Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Where's that wagon I just fell off of?

It's a good thing I have a sense of humor. I don't always remember to use it, but it's coming in handy today.

I completely fell off the diet-and-exercise wagon yesterday and today. Yesterday I stuck with the food plan, but ditched the workout. Today I made a halfhearted attempt at a workout (20 minutes with The Biggest Loser DVD), and have eaten like it was my last meal.

I learned during my time with Overeaters Anonymous not to name the foods, lest that trigger someone else's binge. So I won't. Suffice it to say I need to stop eating sugar again.

One thing I've been doing that probably isn't such a great idea is fixing something that I don't have to pay much attention to, and then eating it in front of the computer. We play a lot of solitaire here, my computer and I. I think it's a symptom of depression, but I could be wrong about that.

I'm not wrong, though, that I need to put a decent meal on a plate and eat it at a table. I will allow myself to read a magazine while I eat. But I'm vowing right now to stop eating in my office.

Since I spend a good 10 hours a day in the office, that will eliminate a lot of mindless eating!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Why yes, thank you, I am

I got a piece of spam e-mail this morning with the subject line of "are you pathetic."

So it's Monday, and this is Official eDiets Weigh-in Day for me and I gained two pounds.

I checked my food/exercise logs carefully, and calculated that I ate an average of 1088 calories per day. I walked and/or worked out every single day last week. Every Day! I think I figured that last week, when I showed a five-pound loss, I ate about slightly less than 1000 calories each day. So I ate about 700 calories more this week and exercised three days more (I just checked) and gained two pounds? How does that work?

Any normal human being should lose something eating less than 1200 calories a day and exercising every day.

I guess the operative word here is "normal."

I had every intention of posting a progress picture today, but I just can't do it. I feel like there's been no progress at all.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

A little knitting

No, I don't spend all my time working out and eating healthfully. I currently have two knitting projects going.

My FLAK progress can be found on my Young at Heart websit
e. The other project is called Optically Delusional, from a Jamieson's book called "Simply Knit." At left is a glimpse of the progress on the back. This is going to be one flattering jacket when it's finished, I think.

I think I mentioned previously that this starts out with two triangles, which are then joined together. On the right-side rows you increase at each end and decrease on either side of the center marker, keeping the stitch count the same and making the back a big square (I think – I've not gotten that far yet). I actually want it to be a rectangle – longer than it is wide – so I'll have to figure that out when I get to it.

My weight stayed the same this morning. My official eDiets weigh-in is Monday, which works well for me. If I were a social butterfly with lots of weekend activities, it might be more difficult to stay on plan on Saturday and Sunday. As it is, my sweetie is home and we usually walk together outside when the weather is good. He's as interested in maintaining his weight (or even losing a little) as I am in reaching my goal, so we work well together on the weekends.

As long as he doesn't ask for brownies.

Friday, January 27, 2006

I was never very good in science

I must say this experiment with wheat ... or, rather, without wheat ... is challenging.

The eDiet plan includes whole-wheat bread, soft-flour tortillas, Triscuits, flatbreads, etc., two or three times a day. Eliminating those foods without a substitute certainly decreases calorie intake. And that's what I've been doing, because I live in the Middle of Nowhere, where asking for gluten-free bread is a foreign concept. They do like their bread around here. Wheat bread. And mostly it doesn't need to be whole wheat. [Whole-wheat biscuits? Eeeeeewww.]

But the experiment seems to be working. One of the two pounds is gone this morning, thankyouverymuch, and I haven't really suffered.

Last night I was supposed to have a pita pizza, so instead I just grilled the vegetables, subbed chicken for the cheese and threw it atop some brown rice. It's wheat I'm eliminating, not grains. But I'm sure not eating many grains, either.

My guilty little secret is that I've been completely sucked in by "The Biggest Loser." (A friend – you know who you are – asked if that made me a sucker. I guess it does!) I looked forward to it all day Wednesday. I do maintain that real-life people living real life can't possibly lose 21 pounds in one week, as the 16-year-old daughter of the diner family did. But I gotta tell you I was thrilled for her, and more than a little envious.

Having perfectly portioned, healthy meals prepared for you, and having either of those trainers put you through your paces would be a wonderful way to jump-start a weight-loss effort.

