The Odyssey of the Dieting MAREiner

Captain’s Log – HMS Mare, the 21st day of March, in the year of our Lord 2015: I’m starting to drift. I’m several months into my voyage and I don’t see land anymore – there is nothing before me, and nothing behind. Water, water every where.

I cast off at 253.8 poundatitude on December 1st, 2014, and set sail for the distant land located at 140 poundatitude. I knew full well I would encounter choppy waters when I shoved off all those months ago. I’ve attempted this crossing before, but failed to reach the sunny shores of the size 12 utopia I have been assured exists.

My compass indicates I’m veering off course by a few degrees. If I don’t make adjustments soon, I will drift endlessly, or worse yet, get marooned on the desolate island of Failed Attempts yet again.

The waters have been still for one moon cycle. I need a breeze to propel me forward, but the wind slumbers. This ancient MAREiner is forced to row-row-row her diet boat alone, and I am growing weary. Being mindful of every morsel is exhausting, and my motivation is waning. I need to rest, to sleep, perchance to dream of crispy potato chips, soft gooey caramel, and mouth-watering pie a la mode.

Captain’s Log – HMS Mare, the 25th day of March, in the year of our Lord 2015: I hear voices. Beautiful. Haunting. Am I hallucinating? No, I’ve heard them before.

The seductive Sirens surface from the great abyss and soothe me with their bewitching song. They feel neglected and need to be fed. I am their vessel. Their names: One-Bite and It’s-Okay.

This sultry duo have their routine down pat: one tempts, the other pacifies. They’re intoxicating and before I know it, I’ve had one bite of a cookie, but it’s okay because I’ve been good for so long. Then they offer me chocolate covered candied ginger, acceptable for my blood type diet, so it’s okay to have one bite. They propose one bite more, and then another… but it’s okay because a few bites do not a binge make.

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Artwork: Nathan C. Younger (c) Searching For My After

My solitude welcomes their company and condones their lies. This happens for a few days. A week. Going on two. One-Bite doesn’t look as attractive now, but it’s okay, she still looks better than me.

In my sugar induced stupor, I look at my food journal and immediately feel ashamed. As soon as I do, One-Bite and It’s-Okay distract me with popcorn, biscotti, and skinny vanilla lattes. The aroma is enchanting and envelopes me – I swoon and fall under its spell. I notice an albatross circling above me before I fall into a food triggered guilt coma.

When I awake, the temptresses are gone, but I am not alone. They left me with a ravenous companion called, Shame. We must learn to coexist on this journey. I adjust our course and navigate towards the infinite horizon.

Captain’s Log – HMS Mare, the 30th day of March, in the year of our Lord 2015: A single sunbeam pierces through the clouds and dances on the water. Both Shame and I are mesmerized by its buoyant optimism. A whisper of hope is ushered on the awakened breeze and reinvigorates me.

Misery loves company, and madness calls it forth.

– Yann Martel, Life of Pi

For Week 17 food journal, click here.

It’s Time To Play…

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*cue music*

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Hello, and welcome to Health or Consequences where our contestant aims to achieve the weekly 70,000 recommended steps for optimal health. Should she reach, or surpass this goal, she will do the Walk of Fame! However, if she falls short of the target, she will do the Walk of Shame, and will have to complete a consequence chosen by the audience! Game Show Announcer Mare, tell us what we already know.

Game Show Announcer Mare: We’ve got Mare, from Searching For My After.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Welcome back, Mare. Have you recovered from last week’s debacle?

Mare: I’m trying to, but it still stings.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Have you done your consequence yet?

Mare: Not yet, but I’m working on it.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Let me remind you and our audience that you have 4 weeks from the time you draw the consequence from the Bucket o’ Shame to complete it. If you don’t, tell her what happens next Game Show Announcer Mare.

Game Show Announcer Mare: Ahhh… we haven’t thought that far ahead….

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: …You have to eat a slug!

Mare: You made that up!

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Yes. Yes, I did. But until we come up with an adequate penalty for not completing your consequence, eating a slug it is.

Mare: How is that relevant to the show?

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Do you want to eat a slug?

Mare: No!

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Do you want ill health?

Mare: No!

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: And that’s how it’s relevant!

Mare: I assure you, you’ll have my filmed consequence before the 4 weeks are up.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Wonderful! How do you think you did last week?

Mare: Awesome.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: How awesome?

Mare: So awesome my feet hurt from all the walking.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: No forgetting to put your bit back in the wristband after charging it this week?

Mare: That’s a mistake I’ll only make once!

Game Show Announcer Mare: Like the time we tucked our skirt into our underwear and walked out of the house giving the neighbours a peep show?

Mare: We said we would never speak of that to anyone!

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: All-righty then, let’s see what the all-seeing, all-knowing, step-sensing, Fitbit report reveals….

