Category Archives for "Health"

Weekend regurgitation: Battle scars

I was looking at this photo of me the other day and something was bothering me about it. Then I looked at a bunch of photos of me and I just couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong with all of them, other than the fact that I simply despise photos of me with as much hatred as I usually reserve for ultra low-rise jeans. But still, something else was off on every single one of these pictures. And then I saw this one and it finally dawned on me:

My right eye is a bit … droopy. Just a touch saggy. Two adjectives that I normally reserve for anatomy due south of my face. But there it is staring at me in every photo, in all of its squinty, slightly lopsided glory.

I think it’s only fitting that I leave you with the post I wrote last year about my episode of Bell’s Palsy because apparently, even though I contracted it years ago, I am destined to have a visible reminder of it every day for the rest of my life. You could almost say Bell’s is like pregnancy except my eye doesn’t grow three inches taller in a year nor does it constantly fight with her sibling over whose turn it is to take Oliver out to poop.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

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I think my face should get a purple heart

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Nearly four years ago, I awoke on a Monday morning to discover that the entire right side of my face was frozen. Nothing moved, from my hairline to my right eyebrow to the right half of my nose to the right side of my mouth to half my chin.

It was a little disconcerting, although it did bring back fond memories of hangovers in my college days.

At first, I thought that maybe I had had a stroke but I quickly discarded that theory because (1) I was in total denial; and (2) I was in total denial. However, I did indulge in a little paranoia by running around the house in search of some aspirin to shove down my throat just in case because I vaguely recalled a TV commercial where some woman with really bad hair sat on a yellow couch and talked about how one day she was just sitting there and the next thing she knew, she was having a heart attack or a stroke or cancer or whatever and she quickly jammed aspirin into her mouth and saved her own life.

I remember thinking wow, good to know and by the way, what the hell happened to your hair?

So I went in search of aspirin but all I could find was Children’s Tylenol and an old bottle of Vicodin from my c-section five years prior. I downed a couple of Tylenol just to feel like I was accomplishing something but I stayed far away from the Vicodin because I clearly remembered how I took one pill all those years ago and within ten minutes, felt as though my uterus would explode through my incision and go flying into the toilet along with the two gallons of vomit that spewed out of my mouth. No way was I going to take the chance of hurling up my innards again because how was I supposed to heave up a lung with half my mouth frozen nearly shut? What if it got stuck? What then? As if I didn’t have enough to worry about without having to explain to an ER nurse why I had a bloody organ stuck to my teeth.

Then I thought that maybe my muscles were just tense and that massive amounts of heat would relax them so I took a scalding hot shower but all that got me was first degree burns on my fanny, leaving me with three numb cheeks instead of just one.

Then I called my doctor since, coincidentally, I was scheduled to have an MRI that very morning to rule out a diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis because for several weeks prior, I had been experiencing weird symptoms such as slurring my words or forgetting them entirely and trouble focusing both my eyes and my thoughts and to those of you muttering under your breath And this is strange behavior for you … how? I respond with a resounding SHUT UP, NATE. AND MOM.

Because fine … truth be told, it wasn’t that strange for me to completely forget myself in mid-sentence or address my kids as YOU, THERE, WITH THE GLASSES – NO, THE SHORTER ONE or put an entire pork tenderloin in the dishwasher. Were it not for the occasional balance issues that hampered me, I might not have been worried at all. But they did hamper me, especially when they caused me to stumble into Wegmans as if I had just celebrated my last semester in college with ten shots of Alabama slammers during Ladies Night at The Inn Between.

Not that I have any idea what that actually feels like.

My doctor told me to hightail it into his office before the MRI to see what was up. And so I grabbed five year old Helena and threw her in the car and raced to his office. The entire drive, she kept staring at me and then finally asked why I kept winking at her and I was all I’m not winking, sweetie, my eye won’t blink and she was all But why? Why won’t your eye blink? And I was all Because my face is frozen and she was quiet for a moment and then worriedly asked Were you making faces at Daddy? and I was all SEE WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU MAKE ANGRY FACES AT MOMMY OR DADDY? IT FREEZES THAT WAY.

Because what kind of parent would I be if I didn’t take every opportunity to turn a bad situation into a learning experience?

