Just don’t stop

I’m not even sure how long it’s been, but it kind of feels like it’s been a month. Yeah, that sounds about right. Okay, it’s been pretty close to a month of the BFF’s now-dubbed Torture Death Plan (TDP), and I am still alive. Though I do have this nasty thing on my heel from Sunday’s Torture Death Run (TDR):

Blisterious. Ick.
Blisterious. Ick.

I’ve tracked every single thing that goes in my mouth, and have been vigilant with the exercise plan that we’ve put in place. And no, I do not yet love or even LIKE running, and I doubt I ever will.

I am told that I look noticeably different. Though I’ve dropped about 1.5#, so not a whole lot there. But I feel good that I have a nice little routine, and even though I HATE running, I like that this time around I am better controlling my breathing, and can run at least 2.7 miles without stopping. Just don’t stop. That’s the mantra of BFF.

That being said, not all runs are the same, and the TDRs in the hills of Greenwich are exactly that–torture, and you feel like you will actually die. The first mile of the run is all uphill. Then steeply downhill. Then small uphill. Then the way back is just awful because it’s steeply uphill, followed by a mile of downhill, which still sucks because it’s the final mile. Oh, and this goes without saying, but I’m luck to run half of it.

BFF’s goals were essentially threefold: (1) Slim down. (2) At the end of the month, be able to run the entire first hill-and-a-half without stopping. (3) At the end of the summer, be able to run at least the 3-mile TDR without stopping, but preferably the 5-mile TDR.

I told him he was out of his mind.

But a week ago, I ran to the top of the first hill without stopping.

And a few days ago, I ran to the top of the first hill without stopping. Then stopped briefly. Then ran to the top of the (very steep) half-hill without stopping.

Winded.

Miserable.

Blistery (new shoes).

But I did it.

Why is it that everything I do that is exercise-related have to be such a mental game for me? Obviously, there are the aches and pains and blisters and side stitches, but once you move beyond that, why is it that it’s so hard to just keep going? To just not stop?

I believe I will always struggle with that question, just as I will always struggle with food, with my weight, etc., etc. But it’s always a little easier when you have someone in your ear, telling you Just don’t stop.

Butternut squash chowder

Butternut squash chowder! Amaze!
Butternut squash chowder! Amaze!

So. This might come as a surprise, but my boyfriend neither Crossfits nor enjoys vegetables.

Yeah, I know.

I have to give him credit, though, because he will eat ALMOST anything I cook, and if I cook vegetables, we have a deal that he at least tries them. Granted, he certainly does not get the volume I’d like to see, but it’s a huge step in the right direction, especially for someone who’s gone from ZERO to dating the vegetable queen. It’s taken some adjustment on my part, too, as I’d become someone who was fine eating the same dinner all week, and lots and lots of straight-up veg. Now, I’m cooking more of a variety of things so we’re not bored, and I essentially have to treat vegetables like I would for a picky child: Hide them.

Some attempts have been more successful than others. Brussels sprouts and bacon were a huge flop, as is roasted broccoli (so sad!). Salad with homemade dressing was so-so for him, but he loved the crap out of kale cooked with whole-wheat egg noodles, vodka sauce, and ground beef (hamburger helper, anyone?). He also did impressively well with a veggie burger I made that had beets as a base. Additionally, the boy loves a good hearty soup. He’s been a fan of a few soups I’ve made this winter, including a Thai-style butternut squash and coconut soup and a carrot-ginger-cashew soup.

Well, I just conquered the mother of all challenges.

We got frozen cauliflower in last week’s CSA. Now, I LOVE cauliflower in all its incarnations, but The Boy hates it. He likens it to an allergy, saying he tastes it differently than other people and how it makes him gag. My mom made him try a FRIED cauliflower patty at Christmas and made the mistake of telling him what was in it. I say that because nothing about this patty is healthy or screams cauliflower. It’s all egg binder, herbs, and lots of romano cheese. He barely took a bite and gagged.

Knowing that cauliflower makes a good mashed faux-tato, I thought that it might go well in this soup, to give it a thick and creamy flavor and consistency.

And what happened?

The Boy went back for SECONDS and couldn’t stop saying how good it was. He renamed this soup the “Fucking Awesome Soup.”

