Thursday, October 27, 2011

The "D" Word.

Yeah.  The “D” word.  Go ahead – guess which one it is.

Dresses?  Dorky?  Does she mean a swear word?  No, dumby…  Oh -that’s a D-word, too…

Dating.  I hate that word.  When I think of dating, I think of some awkward, lame thing you do for an evening with some person you’ve barely just met, and a bunch of annoying, stupid things and whatnot.  Do I sound like a bratty little teenager?  WELL – you don’t  date anyone properly for, like, 7 years and we’ll see how far you regress.  I haven’t been interested in anyone in a very, very, very long time.  It’s partly because I just haven’t, but I’m also pretty sure it’s because I’ve been pulling an ostrich, too. 

The idea of "dating" makes me about as comfortable as this video's business-man-by-day-wild-man-by-night, Maurice, and scrawny-wouldn't-have-made-it-as-a-viking Fred.  For lots of reasons.

Before you lose weight, it’s very easy to think, “Gee, golly – when I lose weight, I’ll be one pretty desirable hepcat!  It’ll be so much easier then!  Everything will just magically work out because I’m thinner – HOORAY!”

Well, I very well may be one desirable hepcat.  But this is another side of me I've kept safely hidden behind my steadily deteriorating wall of flubber.  Like many other things I've talked with you guys about, getting back in touch with it causes more of that annoying but liberating self-realization/growth nonsense.  I really am a pro at keeping things away that might hurt my heart.

I’ve never been one of those girls who embraced their size.  There are plenty of beautiful, strong, fantastic women who have.  I have never been comfortable with my physical body.  I’ve always known how to dress well – hide the funny bits and flatter the good ones…  I’ve never been shy, and I’ve always liked the things that are intrinsically me.  At times, I've thought that my personality and "coolness" were great enough to help people overlook my physical shortcomings, but I don't think I've ever really felt that it's possible for me to find love without fixing my exterior. 

Actually, what I really thought was that there was no way I would be able to meet someone great. I would either have to be single, or put up with someone gross enough to settle for me.  So, I’d rather be alone. 

Do I feel this way about people other people?  No.  Do we all say horrible, awful things to ourselves that we would never say to another person?  Abso-freaking-lutely.  The thought of someone saying things like that to a person I care about gives me the instant urge to cause them physical pain.  A couple of times.  But, somehow, it is always perfectly acceptable when trying to fairly, realistically analyze myself. 

So, I suppose I was right.  My exterior did have to change, but not for the destructive reasons I'd convinced myself of, and not to make me worthy of love.  Things at my core had to be shaken, rearranged, and sorted out so that I could be capable of accepting love should it happen to come my way.

So, when will it happen for me?  When will I finally meet someone again?

Who knows?  I look forward to it, but I don't care when.  For now, I am happy learning to love myself little by little.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Good eats, and only 220 calories.

Eating healthy has helped me get a lot more creative with food.  Flavors, textures, new ingredients  - great flavor doesn't have to be bad for you!  Experimentation is exciting and, so far, pretty rewarding.  Here's my latest concoction.

Without the appetizer, the entire meal is only 220 calories.  If you feel like gettin' crazy and adding the appetizer, the entire deal is still only 399 calories!  Serves four, by the way.

Le Bonne Vie tomato basil goat
cheese & "Everything" Pretzel Crisps .
1oz Le Bonne Vie tomato & basil goat cheese (1/4 of a small log)
11 Everything Pretzel Crisps

Dinner Ingredients:
1 spaghetti squash
1 can Red Gold petite diced tomatoes
5 cloves garlic 
1/2 a medium sized onion (about 3" diameter)
1 green pepper
1 tomato
2 Bruce Aidells artichoke & garlic sausages
1 small box (about 8oz) of mushrooms
2 tsp herbs de province
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp oregano
healthy sprinkling of pepper & dash of sea salt (to your liking)

Chop up your veggies.  I left mine in big chunks this time.  I love it when garlic isn't finely chopped!  You don't have to use a fresh tomato, but I really like big pieces of fresh vegetables mixed in.

Cut the squash in half, take out the seeds, and lay it flat (skin side up) on a plate. Not a bad idea to throw a bit of water into it before you flip it over and lay it down - makes it moist.  

Cut the sausages into about 1cm thick slices and cook for a couple of minutes on each side with the chopped onion in a large sauce pan.  

Now, get the squash cookin'!  Microwave it for 12 minutes.  If you can run a fork through it like a comb, scoop it out into a bowl and have a bite to see if you're happy with the texture.  I'd prefer mine to be a hair crunchy rather than mushy.  If it's mushy, it loses it's awesome spaghetti-ness.  