After last week's episode I ordered the workout tape, and it came two days ago. That hunky Bob puts you through your paces in four different workouts over six weeks. The tape was fun to do, with real former Biggest Losers backing him up and demonstrating. I chose to begin at the beginning, with the less challenging workout, and I was whipped at the end of it. Am I really that out of shape? I guess I am. Walking almost every day doesn't provide the cardiovascular conditioning you need for the beginner routine.

I can't imagine how hard the Boot Camp routine is. I'll let you know next month.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


Let's just call it an experiment gone awry. Or amok. Or one of those "a" words normal people don't use in normal conversations.

Yesterday's lunch was grilled chicken, peppers and onions on a whole-wheat soft flour tortilla. And one of yesterday's snacks included Triscuits. And today I am up TWO pounds. I definitely think eliminating wheat is one more thing I need to do.

I'm trying not to be discouraged. It was an experiment, after all. And it seems to have worked. Especially considering that my calorie intake yesterday was 924 and my calorie burn (20-minute workout with weights, 35-minute walk, 30 minutes mopping the floors) was more than 500. Very similar numbers for Monday, as well.

eDiets has me eating a cheese/tomato/avocado sandwich for breakfast. I think not! I'm going to substitute another of their breakfast meals and hope for the best.

Did I mention I'm trying not to be discouraged? Hmmmm.

Knitting: Made some good progress on the Optically Delusional yesterday morning and started Part 4 of the FLAK yesterday afternoon.

Monday, January 23, 2006

I'm almost afraid to report it

My official weigh-in day at eDiets is every Monday. I weigh myself every day, so I was pretty sure I'd be able to log a loss this morning. I did not, however, expect to be five pounds (5!) lighter than I was last Monday.

I went through my food/exercise journals and calculated that I ate an average of 990 calories per day. Some days more, some days less. Yesterday was a lot less, as I forgot to eat breakfast. I also walked four days, including four miles yesterday.

However, I've done this before (low calories and exercising) and not lost a pound. The difference this week is that in addition to not eating sugar, I also did not eat bread. The only bread I've been eating is whole wheat, and always combined with protein (per the eDiet Glycemic Impact Plan), but apparently even that is Something I Must Not Touch.

Now I know that in order to have long-term success, the "experts" recommend not eliminating any food, but learning to eat it in moderation. I've eliminated sugar previously, for a period of five years, and felt much, much better without it. I've never eliminated bread before. And I wonder if it's just wheat, or grains in general. I have eaten brown rice a couple of times this week.

My first former mother-in-law (there are three) used to tell me that whenever she wanted to lose weight, all she ate was meat and salad. It worked for her, and I'm sure continues to. She's in her 70s now. The last time I saw her was nearly a year ago, and she looks terrific. No weight-related health issues at all.

I subscribe to an e-newsletter called (I think) Weight Loss for Women over 40. The author suggested when you reach a small milestone to reward yourself with a food treat. I challenged her on that; my philosophy is that my rewards should most definitely not be food-related! She said recent studies (which she didn't cite) indicate that rewarding with food actually helps and reiterated the "don't eliminate any food" mantra.

Different strokes for different folks, I guess. I have to find/do what works for me. Could not eating bread – the staff of life, fercryinoutloud!, be yet another key?

Knitting stuff: I started a new project yesterday, since Janet won't be posting the next FLAK installment until tomorrow. I love Optically Delusional from Jamieson's "Simply Knit." I can't find a photo on the web to link to, so I'll post a scan in the next day or two.

When I bought the book, probably three years ago, I decided to substitute a machine-washable wool for the Jameison's Shetland, and I might regret that. I'm using Debbie Bliss Merino DK, which is knitting up nicely but will probably stretch upon wearing. This is an oversized kimono-style jacket. I'm making the smaller size, but will end up somewhere between the smaller and larger, which is what I want. It's easy-peasy so far – start with a couple garter-stitch triangles which will be joined together to create a diagonally striped piece for the back. One front is diagonally striped, the other is horizontal. Sleeves are (I think) knit separately and sewn on, but you can bet I'll be picking up and knitting down. I might just make two diagonal front pieces. The horizontal piece ends in a point, making the jacket asymmetrical, and I'm just not fashionable enough to pull that off.