My doctor ushered us right in and have I mentioned lately how much I love that man? If his wife would just ease up a little, I’d adopt him in a heartbeat. So what if he’s older than me? I think it’s legal in 47 states. Maybe 48, if you count West Virginia, but then again, I’m pretty sure everything is legal in West Virginia as long as you don’t get caught.

To make a long story short … well then, I’d have to rewrite this entire post. Who’s got time for that?

So, I’ll just hurry up and tell you that my doctor diagnosed me with Bell’s Palsy. And while I did wind up going through a battery of tests for MS, they all turned out negative and my doctor theorized that my symptoms may have simply been a precursor to the Bell’s.

My doctor couldn’t say for certain what caused the Bell’s but he theorized that cold sores were a contributing factor, those morbidly obese, soul sucking leeches that periodically use my lips as port-a-potties, unleashing a literal shitstorm of bloody canker sores, weeping blisters and monstrous scabs for weeks at a time.

Four days into the Bell’s, I sat in my doctor’s office and cried and he let me, without even glancing at his watch.

See why I want to adopt him?

The right side of my face drooped and felt like a heavy, lopsided bowling ball. My left side overcompensated so, when I smiled, I looked as if I were constipated and won the lottery simultaneously. I spent every waking hour physically holding my eyelid shut with my finger because a patch was not an option and the alternative of having my eyelid stitched shut by my opthamologist to ward off dryness and infection made me throw up a little in my mouth. Every night was spent smooshing my face into my pillow to keep my eyelid closed. The entire right side of my mouth was unusable so eating was a tedious chore and drinking was even worse – I could not use a straw and a glass of water was simply a bath waiting to happen. I drooled incessantly 24/7. And the pain in my ear was as if someone had taken a butcher knife, doused it in gasoline, lit it on fire and proceeded to stab me in the head for weeks at a time.

But the worst part of it all was the not knowing. Would it ever go away? When? There were no guarantees with Bell’s. Most people fully recover. But at one point in my life, I drove a 1975 rust colored Datsun with actual racing stripes running up the side. The entire floor fell out onto I490. While I was driving it.

I wasn’t most people.

I occasionally tried to shirk my responsibilities and obligations and more than once I yelled NO, I DID NOT WASH YOUR JEANS. I WAS BUSY HOLDING MY FACE ONTO MY SKULL SO IT WOULDN’T SLIDE OFF. But, life goes on. Between playdates and concerts and curriculum nights and open houses and grocery shopping and volunteering and Halloween (could I have asked for a better costume? I think not) there was little time to feel sorry for myself.

The worst of the Bell’s lasted about four weeks at which point, to my relief, I felt a twitch in the corner of my right eye one night. A week later, I was approximately 80% recovered. It took another six months before I would pronounce myself back to normal, although my right ear remained incredibly sensitive for more than a year, which may explain the compulsion to administer multiple whistle enemas to one particularly obnoxious official at Zoe’s swim meets.

Today, unless I told you, you’d never know that I had Bell’s Palsy, unless you happen to catch me in mid-yawn, at which point the right side of my face tends to sag a little. This is totally due to the Bell’s and not to some unfortunate combination of middle age and gravity.

I learned quite a few things from the Bell’s, such as:

  • To be grateful for a temporary bump in the road instead of a more permanent one
  • That objectively, you know perfectly well that there are far worse things in the world than having your face temporarily frozen into some grotesque grimace. However, that should not preclude you from wailing WHY ME upon occasion. Being introduced to your ex-husband’s drop dead gorgeous girlfriend while holding your eyelid shut and spitting saliva on her by simply saying hello, qualifies as such an occasion. Wail away, sister. Amen.
  • That every cloud has a silver lining and my patent for a bra to help support lopsided bowling ball faces everywhere is currently pending! I’m waiting for QVC to return my call.
  • That what at first seems horrific soon becomes ordinary, especially in the eyes of children. Those would be all the children who did not piss me off by losing all muscle control and collapsing like wet noodles onto the floor of Target while screaming at the top of their lungs because their mothers wouldn’t buy them something shiny like a new vacuum cleaner, thereby compelling me to lean over them, point to my face and whisper I PITCHED A HISSY WHEN MY HUSBAND BOUGHT ME A HOOVER FOR OUR ANNIVERSARY AND LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO ME. THINK ABOUT IT.
  • That when a doctor lets you rest your deformed face on his shoulder and cry and then gives you a hug and tells you that “we” are going to get through this together? He’s totally worth a $40 co-pay and quite possibly an illegitimate child.
  • That my husband will always love and desire me, even if I look like death on a cracker, proving once again that when it comes to sex, women need a reason, men need a place.
  • That I am resilient and when all is said and done,  life is what you make of it. Sometimes it’s rainbows and unicorns, sometimes it’s a bloated, flatulent walrus. You might as well deal with it and put on happy face, even if it is a bit crooked.