Stir your canned tomato, real tomato, mushrooms, garlic, green pepper, and spices into the sauce pan and cook until veggies are partly done.  Take the lid off for the rest of the time and let simmer so that some of the water evaporates the sauce gets thicker.  I'm sure there are technical terms for these things, I just know that it tastes better when it's less liquidy!

Serve it up, and enjoy!

Nutrition info:
Calories - 220
Carbs - 26
Fat - 8
Protein - 14
Fiber - 7
Sodium - 680, not including sea salt
Click here for cheese nutrition info, and here for pretzels.

Nov. 11, 2011 - NOTE!  Spaghetti squash definitely turns out better if you bake it.  Cut it in half and put it skin-side-up on a baking pan and into the oven.  It's fine in the microwave, but if you've got the time, bake it for an hour or so at 350.  You can even do it in advance & leave it in the skin, then scrape out & warm when you're ready to eat it!  The texture's better.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I. Love. Clothes.

Shopping in Chicago before Christmas, 2004.
I really do love clothes.  Even during my during my misguided phases of poor clothing choices, my love of shopping and clothing has remained steadfast.  I’ve joked many a time in the past that maybe I was meant to be overweight, because if I were skinny, I’d be in serious shopping trouble.  Funnily enough, losing weight has curbed my shopping appetite.  Somewhat.  

Actually, after typing that last sentence, I came to a bit of a realization.  It would seem that my shopping habits have changed quite similarly to my eating habits.  I don’t need to buy whatever I can because it’s all that’s available to me.  Now, I have more options.  Better options! 

I assumed, pre-weightloss, that I’d go hog wild with all the clothing that would be available to me.  Turns out, just the opposite is true.  I think I shopped before with a kind of frenzy, thinking, “I’ve got to get this, because what else can I get?!?!”  Now if I see something I like, that urgency has dissipated greatly because it’s so much easier to find even more things I like. 

The ability to be choosey is much more satisfying than buying a bunch of things simply because I can.

If I could splurge, though, I would.   I’m going to visit my brothers in Chicago this weekend, and you bet your bum I’ll be doing some shopping!  I love the Forever 21 plus size line, so I visit the website often, then hit up the store when I’m in Chicago.  Especially at the rate I shrink out of things these days, I love how trendy-but-non-committal Forever 21 allows me to be.  I won’t be broken-hearted if I spend under $20 on something cool that just lasts me this winter.  I’m pretty fickle when it comes to clothes anyway.  The likelihood of me wearing something a few years in a row is pretty slim.

Here’s a bit of a Pinterest wishlist for this fall, and down below are a few of my favorites from ASOS Curve right now.  What are some of your must-have fall items?  Are you a scarf and jacket addict like me, or what floats your boat?  Comment!  And if you’ve got something awesome to share, you’d better have a link so the rest of us can gawk, too.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

70 Pounds - Gone to the Fishes.

I was hoping that I might hit 70 pounds when I weighed myself this week, but I wasn't planning on it.  I had 2 pounds to go, and couldn't tell if I'd hit my next 10lb benchmark.  Sure enough, I lost 3.2 pounds, which puts me at a total of 71.1 total pounds lost since mid-March.  I'm only 19 pounds away from losing 30 by the time I turn 30 on December 19th!  The funny thing is, I wasn't all that excited about it.  My reaction was more, "Ahhh, yes!  Good.  Now on to 80."  I hadn't thought about a reward of any kind.

The first time I purposely rewarded myself for my weight loss, I’d planned on getting sushi on the way home from church.  But just as I thought it, I was about to pass the Kalamazoo County Fairground and remembered the record & cd expo was happening right that very afternoon.  Sushi smushi – records win every time.  So, I ended up spending quite a bit more than I would have on sushi, but I celebrated in good company.

Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, Little Anthony and the Imperials, The Left Banke and more…  It was like Thanksgiving dinner – my ears’ tastebuds were beyond satisfied, bellies full and ready to take a nap while being sung to sleep by Nat King Cole’s “Stardust.” 

Funnily enough, the first thing I thought
when I saw this photo was, "OH MY GOSH -
my wrist and arm look NORMAL!"
This time, however, my belly was literally stuffed (but not too much) with tuna, yellowtail, salmon, and other lovely little bits of cucumber, avocado, cream cheese and asparagus.  With a healthy dose of wasabi, of course.

After treating myself to the records when I hit 40 pounds, I decided that it was much more satisfying rewarding myself with non-edible things.  But, my “Faux Aunt” Peggy texted me Monday and asked if I wanted to get sushi. 

Yes.  Yes I would.  And I did.  And it was delicious and wonderful. 

I guess, of all the edible things you could splurge on, sushi isn’t the guiltiest of pleasures.  Or at least that’s what I’m telling myself…  But, it was fun hanging out with Peggy and having this well-deserved treat.  And, hey – if I can’t reward my progress with a treat after breaking the 70 pounds mark, when will I?  It was one of those times where I had to lighten up, stop overthinking things, and enjoy.

