Three Days To Freedom

Over the last couple of weeks, sugar has become the focus of my day. I scavenge any time of day or night for something sweet. It’s either my metabolic disorder begging me to eat more carbs so I don’t die, or I’ve been sneaking one too many handfuls of Sour Patch kids. It’s probably the Sour Patch kids thing, so it’s time to take control of my body. I did a very little bit of reading about sugar detoxing, and I thought I should try it. Three days without sugar, and I’m free. I can do that.

Day One

Morning – I pour myself a bowl of Cheerios. Instead of sugar, I use raisins. Look at how healthy I am! I feel powerful conquering my sugar addiction. I drink my black coffee in triumph. It’s not bad, really.

Mid-day – Turns out I’m subbing for the afternoon, so I can keep busy. It’s easy to distract myself. I grab a snack of sugar snap peas, which are surprisingly low in sugar. I am so proud of myself!

Afternoon – It’s time to go home and pick up kids. What a great day! I feel amazing! I can do this!

Evening – I drink another cup of black coffee. It’s not bad. Not good, either, but not bad. I can do this. Three days is nothing.

Day Two

Morning – I’m 1/3 of the way there. Cheerios with raisins. Again. Anyone ever notice that raisins look like rabbit turds? Just me, then? Whatever. I drink my black coffee. It tastes bitter. Like tears.

Mid-day – I’m subbing for the morning. I’m busy, but I’m not all that nice. I’m supposed to have a lunch meeting, so I didn’t pack any food. Turns out it was just meeting, no lunch. I hate everyone.

Afternoon – It’s time to pick up the kids. Wow. I never noticed how much that haircut makes the Padawan look like a Hostess cupcake.

Mmmmm. Chocolatey!

Mmmmm. Chocolatey!

I apologize for biting him and try to hide my disappointment that he does not, in fact, taste chocolatey.

Evening – I drop by the grocery store to pick up a couple of things. Namely bags of sugar. I briefly wonder if snorting the sugar spilled on the shelf is punishable by law. I briefly wonder if I care. The manager asks me to leave. Looks like it’s not technically illegal, folks! Yet. Just strongly discouraged. Store that in your trivia bank.

Day Three

Morning –  Husband gives me a vitamin. It’s a Flintstone, and the sweetest thing I’ve had in days. Half a cup of those things in a bowl of milk isn’t half bad. Sadly, I discover that they contain artificial sweeteners. My hair begins to fall out, and I grow gills. I hate my life.

I drink my coffee black, hot, and so fast I scald my tongue. There. Now I can’t taste it at all. Makes me happy.

Mid-day – Blah, blah, blah.  I don’t care. Leave me alone.

Afternoon – I have to get the kids from school. Which kids? I don’t know. Which school? Like I’m supposed to know. Shut up.

Evening –  Nothing will ever make me happy again. I don’t care if I never eat another snickers bar blizzard.

Mission accomplished. I’m going to bed.

It Really Works!

I’m a little embarrassed to share some of this with you. It’s terrible. Seriously terrible. Why do I feel like the whole world is suddenly listening in? But at least I learned something along the way.

There’s a great debate the true secret to weight-loss. Some argue fewer calories. Others hate on carbs. Still others eschew the fat. And a few crazies are proponents of exercise to lose extra pounds. I had an opportunity recently to get to the bottom of the mystery.

Okay, here is the horrible part. I have a cat. Actually, I have three, but only one of them has this particular problem. My cat was fat. Like, seriously fat. Weighing nearly as much as Squish fat. Not just big-boned. She was a porker. See?

Yeah. For real. That’s an eight-year-old child. Still think I’m exaggerating? And this was two years and about two pounds ago.

I was looking at kitten pictures of that particular cat a couple of months ago, and I was horrified. I saw how small, and sleek and healthy she used to be. And I knew I had to do something. I saw specters of diabetes and other serious medical issues looming in her future. I needed to act, and I did.

I mentioned that we have three cats. We fed them all out of two large bowls in our family room, filling them only when they were empty. Two of the cats do just fine on this arrangement. The third cat ballooned to cartoonish proportions. She is a resource-guarder, and she would choke down as much food as she could hold just so the other cats couldn’t get it. Sounds like me. Um, forget I said that.

Anyway, we decided that enough was enough, and we took the cats off of self-feed. We have been tweaking how much she gets each day because we don’t want her to be too hungry, and we’re still working on it, but the weight is melting off of her. Here she is today, about three months into the program.

I'm meeeelting!

This photo is far less embarrassing than the first one. She looks less like she ate someone else’s cat.