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Exercise a/k/a How I lost weight on Weight Watchers without losing my mind, Part 3 of 2. Because I can’t count.

I have recovered sufficiently enough from these horrendous shin splints that I can actually type the word “exercise” now without feeling the need to rip someone’s face off with a rusty weed whacker.

I must admit, I was just a little bit proud that I suffered shin splints in the first place because I kind of, maybe, possibly, felt almost like an semi-athlete! A stupid one, yes, but one nonetheless. So I wore those shin splints like a badge of honor as I waddled around my house with bags of frozen veggies duct taped to my calves. God forbid I come down with a pulled groin or case of jock itch or something – I just might try out for the Olympics!

So … exercise. Turns out, it is very difficult to continue to lose weight after a certain point without it and believe you me, this is a concept that I tried very hard to ignore, even if it meant burying my head so deep into the sand that I farted castles for months.

As a visual aid to show how much exercise can contribute to weight loss …

… this is what I started with.

And this is what I ended up with.

And these are the tears I shed during the process.

Exercise, specifically running, did not and still does not come easy to me. I am not a natural athlete. I have short, stubby legs, big boobs, wobbly knees and all the endurance and stamina of an asthmatic slug. I wear glasses that think sweat is a fun excuse to use my nose as a waterslide, leaving me disoriented and legally blind and yelling WHERE THE HELL DID EVERYBODY GO? I also have multiple herniated discs, including a monster sized one at L4-L5 with, according to my most recent MRI, “significant mass effect on the thecal sac.”

Did you know we all have thecal sacs and they have everything to do with our spines and nothing to do with our genitalia? I had to google it because I thought it sounded a lot like something related to my bahoodle doodle and I was kind of excited there for a moment, thinking that I had been totally justified the night before when Nate got frisky and I hollered OH MY GOD, ARE YOU INSANE? MY THECAL SAC HAS BEEN COMPROMISED – DID YOU NOT GET THE MEMO? DO YOU REALLY WANT ME TO NEVER BE ABLE TO PEE OUT MY BAHOODLE DOODLE AGAIN?

Athleticism was a trait bestowed upon my twin brother who excelled in soccer and track and all things physical. I, on the other hand, was gifted with DNA that allowed me to excel in all things Pythagorean Theorem. The closest I ever got to a sports related activity was hanging from the lowest knot on the rope in gym class and twisting in circles while reciting all the lyrics to Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell to anyone who would listen, which was no one.

I say all this because if I can run, anyone can run. Anyone. Just make sure your doctor gives you the OK before you start any exercise regimen. Mine sent me an engraved invitation to my closet where my sneakers were collecting dust and social security.

HOW I STARTED

I hopped on the treadmill in our dungeon basement when I first started Weight Watchers. I was forty pounds overweight and on a 5’2″ frame, that is a lot of extra anatomy to be carrying around. I wanted to start slowly by walking so as to lessen any chance of a knee injury or immediate cardiac arrest. I started out walking at about 2.5 miles per hour at a 3° incline. I walked about 1-2 miles each time. In nice weather, I’d walk outside, usually to my daughter’s school and back. Walking in public didn’t bother me because at that pace, nothing shook, jiggled or fell off my body when I least expected it.

Gradually, I increased my speed and incline until I got to the point I was approximating a brisk walk, so anywhere from 3.5 to 4.0 mph. This may not seem very fast to you but when you’re built like an oompah loompah except shorter, it’s pretty much a run. And when you’re doing it at a 6.5° incline, it’s like running up a hill to the freaking sun. I did this 4-5 times a week over the winter months. And then spring came.