*The Fitbit wheel of truth spins… beep-boo-beep-boo-beeeeee-booooooooooooo*

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Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: 80,036! Outstanding! You get to do the Walk of Fame this week.

Mare: What a relief! I don’t think I could face the Bucket o’ Shame again so soon!

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Tell her what she wins Game Show Announcer Mare!

Game Show Announcer Mare: Mare, during your Walk of Fame you’ll get to toot your own horn and continue to improve your health!

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: That’s an all-time record for you. How did you manage to get 8 days of steps into 7? Did you start sleepwalking?

Mare: Sleepwalking… what a great idea! A step is a step no matter when you take it!

Game Show Announcer Mare: I wonder how many steps those Walking Dead zombies get in a day? They’re always on the go. I bet they kill it on their progress report! Get it? Kill it?!!! I crack myself up.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Geesh, anything for a line. So, Mare, what did you do to break your record?

Mare: I bought comfy walking shoes and kept walking from the moment I laced them up. I kept the car in the driveway this weekend, and I walked anyplace within 2 km that I would normally have driven to, like the grocery store, and my girlfriend’s place.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Was it difficult?

Mare: Somewhat for a plus-sized girl like me, but it’s getting easier every day.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: I can’t wait to see what you register next week. Until then, I’m Cheeky Game Show Host Mare, reminding you to choose HEALTH, or else you’ll have to live with the CONSEQUENCES!

*cue music*

It’s Time To Play…

image*cue music*

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Hello, and welcome to Health or Consequences where our contestant aims to achieve the weekly 70,000 recommended steps for optimal health. Should she reach, or surpass this goal, she will do the Walk of Fame! However, should she fall short of the target, she will do the Walk of Shame, and will have to complete a consequence chosen by the audience!

Game Show Announcer Mare: Aren’t you going to ask me who our contestant is?

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: You told me last week our only contestant is Mare.

Game Show Announcer Mare: I only get 4 lines bub, let me say’em.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Touchy. Who do we have with us today, Game Show Announcer Mare?

Game Show Announcer Mare: We’ve got Mare, from Searching For My After.

Mare: Howdy.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: So how do you think you did last week, Mare?

Mare: Awesome, but…

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Can’t wait to toot your own horn again, I see. You’ve exceeded the target ever since we started the game a few weeks ago. Let’s see how you did this week.

Mare: but…

* The Fitbit wheel of truth spins… beep-boo-beep-boo-beeeeee-booooooooooooo*

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Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: 64,481?! You’ve got some splain’ to do, Mare!

Mare: Yes, let me splain. I’m a creature of habit and if something throws me off, I get discombobulated.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Enough with the fancy words, what happened?

Mare: I charged the Fitbit last Thursday night as per usual. The next morning I took the bit part out of the charger and put in on my nightstand next to the wristband. Then I realized I still needed to pack for my overnight stay at my sister’s place – I was going to dog sit for her.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: At this rate you’ll hit 10,000 words….

Mare: Geez, Louise! I’m getting to it. I scrambled to put a bag together, got dressed for work, made my bed, grabbed my iPhone, iPad, and Fitbit from my nightstand, dashed downstairs to eat breakfast, and then raced off to work.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: And?

Mare: And, I didn’t notice until I got back from a 45 minute walk at lunch, with my friend Karen, that my Fitbit didn’t vibrate to indicate that I hit the 10,000 step mark, so I checked it and this is what I found…

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Mare: I forgot to put the bit piece into the wristband. It was sitting on my nightstand, looking all forlorn, when I got home.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: I thought you said you were dog sitting that night.

Mare: I made a detour and headed back home to pick up the bit… I didn’t want my Saturday to register zero steps either!

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: That’s unfortunate.

Mare: Is there any way we can make an exception? I have a witness!

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Is this the same Karen you called when you “forgot” to eat your lunch?

Mare: Yes.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: How convenient. Are you sure she’s not imaginary, like Snuffleupagus?

Mare: She’s real! We walked from the office to the new Longo’s that day! See… she took this photo at the store!

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Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Oooookay. Where is she?

Mare: Good point.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Who takes photos at a grocery store anyway?

Mare: They’re for an upcoming post about…. awwww, forget about it! Let’s get on with the show.

Game Show Announcer Mare: Don’t be stealing my lines!

Mare and Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: (in unison): Touchy.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Sorry Mare, you did not achieve the 70,000 weekly recommended steps, so you’ll have to do the consequence! Tell her what that means Game Show Announcer Mare.

Mare: But I did achieve them!

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: If they’re not registered on your progress report they never happened.

Mare: I demand a recount!

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Let’s review the rules which YOU instituted shall we.

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Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: There’s nothing that states your own pretermission as an exception – how do you like them big words?!  And now, Game Show Announcer Mare, please tell Searching For My After Mare, what happens next.