So this is great. And I’ve been able to solve the mystery of weight loss. It’s not as complicated as you think. It’s all about planning.

Decide your menu for the day.  If you know ahead of time what you’re going to eat, you’re less likely to substitute something less healthy.

Divide your meals into containers. When it’s meal-time, all you have to do is grab the appropriate container.

Get support. When you start to reach for food not your own, it’s helpful if you have someone standing by to squirt you with a water bottle and stamp their foot on the floor. Also helpful? Shouting a firm “NO!” and a chasing you away with a broom.

Exercise. Three or four short sessions a day chasing a milk jug tab or fuzzy mouse does wonders. Catnip optional.

Snacking is okay. Divide one meal into smaller snacks by grazing a couple of times a day from one of your allotted meal containers. After a couple of minutes, have someone take it away. And hide it. In a cabinet you can smell but not reach.

Get plenty of rest. Four hour naps on the back of the couch or any patch of sun are encouraged.

Stay on top of personal grooming. It has nothing to do with weight-loss, but everything to do with how you feel about yourself. Bathe at least a few times a day. Clean is pretty, after all. Investing in hairball remedy is recommended.

Get a hobby. Some eating is more related to boredom than hunger, so keep yourself busy. Recommended activities include stare games, chasing laser lights, and staring condescendingly at the dog.

And there you have it. Follow my plan, and you have unlocked the key to weight-loss. Let me know how it goes for you. It’s working okay for me so far. And now, it’s time for my nap.

And How Am I Doing? Thanks For Asking

As the paragon of diet and exercise, I was recently interviewed regarding my astonishing success in keeping my  New Year’s resolutions. The interviewer was sharp and witty, a hard-hitting journalist. You know. Me. And here, dear friends, is most important interview you will ever read. In the next fifteen minutes.

What steps have you taken to meet your exercise goals? 

I recently brought home an instrument of torture elliptical machine.   The good news is that I have actually used the stupid thing every day.

So what’s the bad news? 

The bad news is that the resistance is stuck on “Summitting Everest.” Using it for longer than five minutes makes me want to curl up and die.

Five minutes? Seriously?  

No, actually. Thank you for asking, although I wish you wouldn’t use that tone. TWO minutes makes me wish I was dead.  Five is the longest I have been able to power through without the heart rate monitor calling an ambulance. Or a coroner.

How do you stay motivated? 

For every 100 reps I do on the elliptical, I get a Snickers bar blizzard from Dairy Queen. You’d think it would get old, but it doesn’t.

Have you lost any weight? 

I’m sorry. I don’ t understand the question. And it really hurts my feelings when you make pig noises.

Are you making the improvements to your diet that you had hoped? 

I’m doing pretty well with this one. I have cut out most of the sugar in my diet. I still have it in my coffee each morning. And evening. And afternoon. I have even eliminated sugar from my morning Cheerios by adding raisins. And chocolate milk. My taste buds will eventually become accustomed to the reduced sweetness over time, I am sure. Did you just gag?

Can’t you just use an artificial sweetener? 

I don’t think so.  Eating artificial sweeteners leaves me wishing I could lick a brick wall to get the taste out of my mouth.

How is work on your book coming? Can we expect some big announcements soon?

I finished reading a book. And it was amazing. It took me a couple of weeks to go cover-to-cover,  but it was well worth the effort. I cried a little, I laughed a lot. That Curious George is one funny monkey.

Aren’t you supposed to be WRITING a book? 

There is no need to roll your eyes. Progress on my own work has stalled a bit.

Any particular reason, or are you just kind of lazy?

Of course, there is a reason:

The anti-muse


Isn’t it a little cliche to blame the toddler for your lack of productivity?

Hi, there. Have you ever actually read the title of my blog? Judging from the expression on your face, I’d say no, which is a little weird, since you’re me, but whatever. Blaming the toddler may be cliche, but it’s also true. In hour and a half that I have been finishing my blog post, we have made four trips to the potty, colored two pictures, played “Mommy, watch this!” 437 times moved the living room furniture to retrieve lost trains twice, read three books, and prepared two snacks. And don’t get me started on the “Why?” game.

Fair enough. Any plans to get yourself back on track in the near future?

I have heard that computers and cable are leading kids to grow up much faster than they used to, so I’m signing Squish up for Netflix. A few weeks of Jersey Shore, and he should be ready to move out, or at least get a job, and then I’ll have more time to work.

Wait. Where did you get a cell phone?  I didn’t know you had that. I thought we hated cell phones. Why are you calling Social Services? And why do you have them on speed dial?