HOW I CONTINUED

Wtih the nicer weather, I wanted to try running outside but I was nervous because, even though I had lost about twenty-five pounds at that point, I was still holding onto a lot of chub. I did not look good in shorts. I still had rolls. Things moved and swayed when I ran and I’m not just talking about my hair. Or vision. Various parts of my anatomy between my neck and my knees went up and down and all around. I was embarrassed and thought I can’t run outside! What if people see me?

Well, guess what, fellow chubsters? People are going to see you. Even if you go at dusk like I did and just so you know, headlights can make your ass look twice as big. But so what. Because really, what are they seeing? An overweight, unhealthy person trying to change her life. It’s not like you’re jogging while shoving fettuccine alfredo down your throat and swigging beer, right? Because if you are, can I have some? I think you’re missing the point. Chances are, you’re panting, sweaty and appear as if on the brink of a stroke. So what are people seeing, if they even bother to glance up from their texting and look in your direction in the first place? I’ll tell you. They’re seeing effort. And determination. And tenacity. So get over yourself and get out there. Oh, and pick up my soapbox and toss it in my trunk on your way, would you please?

I started by jogging outside a mile and it just about killed me. I did this several times a week for several weeks and it just about killed me each and every time. In a good way.

HOW I’M DOING NOW

Over the course of the next couple of months up through today, I worked my way up to running two miles at a time. But like I said, this doesn’t come naturally to me so even after doing this for months on end, a two mile run wipes me out and it’s not like I’m breaking any records or anything. The best I’ve done is a 10:08 mile and usually, it’s more like 10:25 and still, it’s all I can do to simultaneously blink and breathe immediately afterward. But my recuperation period is slowly shrinking and now, I can actually speak to my husband and kids within five minutes of getting home without spewing forth every curse word known to man and a few I make up on the spot. It’s amazing what lactic acid will do for your vocabulary!

HOW I’M DOING IT

I absolutely have to have my iPod. I cannot run if I’m not listening to music because at the very least, it drowns out the sound of my own whimpering. I don’t download any special podcasts for running – I simply have it shuffle a bunch of songs I like. I carry it in my hand as I’m constantly skipping over songs because I have the attention span of a ADHD chipmunk.

I learned (read: shin splints) to adequately stretch before and after running. This means more than simply rolling my ankles around for five seconds and doing three knee bends before running out the door. If you get only one thing out of this blog post: PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE stretch before you run. Unless you like it when your shins stab you to death.

I also have to wait at least two hours after I eat before I run or else I cramp up so badly that I swear my ribs are ovulating.

Based on my google research and helpful advice received on a chat board I belong to and the very real fact that I’d sooner chew broken glass immersed in hydraulic fluid than suffer shin splints again, I went to Fleet Feet and had them analyze my running stride and fit me for good running shoes, specifically Saucony ProGrid Guide 3 with SuperFeet Premium Insoles. So far, I think my feet and legs like them. I’d ask them but right now, they’re too busy orgasming.

I also invested in an Enell jogging bra which is what you get when you shove Fort Knox and a Victorian corset into a cuisinart and blend the hell out of them. I was busty before I lost weight and one of the things I was looking most forward to when I reached goal weight was having smaller boobs and being able to grow my feet in partial sun instead of full shade. But apparently, God has a sick sense of humor and save for a few inches around the back, my chest measurements have remained the same which is just awesome in its total suckitude. So, $65 for one bra it is and for that price, I’m being buried in it. In the twenty minutes it takes me to fasten this baby up, I try to forget about the cost and concentrate on the fact that as far as I can tell, nothing moves in this bra that isn’t supposed to and then I try to remind myself that $65 is a small price to pay to avoid getting knocked out by a mammary gland a mile away from my house.

That’s about it! I hope some of what I wrote helps any of you who are on the fence about exercising. It really is worth the effort and no, I can’t believe I actually wrote that and yes, I did have to look out the window to see if any pigs were flying by as I did so. I’ll know in the next couple of weeks whether the above investments have paid off. If they haven’t, I’ll clue you guys in. In which case, I hope God wears a 36DDD.