Game Show Announcer Mare: Finally! Mare, you will have to do the Walk of Shame. No tooting your own horn this week. You must select one of the consequences from the Bucket o’ Shame sent in by your blog followers. Please read each one to the audience, place it in the bucket, and then randomly select one.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Oh! That’s gotta hurt!

Game Show Announcer Mare: Not as much as living with the consequence of ill health if you don’t make fitness a priority! Mare, you have 4 weeks to complete the consequence. It must be filmed, by a real or imaginary friend, and uploaded for your followers to see.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: That’s all the time we have folks. Until next week, I’m Cheeky Game Show Host Mare, reminding you to choose HEALTH, or else you’ll have to live with the CONSEQUENCES!

*cue music*

Game Show Announcer Mare: Please continue to submit your consequence suggestions!

When Scales Fly

When I was a kid growing up in the 70s, mood rings were all the rage. I wanted one so bad, but my parents couldn’t afford frivolous spends, so I bummed a read from friends that had one. If you’re not familiar with mood rings, they would change colour based on… you guessed it, your mood.

I’m not sure how accurate they are, but as a kid, they were the gospel truth. I remember working myself up into a tizzy to see if I could get it to turn black, or think about my crush to see if it would turn violet. How dumb… the only thing more colourful than a mood ring, was me!

Other tools we relied on to predict what kind of day we’d have were: Magic 8 balls, horoscopes, and the long dead biorhythm in the Toronto Sun. Thankfully, I don’t depend on those hokey devices anymore, but there still is one mystical gadget I faithfully turn to, that will not only predict what kind of day I’ll have, it will set my mood as well: my bathroom scale.

If it registers a number lower than I expected – I’ll have an awesome day! If it’s the same as the last time I stepped on – I’ll have a lackluster day. But if it’s higher… look out ‘cuz I’ll be in a foul mood! I realize many variables affect the read-out, like retaining water, or building muscle, but there is nothing more frustrating than not seeing results for your efforts.

I remember years back when I was married and the kids were little, I was on one of my countless diets. I deprived myself of anything delicious for months on end and I exercised daily. Every morning, after going to the washroom, and before having breakfast, I stepped on the scale. This was my daily ritual. At first I saw results, but over time, the losses were minuscule. Eventually, the darn needle on the scale played possum. No up. No down. No nothing. I figured I was on a plateau, so I went hard core for a few weeks – I took in less than 1,000 calories a day, revved up my workouts, AND I put the scale away. I felt that a watched pot never boils, so I vowed not to step on the scale for at least 2 weeks.

It felt like Christmas morning when I got back on again… the anticipation was palpable. I stuck to the plan 110% and since I hadn’t been naughty, I expected to be rewarded with a well-deserved surprise. I sure got one when I stepped on Carnac the Malevolent! That diabolic scale of injustice didn’t budge. I was soooooo mad, I literally picked up the scale and threw it out my bedroom window! I honestly and truly flung it out my second-story window like a discus thrower. I watched it propel through the air until gravity took hold and it shattered on my driveway below, spilling its lying guts about for all to see.

 Flying scale - c

I calmly walked downstairs and into the kitchen, where I buried my face in a plate full of Eggo waffles slathered with Nutella, marshmallows, and maple syrup. When I finished my glorious stupefied binge, I picked up the broom and dustpan, and walked outside my front door in my slippers and PJs, happily greeting my perplexed neighbours, as I swept up the disembowelled device from the driveway. Coils, springs, and numbers, oh my! It felt awesome!   Our home remained scaleless for many years after that.

I may have overreacted, but I felt like I studied for the exam and still got an ‘F’. It’s one thing not to see progress if you don’t do the work, but quite another when you do EVERYTHING “right” and don’t get the results you think you deserve. I guess by pitching my scale, I was contesting my mark.

Fitness experts keep telling me that I shouldn’t rely solely on the scale to measure my progress. Frankly, I don’t care how loose my clothes feel, or how much energy I have, I want to see the number on the scale say, “Hey chickie, you’re in the normal range now.”

I still can’t break the habit of stepping on the scale regularly… okay, okay – daily. The sum is not a prediction – it’s fact. I’m fixated on the numerical output that quantifies my resolve. It’s like when I got into size 14 pants on my last quasi-successful diet. I know that’s still huge for a lot of people, but after sporting a 22 for eons, I wanted to wear the pants inside-out so everyone could read the label.

Who knows what I’ll do when I reach my goal weight? One thing’s for sure, I won’t be pitching that scale out the window! Perhaps I’ll have it bronzed and display it alongside my collection of mood rings.

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To view my Week 15 food journal, go to the 12 in 12 tab at the top of the page and select 4. March 2015 from the dropdown menu.

It’s Time To Play….