And no, I did NOT ruin the moment and tell him there was cauliflower in it.

He’s taking soup leftovers with him to work because he liked it THAT much.

Seriously, you want to try this soup. It is thick and hearty and delicious and filling and perfect for the nasty weather we’re getting in the Northeast. In this incarnation, it’s not strict Paleo, but it IS gluten-free, and easily adaptable for vegan/vegetarians (use veg stock) or Paleo folk (omit corn and potatoes). You can even add some diced chicken boob for some extra protein! Mmmmmm!!!

Let me know how you like this. I’m telling you, if I can fool my boyfriend into thinking it’s a basic yummy chowder, I PROMISE your picky eater will lap it all up instantly, too!

Such a delicious soup!
Such a delicious soup!

Butternut squash chowder

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds butternut squash puree (I used 1 pound butternut squash puree and 1 cup of pumpkin puree), fresh or frozen
  • 1 pound cauliflower florets, fresh or frozen
  • 1 pound corn, freshly de-eared or frozen
  • 2 small white potatoes, diced
  • 32 oz low-sodium chicken stock
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 large cloves garlic
  • 1.5 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • Sea salt to taste (1.5–2 teaspoons)

Directions

Coat the bottom of a medium pot with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil or cooking spray, and heat to a medium heat. Add diced onion and a pinch of salt, and brown, stirring occasionally, approximately 5 minutes.

Once onions begin to caramelize, add chicken stock, butternut squash puree, garlic cloves, curry powder, and cauliflower florets. Bring to a boil, and then simmer on medium-low for approximately 20 minutes, or until florets are tender and hot.

In two batches, puree soup mixture in blender until smooth. Be careful because it’s now very hot! Return pureed soup to the pot, and return to a simmer.

Now, add corn kernels and diced potatoes, along with the smoked paprika, pepper, and salt. Simmer until potatoes are tender, stirring from bottom occasionally, approximately 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Recipe makes approximately 12 one-cup servings. For WW peeps, this recipe fits within the Simply Filling/Simple Start plans.

On the idea of “not caring”

Yeah, this doesn't happen by NOT caring.
Yeah, this doesn’t happen by NOT caring.

I feel like I should clarify something.

When people ask me about how I started Crossfit and Weight Watchers—how I’ve slowly lost almost 100 pounds—I almost always tell people that I really didn’t give a shit at first.

And people cock their heads.

And people are like, Huh?

The fact of the matter is, there are a lot of people who start Weight Watchers or Crossfit or any other sort of diet and/or fitness routine with a clear end-result in mind. You walk through the doors of a Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or LA Weight Loss or Curves with the distinct intention of losing weight. You go to Crossfit or Planet Fitness or Gold’s or wherever else to exercise, with the distinct intention of getting fitter, losing weight, hooking up with new people (let’s be real here), or whatever else. In either case, you have a clear REASON for doing what you’re doing.

But things are different when you’re fat.

Or at least in my case they were.

Like I’ve mentioned before, I’ve struggled with my weight my entire life. I’m no stranger to starting a new diet or exercise routine for the explicit purpose of shedding pounds. And I’m also no stranger to shedding a few pounds, getting frustrated, and then gaining it all back and then some.

And every time that happened, I was devastated. Like, super-crushed upset. It brought me further into the hole of helplessness and hopelessness.

And honestly, I was kinda-sorta okay with being almost 300 pounds (or at least I told myself that). Because that reality was better than the reality in which I super-cared about getting healthy, only to end up way heavier than where I started.

That was my mindset when I started Weight Watchers and Crossfit.

So when I say I didn’t care, it’s a little more complicated than that. I didn’t want to care. It was my way of protecting myself from the guaranteed and imminent disappointment of yet another failure. If I didn’t care, if I didn’t have an investment in whatever it was I was doing, how could I be disappointed when it didn’t work out?

And I actually went around telling people that I wasn’t going to put too much credence in the whole scenario until I had lost a significant amount of weight—like 20 pounds—which would show that it was more than simply my natural weight fluctuating.

So I started tracking what I ate and following the WW plan. A few pounds here, a few pounds there, I didn’t really do a happy dance at the scale ever because I just “didn’t care.” I went to Crossfit and I hurt all the time, but I didn’t think much of any of it, because who knew how long that would last.