The Journal of Fairly Predictable Results

I’m taking my resolutions seriously this year. My biggest desire is to take better care of myself, so when a fellow blogger started a blogging group dedicated to getting in shape in the New Year, I signed up with no hesitation. Or my husband signed me up. Or Phoebe gave me that look that clearly said “Your bum is closer to the ground than mine, and I’m a basset hound.” Or whatever. I was inspired.

See this face? Totally judging you for stuffing your pie hole with treats. Can I have some of that?


I don’t want to set myself up to fail, so I chose one goal to start with. Drink more water. It’s good for me in all kinds of ways. It’s good for my asthma, great for the porphyria, helps facilitate weight-loss, and it will keep my kidneys from getting bored. Win-win-win. Win.

Drinking more water sounds simple. And simple is my middle name. Well, my middle-middle name, right after Trouble, which is my actual middle name. Speaks trippingly, don’t you think? So I am drinking water. Lots of it. Like, 10-12 glasses of it. And now I have a problem.

When a human being consumes a large quantity of liquid, there’s a fairly obvious result, and I am not referring to  the clear skin and increased energy.  I’m referring to the fact that I am now trapped in my home because I cannot be more than three steps from a bathroom.

Keeping this one little resolution has taken a toll on my other goals for the year. One was to be more environmentally friendly. Which sounds great, but there are forests currently meeting their end in the name of my water intake. And forget exercise. I can’t do anything that involves jumping or sudden movements of any kind. I can’t even go for a walk unless it’s in a heavily wooded area with no other people around and lots of hiding places, just in case nature calls. Right now I don’t have call-waiting.

I am trying to adapt to this disruption in my life. To balance out the natural resources I am burning through, I now leave the bathroom light off. And I have taken to carrying a backpack loaded with an unabridged dictionary. The additional weight is building my quads with every pit stop.

I can do this thing. And to make it worth my while, I’ve decided to reward myself. Each day that I am successful with my goal, I get to eat a Big Mac and a chocolate milk shake. I can practically feel the pounds just melting away. I will power through. Who’s with me?


Update: I’m Being Thwarted

I'm onto you, woman. Stay out of my bed. Stay far, far away.


***I do apologize to those who got the first draft in their inbox with its questionable title. Big shout-out to WordPress for including Urban Dictionary trash words in their spell check.


So yesterday I shared my list of Resolutions. Yes, it’s a capital letter. Because they’re that important. And I expected to run into a few roadblocks along the way, but not right out of the starting gate. The universe is conspiring against me.

#2 is becoming a bigger challenge than I thought, as the cats have taken to sleeping on the couch in the family room. I know better that to wee where I Wii, so I must wait.

#4 is a little dicey, as well. The moment I hit “publish” and announced to the world that I plan to blog five days a week, my computer began making strange noises, as though is were filled with African killer bees. I should have known. In the middle of editing the post, it gave me the blue-screen of death and for 15 minutes, I thought I had lost everything. My computer is roughly 143 in laptop years, so I should be realistic.If you don’t hear from me for awhile, it’s because I had to take it out in a field and shoot it.

#6 is not as much fun as I wanted it to be. The temperature here dropped well below freezing, so the thought of outdoor exercise of any kind is unpleasant. My husband decided yesterday that I should go to a mall to get some walking in. I put on my polyester stretch pants and went for it, and what a mistake that was! I barely got out of there alive. Between the choking fumes pumped into the corridor by that hot clothing retailer Armpit & Stench and the cute little train that was someone’s genius idea to make holiday shopping in a crowded mall more death-defying than ever, I decided that indoor exercise is not worth it. Does it matter if I lose 15lbs if I meet my end under the wheels of a mall-train?

#8 reared its ugly head, as well. I know I am not to compare my progress to others’, but how can I not? There’s a fitness center in my area that has been posting billboards with esoteric close-ups of bare skin. I’m not even sure what body-part I am looking at. Is it a thigh? Abs? An armpit? I don’t know, but I get the very strong feeling that my whatever-it-is should look like that, too. And I am sad. There’s a new one where the model looks more like challah bread than an actual person. I KNOW I am sorely lacking in braided-bread-body-parts. And I am dissatisfied. There is someone shinier and lumpier than I, and it is not fair.

On the up-side, my husband returned to work this morning, and I have not yet let my dog Phoebe drink out of his coffee mug. Though she is looking pretty comfortable on his side of the bed and has asked to try on his racing shoes later this morning. Hey, a girl can’t change overnight.

Going Organic Can Be Hazardous to Your Mental Health

Not a bunny cracker.

My kids have always loved goldfish crackers. From the moment the little cheesy bits first crossed their lips, they could sink a pond of fishies in nothing flat. I didn’t know how good I had it.

