Sunday, January 13, 2013

Weight Watchers Update - One Year at Goal - January 13, 2013

I was poking around my blog when I realized that one year ago today I wrote about how I'd hit my Weight Watchers goal and had begun Maintenance. As this also means I'm coming up on one year of being a Lifetime member, I thought I'd write a little update (my first since my sort of manifesto-post from last July).

Yes. I'm still at my goal weight, one year later. (As I wrote in the manifesto-post, and in the interest of total honesty, I'm a bit under the initial goal set by Weight Watchers, which is what I hit last January, but I'm still within what they consider a healthy weight range. My official goal has since been adjusted in the WW-borg computer system to account for this.)

I have found as the year has gone on that I've finally begun to internalize the lessons that Weight Watchers taught me. While I still track most of the time pretty often sometimes, I'm far more laid back about it now. (Sometimes I will guesstimate a meal. Sometimes I will use the Quick Add to note a whole meal rather than adding its parts. Sometimes I will, uh, forget.) But what I know for a fact is that I eat less than I did before I started WW because I learned what a real portion is and I learned that almost always (not always!), I feel satisfied after eating a proper serving. It just all feels different.

Plus, I think something that has kept me on track is that there is no category of food that is off limits. I will never go off the rails and eat a forbidden food - because nothing is forbidden. I still eat real full-fat ice cream and cheese, real bread, pasta (whole wheat, please!), tortilla chips with queso dip, and so on...and if I eat "too much" of something, I adjust the way I eat for the rest of the week. I like this a lot.

And I refuse to use the word "guilt" in relation to eating.

Mini cupcakes are wonderful things.
Yes, I have weeks where I gain weight. When that happens, I find that I make little adjustments after weigh in so that the following week I'm back to where I want to be. It's a constant process of tweaking - but it's not always a conscious process. I've seem to have settled into a range that is good for me, and when I see things creeping to that upper limit of the range, I know that I have the tools to make changes before things get out of control - and it's up to me to use those tools.

I am still not thrilled with my body. That bothers me, but it's true. I haven't been exercising the way I want to - and the way I should. I ran two 5Ks in early 2012 and then stopped running altogether. I hope to change that in 2013 because that is a huge missing piece in my life - even if I can sustain my weight loss purely by diet, I really need to be in shape for my overall health.

I believe that with the tools and the support that I gained through the Weight Watchers program, I will be able to sustain this weight loss for years and years. (Fact: Women's bodies change as we age. Things will be different for me every year. Life throws curve balls. You never know. I will take things as they come.)

I love that after I hit my goal and became a Lifetime member, I wasn't dropped off a cliff. Everything continued. I may be bad about tracking, but I do track and I do use the other online tools and the apps all the time because they are free for Lifetime members (good move, WW). But more importantly for me, I still go to a meeting almost every week. (I'm only required to go to one a month - and I don't even have to stay for that one, I just have to weigh in. But I always stay.) There's still accountability and there are still people to lean on. I still clap and cheer as the people around me reach new milestones. And I like getting my Bravo stickers. And I just got my second Lifetime key when I hit 10 months as a Lifetime member. Truth: More trinkets = more happy Marla.

Two Lifetime Member Weight Watchers Keys - plus my star for reaching my goal...
OK, I get it - it may not work for everyone because that's just not reality - there is no plan that works for every single person. But it did work for me for many reasons. It just fit. And I do think it's one of the best programs out there for someone looking to lose weight (US News & World Report thinks so too) and will not hesitate to recommend it over and over.

I stand by what I said last July. My body is not your body and this is about me, not you. I post these types of updates because I'm happy with what I've done and want to share in the way anyone who has worked hard for any sort of goal is happy and wants to share it. While I will happily discuss how much weight I lost (30+ pounds), I would rather not discuss what I weigh now or what I weighed before I started or what size I am (because I am about four different sizes, if not more, anyway, thanks to vanity sizing and inconsistency within clothing and being a savvy thrift shopper, so what's the point?), and I don't expect you to share those things with me either unless you choose to. Those are personal things and they are just numbers that don't take a myriad of factors into account.

Do your thing. Be happy with who you are. That's what's important. I wasn't happy with who I was or where I was so I took steps to change my situation. That's all. (Next up: Changing my hair...)

And here I am. It's been a year, and I'm really proud of what I've accomplished.

Ridiculous self-portrait in mirror at department store - December 2012

Friday, January 11, 2013

When to fight, when to give in? - January 11, 2013

It is just so tiring to figure that out. My mother always told me to pick my battles, and I know she's right.

Sometimes I feel like I'm not fighting hard enough to win some of the battles when it comes to the kid. I want the therapist to do this, I want the school to do that, I want more, I want less, I want something specific - all for my girl. I push back, they push back, and eventually I have to figure out how much pushing I want to do. Sometimes I feel like I'm pushing too hard, even if I "win" the situation. Sometimes I stop pushing and back off and apologize and feel gross. Sometimes nobody pushes and my requests are approved and we all sing a happy song and skip away. (This actually happens pretty often - I'm lucky. I love my kid's team.)

