How Much I Hate Losing Weight: Let Me Count the Weighs

I made the mistake of weighing myself last week. I’d been so good about the scale ever since January, even going so far as to put it away in the closet. Then it slipped back out again due to my curiosity (and subsequent consternation) sometime in May and now it’s back in the bathroom, waiting for our morning feet.

I kind of knew what to expect because my skirts have been sitting higher and my stomach has been looking a wee bit too paunchy. But seeing the number kind of hit me right where it hurts. 170. Ouch. I haven’t been that heavy since… actually I can’t even remember. I’ve hovered between 150-165 all of my adult life (let’s just not talk about middle school, okay?) and it was when I hit 165 right out of college that I knew I needed to do something about it.

(For context, I’m 5’9″)

The weird thing is that I don’t feel that heavy. When I was 165 back in the day, I actually felt chubby. I had a big ol’ paunch and flabby arms and hated everything about my body. Now I’m mostly cool with it. Granted, I’ve spent a lot of the intervening time just learning to love my body as it is, but also some of that time was focused on weightlifting, which has definitely left it’s mark.

That said, as much as I want to attribute the weight gain to pure muscular gain  (yeah!!) – because the scale can and does lie – the skirts do not lie. When your skirts start feeling too tight – especially a-line’s – then it’s probably time to take a sober look at your lifestyle and reevaluate. And, alas, I know exactly where this has all come from. I was very hesitant to restrict calories while we were TTC, so I might have gone off the other end. Add to that depression and slowly, but thoroughly, ditching cardio in favor of short lifting sessions… well.

All that needs to change. My wife has also gained a wee bit of weight and got a firm kick in the ass at her last physical. So at least I won’t be alone in this endeavor. I floated the possibility of a return to Crossfit to get our asses back in gear, since that worked very well in keeping us fit and at a reasonable weight for two years. It’s actually been a full year since we stopped going, and I still miss the sweat and pain. God, crossfit sucks is wonderful.

But I digress.

The mere threat of returning to Crossfit seems to have been enough for her to start changing things up. So I set a date: we both need to lose 5 pounds by October, or else we will have to go back. While I actually like Crossfit, I am reticent to drop the big wads of cash we don’t have to go back. So I would actually prefer not to return. But to do that, I need to get my ass in shape.

Thankfully, I know of several tried & true ways to lose a few pounds and start feeling better. Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean they’re easy. Number one, of course, is diet. I need to shore up my diet. It’s already about 90%, but I need to get that extra 10% to lose fat. Right now I’m cleaning up the edges, taking less snacks to work, keeping carbs low, and keeping dinner light. After my birthday I’m going to cut out alcohol. All that might be enough. If it’s not, I will turn to the Wahl’s Protocol Plus, a ketogenic fasting diet, because a) I’ve been curious about that diet for a while now and b) fasting diets have performed very well at just ditching fat in clinical trials.

Number two: exercise. While I thought I had been doing enough with weight lifting, biking to work, and long walks, a closer look simply proves that it wasn’t enough. All of those things are all well and good for health and maintenance, but what I was lacking – and what Crossfit had in abundance – was anything high intensity. I wasn’t getting sweaty or out of breath or making my heart pound. I was going to the gym 2-3 times a week, lifting heavy, and then leaving. Again, perfect for strength. But not enough.

To fix that, I’m biting the bullet and adding in Crossfit-style workouts after I lift. Three times a week I will work really really hard for 10min. I will not be afraid to sweat (and subsequently stink a bit at work). I will not be afraid to push myself and breathe hard.

I’ve done two already this week and damn am I out of practice. I can already tell that I desperately needed this. And without TTC for a few months, I don’t have to worry about pushing myself too hard.

(What do these workouts look like? Well, whatever I can manage to adapt to the big-box gym. Tuesday was 5 rounds of 10 x squats, push-press, & bent row. Today was 15-12-9-6-3 of deadlift, hanging leg raises, and push-ups. I don’t know what the third one will be yet, but I’m leaning towards including double unders.)

We each took measurements earlier this week so we would have a better guide than just the scale (scales lie!). Waist, hips, and thighs. Ideally, waist will go down the most, hips a little, and thighs probably won’t budge. All I want is for my skirts to fit properly again, so I’ll be looking out for that, too.

