Body for Life, the Universe, and Everything

Being a description of the author's thoughts on the experience of participating in the "Body for Life" Challenge, questions of great philosophical import, and randomly selected topics of no significance whatsoever

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Location: Missouri, United States

In no particular order, I'm a professional lettering artist, a yoga practitioner, a cat lover, a vegetarian, a reader of everything from books to cereal boxes, married to a very attractive guy named Tom (nope, no kids), an exercise enthusiast, and a lot of other things I don't care to admit in a public forum. I have a BS in applied math that I haven't used in over 10 years, and I can put both feet behind my head. What else would you like to know?

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Working the Plan

Since my ice-cream epiphany from the last blog entry, I have been doing much better with my fitness plan. I have only missed one workout in three weeks, I think, and my eating habits are much improved, although as always I am not even close to eating six times a day. I have not had any ice cream since I finished off the supply I had when I wrote that last blog, a day or two later. And it hasn't been too difficult.

My desire for no-no foods waxes and wanes, both over the course of a day and on a longer cycle. For example, I generally don't even want to look at sugar until evening, which I think is partly due to the fact that when I was growing up, I wasn't allowed to eat candy until after dinner (although other sugary stuff was permitted). So if I were to take a day where I just totally ate what I wanted (which rarely happens now, even with the principle of "free day"--after all, nothing in life is truly free!), I would generally not have anything sweet until after dinner. Then I would pig out on sweet stuff all evening. Puts me in mind of when Tom and I were in college: For quite a while, almost every day, after dinner we would go over to the little store in our dorm complex and get as much candy as we could carry--sometimes more, at which point we needed a bag for it--and then take it back to one of our rooms and eat all of it. That was a lot of candy! It is astonishing that we both stayed quite thin during that period; I guess there really is something to the adolescent metabolism thing. If we did that now, we would probably gain 10 pounds each in a week! Which is more or less what was happening to me with the whole ice-cream thing, so I'm glad I wised up.

My craving for sugar always goes away sometime in late evening or the middle of the night, and when that happens, it looks kinda disgusting again. Completely schizophrenic. But I also have days--weeks, even--where the craving never hits, or it's mild enough it doesn't really bother me. I was really glad of those times when I was off sugar completely for about 3 years. A lot of days were a struggle, though. Sometimes I think I should go back to being totally off sugar again, especially when I've been overdosing on it, and then other times I feel that it's under pretty good control.

I am very pleased with myself this week, because I have been doing something I have not been successful with in a very, very long time (most of my life, in fact): I have been voluntarily going to bed and getting up quite early (for me)--I've been going to bed by 10 p.m., and getting up between 6:30 and 7 a.m. I've even been waking up before Tom's alarm goes off at just after 6:00, which is astonishing to me. Just to give you an idea of how dramatic a change this is for me, let me explain that for the last couple of months, I have been in a downward spiral from even my normal night-owl habits (which were bad enough), in that I have been going to bed around 6:30 a.m. (when Tom was getting up) and getting up sometime in mid-to-late afternoon. In other words, I have shifted my schedule by almost half a day. Pretty amazing, I think. It is really nice to be on a schedule comparable with most of the rest of the world, instead of having to worry so much about when things close. It is less nice when I have plans for the evening and I can't keep my eyes open past 8 p.m., like last night when we were trying to get the Christmas decorations up and things started going wrong (most of them having to do with our new kitten, who, among other things, decided that the tree, the ornaments, and especially the lights, needed to be played with and taste-tested; I finally had to shut him in another room so I could string the lights on the tree without fear of having him explode anything again; I leave the details to your imagination). I have had cats all my life, and I know better than to have anything fragile or dangerous on a Christmas tree, especially with a kitten around. However, he was more creative than my precautions took account for. Tempers were flaring, and it was not one of your postcard holiday moments. But I feel better now that I have slept on it (even if the complications pushed my bedtime back by about four hours, and I got up at 6:30 a.m. anyway).

I pick up my brother from the airport this afternoon, and then we are all going to my mother's house tomorrow, and Tom and I will come back the next day, Christmas Eve, for festivities here at home and with his family (we alternate years for which family we spend the actual day with). I am finally starting to feel Christmasy, which I think has to do with having the decorations up. Even if the tree looks like it was set up and decorated by a drunk due to the kitten contributions....

Saturday, December 03, 2005


I wouldn't say that I have been stupid...I think perhaps "stubbornly resistant to acknowledging reality" would be more accurate. You see, my favorite food is peppermint ice cream. Even five years as a total vegan, about three of which I went completely without sugar, didn't eliminate my taste for it. The difficulty is that peppermint ice cream seems to only be made during the holiday season. I don't think you can get it *anywhere* during the other 10-1/2 months of the year. So if something you really like is only available during a limited time, you are inclined to get as much of it as possible during that time, right? Well, that is what I have been doing. And the results are not pretty.

I looked at the nutritional information on the back of a carton of peppermint ice cream yesterday, and ran the numbers in my head. I prefer not to say exactly how much ice cream I have been eating in terms of cups or ounces; however, I just about croaked when I realized that I have been consuming approximately 1000 calories' worth, almost every day, for the last few weeks. That is 7000 calories a week! SEVEN THOUSAND CALORIES!! One pound of fat is 3500 calories; that means that I have been consuming enough ice cream that if everything else were in balance before I started permitting this obsession to take over my brain, I would be gaining two pounds a week. GAAAAH!! No wonder when I saw my silhouette in the mirror by accident the other day I almost didn't recognize it!

Yes, I knew I was eating too much ice cream. Yes, I suspected it was affecting my shape. Yes, I noticed that my shape was going in a direction that did not please me. However, until I actually ran the numbers, I was fooling myself that it didn't really make that much of a difference. Hence my opening comment about being "stubbornly resistant to acknowledging reality."

I am thinking about putting a sign on the freezer that says something like, "Do you REALLY want to gain two pounds a week?" Or maybe a picture of me at my heaviest (now, or a couple of other times--although I have a lot more muscle (from BFL) than I did any other time I was this weight) next to one of me in my best shape...with some appropriate comment.

I don't know whether to be pleased or insulted by how good I am at fooling myself. Me, I'm going with plain ol' disgusted.