Okay, holy shit. Give me a moment while I quietly freak out over here. I was eating over 5000 calories a day. Regularly. I’m surprised I only weighed 285 when I started this. Jeez.

I haven’t yet decided if I’m going to keep using fitday or not. Might be a good place to keep track of my weight goals (bonus! pretty charts!), but I have a feeling that if I start tracking all my foods, I’ll go crazy. Maybe I’ll do that once a month, too, just like the weigh-ins. Could be a nice way to keep track of trends, at least.

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progress.

I have been going to the gym for almost 4 weeks. Tomorrow is my weigh-in and training session.

I really can see progress. I have been going to Pilates twice a week, and today I was able to do a roll-up (with crappy form, but still) without grabbing my leg to give myself a boost. I wasn’t ever able to do that before. My core is getting stronger. Hell, all of me is getting stronger. I like this.

I’m still doing well with the no-sweets thing. I haven’t actually had any sweets at all in over a week, when I had some chocolate mousse the night that Sean and Sonja and I went out to dinner. This is so unlike me that it’s a bit freaky.

I got my hair cut. That always makes me feel better about myself.

Also, my kid is doing so well in child care these days. Separation anxiety is almost non-existant. I plop him down on the floor, sign in, get him tagged, hand his bottle to Molly (the child care lady), and leave. Today, there was a little girl up near the front of the room when I dropped Critter off, and he just couldn’t take his eyes off of her, smiling his fool head off. So utterly cute. Also, the Pilates classroom has windows that look in to the child care room (mirrored on the kids’ side) and today when I peeked in to see how he was doing, he was actually out in the room playing. He was banging on a little xylophone, happy as a clam. Not that clams play the xylophone.

Joining the gym was an awesome thing for both of us, I think.

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depression.

I’ve lived with depression for as long as I can remember. At some points in my life, it has been easier to manage than others. Right now? It’s pretty managed. I’m on a small dose of Zoloft, and it really does make a difference, most of the time. The main place where it fails at all is during every month’s bout of PMDD.

Luckily, my cycle is fairly regular, and I’m self-aware enough these days to notice what’s going on, and to give friends and family warning that I’m going to be cranky/sad/introverted/agoraphobic/tired/more-helpless-than-usual for a week or so. Sean takes good care of me. The system works well.

This month is different, though. Like in the past, I can see the depression hovering around my brain. Unlike in the past, I feel like I am actually right there in the middle of it. I’m not hiding my self off to the side somewhere. I feel great clarity in the middle of what has in the past been a great fog.

I’m certain that this change is due to the fact that I’m not self-medicating my depression this month with sugar.  Normally, I’d have the initial onset of low serotonin, and reach for the peanut butter cups, and eat for a week, and come out of it a week later feeling bloated and fuzzy-headed but emotionally okay. This time, the depression seems deeper, but I feel incredibly calm about it, and I’m actually experiencing it, rather than avoiding it.

Sean’s worried about me. I’ve promised to make an appointment with my doctor and talk about possibly upping my meds (possibly even just for this one week out of the month).

I think this is a change for the better, even though on the surface I have been feeling worse. It’s really strange, the layers of emotions that are going on. Deep down, I feel very good about actually feeling bad.

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