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My legs are in a coma and I’m wearing vegetables while looking at full frontal nudity

I was all set to blog the third and final installment of my Weight Watchers journey where I was going to discuss the benefits of exercise with as little profanity as possible but shit on a stick, guess the hell what, everyone?

I’ve got shin splints. As in, razor sharp, jagged splinters soaked in sulfuric acid. IN MY FREAKING SHINS.

I can’t, in good conscience, talk positively about the benefits of exercise while sitting here with bags of frozen peas on my shins because (1)  there are no benefits of exercise when you are a moron who doesn’t stretch beforehand and afterward, unless you call having your shins morph into butcher knives and commit suicide by repeatedly stabbing themselves a benefit; (2)  it’s surprisingly hard to type while balancing frozen veggies on my legs; and (3) you probably couldn’t hear me anyway over the shrieks of pain flying out of my mouth.

So I’ll save my exercise post for later, when I don’t feel so homicidal. In the meantime, I’d like to share with you a view I frequently get to enjoy from my office chair.

If you follow me on Twitter, you might have already seen one of these photos, and if you don’t, SEE WHAT YOU’RE MISSING?

This is how Oliver sleeps 99% of the time. Kind of like Nate, except furrier. And Nate doesn’t have a modesty patch. Oliver has one here because I didn’t want to accidentally offend your sensibilities. Why do that when it’s so much more fun to do that kind of stuff on purpose?

I’m considering permanently affixing a modesty patch to Oliver’s business so that we can distinguish him from the carpet and lessen the very real potential of sucking him up in our Dyson. Can you imagine? I mean, do you have any idea how much that Dyson cost us?

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How I lost weight on Weight Watchers without losing my mind – Part 2 of 2

Recently, I posted about my general thoughts on the Weight Watchers program and I wanted to follow that up with my take on exercise and food and if you get nothing else from this post, I hope you’ll walk away knowing at least this much:

  1. Exercise is still a four letter word in my vocabulary, except that I spell it with eight letters because if I spelled it like “XRSZ” the way I wanted to, I’d get emails from people complaining What do you have against vowels? You’re not making sense! I can’t understand you! Enunciate! And then I’d have to be all MOM! WHEN DID YOU GET EMAIL?
  2. I did not have to resort to eating my own young. It was touch and go there for awhile but luckily, my kids are super fast on their feet, with an uncanny talent for hide and seek.

And as I’ve said before, I am not paid or compensated in any way for any product I mention. So if I say something tastes like candy-coated unicorns dipped in multiple rainbow colored orgasms? It’s because I think it does and there are no guys in business suits in the background, high fiving and fist bumping each other. Same goes if I mention that something tastes like scrotum tampanade, although I don’t expect anyone would be high-fiving or fist bumping each other in that case. Although if they were, wouldn’t that be kind of funny? And not in a good way?

  • Disclaimer #1: I’m not going to be getting into any recipes here because you can simply google Weight Watchers recipes to your heart’s content. In fact, google them until the cows come home and then cook them your favorites! Or, cook the cows instead, if that’s your thing. In this post, I’m just going to mention a few of the things that I eat that get me through this program without feeling as if I have to stab somebody.
  • Disclaimer #2: I flat out refuse to consume anything that is fat free, except milk. This includes, above anything else, cheese. Even if it’s delivered by Anderson Cooper wearing nothing but a towel and dirty propositions, I will not eat fat free cheese. Life is just too short and I’d rather die fat with a chunk of Gorgonzola shoved in my mouth then live skinny trying to gag down crap so processed that no self-respecting cow/sheep/goat will admit to providing the raw material. Real cheese has fat, people. If it doesn’t, then it has no business calling itself cheese. The best I can manage is reduced-fat and even then, I do so grudgingly and flip it the bird before I eat it. However, Anderson? Feel free to forgo the cheese and just bring the towel and propositions. We’ll make do.

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THINGS I ATE ON WEIGHT WATCHERS

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Water, water, water, water, water, water, water, water, water, water and water. And just when you think you can’t possibly drink any more of the stuff … WATER. Seriously, water is your best friend on Weight Watchers. It has zero points, it hydrates you, cleanses your system, fills you up and makes your skin look awesome. At this point, I suppose I could insert any number of jokes about how, with a little more effort, colonics and semen could do the exact same things for you but then you might think less of me than you already do.