Especially here, in the Middle of Nowhere.

Breakfast today is a vegetable omelet, wheat bread and strawberries. Guess who won't be eating the bread?

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Dare I say it out loud?

When I weighed myself this morning I was down two pounds. I feel like I'm jinxing myself by writing it down here. That makes four pounds lost since Dec. 29, and that, to me, seems reasonable. Not enough for the amount of food I've eaten (or not) and activity I've accomplished, but enough for my body, which seems to want to stay fat no matter what I do. And believe me, four pounds lost in 24 days still makes me fat. But if I can keep up this rate of loss, I should be svelte by next Valentine's Day.

I'm not saying that to be a smart-ass. I'm going to be living and breathing, God willing, for the next year anyway. If it takes that long to reach this long-sought-after goal, then it takes that long. What else have I got to do with that time? Slow and steady wins the race. Maybe I should choose a turtle for my profile photo, instead of my own pudgy face.

On to the knitting. Here are very bad before and after photos of the two pairs of recently finished clogs. The after photo particularly sucks – bad lighting and I most certainly moved while I hit the shutter. And I should have been more careful about the distance. And I should have had the brown one on the left in both shots. But you get the idea. They're just clogs (men's large, women's medium):

I also finished the cable swatch for the FLAK last night, although I was lazy and only did 12 rows of all the cables. Haven't blocked it yet, so no photo. Second saddle today. Janet says the next installment won't be posted until Tuesday, so I think I'm going to swatch some plain-vanilla light-worsted stash wool for the Diagonal Kimono (scroll down a little to see the photo) from Jamieson's Shetland Knitting Book. I like the four-color version, but might change it to three colors. The gauge is 5spi on size 6 needles using Jamieson's DK. I routinely get 5 spi on size 6 with worsted, so I hope I can get this to work out. I'm just not sure I want a mostly cream-colored jacket, and that's what my stash wool is.

But wouldn't it be elegant in cream with periwinkle and sage accents? And wouldn't I look great in it next Valentine's Day?

Thursday, January 19, 2006

Complete and utter frustration

First, Sarah and Steve were the Biggest Losers! I was rooting for them. Now onto the post du jour.

A Pogo (Walt Kelly) quote, pertinent to my struggle:

"It is not good enough for things to be planned – they still have to be done; for the intention to become a reality, energy has to be launched into operation."

So. eDiets is the food plan, and it's working well. Meaning I'm not having trouble preparing or eating the food, nor am I particularly hungry at any time. The Glycemic Impact goal is to keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the day. While I don't check my blood sugar levels, I would assume if I got really hungry, as in hypoglycemic-attack hungry, my level would be low. That certainly hasn't happened.

Launching my energy into operation has been more difficult, mostly because my mood has been so low, resulting in low energy levels as well. And why has my mood been low? Well, you try eating about 1200 calories a day for three weeks, with the intention of losing a couple pounds a week, and only lose two. Day after day after day, I get on the scale hoping for a lower number, and it stays the same. No matter what I eat.

Yesterday I actually did show a one-pound loss. I'd eaten only 808 calories the day before, and had not gotten any intentional exercise. Yesterday I walked two miles on the treadmill and mopped the floors (a BIG job!), with a calorie intake of 1021. I'd have been satisfied to stay the same. Hell, I'd have been thrilled to stay the same. But of course I gained that pound back again.

I realize that day-to-day one-pound fluctuations aren't a gauge of true weight loss. And I also realize that the number on the scale shouldn't dictate my mood. But it does. Some say you shouldn't weigh yourself every day, but research contradicts that.

I used to use FitDay to track calories and exercise, but you have to be online to use it. (They do have a standalone product for Windows users; I'm a Mac girl through and through.) I looked around for a program that would run on my computer, and found Calorie Tracker. It's not as great as FitDay, but I'm on dial-up and it's a pain to connect and log in every time I want to record a food or activity.

So Calorie Tracker does the same thing, except in order to start a new day you have to record your weight. The program calculates your required calories for weight loss based on your progress from the previous day.