 Also: I know we’re both healthy. I know that weight and fat and all that doesn’t actually mean anything if you’re active and eat right. My wife’s actual numbers (cholesterol, triglycerides, etc) were fucking phenomenal. Our society and culture has a terrible fixation with being abnormally thin. I don’t want to be thin. I want to be strong and muscular. But I also don’t want to buy new clothes. So this is purely a monetary endeavor.

The TL;DR version? I need to lose 5 pounds in the next month or else. Cheer me on!

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Filed under crossfit, diet, fitness, goals, weight loss

WIP Update

I’m calling it.

(That sounds familiar.)

But this time on another endeavor. I have 83k words on draft zero of my new WIP and it’s time to stop, regroup, and begin the rewrite. I didn’t finish the story – unless you count “rocks fall, everybody dies” – but so much needs to be changed – has changed – since I started it that the ending I’m currently trying to write won’t even survive to the next version. So instead of struggling through for the sake of hitting my word count goal, I’m cutting loose now and giving myself a little time off.

Oddly, I’m still feeling fairly confident about this story. Usually by now, especially after almost two straight months of writing, I’m bored and/or convinced of its crappiness. But with this one I feel like I’ve only just gotten started and there’s still so much to discover and flesh out. Perhaps because the story is still fresh? I don’t know, but I’ll go with it.

Which means I’m going to alter my original plans a wee bit. I was going to drop this story like a hot potato for a few months while working on shoring up and submitting the one I sent out to betas in early summer. But now I think I’m going to take a week (or two – but no more than that) off to think and percolate and do as much research as I can on the setting and cultures. Lady let me into the university library this weekend and they just have everything. Well, almost everything – the English translation of one particularly interesting book is, alas, in the British library and apparently interlibrary loan doesn’t extend that far. I’m tempted to get the original French version instead and see what I can make of it. But that brings up an important point:

How much research is too much research?

I can easily see myself studying my eyeballs out in lieu of actually writing, hence the one (or two) week cut-off. A month would be awesome, but I fear that if I go that long without actually writing, I’ll soon lose my groove again. I wish I had enough time to do both, but, well, if wishes were horses, we’d be up to our ears in horse shit.

I’ll figure out a middle path, I’m sure.

In the meantime, draft zero is done! It’s absolute shit and will never see the light of day, but I now have a serviceable plot, a cast of interesting characters, and a setting that I just want to go play in for days and days and days. Now comes the (much) hard(er) part of actually turning it into a story, a first draft.

But first: research. And second: maybe I should actually look at what my betas said about the last book. If they think it’s close enough to being done, I might just fix it now and go ahead and begin submitting while I start reworking this other one. Yes. That sounds like the best course of action.

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Filed under goals, progress, writing

Outdoor Climbing = Holy Shit

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My friend took a few us out onto the mountain to try real outside climbing this weekend. We were supposed to climb on the beginner wall, but – alas – that had been swarmed by paratroopers who were learning how to rappel. We ended up hiking a bit to another wall instead, which turned out to be, well, a wee bit more difficult.

We stayed on the mountain most of the day and even though not much climbing happened, it was still glorious. I watched another friend learn how to rappel, having decided I was too chicken to even try. Of course now I feel like I missed an opportunity. I didn’t think I’d regret not trying it, and I’m usually pretty good at figuring out what I will and won’t regret, so that’s a surprise.

Mostly we just sat and chatted while one or the other person learned how to rappel or watched while our climbing friends did a 10 (!!).

This was our view:

 

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The breeze was cool and the shade (mostly) abundant. We watched clouds skitter across the hills and valleys and mountains. Breathed deep. Released tension.

We stayed much longer on the mountain than I had expected, but I needed that forced relaxation and calm. We planned exciting things for the fall and talked smack and laughed and let so much go. I tasted autumn on the wind and dreamed of pumpkins and crisp mornings.

I can see the future again, and – even though I didn’t get exactly what I want – it’s full of wonderful things.

 

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As for outdoor climbing? Well, maybe an easier wall next time. Also I’m really more of a weightlifter than a climber. ;)

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Filed under n steps, simply informative

Paleo Autoimmune Protocol Reintroduction | Duck Eggs

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After the sadness that was confirming my sensitivity to regular ol’ chicken eggs, I remembered some snippets of info I had run across during my extensive reading on the AIP that some people, while intolerant of chicken eggs, can, in fact, tolerate the eggs of other fowl beasts. Chicken eggs, for some odd reason, have allergens that are specific to only them, whereas the rest of the feathery kingdom are fine & dandy. Water fowl, specifically, are thought to be the least problematic.