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*cue music*

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Hello, and welcome to Health or Consequences where our contestant aims to achieve the weekly 70,000 recommended steps for optimal health. Should she reach, or surpass this goal, she will do the Walk of Fame! However, should she fall short of the target, she will do the Walk of Shame, and will have to complete a consequence chosen by the audience! Who do we have with us today, Game Show Announcer Mare?

Game Show Announcer Mare: We have Mare, from Searching For My After!

Mare: Hello.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: You look familiar.

Mare: I was here last week.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Are we short of contestants?

Game Show Announcer Mare: Mare is our only contestant.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: Then why don’t we call the show, Just Mare? or 24/7 Mare? or…

Game Show Announcer Mare: Mare signs our paycheque, so let’s get on with the show, shall we?

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: All-righty then… let’s see what the all-seeing, all-knowing, step-sensing, Fitbit report reveals….

* The Fitbit wheel of truth spins… beep-boo-beep-boo-beeeeee-booooooooooooo*

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Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: 77,564 steps! Outstanding! What kept you motivated this week?

Mare: It’s been a long, cold winter here in Canada, and we’ve been cooped up for months on end, so when temperatures hit a balmy +1o C this week, I went out for long walks.

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: And how are you feeling?

Mare: Fantastic! The more I move, the better I feel!

Cheeky Game Show Host Mare: That’s all the time we have folks. Until next week, I’m Cheeky Game Show Host Mare, reminding you to choose HEALTH, or else you’ll have to live with the CONSEQUENCES!

*cue music*

Game Show Announcer Mare: Please continue to submit your creative consequences should Mare not complete the weekly 70,000 steps!

 

One-Hundred Steps of Solitude: A Life Without Sweet Tweets and Bon Bon [Jovi’s]

There are two things I can count on at work, (1) there’s never a dull moment, and (2) if you step away from your cubicle, you’re bound to find a cornucopia of food somewhere in the building. We have food at meetings, to recognize achievements and milestones, to celebrate birthdays and work anniversaries, to welcome new team members, and to say farewell to others. But this week, one event literally took the cake! Apparently, Jon Bon Jovi turned 53 on Monday and my friend, co-worker, and super-fan, Mary brought in treats to mark the occasion.

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Cutest fangirl ever!

This got me thinking… just how many temptations do I face in a given week at the office? According to a Cornell study, we make over 200 food choices a day, for example: deciding on having a second helping, driving past a restaurant, reading a menu, waiting in line at the checkout counter, at social gatherings, and so on.

This week I decided to monitor my choices within 100 steps of my cubicle at work.

Monday, March 2nd: Two-bite brownies and cinnamon rolls to celebrate this hottie’s birthday….

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Tuesday, March 3rd: Leftover Pad Thai, salad, cookies, and drinks following a meeting. These foods are not on the ‘O’ list for Eat Right 4 Your Blood Type, so I did not partake. Sorry, I didn’t have my iPhone with me to take a photo, so here is a photo of the vending machine only 43 steps away from my cubicle.

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It’s located in the storage room and I happened to be in there on Friday sorting out my supply order…. I was so distracted by its seductive hum and flashy lights, I could barely get my work done. I was tempted to unplug it, but there was no way I could because of the steady stream of co-workers coming in to feed it like a slot machine! Cha-ching! A chocolate bar for Darlene. Bing-Bing-Bing – a diet coke for Wendy. Oops! I’ve said too much. What happens in the storage room, stays in the storage room!

Wednesday, March 4th: A drop-in tutorial provided by our IS team. At least they had healthy food choices!

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Thursday, March 5th: The launch of our company’s twitter account. We celebrated with fruit, cookies, beverages, and mini-cupcakes topped with an inch of butter icing and the Twitter logo. #sweettweet #yum #faceplantinicing #nomnom #mewant #notfair

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This is a photo of my friend, and co-worker, Michelle and I. She’s an inspiration, and has an amazing story, which you will learn more about when she joins me on my 12 in 12 journey for the entire month of May.

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Michelle keeping me honest. #awesomefriend

Friday, March 6th: Timbits at an early morning video-conference. How can I concentrate on work when these delicious, fat-laden, bobbles of yumminess are staring at me?!

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I didn’t eat one thing at these events, except for the strawberry I’m biting into in the photo with Michelle. *Sigh.* How is a chubby girl expected to resist all this temptation? This is what I face within 100 steps of my Monday to Friday, 9-5 life. The world beyond that is even more tempting. The choices are mind-boggling and thigh jiggling!

I have always been a ‘because it’s there’ eater, and doing 12 in 12 is testing every ounce of my willpower. But because of this experiment, the spell of mindless eating I have been under for 30+ years has been broken long enough for me to ask, when did food stop being fuel?

To view my Week 14 food journal, go to the 12 in 12 tab at the top of the page, and select 4. March 2015 from the drop-down menu.