Squishy is, shall we say, an unenthusiastic participant in the whole eating process. At the age of one year, he should be taking in a considerable amount of calories through solid food. Yeah, not so much. Why bother to waste time eating during the day when he can simply make up for the caloric deficit by nursing all night long? We finally reached an uneasy truce in our food war. He agreed to sit in his chair 3 times a day and play with the food I offered him, and I agreed to quit shoving spinach at him. He would eat and I could sleep.

We decided recently to start adding some organic items to our shopping list, slowly replacing unhealthy stuff as our budget allowed. One of my first purchases was a box of Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies. BIG mistake. They are not like normal food. I learned this when I opened the box and could not quit eating the things. Then I offered them to Squishy. Second big mistake. Now it is all out the window.

At first, we thought it was cute the way he held out his little hand for a cracker, then stuffed it into his other hand and asked for another. Or how he yelled at us if we approached his chair and pretended to eat one. We’re not laughing anymore.

From the moment he first held one in his hands, Squishy has been a different kid. At a year old, his speech is basically unintelligible. That does not mean, however, that he does not communicate. On the contrary. He can make his wishes known in uncertain terms. When he is hungry, he pulls a certain purple box out of the recycle bin and parades around the living room. If I don’t take the hint, he tries to climb into the cabinet to get the goods himself. If I sit him in his chair and offer him anything but a bunny cracker, I can expect to have it dropped unceremoniously on the floor.

He is holding me hostage, this child of mine, threatening to slowly allow himself to starve to death if I don’t produce a crunchy little cheesy lagomorph (it’s a word. Look it up). And there’s not much I can do. Trying to communicate with him is like conversing with the Tasmanian Devil, but a lot less gets accomplished. I am at my wits end once again trying to get this little critter to EAT. All the things he once let pass his lips no longer meet with quality control.

I got a call from a lawyer this morning. Apparently Squishy is willing to reopen meal-time negotiations. It may be cheaper in the long run to just give him the stupid bunnies.

What’s Left?

This picture is directly related to my post. The world as we know it may come to an end.

I’ve been making a serious effort toward self-improvement. If it’s not good for me, I’ve been getting it out of my life, hopefully for good and ever.

It started with the cream in my coffee. I like creamer. The flavored kind. Lots of it. To the tune of one gigantic bottle of hazelnut a week. It wasn’t a problem for me. Something like 5 calories from fat per serving. But when I finally did the mental math about a year ago and discovered that I was consuming more than 1/2 my daily fat in creamer per day, I was floored. *Poof*  Creamer was gone overnight.

I added exercise, but I still wasn’t losing the weight I wanted to lose. Along came Lent. I gave up sweets and fast food, and dropped more than a few pounds. In order to keep myself from feeling deprived, I allowed myself a single favorite brownie per week. I didn’t even count the calories. I figured one brownie a week will keep me from craving other stuff. *Poof* Sweets and fast food gone.

I still have some weight to lose, and I’ve not been able to exercise as much, so I dropped my daily calories to about 1800 per day, give or take. That means that the sandwich or veggie burger, cheddar crackers, etc were too much. I’m down to two smaller meals and one big one (dinner) per day.*Poof* Big lunch gone.

The Earth Fare started messing with my life. They raised the price on my precious brownie. It went from $1.49 to $2.49 in 3 short months. The quality is too inconsistent to pay that much for it. It’s no longer worth it to me. *Poof* Delicious vegan brownie gone.

A few years after my son was born, I realized that I had inherited a metabolic disorder that can cause me a world of hurt if I don’t baby my liver. *Poof*  All alcoholic beverages gone. Forever.

We’ve been trying to stay out of debt and get ahead financially by following the basic but effective teachings of Dave Ramsey.  Recreational shopping is down to a very, very bare minimum, and we’ve been cutting back wherever we can. *Poof* Cable TV gone. I don’t miss this one at all, actually.

And this morning, I realized that if I keep drinking coffee (sugar, no cream, thank you) at my current rate of consumption, I will have a stroke before I am 45. Seriously. When you nearly blew a gasket because your toddler won’t stop talking, and an episode of “House” brings on heart palpitations, it really is time to cut back on the java. And I know it. But I am resentful. And bitter. Bitter as day-old coffee grounds.

I love coffee. I didn’t always. I pretended to like it when a coffee-loving suitor took me to a coffee shop on our first date. I learned to like dumping in gallons of flavored creamer when suitor became husband. And I learned to adore it myself when I gave up the creamer and actually bought good, fair-trade, shade-grown stuff. French roast became my favorite, all bold and sassy, and so strong it could talk back. And now what?