I don't know whether to go back to using FitDay or not. I'm so discouraged right now, I just don't know. If that number every morning is going to do me in like it's done today, then is it useful? On the other hand, if the research shows that daily weigh-ins are a Good Thing, shouldn't I try to overcome the emotional defeat I feel when it's not the number I hope and expect to see?

I'm tired of thinking about it.

Here's what happened outside my east-facing windows this morning. It was much more gorgeous in person:

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The perfect storm

"Our problem is not lack of knowing; it is the lack of doing." – Mark Hatfield

This was today's daily motivational quote here.

And yes, I've bookmarked the site and will visit it daily, because Lord knows I need all the motivation I can get.

You see, I think I'm doing enough. I'm tracking my calories and exercising moderately. I'm careful not to eat sugar and to choose lower-fat alternatives when they are available. My snacks are planned and healthy. eDiets wouldn't have it any other way.

I do not want to get to the point where I'm exercising like a maniac. My theory (and I can find no one who agrees with me, except a couple sympathetic friends) is that when I was working out hard two hours every day, my metabolism got used to that. When I moved and basically cut my workouts in half (because after all, who can run two hours a day, and that was my exercise option when I quit going to the gym), I started gaining. Also at that time I stopped smoking (yeah for me!), and smoking revs up one's metabolism, too. Add to that the fact that we all get older, and our metabolism slows naturally, and I started eating sugar again, and I was in the Perfect Storm of Weight Unmanageability.

And I've been there for about four years now, I think. I did lose slightly less than 20 pounds a couple summers ago, on Weight Watchers, but inexplicably stopped and then started gaining again. The Christmas before last I threw caution to the wind, ate whatever I wanted over the holidays and have stayed at or near 200 pounds ever since.

I suppose maintaining for a year would, in some circles, be considered a Good Thing. But maintaining 65 pounds more than I want is most definitely a Bad Thing.

It's almost 10 a.m. and all I've had today is coffee. I need to have some breakfast and go hit the treadmill. I did my crunches this morning – it's so much more fun doing crunches on the exercise ball than on the floor.

Speaking of storms, the snow flurries are falling horizontally today, rather than vertically. No accumulation expected. It's quite windy and I'd really rather not leave my house. But the treadmill is in the garage.

A whole 50 yards away, by my feeble estimation. Suck it up, girl!

Monday, January 16, 2006

And why won't it go away?

I really wanted this blog to be one of success and triumph. I am committed to losing this weight. To that end, I am exercising nearly every day and following my eDiets food plan. Did I choose the wrong plan? I really have felt for a long time that I am insulin-resistant, and thought the Glycemic Impact plan was the right one. And I did lose three pounds right away. But one has returned and won't be banished. I'm starting the third week with a total loss of two pounds. I could cry.

But that won't do any more good than the current plan. I just couldn't be any more discouraged.

Took some photos of recently completed things. The little blue-and-cream pullover will be mailed to my son and his wife tomorrow, and they will give it to their neighbors when their little one is born. It's too warm for Mike to wear his cardigan (it's a wool/alpaca blend), but he said he likes it and it fits him. The cardigan was started around the second week of December, I think, and the pullover was done in less than a week. I do love that Wallaby pattern! Very easy knitting, perfect for football-watching.

I made a pair of Fiber Trends Felted Clogs the last two days, and have a second pair started. My daughter-in-law has turned some of her friends on to these clogs; these will end up in Georgia.

I haven't had breakfast yet, only coffee. Must go get something to eat. Today's breakfast is supposed to be cottage cheese and fruit, I think. Sometimes I think I should just eat a scoop of dog kibble twice a day and be done with it.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

From whence did it come?

That pound I gained.

After I lost three, I'm up one, even while sticking to the eDiets plan and exercising two out of the last four days.

I read several dieting blogs daily. The best, by far, is Skinny Daily. Thought-provoking, introspective and three different points of view (although JuJu has been absent much of the past six months or so). They've been talking about the soothing, dessert-like qualities of a cup of tea – specifically chai tea – lately. I've just never gotten into tea, but I've been trying.

Somehow a brownie seems more "dessert-like" to me. Mike asked for "something sweet" last night and there was a box of brownie mix in the pantry. Yes, I had a small piece. So now I have to start the no-sugar/no-white-flour thing all over again. I won't even go into the sabotage aspects of his request. But I did say the word out loud, as we waited for them to bake.