And that’s how I went for several months.

During that time, I had obviously made some changes. Even though I “didn’t care,” I was still eating differently and exercising regularly.

But I still “didn’t care.”

I remember distinctly the week that I “discovered” I actually DID care.

When I first started WW, I lost most weeks. If I gained, it was something really small—fractions of pounds.

Obviously, this is not sustainable forever, as I have had to learn over the past year-ish as my weight loss has slowed significantly.

However, one week, I went to weigh-in, and I was convinced that I had done everything right, so I obviously should be losing. I stepped on the scale, and I had gained. And I hadn’t gained a fraction of a pound, either. It was upwards of three pounds or something ridiculous. And I was shocked.

I was so shocked and upset that after the meeting, I actually went into my car, called my mom, and sobbed uncontrollably.

“What’s the point?!” I wailed. “I’m done! I can’t do this anymore! I’m done!”

Obviously I didn’t quit, but by “not caring,” that is exactly the reaction I wanted to avoid. Clearly I cared. I don’t know when or how, but I suppose it’s only natural to have some feelings attached to a situation that you’ve been nurturing and investing in for a few months. I cared. I still care.

And as a result, I now know that I am not allowed to eat Chinese food (even just the egg-drop soup). Or eat it and just know it’s a guaranteed gain (THANK YOU sodium-related water retention!).

Touched

Joy.
Joy.

Surprisingly, I’m not one of those bloggers who gets tons of fanmail and is too big for her britches. When people write to me or comment on my posts, I take it to heart because, truly, it means a lot to me that someone has taken the time to share their thoughts.

Over the summer, I received an email from someone who had read my blog and wanted to produce a video about me for AMRAP, a new YouTube channel by the publishers of Men’s Health, Women’s Health, Runner’s World, and Prevention magazines. I thought about it, and thought that was pretty rad, so I agreed.

Fast-forward a few months, and we actually made this happen! He and a camera crew spent several hours at Albany Crossfit filming this video about me and my journey over the past two years. Enjoy!

I just wanted to say how profoundly touched I was by this entire experience. It’s not every day that you get to share your story with the world, and I think that they did a really great job. Of course, it’s always nerve-wracking to know that you’re being filmed in spandex when you still have problem areas, but I think this is a good snapshot of who I am and where I’m coming from.

Here’s to another two years of Crossfit magic!

…and then there was this time I lost 3.4# and cried on the scale

By now, you’re used to my TMI moments.

And by now, you remember that I was SO CLOSE to being under 200, and then sabotaged myself with bacon toffee.

Well. THIS WEEK. THIS happened:

198.4
198.4

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the little Weight Watchers stickers they give you at weigh-in, this is what that means:

  1. Man Wt = Current weight
  2. +/- = Amount weight lost or gained since last weigh-in (for me, that’s last Thursday)
  3. Total = Total weight loss to date
  4. DPT = Daily Points Target (i.e., how much I’m allowed to eat)

Ignore the fact that the total line reads 91 (hooooly shit!), but, um, do you see the number on the Man Wt line?

198.4

I. Am. Under. 200. Pounds.

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!111!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!doifsdfjsdlfkshgorwhiwr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

But, not only that…it’s the first time I’ve been under 200 pounds in my ENTIRE ADULT LIFE.

Yup. Now y’all know EXACTLY how much I weigh, but at this point, I don’t really care. (TMI moment brought to you by DK Gets Fit. You’re welcome.)

But, let me backtrack just a bit.

After Bacopalypse (aka, Bacon Toffee Terrorism), I knew something had to change. That’s when I sat down with Dean, and we worked out a new fitness and nutrition plan that I could live with (more on that coming up!!). And when I commit to something, I’m all in. So after a full week on Dean’s plan, I actually gained half a pound, and was piiiiissed. But I stuck with it for another week, and I lost big—to the tune of 3.4#, which rarely happens with me at this point in my weight loss. Now, I know 3.4# probably isn’t a sustainable rate to lose in the long-term, but damn if it didn’t make me happy yesterday.

I knew I had lost some weight, but I wasn’t sure if my scale at home would match up with the scale at the WW center.