I actually tried out guinea hen eggs about a month ago with no ill effect, but the guy who sold them to us has since disappeared entirely from the farmer’s market. That’s all right, ’cause they are kinda small and expensive, to be honest. Then one fine Sunday we were picking up our meat share when I spotted a “duck eggs $5/doz” sign. Considering in the past I’d only ever seen duck eggs going for $5 a half dozen, this was a steal. So we grabbed them. And I tried them.

I had the first egg two weeks ago now and, as far as I can tell, I haven’t developed any new rashes. I didn’t do as careful an inventory beforehand as I should have, so I’m not 100% sure, but there have been no big, glaring, obvious changes like there were with chicken eggs. I’ve only been having one or two, three times a week (vs the 3/day I’d been doing with chicken eggs), and I’m going to keep it at that rate for another week or two and keep checking for rashes.

My preliminary conclusion, though, is that they’re okay. They bake well and make a delicious breakfast, so double plus. Considering my history of reintroductions, though, I’m going to remain cautious with this. The inexplicable skin rash is so, so sensitive, so if it doesn’t continue on its healing path as it has been doing these past few months, I’ll stop eating duck eggs.

But! I definitely think once the rash is completely gone, duck eggs will be on the menu. Maybe not quite a staple like eggs became, but an occasional breakfast treat.

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Filed under AIP, diet, paleo, reintroduction

Break Time

 

I’m calling it.

My wife and I had a much needed chat on our long walk this morning. We discussed timing and plans and the future while watching the sun rise over the Catalinas. I finally said that it was really okay if we stayed in the desert another four to six months after she graduated so she could finish up her projects. I realized I had only been resisting because of potential baby, but since that is now out of the equation, I’m perfectly fine with it. I’ll have to work a few months longer at this job, but it will mean that much more in our savings account.

So I have five OPK sticks left but I’m putting them away until January. That gives us more than four months off, to relax, chill, hike, eat poorly, diet, etc etc etc. Actually, I have a lot of plans for those four months, plus this makes other things possible. In the end, there are probably more good things that will come from not being pregnant right now and in the immediate future than bad.

It really helps that this depression funk has finally lifted. I can see everything so much clearly without that fog. I have an inkling of what caused the depression and will be using these months off to tinker and test. Basically, I think it’s the chocolate. I didn’t think I’d been having that much this past month, but when I subjectively looked back and counted, it was more than I’d realized. A cookie here, chocolate ice cream there, a chocolate-glazed cake here, and spoonful of hot cocoa mix there and there and there.

I cut out the chocolate on Thursday and by Saturday was starting to feel better. By Sunday the lump in my chest was almost gone. By Monday I was functioning again. This, after four weeks of depression straight. And yet, I am still not wholly convinced. I don’t want to believe it was chocolate because, seriously, what the fuck?

So during our break, I’m going to test my theory very very thoroughly. After my birthday, I’ll begin noting my mood and irritability level three times a day for a week. The following week, I’ll have a certain, measured amount of chocolate and continue taking notes. I’ll take a week to renormalize, then introduce a different amount of chocolate. This way I will have proof – one way or the other – of chocolate’s effect on me.

Other things I plan to do while not TTC: lose some weight. I’ve gained ten pounds since January and that’s not cool. I also would like to try out the Wahl’s Protocol Plus, which is an intense ketogenic diet that I’ve been watching a fellow blogger have massive success with, while cutting down her grocery bills. I wanted to try it back in May, but didn’t want to risk the hormonal upset that comes from a big dietary change. But now I can!

And best of fucking all: this means I can go to Switzerland in June!! I won’t have just popped out a baby and I also won’t be more than six months preggers, which were both the primary reasons why we weren’t certain yet. I am super excite. I can’t even. I love Europe so much and I know I am so, so lucky and privileged to have visited as many times as I have and oh god, Switzerland and the cheese and the mountains and the food, can we just spend three days discussing the food?

So don’t be sad for me because nothing worked for us this cycle (of cycles); be happy because FUCKING SWITZERLAND!!

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Filed under ardent wishes, depression, gaybies, goals, n steps, progress, TTC, weight gain

Honey Fig Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

I promise I can actually take decent food photos. I just keep making these cakes and cupcakes in the evening when the light is all gone/shitty and then they’re all eaten up by the next day. I’d use my speedlights but, well, I am lazy and they are currently needin’ fixin’.