What pleasure is left in my life? I don’t eat sweets or fast food. My lunch is limited to a salad. Snacking between meals is out of the question except for boring, pre-approved items. I have no vegan brownie, or even a reasonable facsimile.I can’t go on wild shopping sprees. I can’t even drink to forget just how deprived I am. There is little fun left to me now. The next thing you know, someone will tell me that sex leads to pregnancy, and I’ll have to give that up, too.

But I am trying to focus on the positive. I know that my efforts to improve my life and my health will help me to live longer. Or at least it will feel like it.

A Girl’s Gotta Have Goals



Our zoo has a new snake, and is she impressive! At 23 feet long, she’s the largest reticulated python I have ever seen. And because of her,  I have a new goal. I want to lose enough weight that she could swallow me. And I want to do it before the first weekend in September when she is scheduled to return to the facility that owns her.

My dream came to life in early February. I hang out with the Herp guys every Wednesday when I go to help soak tortoises. When Buttercup (yep, that’s her name!) first arrived last winter, I heard the guys discussing which of the staff she could potentially eat. It is my deepest desire to be on that list.

Don’t misunderstand. I don’t want to actually be eaten by the snake, I just want to be a clear contender. Right now, I’m a maybe at best. A regurgitated or completely rejected meal at worst.

Now that I have a goal, I need a plan. No more Chic-fil-a. Snakes don’t eat chicken sandwiches. Buttercup eats bunnies at the zoo, therefore if I eat like a bunny, I will soon achieve my goal to be snake-bait. Lots of greens and raw vegetables.I can totally do that. On second thought, rabbits eat their own poop. Skip eating like a bunny.

Some people feed their reticulated pythons chickens. I could eat like a chicken. They eat fresh vegetables, too. And bugs. Um, never mind.

These dietary quirks force me to ask what retics eat in the wild. Insert quick Google search here, and the answer is… Pigs! There’s a diet plan I can stick to! I think I’m back in business.




Intentional Eating

I have some weight to lose. Some. We’ll call it 15 pounds just to keep things friendly. Since my youngest kid is old enough to wear big boy underwear and climb the monkey bars at the playground, it’s not really accurate to call it “baby fat.” It’s all mine, and it’s time to do something about it.

I exercise quite a bit. I take long walks with a friend a couple of times a week, I walk my kids to and from school, I can put 10 mile behind me with the hiking club with no problem at all. But I am still covered with a layer of fluff that I can really do without. The only thing left to look at is my diet. I try to eat healthy for the most part. But I like my food. A lot. So maybe that’s where I should start.

I decided to be more intentional about what I eat. If I limit myself to 1800 calories and plan out each day’s menu ahead of time, I should be able to get control of the situation.

Day 1:

Breakfast: bowl of corn chex cereal with skim milk
Snack: apple
Lunch: Salad
Snack: second bowl of cereal
Dinner: Black bean burger, salad, steamed vegetables

Going great. A bit hungry, but that’s okay. That’s my body breaking down the fat, right?

Day 2:

Breakfast: Bowl of cereal
Snack: Apple
Lunch: salad, pretzels
Dinner: lasagna, salad

I’m a little bored with the cereal, but I feel great! Another trip to the grocery store to buy salad.

Day 3

Breakfast: cereal
Snack: Frozen yoghurt
Lunch: Black Bean burger, pretzels, apple
Dinner: leftover lasagna

Why did I buy 3 boxes of corn chex cereal? And how long will it take to get to the bottom of them?

Day 4

Breakfast: another frickin’ bowl of cereal. Oh, my WORD! There is nothing to it but crunch! I want pancakes! And bacon.
Snack: half a box of Junior Mints
Lunch: Veggie burger. With sauteed onions and mushrooms. And chips. And some carrot sticks for good measure
Snack: other half of Junior Mints. God’s most perfect candy
Dinner: Chicken sandwich. From Chic-fil-a

I AM SO HUNGRY!!!! Have I lost 15 lbs yet? Out of salad. Again. Another trip to the grocery store. Please kill me now.

Day 5:

Breakfast: 2 bowls of that stinkin’ cereal.
Lunch: bean burrito at local restaurant
Snack: frozen yogurt. with oreos, peanut M&M’s, and crushed Heath bars
Dinner: sandwich

Please feed me! I don’t care if I’m fat, I just want to EAT! Please, in the name of all that is good and holy!

Day 6:

Ate a hippo.

I know that poaching is wrong, but poached is oh, so right. I will be fat forever. I am not sure I care.