So I get to the WW center, and immediately make Jennifer come over and weigh me in. I was trying to decide if I wanted to do the DK sexy striptease at the scale (sometimes, when we get soooooo close to a goal, it’s okay to take off your bra, and maybe your top layer, too…). I decided not to. I had gotten up early to go for a run and get my sweat on pre-weigh-in. So when I got to the center, whatever happened happened, and I knew I had done everything I could have done that week.

I hop on, and the WW scale matched my home scale, and I had a huge smile on my face before Jennifer could even record it (she knew I had stepped on the scale, and kept saying “asshole!” under her breath…I think she wanted it to be a surprise for me, hahaha!). Of course, when I saw that number, I didn’t even realize how much weight I lost that week, but that the number was in the HUNDREDS. There’s a ONE at the beginning of my weight now, not a TWO!

Victory fist pumping ensued.

Then a big hug from Jen, where I started laughing, and then cry-laughing, and then full-on crying.

And then I made all the other receptionists there cry, too.

I did NOT think I would be THAT emotional. Good lord.

But then all through the meeting, all I could really think about was telling Dean how I finally accomplished that goal. I didn’t have his phone number, so I couldn’t text him. And his schedule at ACF on Thursdays was spotty. I took a chance, and went directly from my meeting to ACF to track him down. He was there (thank god!), and I told him and Kevin (who was also there), and we had a mini party in the ACF office. It felt really awesome to share that with him.

And then later that evening….

Gold star!
Gold star!

…and any of you who are part of the ACF Facebook group, now you all know what that gold star was for. 😀

So my next goal is to not gain it back next week. I’m under 200, and I intend to stay there.

Also, 100 is JUST around the corner. So I’m not going to do a before and now retrospective at the moment…gotta save that for NINE MORE POUNDS!!

What is Carb Cycling, and how can it help you?

LOL. But seriously, now.
LOL. But seriously, now.

By now, everyone and their mom knows I do Weight Watchers. I’ve heard some criticism of the program in the past, with people trying to say that it’s not a good plan because you can use all your points on chocolate every day, not eat anything else, and not lose weight…because you’re using all your points on chocolate.

Well…yeah…doing Weight Watchers requires a minuscule amount of common sense, which, when used, might indicate that it’s probably not a good idea to use all your points on chocolate every day.

For me, there wasn’t a huge learning curve. Basically, I stuck to my Daily Points Target (DPT), I exercised, and I lost weight. I used some of my Weekly Points (WPs; essentially an extra 49 points that EVERYONE gets each week to play around with—that’s why, sometimes, I have a piece of cake…or some Ben & Jerry’s), but never all of them. And for a full year or so, it worked.

Until things started getting complicated. For the last year, I’ve struggled with plateau after plateau after plateau. And for anyone who’s ever been in a plateau, you know how difficult it is to (a) hang on, and (b) kick yourself out of it.

Now, for me, I like Weight Watchers because of its flexibility. If I want to go strict Paleo, I can go strict Paleo. If I want to have a cheat meal, I know how to work it in. The plan allows me to live my life without feeling overly restricted most of the time. Granted, I’ve had to make some changes. I rarely drink, and I almost never eat wings, Chinese, or junky Mexican anymore (some of my favorite types of food) simply because I now know what sodium can and will do to me.

A few months back, one of my friends introduced me to something called the Wendie Plan. The best way I can describe it to you would be to call it a plan within a plan. It was created by some WW member a long time ago as a way to kick yourself out of a plateau. It’s not endorsed by WW, but many members seemed to have had success on it. So I decided to give it a try.

The idea behind Wendie is simple: Each day, eat a different amount of points, which will confuse your body (since it’s probably used to eating around the same amount of points each day), forcing you to lose. It’s sort of the same idea as Crossfit—do something different every day to confuse your body and get maximum results?

On Wendie, you use all 49 of your weekly points in order to get these different points targets each day. And you’re still on plan because you never use more or less than you’re given by the WW plan. So, if my DPT is 34, then my week looks like this:

Thursday — 42 points

Friday — 36 points

Saturday — 54–56 points (controlled cheat day!)