The funny thing is, the next day I woke up and felt different.  I felt lighter, actually.  SO, I weighed myself and I really was lighter.  Two pounds lighter.  It doesn’t count, though – not until my official weekly weigh in on Monday morning. 

The point is, the world does not end because you treat yourself every once in a while.  And I needed some delicious fish and that extra little weigh in on Tuesday morning to remind me of this. 

So, here are some photos to celebrate me having moved on from the hippies, and being forced into disco.  I’ve got leg warmers, spandex and neon headed my way soon…  Just you wait.  

My new size 16 jacket from Mom!
Got it at Sears.  Sears'll surprise you...
Shirt from Old Navy
Already too big!
Size 18 Style & Co jeans from
Macy's. Also loose!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Little Victories and Black Eyes

There are little things I do all the time that I would've been too hesitant to do before losing weight.  Sometimes I realize while I'm deciding to do something I haven't done in a while.  Sometimes it's a happy surprise right while I'm in the midst of it.  And other times, I don't realize until afterwards.  Whichever it is, it's always satisfying.  Pushing yourself is rewarding.  You simply must try it.  

"Like what?" you might ask...

Well, Sunday afternoon it was playing on the playset in my parents' back yard like I was five years old again with my five year old cousin.  Up, down, all around.  In the fort, out of the fort.  On the swing, off the swing.  

And...  I got to introduce my little cousin to swinging upside-down.  That adorable little goober will never look at a swing set the same way again.  

I would have been way too timid to do it before.  But now?  What-ev.  It’s not that I was too scared to be upside-down, I just felt less in-control of my body and what might happen.  There was a whole lot of me to handle!  I have so much less self doubt, and so more much physical freedom.  

My little cousin and I ended up swinging, feet up in the air, so that each time we'd swing back, we were facing each other.  So, I said, "Helloooooo, sir!"  And then it went a bit like this...

Me: "Helloooooo, sirrr!"
Him: "Hellooo!"
Me:  "Mighty fine day we're having, yes?"
Him:  "Yes! Are you having a good day?"
Me:  "Yes, indeeeed!"
Him:  "Me, tooo!"
Me:  "Perfect day for swinging upside-down don't you think?"
Him:  "Yes!  Helloooooooo!"

It.  Was.  GREAT!!!  Oh, man, do I ever love kids.  And upside down silliness.  

In all my grand, childish bliss, I did manage to forget how all the blood rushing to my face for - ehhhh, quite a while, could result in blackish eyes and a handful of small blood vessels breaking in my face.  Oh well - well-earned battle scars from my latest little victory!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

And her heart grew three sizes that night…

Me, pre-weighing-myself last Christmas,
with my own grinchin' reindeer-pup.

The more weight I lose, the more I learn about myself.  As it turns out, it may not always be something I want to learn about myself.  I have been trying to write about this all week, but I’m not very good at talking about matters of the heart.  Lately, there’s been a steady increase in the frequency of me feeling like I’m wearing a poorly made Santa costume with a little reindeer-pup looking on as my heart slowly expands. 

I have no problem with getting a little weepy every time I watch Sleepless in Seattle, after those darn Folgers commercials, or from a song that blindsides me…  I’ve heard Debussy’s Claire De Lune at least a hundred times, but it just came on and still managed to choke me up.

But the real things – the big things – they’re mine, all mine.  I’ve kept them all to myself in a somewhat precarious, secret tree fort surrounded by a surprisingly reliable wall made of flubber. 

I don’t like to be weak.  I don’t like to be vulnerable.  I do not like it when my heart is affected by things I cannot control.  I’m beginning to realize that my fat has proven to be a rather effective fortress.  This flubber fortress works similarly to the “premature failure” that I’ve mentioned before, but guards the things that could get hurt if I don’t prematurely fail effectively enough. 

It seems like the more I shrink, the more of me there is.  There’s less to hide behind.  Before long, I won’t have the fat to blame or hide behind anymore, and there will just be Sarah.  I have inadvertently suffocated parts of myself for far too long, and through some crack in this ridiculous wall I’ve put up, they’ve gotten just enough air to try to break out.  My heart is softening.   It’s wonderful, but it’s also scary.  Fixing my exterior really is just bringing to light the interior problems at the root of it all. 

I stopped by my parents earlier in the week, and my Grandma had sent me a note saying how she is proud of me and my progress.  My dad and I talked for a moment afterwards, and he said how scary it is for a parent worrying they might outlive their child, both figuratively and literally, and that my whole being really had changed.

He’s right.  My whole being is changing, and I’m experiencing some growing pains, but it’s worth it.