But that shouldn’t stop me from sharing the recipe because a) these are really good, and b) it’s fig season NOW and you should all take advantage of it. All these years I thought August had nothing to offer, but August is FIG MONTH, at least around here. So I’m going to fig out and you should too.

The base cake recipe is basically Barefeet in the Kitchen’s Best Gluten Free White Cake recipe. But then I took it up an extra notch, whisked the egg whites, subbed out honey for some of the sugar, and splashed in some extra baking soda for uumph. I couldn’t have done it without that original recipe, though, and what I learned from last week’s cake.

The rest of it I made up on the fly, using what we had on hand, and subbing in duck eggs for chicken eggs.

Without further ado:

Gluten-Free Honey Fig Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting

FOR THE CAKE

2 cups Trader Joe’s gluten-free flour (or Barefeet’s mix of brown rice, tapioca, & potato)

1/2 cup blanched almond flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp xanthan gum

4 eggs, separated and room temp

1 tsp cream of tartar

3/4 cup honey (or to taste)

1 cup buttermilk

1 cup melted butter, cooled

1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp almond extract

Preheat yo oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Fill yo cupcake pan with cupcake wrappers – 24 should do nicely.

Mix together dry ingredients in the smaller bowl. In a medium bowl, whisk your egg whites and cream of tartar until they get white and stiff, just shy of stiff peaks. This takes about 5-10 minutes depending on everything. Then switch to a larger bowl and beat your egg yolks and 1/2 cup honey until creamy. Add the rest of your liquid ingredients – sans whites & the other 1/4 cup honey – to the yolks and mix it all together.

Add your wet to your dry, mixing as you go. Taste the concoction at this point to see if you need to add more honey. I like my cupcakes a whole lot less sweet than most people, so 1/2 cup was just about right for me. But if you need more, just add it a tbsp. or so at a time until you reach desired sweetness. Once your mixture is sufficiently mixed, take your beaten egg whites and gently fold them in.

Fill each cupcake tin about 2/3 of the way full – just shy of 1/4 cup. Then bake for 25-30min, or until the tops are a nice golden color. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack while you proceed with the following steps.

FOR THE FIG FILLING

10 figs, diced and sliced

1/8 cup honey

1 tsp arrowroot powder (or corn starch)

Place yo figs in a small pot and turn on the heat. Add the honey. Cover for 5-10 min, or until the figs start releasing their liquids and the concoction gets runny. Uncover, and the arrowroot powder, and let it simmer another 10 minutes, or until it starts to thicken. Then take it off the heat and let it cool.

When the cupcakes and the fig filling are both cool, cut little holes in the top of the cupcakes, fill the holes with a teaspoon or three of filling, then press the cut cake back on top.

FOR THE FROSTING

1 tub or 8oz mascarpone, room temp

1/2 cup butter, room temp

1/4 cup honey

1-2 cups powdered sugar

dash of salt

1/2 tsp vanilla

Mix the mascarpone and butter together until creamy. Add the honey, salt, and vanilla and mix some more. Then start adding powdered sugar. I confess I didn’t really measure, I just kept adding 1/2 cup at a time until it looked right – smooth and white and the consistency of, well, frosting. I suspect it was close to 2 cups, but not much over. If it starts tasting too much like powdered sugar, you can add another tbsp. of honey.

Once it’s the right consistency, you can frost your fig-filled cupcakes. Now you’re done! Or, you can get a little fancy if you have extra figs, cut a dozen in half, and place each half on its own cupcake. Sprinkle the cakes with walnut or pecan pieces and drizzle with honey for extra show.

Share. Enjoy.

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TTC #5 | CD 24 & Running Out of Sticks

I have six OPK sticks left. I know I said we would call it quits by tomorrow, but I figured I might as well use the rest of these up. A little bit of hope has returned at the least optimal time and I keep thinking maybe tomorrow.

But when the sticks run out, that’ll be it. I can already tell it’s going to be difficult to actually stop and take a break without ovulating, because we could just be one day out. Since I started temping, I’ve never not ovulated, so this is also weirding me out in a “oh god what’s wrong with me” kind of way. But not terribly much, since I can probably blame this cycle’s fucked-upness on the depression.

Still, considering one of my ongoing fears is that my cycle will suddenly get messed up: *waves tiny flags*

I guess we didn’t have to worry about our donor being out of town this month, after all.

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Filed under gaybies, TTC