Sunday — 34 points

Monday — 44 points

Tuesday — 42 points

Monday — 34 points

Notice that I never dip below my 34 DPT. Before, I had sort of played the how-little-can-I-eat game. On Wendie, all of a sudden I had a surplus of points, which was awesome, because I could splurge on little things during the week, like some popcorn or a 1/2 cup of decadent ice cream. It was great! And I was losing!

Until I fell off the wagon briefly during the summer, came back to Wendie, and found that I wasn’t getting the same results I was before. I tried to stay strict, but my diet clearly needed cleaning up, despite the fact that I was sticking to the plan. I was eating too much fruit, too much sugar, and too many other refined carbohydrates, and very little dairy (for me, personally, I’ve found that I need some real, high-quality dairy in my life). I was exercising, but I was struggling with the same two pounds over and over and over again. I was in another plateau and another slump.

Around this time, Jennifer loaned me Chris Powell’s new book Choose to Lose. Now, there’s generally nothing I hate more than an annoying diet book. But I was interested in what Jen had told me about it, and what harm could it do?

There was a lot of extraneous content in the book, which fans of Extreme Makeover: Weight Loss Edition will definitely enjoy, but which wasn’t extremely helpful to me, a gal who was just willing to try anything to get out of a plateau.

Finally, I came upon the three golden pages, in which Powell talks about Carb Cycling. Now, I think that regular Carb Cycling is simply when you go a period of time doing high-carbs, and a period of time doing low-carbs (100g or less of carbohydrates). I’m not sure if this time period is generally a week or a month or longer or shorter, but Powell’s book condenses an entire cycle down to a week.

Therefore, I alternate high-/moderate-carb days with low-carb days. Or, if we want to take it a step further, good-carb days and Paleo days. This cycling is meant to do the same thing that both Wendie and Crossfit means to do: Confuse your body. (And if we want to add to this, I make it even more challenging/fun(?) by carb cycling AND doing Wendie.)

So now, my week looks like this:

Thursday — 42 points — high-carb day

Friday — 36 points — low-carb day

Saturday — 54–56 points — free for all (high-carb) day

Sunday — 34 points — low-carb day

Monday — 44 points — high-carb day

Tuesday — 41 points — low-carb day

Wednesday — 34 points — high-carb day

By now, you’re probably asking yourself, (a) how does this work?, and (b) what the f do you mean by low-carb and high-carb days?

Well, according to Powell’s book, on high-carb days, each meal should consist of a protein and a carbohydrate; on low-carb days, each meal should consist of a protein and a fat. Also, he argues that you should eat small meals every three hours to stoke your metabolic fire (I’m still working on this one, but I think his argument makes a lot of sense).

If this is still confusing, here are two actual days I tracked in August while on this cycle:

Monday, 13 August 2012 — 44 points (high-carb)

Breakfast

  • 1 tsp Stronger Faster Healthier fish oil — 1 p+
  • 1/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Mighty Tasty Hot Cereal — 4p+
  • 1/2 tablespoon coconut butter — 1 p+
  • 1 tsp brown sugar — 0p+
  • 1 cup strawberries — 0p+
  • 1/2 cup blueberries — 0p+

Midday (and this is like three meals spaced between breakfast and dinner…)

  • Trader Joe’s Nonfat Honey Greek Yogurt — 3p+
  • 1/4 cup Trader Joe’s Sesame Honey Cashews — 4p+
  • Trader Joe’s White Bean & Basil Hummus — 2p+
  • 2 cups baby carrots — 0p+
  • Cheese stick — 2p+
  • 1 tbsp Speculoos Butter — 2 p+
  • 1 apple — 0p+
  • 6 Toasteds crackers — 2 p+
  • Tall Starbucks iced Caramel Macchiato — 5p+

Evening

  • 6 oz (before cooked) boneless, skinless turkey breast — 4p+
  • 7 oz cooked sweet potatoes — 4 p+
  • 1 tsp olive oil — 1p+
  • 1 tsp honey — 1p+

Anytime

  • 2 servings popcorn (basically a huge bowl) — 7p+
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Nutritional Yeast — 1 p+

Tuesday, 14 August 2012 — 41 points (low-carb)