As if that’s possible!

Right?

Hello?

Irene’s All Natural Biscotti. Does it taste like real biscotti? Not on your life. Does it taste good? Meh. It’s OK. I buy the chocolate flavor because eating the orange cranberry ones tastes like I’m licking the bottom of my toaster. While I’m not in love with these things as a stand alone product, I can’t say enough about them when they’re used as a vessel for peanut butter. Then, they’re fantastic because at only 20 calories/zero fat per cookie, they’re a crunchy, zero point alternative to a spoon. I buy them more for their texture than anything else because my jaws feel like they’re getting a little workout when I’m eating them. I don’t count the act of eating them as exercise points, though. I tried, but my Weight Watchers leader looked at me kind of weird.

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I may be 43 years old but I’m a child at heart and nothing beats a peanut butter sandwich so I had to find a reasonable alternative to regular, fat-infused peanut butter because a life without peanut butter is a lonely, desolate, soul-sucking thing that I want nothing to do with. Enter Reduced Fat Jif. I’ve tried every other kind of reduced fat peanut butter out there and this one was the only one that actually tasted good and didn’t make my tongue want to slap me. I’ve heard rumors of something called PB2 or some kind of powdered peanut butter but I just can’t go there. It’s bad enough that I’ve gone the reduced fat route with the nectar of the gods … anything more and I fear that my entire digestive system would punch me in the throat.

Arnold Sandwich Things and Thomas Bagel Thins. At one point each, I simply cannot say enough about these two products.  I need bread just as much as I need oxygen but I don’t need the points that traditional bread represents. I make a sandwich with either one of these, using 2 or 3 ounces of deli turkey, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, a slice of 2% pepper jack cheese and some dijon mustard. The sandwich winds up being huge yet only 3 or 4 points, depending on how much turkey I used. When you’re allotted only eighteen points a day on the program, you need to pack as much healthy crap into as few points as possible and these two products help me do that with little effort. I’m all about little effort! Especially when it comes to crap!

Skinny Cow truffle bars taste like candy-coated unicorns dipped in multiple rainbow colored orgasms, I shit you not. If anything kept me on this program, it was Skinny Cow. I eat one every night and they are a vital, crucial, integral part of my daily 18 point allowance. They are, without doubt, one of the best tasting things I have ever put in my mouth.

No offense, Nate.

These toffee crunch bars from Weight Watchers come in a close second to Skinny Cow. However, I only buy them when Wegmans runs out of Skinny Cow and only after I pitch a hissy fit in the frozen food section, hollering WHERE THE HELL IS THE GODDAMN SKINNY COW? HAS THE WORLD GONE MAD? WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU STARING AT?

I’m not sure how to say this without sounding like a commercial so forgive me … Ronzoni pasta tastes good and it’s good for you. One cup of regular pasta is four points but one cup of Ronzoni pasta is only three and at eighteen points a day, every single point is precious. Now I admit, I will shove as much Ronzoni pasta into that one cup as I possibly can, even if it means I have to jump up and down on it for a few seconds when no one is looking. However, I don’t recommend doing this too often because it wreaks havoc on your measuring cups. And by havoc, I mean it smashes them to smithereens.

Nosh, snack, graze, munch, nibble, forage … whatever. I must have an unlimited supply of snacks immediately on hand or I am grumpy with a capital GIVE ME THAT COOKIE OR I WILL CUT YOU, BITCH.  These are a few of the snacks that I typically scarf down so as not to act out my frustrations by castrating the first human being who crosses my starving path.