But right now I'm in a situation where I'm throwing my hands up and saying "OK, fine, I'm not fighting. You win. I give up."

In October of last year, I received a form letter to complete the first of two steps toward a renewal application for something for the kid. I did that step. Then I waited for the letter for step two. It never came. The year before, I'd gotten the letters within days of one another so I was confused. I made about 100 phone calls - dead ends, answering machines, live people - and the final answer I got from someone was that it was early but to go ahead and submit the giant Pile of Paperwork as soon as I wanted - that someone even said that the letter now wouldn't be sent out because I'd called.

But there also was a strong implication that this someone was leaving the position shortly...and possibly didn't really care all that much. The questions I asked got very frustrating answers. I felt a bit confused. No, I felt a lot confused.

But better to be early than late, I thought, so I got everything together and submitted the Pile of Paperwork in November. I even got a signed receipt for the Pile when I dropped it off. When time went by and I didn't hear back, I figured it had been accepted. Hooray. Done for another year. Fantastic.

And then about a week ago I got the very form letter I'd been waiting for back in November, asking for...the Pile. Not "something's missing" or "submit it again" but just the basic "Time for your Pile!" letter. Oh.

Now here is the point where I could've fought. I could've shown the receipt to...uh...well...and here is where I stopped wanting to fight. Right there. So I find a person to show that receipt to - I don't even know who that would be, honestly - and he or she says "Yes, that's nice, and I'm sorry, but we don't have that Pile and we need it again." Or I anger someone (you don't want to make any of these people angry). Or I waste precious time arguing that I already submitted the Pile and the deadline creeps up anyway without changing. Or the original Pile is discovered after all, I get some apologies, and the process continues. Who knows.

Instead I cried for about half a second and then I set about printing out everything again (I had a good chunk of it scanned into the computer in case of this very scenario), requesting updates from those who provide such things (unfortunately a lot of what I'd scanned in was already outdated and I needed fresh copies of things), getting signatures compiled again.

I learned from this process that I can turn around that Pile pretty quickly, so maybe I didn't need to worry back in November. Maybe I should've waited. And yet I've heard stories of these form letters arriving late. Or arriving two days before the due date. Or arriving in the middle of a holiday break. It's hard when you rely on a team of others to provide all of the pieces of this project. Everyone has to be available and able to send what is necessary within a timeframe.

(You'll notice that I'm avoiding specifics. That's to protect my privacy and also to avoid bots. But if you think you've guessed, you probably have or at least you're in the right area of the universe.)

I would rather redo an entire project than argue that I already did it, delivered it, and received proof of delivery. That's where my fight is.

And I am obviously still second-guessing that choice. But it's the choice I made. Luckily the kid's team is amazing and the second Tree-Killing Pile of Papery Doom is ready to go next week. Now I know for next year. And the year after that. And the year after that...

But I learned a lot of lessons - including that I can get ahead of myself and that sometimes it's best to let things sit and breathe. I'm trying, anyway.

It's my understanding that our Pile is relatively small, actually...

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Help Me Replace My Beloved Old Navy Jeans - January 5, 2013

[Note: Still hunting as of May 2015!]
[April 2016 update: Found a pair on eBay!]

This post is completely and totally self-serving and is about jeans, thrift stores, and Old Navy. Feel free to scroll on by. I am just writing it in the hopes of reaching the one person in the universe who might be able to help me.

In August of 2012, I found the perfect pair of jeans at my favorite thrift store. They were Old Navy Flirt jeans from June 2010, and they cost $2, and they fit like a dream. However, as any good thrifter knows, when you find something at a thrift store, you have to look at it as one-of-a-kind and treat it as such because the odds aren't in your favor that you'll ever find another of that thing again.

You may be able to see where this is going. One day I was wearing these beloved jeans, feeling like hot shit, wearing my cute boots and a cute top and being all "Look out world! MARLA IS HERE!" And then I fell. I was carrying the kid's walker down the school's steps and I hit the last step at an awkward angle (sometimes my feet twist out from under me of their own accord - that may have happened too, I'm not sure) and bam. Skidded down in the parking lot. As I picked myself up, embarrassed, I thought "oh please oh please, NOT THE JEANS!" And sure enough, my knees were scraped and bloody, my palms were full of gravel, and my beloved jeans were ripped at one knee. Of course, I thought, any other day when I'd be wearing a pair that I didn't love, I'd be fine. But today I had to trip.

I'm working on mending the rip. I had handed the jeans over to a sewing friend to have her patch them, but then I took them back while I figured out a plan. I might just keep wearing them - torn jeans are in again, right? (Do I even care?) And quite randomly (and the thing that gives me hope and the reason I'm even bothering with this), I found that previously I'd thrifted a nearly identical pair of jeans in a size larger and they are almost perfect as well. (Just a tiny bit loose.) So I think these are out there, somewhere.

