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In which I take a weight-loss victory lap …

I have an announcement — not one that you may even care to know, except I care, and if you knew me, you’d know what a big deal this is.

As of today, I have now lost 25.6 pounds!

This means that I have crossed a minor milestone. That’s some significant weight, people. I still have a long way to go. Obviously. But I feel transformed enough by this achievement that I will break my silence about it.

What prompted this: Although I have a heart condition, I have not had a weight-related heath issue. I am no where near being diabetic. I have the lowest cholesterol in my family practice. My blood pressure has always been low. I have had, until last year, no reason to lose weight except for cosmetic reasons. Then last year, I was diagnosed with esophageal ulcers. I had to have not one — but two endoscopies. Even now I’m sleeping on a wedge pillow and taking additional medication, and in December, I had a bought of gastritis that had me in the Orlando hospital for nine hours. I mean, I’m in my 30s! This is ridiculous! So January, I started the year feeling fairly low. My mother, who was on the fringe of high sugar levels, asked me to do this diet with her. So, I agreed.

Some of you already know about my diet, as you’ve seen me eating a bar at lunch instead of a meal. I started this in mid-January, and now it’s May. I go to the Diet Center in downtown Cary to weigh in twice a week, and — full disclosure — my meal plan involves:

  • Breakfast: Shape Up shake, 12 oz of water, coffee
  • Lunch: Shape Up bar, 12-16 oz water, 100 calorie yogurt
  • (Exercise: 16 oz of water)
  • Dinner: 4 oz of white meat (or 8 oz of any shell fish), as much veggies as I want, small potato or sweet potato, 12 oz of water, coffee
  • Snack: Fruit, Shake Up shake, 12 oz of water
  • 12 oz of water to take my pills

So essentially, I have one real meal a day.

I’ve been saving tons of money on groceries, as I only skirt the perimeter of the store. What I mean is that I only pick up fruit and salad stuff from the produce aisle, hit the dairy section for coffee creamer, eggs, and yogurt, and then occasionally pick up frozen vegetables. That’s it.

Here are a few of my revelations since being on this diet:

Food: It’s really, really, really difficult to find a healthy meal. As in, forget about Italian, Indian, and Chinese food. Sushi, which I thought was very good for you, is wrapped in rice … which is a carb. I’m only officially allowed to have 4 sushi rolls, so what exactly is the point? With the exception of the shakes and bars I eat, I have had absolutely no processed food since January.

  • Favorite meals out: Grilled chicken salad at Red Robin, grilled chicken salad at Chic-Fil-A which I get every Friday, grilled chicken salad at Cheesecake factory (are we seeing a theme here?), snow crab legs at Red Lobster — sans any garlic cheese biscuits.
  • Favorite meals I make in: 4 egg omelet with veggies and tomatoes (the key ingredient), BBQ shrimp and green beans, air-popped popcorn with Parkay butter spray.

Purchases: So, I got a treadmill for my birthday which is revolutionizing my life. I’ve discovered that I am a treadmill reader, and I get antsy if I don’t get my 30 minutes (at least) of uninterrupted, quiet reading time. That means I’ve been blazing through my to-read novels. I read 3-4 chapters in one session, so I’m hoping to maybe read 2-3 books a month. All while sweating profusely. Ha!

Additionally, Mom and I have gotten to the point where our clothes are too big. We’re on a “too big” watch-list. If I see her in some saggy pants or tops, I tell her to toss them. Same for me. For instance, I had to go buy some new pants, because I was getting desperate. Next up (which may be TMI for people) are new bras. I can now put my fist into my bra while wearing it, and according to my measurements, I’m down two whole sizes.

Compliments: So, it’s only been recently that acquaintances are starting to say, “Wow, you’ve really lost weight.” I read someone’s post about how someone telling you that you look great having lost weight is a double-edged sword, because if you start to gain it back, does that mean you don’t look great anymore? But I don’t view this as, “You’ve lost weight, and now you have more value.” Instead, I view this as, “You’ve lost weight, and I’m recognizing your hard work.” While I have longingly looked at cute clothes that I’ve never been able to wear, I have never been someone who has focused on physical appearance. Maybe that’s to my ultimate detriment, but I do think this has instilled me with a healthy appreciation of what it means to look healthy. I don’t want to be stick thin; I just want to look and feel great.