  1. The Kellogg’s Fiber Plus dark chocolate almond bars taste freakishly good but I warn you, unless your digestive tract can process eighteen grams of fiber at once, do not eat more than one at a time. Unless, of course, you have a grudge against every human being within a twenty mile radius of you. And you hate all living creatures.
  2. I found the Blue Ginger Brown Rice Chips at BJ’s Wholesale Club and I admit that my first thought was BLECH, *GAG* THROW UP EVERYWHERE. But I bought them anyway because I was running out of things to complain about to Nate. I was surprised to discover how good they tasted and the fact that I could have thirty-three chips for only 2 points! On the downside, dinner conversation that night was pretty boring.
  3. The Laughing Cow light cheese is, simply put, damn good. I’m constantly surprised at how much cheese is actually in one of those wedges. Nate is getting sick and tired of me yelling LOOKIT! LOOKIT! LOOKIT HOW MUCH CHEESE IS IN THIS THING! and having no response at all other than “That’s what she said” which is either totally inappropriate, utterly gross or doesn’t make any sense at all. I’m going with all three.
  4. The Jolly Time kettle corn popcorn doesn’t taste anything at all like the good stuff. Shocking, I know! The best I can say about this stuff is that it’s healthy, you can eat a ton of it for very few points and it’s not too terribly God awful. If, however, my taste buds were ever again to come into contact with the real stuff, there’s no telling what they’d do. IT WOULD BE ANARCHY.

That’s about it! Seeing as how this post has become the blog equivalent of War and Peace, I’ll save my bit about exercise for another post and I’ll try not to reference scrotums, colonics or the naked happy with Mr. Cooper when I do because I don’t need any emails that say HEY, DO YOU KISS YOUR MOTHER WITH THAT MOUTH? NOT ANYMORE YOU DON’T. LOVE, MOM.

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How I lost weight on Weight Watchers without losing my mind – Part 1 of 2

Earlier this week I posted that I recently lost forty pounds and went from a size 16 to a size 6/8. My plans for installing one of those airport people movers in between our family room couch and our refrigerator have now been put on permanent hiatus. That enormous sob of relief you hear is Nate who, apparently, was lying when he said Sure honey, I’ll gut and remodel the family room for easy access to your triple brownie fudge ice cream! BECAUSE I PROMISED TO LOVE YOU IN SICKNESS AND IN HEALTH AND IN IMMENSE GIRTH.

I thought I’d share with you some of the things that worked for me during the ten months it took for me to get to the point where I could bend over and see my toes without asphyxiating myself. Today, I’ll talk about the program I used and in Part 2, I’ll talk about the food I ate and the exercise I learned not to despise. However, I feel the need to preface what I’m about to say with a few disclaimers:

  • This is stuff that worked for me and I’m about the farthest thing from a nutrition, fitness and/or health expert you can possibly find. In fact, I find it hard to even type those words on this blog without laughing hysterically and if you know anything about me, you know that when I laugh, I lose all motor control of my thumbs and tthhheeeen it’sss harrrdddd ttoooooo tyypppppee.
  • I am not a spokesperson for any product I mention. No one pays me or compensates me in any way to say anything about anything. That being said, Nate is open to any and all offers to get me to shut the hell up. Send your proposals to nathan@remindmewhyImarriedyouagain.com.

I’ve already described in excruciating detail my first obsessive-compulsive, anal-retentive ride on the Weight Watchers merry go round from seven years ago so I won’t rehash that here. You’re welcome. Suffice it to say that this time around, I reigned in my OCD tendencies and approached the program with a good degree of moderation. As I did last time, I attend meetings, not because I discover anything earth shattering at any of them since I don’t, although I do occasionally learn something new, be it a recipe, a food, a different strategy, etc. No, I attend the meetings because (1)  my ass needs to be removed from my office chair and see daylight every once in awhile; (2) it makes me feel like I’m getting every penny’s worth of the $400 I’ve spent on this program thus far; (3) getting weighed by someone other than myself holds me accountable for my choices and if I’m up, chances are I’m much less likely to punch a stranger in the face than I am myself; (4) I can celebrate a loss or commiserate a gain with people who know exactly how hard it was for me to eat just one piece of lasagna instead of gobbling down the entire pan after everyone went to bed; and finally, (5) sometimes, I simply need to sit in a room full of people who are bigger than me, because losing weight is as much a mental process as it is a physical one.