Morning

  • 1 cup liquid egg whites — 2p+
  • 1 slice bacon with fat — 4p+
  • 3 cups mushrooms — 0p+
  • 1/2 avocado — 5p+

Midday

  • 1 oz almonds — 5p+
  • Trader Joe’s nonfat Greek yogurt — 3p+
  • 1 Starbucks grande iced latte (full fat) — 3p+

Evening

  • 2 eggs — 4p+
  • 7 oz steak tips(!!!) (before cooking) — 9p+
  • 3 cups kale — 0p+

Anytime

  • 1 1/3 servings cashews — 6p+

One really, really fantastic thing that’s come out of this so far (aside from satisfactory weight loss) has been that I’ve been able to really wean down the amount of sugar I eat. Notice, I do allow myself a Caramel Macchiato on Monday’s tracker, but I can honestly say that THAT is the last day I have had one; I began ordering plain, full-fat iced lattes instead, because I felt like I was still treating myself with the creaminess and not the sugar. Fabulous!

The plan also has me eating way more vegetables (and I already ate a lot more vegetables), and a greater variety of foods (um, I’m eating steak and eggs for dinner sometimes, now?!). I’m feeling healthier, and even on high-carb days, I’m finding myself eating much cleaner. I haven’t touched my box of couscous in ages, and I’m favoring sweet potatoes instead of other starchy grains.

Also, a cycle like this isn’t as restrictive as other eating plans. Powell makes a good point in that if you’re craving something starchy on a low-carb day, you can control it by telling yourself you can always have it tomorrow. And that mentality seems to be working out pretty well for me. And really, that’s what ALL of this is about, anyway—finding things that work, and making Weight Watchers my own plan.

So, who would I recommend Carb Cycling to? If you’re looking to get out of a plateau, to dabble in Paleo (but not commit), or to jumpstart your weight loss, this is definitely good stuff.

But, like with any other plan, it does require a degree of patience, perseverance, and commitment. As in, you have to do it. No excuses. Just like any other food plan. And if you follow it, chances are you’ll lose weight and build muscle (if you’re also exercising).

I hope that answers some questions, because I know a lot of people have been asking me about Carb Cycling recently. If I missed something, please let me know! And like I said, this is all about finding something that works for you, and for me, while it’s fairly tedious when combining it with Wendie/WW, it’s working out in my favor, so I’m willing to continue doing it.

So here’s to fewer plateaus and more victories!

This one time I made Bacon Toffee; or, This week I gained 3.4 pounds

What kind of baconry is this?!
What kind of baconry is this?!

You guys ready for some massive oversharing? You ready to read your face off? Because this one’s a doozy.

Where do I begin?

So, last week, I reaped major benefits from my new nutrition regime. Recently, I’ve been doing carb-cycling lite. Essentially, that means that I switch high-/moderate-carb days with low-carb days. Every other day is like that. And it works really, really well, but it takes a lot of discipline. The idea is similar to the idea of Crossfit—maximize your benefits by confusing the crap out of your body. Doing this not only kicked me out of a plateau, but it also got me losing at a really satisfying pace.

Anyway, so last Thursday, I go to weigh-in, and I had once again dropped a satisfying amount, bringing me that much closer to my immediate goal. (Here’s where the oversharing comes in: Last week, I got within 2 pounds of being under 200 pounds for the first time in my adult life. Yup, now you know how much I weigh, and if you are sitting there judging me because of that number, go f yourself.) And because I had lost consistently over the last few weeks, my Daily Points Target (i.e., the number of Points I’m allowed to eat each day) lowered by one. Not a huge deal, but enough to notice.

Simultaneously, after three weeks of carb-cycling, I’m supposed to take what is called a “Slingshot” week, during which I eat high/moderate carbs every day, confusing my body further, before getting back on the alternating high- and low-carb days again. This was just perfect because Labor Day weekend was coming up, and I had a lot of fun things planned. (Do you see where this is going?)

I had already planned out my weekend. Sunday would be my cheat day, since I was going to Bacon Fest, and I was 100 percent ready and willing to eat my face off in the name of Pork Belly.

What I hadn’t considered was everything before and after Bacon Fest.