Mike assumes I'm adult enough to resist the temptation of a pan of warm brownies. And while I acknowledge that I certainly should be, I am not.

It is what it is. Or, rather, I am what I am.

But I'm still figuring out who, exactly, that is.

Knitting: I finished the cream-and-blue Wallaby last night. I need to wash and block it before I take its picture. And I did the swatch (second time) for the FLAK. I think I did the first swatch on the same needles, but I ripped it out before I finished it, thinking the yarn I was using (Briggs & Little Regal) was too thin for the project. Silly me. It's perfect. Blocked out to a precise 22 st/28 rows/4 inches, and the lighter weight will be much more wearable in my climate. So I'll be knitting an Aran sweater for my big bad self on size 4 needles. Is that crazy or what?

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Losing for geezers

Confession time. I watched The Biggest Loser last night.

The only "reality" television I've ever watched is the first two episodes of The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. And that's only because I talked to her up close and personal almost every Monday night when she was at Alderson. But two episodes were enough – I guess I just don't care for the genre.

But I'd heard from someone, or read somewhere, that TBL (hmm, as a knitter that looks like "through the back loop" to me) was inspiring. I wasn't sleepy at 9 p.m. and nothing else looked appealing so I gave it a try.

One thing that bugged me (and the same thing bugged me about TA:MS) is how those contestants can be so "out there" with the cameras rolling. The cameraman must have some seriously long lenses. Maybe the type of person chosen for reality TV just likes being vulnerable in front of 20 million viewers. (I made that up; I have no idea the size of the audience.)

So last night was a competition between two engaged couples. I have to say that by the end of the hour I was rooting for one of the couples, and they did end up losing the greater percentage of weight. So they get a romantic honeymoon at a couples resort. After two weeks of boot camp, they're sent home to continue working out and dieting on their own. They'll come back after several months and whoever loses the most wins a $50,000 dream wedding.

Now that's some incentive.

I'll probably tune in for Part II, to see if Steve and Sarah are able to follow through.

Was it inspiring? I think it was. One thing is for sure, I did not snack while I was watching! And I'll be working more with weights, as I know that's definitely something I need to do to increase the efficiency of my non-existent metabolism. I didn't really relate to any of the four competitors – they were all in their early 20s and they were all about getting thin for the wedding.

What happens after that? If they're like I was after I lost weight, they'll start adding this and that, cutting back on workouts and they'll end up on The Biggest Geezer Loser.

Which is a show that would really inspire me.

Knitting update: Finished the body and sleeves of the pullover, and have started the neck ribbing. I'm doing a hood on this one, and will get a good start on that today, I think.

After I work out.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Hoping this helps

I hope that regular posting here, with monthly photo updates, will help motivate me to finally lose the weight I've gained since I moved to West Virginia eight years ago. When I moved here I was trim, fit and healthy. I could run six miles without stopping, on the mountain road on which I live, and was lifting weights regularly. I was strong.

Today, I feel unfit, weak and horrible. My weight is a constant – I am never not thinking about it. I don't like living like this and I intend to succeed this year.

To that end, I joined eDiets, and chose the Glycemic Impact plan. I've long felt I was insulin-resistant, after trying and failing at many, many eating plans. It was easier for me to have eDiets provide a list of what to eat on a daily basis, rather than try to figure out correct combinations of food on my own. And the price is quite reasonable. I've lost three pounds since December 29, 2005, so at least the first two weeks of food plans worked, even though I wasn't able to stick with it last week while I was at my daughter's.

At any rate, the "before" picture was taken last Tuesday and will be updated around the first of each month. Weekly progress won't be worth looking at, and will more than likely just depress me.

Why is this blog called The Shrinking Knitter? Because "shrinking" is only part of my life. I've been knitting since I was nine years old, taught by my grandfather's stepmother. I've put it down for only one extended period, when I had carpal tunnel problems and felt it was more important to work (I'm a graphic designer) than to knit. After I had the surgery, I picked it back up and haven't stopped since. I've designed a few things on my own, and am not sure if I'll continue to do that, or just enjoy knitting.

So. That's it – first post of the umpteenth blog (I love trying out blogging services, but rarely follow through).