That’s already happening. I have a LOT of energy, much more than I had last year. I’m taking the “grand tour” of bathrooms of everywhere I go. For instance, I was at Memorial Auditorium for a concert and hit the facilities three times. Nuts!

I still have a long way to go, but I’m definitely on my way. I’m going to look and feel completely different by October-December of this year!

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2012 Summary — And Light at the End of the Tunnel

I’m coming to you from the upstairs bedroom of my parents’ house. Today is my mother’s birthday, and to pseudo-surprise her, I’m staying overnight. I have an ulterior motive, however. Tomorrow morning, I am taking my sweet little dog to the vet to have a bladder stone removed. This is an open abdominal procedure, and he will have (most likely) a long recovery. That probably means I will be a tearful mess ala 8:30am. I just knew I couldn’t drop my terrified pup off at the vet overnight without a little support.

My dog’s sickness comes after a dying fridge debacle — which included the drama of a new delivered fridge breaking within three hours of said-installation — and a completely shattered half-bath mirror. As in, I opened the door and found myself staring at shards of mirror in the sink and all over the floor. I just … closed the door and ignored it for awhile.

I’m a singleton, so everything I do, I have to support myself. Nothing makes me more upset than when I cannot pay for something. My dog’s surgery is … hella expensive. Add on top of this the likely tax bill I’m going to get, because even though I’m by no means rich, I make too much for a single person. Does that make any sense? Then, the cherry on top is that glaring, yellow maintenance light that’s flashing in my car. With my luck, I have no doubt that will result in some enormous bill.

For about a week, I enjoyed being accepted to the Algonkian NYC Pitch Conference, which required an application. I had this elaborate dream of spending my birth-month doing something pro-active for my book … but that was before I got slammed with these expenses. I have no room in the budget for a trip to Manhattan. The good news is that I was told I could attend a later conference this year without having to reapply. That gives me time to save, because despite these setbacks, I refuse to go into debt.

So anyway, this has launched me into quests for freelance work. (If anyone knows of any, please let me know!) Right now, I have several irons in the fire, per se. Hopefully I can do my already exhausting regular job – and then do these additional jobs on the side to take care of all these expenses. Sigh.

But hark! What is that light on the horizon? I’m having some exciting work done on my house next week. Pictures I’m sure will follow.

And the really good news? Today, I got a request for my manuscript from a fairly prestigious agent. No doubt I will be scrambling to revise the book … yet again … in the coming days. You know, with all that free time I have?

But after attending a brand spanking new book club this week and submitting a ridiculous(ly fun) project for my weekly Triangle Writing group, I’m trying to tell myself that maybe I’m getting over the initial hump of 2012. Hopefully things will be much smoother in the coming days! Wish me luck, and pray that my little dog swiftly recovers from his surgery.

Hello from the sickbed

So, I survived Thanksgiving at my house and a work/fun trip to Orlando, despite a trip to the ER. Now I’m sitting bundled up in a blanket with a veritable sea of tissue boxes around me and a mountain of work to do.

I’m sad to say I did not complete Nano. I was full steam ahead on Book 2, until I got a rejection of Book 1. That took the wind out of my sails. I tried to switch projects, but plenty of real life business got in the way — as it always does this time of year (as in, CPT 2012 updates and five freelance articles and the December CodingCon conference in Orlando). Plus, I’ve been various degrees of ill. I’m not a fan of excuses, but I’m giving myself a break on this one.

I was productive in the reading department. I read The Name of the Star, Divergent, and am making headway on Among Others. Certainly in a YA mood.

In any case, I’m hoping to be well enough to go to my writing group Tuesday night, despite not submitting anything in ages. I need some writing inspiration!