Immediately after weigh-in, knowing that it was a week full of carbs, I decided to kick it off the way any carb-loving lady would: with popcorn and ice cream (duh). The next day, I grabbed lunch with a friend; we had originally planned to go to New World, which I had pretracked a delicious, delicious salad, but the restaurant ended up being closed for lunch. Instead, she took me to the Fountain so she could get a burger. I’m generally pretty good about finding healthy things on menus, but for the life of me…there were NO vegetables on the menu at all! Not to mention the fact that I was hangry, hangry, hangry. So what do I do? Order a pizza, OBVIOUSLY! And then, what? Eat how much? I had a hard time stopping myself at about six pieces. Smallish pieces, but still. Really?!

Then there was Bacon Fest. And granted, as many of us in the area know already, Bacon Fest was pretty much a bust. It would have been a stupendous event, but vendors ran out of bacon by around noon, so I really honestly didn’t eat much there. And I was hanging out with friends, so later on, OF COURSE I’m going to share an appetizer of bone marrow, followed by some tasty, tasty jerk chicken, wine, and then beers around a fire pit. OBVIOUSLY.

And theeeen…and YES, there is ANOTHER then…there was the Labor Day barbecue. Which would have been fine, but…

…I had to bring something, right?…

…and my friend was already bringing a salad, so…

…I had bacon on my mind since I missed out on Bacon Fest…

…and I kinda-sorta…

…decided that making BACON TOFFEE would be a good idea………………………………………..

Yeah.

The recipe for those with strong wills is at the end of this post, but I pretty much immediately regretted this decision as soon as I tasted it.

Because, you see, it’s not a joke when people talk about how the combination of fat and sugar releases the same chemicals as crack in your brain. It’s…addicting.

Now granted, I’m not blaming my poor decision-making skills on some g-d kitchen wizardry or sugar and fat. But it would be a convenient scapegoat.

As soon as I tasted my concoction, I knew I had created a new trigger food. Because I couldn’t get enough of it. And I brought it to the barbecue, and nobody else could get enough of it, either. But unfortunately, there weren’t enough people AT the barbecue to make it immediately disappear. So what happens? I eat more of it, OF COURSE. I eat more of that, and I eat some ribs, and I eat some spider dogs (long story). Oh, and I also eat the salad and my sparkling water (‘cuz I am watching my waistline, after all). And overall, I have a fun time.

Well…next morning is Tuesday, and that’s when I decide it might be a good time to check myself. I hop on the scale, and I almost pass the f out at what I see. I told my leader/friend Jennifer that I had gained five pounds, but in actuality it was 5.8—I was just choosing to round down. She tells me it’s probably mostly salt, and I need to sweat and drink water. Check. I go and work out (and by the by, I never skipped a workout this entire cheat week), followed by walking a 5k (admittedly, stopping halfway for coffee…), and hope for the best. I eat super-duper clean the next two days, and I had definitively decided that I would go to my meeting, but skip weigh-in (OBVIOUSLY).

Then what happens? I wake up on Thursday, and decide to, as my dear bestie Jim would say, nut up, and just weigh in anyway. The bad news was, I gained weight. The good news was, it wasn’t as bad as my check-in on Tuesday morning. This time, the scale indicated I was up by 3.4 pounds. Slingshot week seemed to only slingshot me further away from my little goal, now putting me 5.4 pounds away from it. But I got the sticker, put it on my little weight tracker (yes, I have one), and had my Daily Points Target increased back to what it was the previous week. It was like a punch to my gut.

But I was thinking about it, and this extends far beyond CHEAT WEEK OF DOOOOOOOM, and it extends beyond the pattern of me being pissy every time my Daily Points Target is decreased (historically, every time it is decreased, the next week I gain weight, almost in defiance of the new number, like I’m not ready for it or something, and it’s almost always brought back up for another week or two). And it goes beyond me being irritated that I’m now below 85# net loss (marginally, but still).

This week’s meeting theme was “Believe.” And you know what? I’m not sure where it came from, but I started dropping truth bombs on that meeting, and I almost made myself and Jennifer cry (not because I was bitching anyone out, but because of what I had to say, I guess):

Here’s the thing…I believe I can lose this weight because I’ve already lost a lot. Yeah, that’s not necessarily indicative of the future, but it’s definitely indicative of what I’m capable of, and the fight I have inside of me. So it’s gotta be something else.