Therefore, I figured I'd use my blog to spread the word to those who thrift or those who are cleaning out closets at the beginning of the year - can you please find me another pair of these jeans?

Here's the catch: THEY HAVE TO BE IDENTICAL TO WHAT I AM ABOUT TO SHOW YOU. They can't be almost the same. They have to have every single little detail be exact. Why is this so important? Because these were Old Navy jeans, and Old Navy uses the same style names every year but they change up the cut of the jeans every few months. Plus it matters whether the jeans were made in one country or another. It matters what cotton/spandex ratio they are. Everything matters. This is what makes this all so absolutely ridiculous.

But if you find them, I will pay you back plus some. I probably would consider paying about $15-$20 (that would include shipping) though I'd love to pay much less, of course. If you're in doubt, don't buy them because your purchase does not commit me to a thing and if you're not willing to pay for jeans that I might say no to, then don't continue. Before you ask, yes I've checked eBay multiple times and I even have an alert set up there. I've Googled/Binged/Yahooed my little heart out and I will continue to do so. I've checked other places. I don't need suggestions of where to look - I'm already doing it all, I promise. This is just one part of my process. JUST ONE. I also don't need suggestions of other jeans/styles/whatever - I have lots. I just really really loved these and want more.

And with that, I bring you all the dirty details...after the jump.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Sex and the City Is My Chicken Soup - January 3, 2013

I didn't have HBO for the longest time. (I have it now because it's part of the cable package that's part of our condo fee/rent.) (NO, not Horrible Body Odor. Shuuut uuuuuuppppp.) I was aware of Sex and the City and I think I watched some of it somehow, but the way I remember it is that my friend Melanie lent me her DVDs, warned me that Season 1 was weird and Season 5 was unsatisfying, and that was that. I watched the series as a marathon and then I watched it again. Then I bought all the seasons - but unlike other TV shows I bought on DVD, I actually watched again and again and again...when I was sick.

A few weeks ago I got the sniffles and a slight fever and I found that my Tivo had thoughtfully grabbed me some very-edited SaTC episodes off of E!, where they run in random or not random order all day and all night. I started watching, got sucked in, grabbed my DVDs, and started again. (I skipped Season 1, I watched some of the episodes once without and then with commentary - MPK says "Our show is so unique, nobody else has ever done this, nobody else could ever do this" or some variation of that thought quite often.)

Each time I watch, I feel a bit more critical and I see more things. I notice that Carrie's Apple laptop has the apple upside down on the cover. (Wow...they used to be like that!) I notice that Carrie is way more self centered than I originally realized, particularly when she goes after Natasha to apologize - only to make herself feel better. SHE DRINKS NATASHA'S WATER. I never feel like it clicks for her in that moment, that she's there to absolve herself of guilt, even though Natasha gives that great speech about being "sorry" that does bring home the point. (Was it written so we'd get that? I'll never know.) And I get really annoyed - every single time - that in S1, Charlotte had her vagina painted by an artist and has it displayed on a giant wall and then in S4, Charlotte says she's never even LOOKED at her vagina - sloppy writing. There's a bunch of inconsistencies like that (there's another where at one point, if I remember right, Carrie says she hasn't smoked weed in years, but she smokes it in Hot Child in the City - an episode I love by the way) but for some reason that particular one always irritates me.

But each time I watch, I want to crawl into New York City in the late 90s and early 2000s. I want to live that single life that I never lived - I met my husband when I was 21, so I basically wasn't single in my 20s, and that's fine in reality, but it's not fine in that sparkly unreal TV series world. In this world, New York is full of promise and big apartments and expensive clothes and dancing, drinking, night clubs, cute men. Disappointments are brief. Heartbreak takes a few weeks before it vanishes. You can smoke and it's glamorous and won't kill you. It's delightful, trust me.

This time around, though, it hit me. I had forgotten that the characters ever talked about their ages. In my memory, they're ageless. Or at least, well, they're older than me or possibly they're my age. But no. Turns out that they're now younger than me. I am probably around Samantha's age at this point, possibly a bit younger, but at least when it's discussed in the show, Carrie is 34 and 35, Charlotte is 35, Miranda is 35 and 36. Samantha doesn't talk about it, but I think at one point she implies she's over 40, maybe.

I just turned 39.

Carrie says her "scary age" is 45, which isn't that far away.

Whoa. That's not right!

I'm now up to just starting season 6 in my rewatch, and I'll probably still be watching my DVDs (or whatever format I have) in 20 years. The girls in the show are going to stay 34 and 35 and 36 - an age that somehow seems much older to me, still, even as I age past them. I'm always going to want to crawl into that New York though. Always.

(We shall not speak of the movies. I watched both because I had to, but I don't count them as canon. I don't I don't I don't!)