I work the program this way: I eat what I want, when I want. This includes creamy sauces, stuff made out of gooey chocolate and things that have seven layers of cheese. I bought one Weight Watcher’s cookbook and was unimpressed. Instead, I make the same meals that I’ve always made for my family – I just make them healthier, substituting lower fat and/or healthier options when possible. Probably the single most important thing I do is pay attention to portion control, weighing and measuring when needed.  As for eating out … I’m not about to go to a restaurant and pay $16.95 for a grilled chicken breast and steamed veggies because steamed veggies are gross and make me gag and if I’m going to be grossed out and gag, I might as well do it at home at a fraction of the cost. When I go out to eat, I want something that I’m not about to cook myself. So I order what I want, be it chicken marsala or pasta bolognese or whatever. But I will eat only half of it and take the remainder home for another meal. I also try to eat only one piece of bread instead of all the baskets within reach and I try to share a dessert instead of inhaling mine and both the kids’. Sometimes I’m successful and sometimes the kids go home hungry. It’s a crap shoot, really.

Some weeks I gained, some weeks I stayed the same and still other weeks, I only lost .2 pounds and I’ll admit that my first instinct was to stomp out the door screaming I DID JILLIAN MICHAEL’S 30 DAY SHRED IN ONE WEEK AND FOR WHAT? .2 POUNDS AND A HERNIA? SCREW YOU AND THE SCALE YOU RODE IN ON. WHERE’S THE FRIGGIN’ CHEESECAKE? But then I calmed down and tried to remember that every new day was a fresh start. A do-over. With every morning, I got another chance to get it right. And anytime I exceeded my daily points, I tried to go with the flow and let me tell you, coming from someone who folds her towels with straight edge, this was not an easy thing to do. But I was determined not to let this program govern my life as it had the first time around and much to my surprise, God did not, in fact, reach down from Heaven and bitch slap me for eating a cupcake. Or three.

I also learned that the scale is not the be all and end all when it comes to measuring success. There are other ways to determine your progress. Do your clothes fit better? Can you get down the driveway without calling a cab? Can you look in the mirror without heaving up lunch? Can you get out of your car without using the Jaws of Life? How about your bra?

As for plateaus … I hit several of them and I found that the only thing that booted my chubby ass off one and back into the game was to eat something insanely high in points, fat, cholesterol, sugar or some kind of combination thereof. Eating three huge pieces of gooey pizza and washing it down with four or five thick brownies was kind of like having the Incredible Hulk perform CPR on my metabolism. Again, this worked for me. I have no idea if it would work for you so please, no emails with I DID WHAT YOU SAID AND GAINED FIVE POUNDS THIS WEEK. YOU ARE DEAD TO ME, YOU MISERABLE HAG in the subject line, OK?

I found the Weight Watchers points calculator invaluable. Even if I’m alive, you usually have to pry money out of my cold dead hand with a pair of vice grips so buying a gadget like this was big for me. But it was worth it. Mine isn’t the newest version pictured here, but it does the same thing. I found it so much more convenient than using that cardboard slider thing, especially while grocery shopping. It fits right in my purse, turns off automatically and I no longer have to stand in the pasta aisle of Wegmans shouting I LOST MY SLIDER! DID YOU SEE MY SLIDER? WHO’S GOT MY SLIDER? SOMEONE CALL SECURITY.

I bought the Biggest Loser food scale for our kitchen. It’s small and lacks the bells and whistles of most food scales out there but it does what I need it to do and for $20, I couldn’t exactly expect Jillian or Bob to come prepackaged with it.

Damn it all to hell.

I hate tracking my points. HATE IT WITH THE HEAT OF A THOUSAND SUNS. And even if I was tech savvy enough to use the Weight Watchers app for it, I have nothing into which I can download the app. I am app-less. So instead, I track my points the old fashioned way, with pen and paper and this works well for me. But … I don’t use those dinky little weekly paper trackers that Weight Watchers gives you at weigh-in because damn, they’re small! How can I fit all my snacks on that one tiny little page? I prefer to use a pretty journal. It makes the whole tediously mundane task of tracking not so God hideously awful. Again, losing weight is as much a mental process as it is a physical one.

I think there are great things about Weight Watchers, like being able to eat normal food you find at any grocery store, and I think there are not-so-great things about this program, like having to stay within two pounds of goal weight to maintain free, lifetime status. Speaking as a premenopausal woman who can retain more water than the Hoover Dam simply by glancing at a donut, I personally think this particular rule sucks sweaty, rancid orangutan balls through a skinny straw. But that’s just my opinion.

And probably why no one pays me to offer it.

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