Several years ago, I saw a therapist for a few sessions. One of the things we talked about was how I was unhappy being fat, and how I didn’t know the first place to even start because I had so much to lose. We talked for a while about how I should just say no to office treats (this therapist proved to be not very helpful…), but she did ask me one question that’s sort of stuck with me throughout these years: Are you afraid to lose weight?

At the time, I thought to myself, What a seriously stupid and insensitive question. But if it was a stupid question, I wouldn’t still be thinking about it.

My weight, for me, has been used as a shield; it’s always been easiest for me to blame things on my fat.

I don’t have a boyfriend because I’m fat, and all guys like skinny girls. (Or, XXX guy doesn’t like me because I’m fat.)

I don’t like going shopping with friends because none of the clothes fit me, and I don’t want them to go into Lane Bryant with me.

Etc., etc., etc.

Right now, I’m getting to a point where I can’t really blame my fat for the shit that happens in my life. It’s forcing me to deal with things directly, instead of tragically triaging things. It’s requiring me to put on a brave face and pretend to be normal.

And you know what?

I’m fucking scared.

There, I said it.

At the beginning of this post, I said that I’m almost below 200 pounds. Well. Imagine if you had been fat your entire life. The kind of fat where, in grade school, the school uniforms wouldn’t fit me, so I had to get special permission from the principal to shop at a store with similar styles that would fit properly. The kind of fat where you’re given Disney or Nickelodeon workout videos as a kid. The kind of fat where, even at 12 years old, you didn’t want to wear a swimming suit because of the way you thought you looked in it. And the kind of fat where you’ve been over 200 pounds—a lot over 200 pounds—your entire adult life.

I want to put Brave Face on, but let’s be real: I’m scared to be under 200 pounds. I BELIEVE I can get there, but I’m scared to, because I have absolutely NO idea what’s to come after that.

A few years ago, I’d tell people, “Oh yeah, I need to lose weight, but I wouldn’t want to lose THAT much…I think I’d look healthiest as a size 16—12 minimum.”

Well…I’m not a 16 any more, and I’m fitting into 12’s easy peasy. And it’s not good enough.

I’m scared because I have no idea what I’m going to look like and how I’m going to change. I’m only now beginning to know who I am without the extra 85 pounds. Who will I be once I lose another 40? How will I deal with rejection? How will I deal with attention?

And that’s what I dropped on my meeting. I don’t know WHY I said all that stuff, because certainly most of the people there must have been freaked out by my TMI, but it felt right. And it felt good to sort of get it out. It was really emotional, and almost freeing in a way. However, this is still stuff I’m going to have to deal with.

I don’t have a warm-fluffy ending to this blog post, but my point is, I’m scared, and I’m allowed to be scared. What I’m not allowed to do, however, is to sabotage myself, consciously or unconsciously. So I guess that means no more Bacon Toffee….

Bacon Toffee (not for the slight of character)

Ingredients:

• 1 pound (or more) of bacon
• 2 cups butter
• 2 cups white sugar
• 1/4 tsp. salt
• 2 cups chocolate chips (or, you know, an entire bag)

Directions:

Cook bacon until it’s crisp. Depending on how bacony you want this toffee, you might want to cook a pound and a half or two pounds. Once it’s cooked and drained, cut or break up into small pieces. Spread pieces of bacon out over a cookie sheet that’s covered in waxed paper.

Next, in a large heavy bottomed saucepan, combine the butter, sugar, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring until the butter is melted. Allow to come to a boil, and cook until the mixture becomes a dark amber color, and the temperature has reached 285 degrees F (137 degrees C). Stir occasionally.

As soon as the toffee reaches the proper temperature, pour it out onto the prepared baking sheet, covering the delicious and crisp bacon. Sprinkle the chocolate chips over the top, and let it set for a minute or two to soften. Spread the chocolate into a thin even layer once it is melted.

Place the cookie sheet and toffee in the fridge to set. This might take about 45 minutes to harden. Once it’s hardened, break into pieces, and try to control yourself.

For WW people, don’t even go here. It has a lot of points. Even if you make 32 servings.