A Perfect Version of Myself

Losing Weight is Hard

The Book May 30, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tara @ 10:38 pm

Just a warning: this post will have nothing to do with weight loss.

You’ve all been duly warned.

I love to read.  Love it.  I will honestly read anything that is given to me, with the exception of self-help books (I think they can be lame and most of the advice is common sense stuff anyway) and fantasy.  For some reason, I could never get into fantasy and I honestly believe it’s because there are always way too many characters with way too complicated names. 

Other than that though, I simply read everything.  Some of my favourite books are written about activities I would never attempt.  For example:  No Shortcuts to the Top by Ed Veisturs is a fascinating look at one man’s attempt to climb the fourteen highest peaks in the world.  I love to read non-fiction of all descriptions.  Some of my favourites include: Stiff by Mary Roach (a look at how our bodies can be of further use after we die, it was surprisingly funny), In a Sunburned Country by Bill Bryson (a travel adventure set in Australia and narrated by one of the funniest writers on the planet, you can’t really go wrong with one of his books) and Under the Banner of Heaven by Jon Krakauer (an examination of past and modern fundamentalist Mormonism).  I love them.  I would recommend any of them to you in a heartbeat.

But as I said, I’ll read anything and everything.  Fiction is something I enjoy immensely and I devour it constantly.  I’ve read most of what I consider the “classics”.  I’ve read Jane Austen and Charles Dickens, George Orwell and Aldous Huxley.  I’m not going to talk about them today.  Today I’m going to talk about one of the best MODERN writers of fiction I have ever had the privilege of reading.

Her name is Lisa See and I beg any of you reading this to run out and buy at least one of her books. 

I saw her do a reading and discussion at a local bookstore on Friday night and was once again blown away by how wonderful she is in person.  I had the opportunity to meet her a few years ago when she was promoting her book Peony in Love and I was working full time as a bookseller.  I got invited to an evening with Lisa See by her publisher and was thrilled.  I had read her first book, Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, in one evening – I opened it up, having purchased it on a whim and the next thing I knew it was three in the morning and my face was wet with tears from her beautiful story.  Upon getting invited, I started to think about what I would ask her if she took questions.  I came up with about six things I was dying to ask and anticipated the event.

It was the absolute best author event I have ever attended.  She was wonderfully gracious and spent over two hours discussing her books and her research with the group of twelve that had been invited. 

Lisa See writes books mostly about China.  She is Chinese-American and grew up in Los Angeles, spending much of her childhood playing in the Chinatown antiques store that her family has owned for over 100 years.  She wrote a biography of her family (On Gold Mountain) and then branched out into fiction.  She’s written three mysteries (which I haven’t read yet, shame on me) and has just released her third novel about historical China.

Lisa writes so vividly about China, that the reader can’t help but be transported there.  In Snow Flower and the Secret Fan, a young girl endures painful foot binding to raise her station in life.  She uses the secret written language of women – Nu Shu – to communicate with her best friend through a fan that they both share, passing it back and forth between them.  It was wonderful.  I still considerate to be one of my favourite books of all time.  Peony in Love, Lisa’s second historical novel, is about a love-sick maiden who, upon reading the greatest love story of her people, dies and enters the after world.  She watches over the women who marry the man she loves and tries to find peace as a “hungry ghost”.  This book is so rich with ancient Chinese traditions and customs!  I could not put it down.

Her latest book is called Shanghai Girls and it chronicles the lives of two sisters, May and Pearl, who are living the lives of modern Chinese women in Shanghai prior to the outbreak of World War 2.  Their father loses everything to gambling and arranges marriages for the two of them to Gold Mountain Men (American-born Chinese).  They leave Shanghai just as the Japanese invade and try to make lives for themselves an ocean away from everything they know and love.  It was wonderful.  I finished it over a weekend and was immediately wishing for a sequel (the ending is a bit of a cliff hanger).  On Friday night, I was able to ask Lisa if she is writing another book featuring May and Pearl and she confirmed that that is her next project.  I’m so glad!

I know that normally people come here to read about weight loss, but I hope you’ll forgive me for straying from the topic at hand to share information on some books that I consider very special.  What I especially hope is that you’ll file this away and pick one of them up the next time you’re in the bookstore!


Put It Behind You May 26, 2009

Filed under: Weight Loss Updates — Tara @ 7:10 pm

I’m down 0.8 lbs this week.  May has not been the kindest month for me.  I was up and down and up and down and….basically I’m just glad to get this month over with and I’m looking forward to June.

It’s been tough around here too, in non-weight loss related ways.  My boss was laid off so now I get to do his job and my own – but with no extra money or perks!  Isn’t that exciting?!  I have new hours, which require me to get up at 5:30 in the morning in order to get my time on the treadmill in.  I am not a morning person and this is INCREDIBLY hard for me to do.  I tried walking at night, but I find it’s easier to make excuses once I’ve put in a full days work (more than a full days work these days).  I guess I should just be grateful that I still have a job, and I am.  I’m just bitching, cause if I can’t do it here, where else am I going to bitch?

Also, even though I apologized on her blog – I really am sorry to FF for offending her in my last entry.  It’s been irrationally bugging me ever since I read her latest update.

Now if you’ll excuse me I’m off to do the dishes and go to bed.  I have to be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to walk in place.


Where Do We Go From Here May 25, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tara @ 10:47 am

Like most of you out there, I read other blogs.  Most especially, I read weight loss blogs.  I find that they can be great motivation and/or provide great accountability.  I’ve got a couple of the bigger ones on my blog-roll (Pasta Queen, Diet Girl) but I also like reading the blogs of people who haven’t hit their “after” picture yet.  It makes me feel less alone.

That being said, I was reading this and it struck a chord with me. 

Forthright Fattie mentions feeling comfortable at her current weight, even though she’s still fat because it’s where she’s been for a long time (I’m paraphrasing, sorry FF).  That’s kinda where I am right now.  I’ve been this size (give or take a few pounds) for most of my adult life.  The last time I weighed less was in high school.

I feel better physically than I did then.  I’m more active and I’m eating better, so consequently I feel great.  I’m able to do the things that I had to give up due to my size and I’ve stopped fearing chairs with arms.  I’m making plans to travel that will include airplanes and their small seats, not fearing that I will be asked to purchase two tickets, or worried that I will need a seat belt extender.

Still, I’m obese (morbidly so, according to my BMI).  It’s amazing how often I  have to remind myself  that even though I feel thin, I’m not.  I’m just thinNER.

It’s a tough place to be in because sometimes it makes it hard to motivate myself.  Before I really felt a sense of urgency, like at any moment I could die or be in a situation where my weight could really hinder me.  I don’t feel that way anymore, which is exactly how apathy towards my weight loss has always crept into a place of power in my thinking in the past.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  This time is different.  No matter how hard or how much I struggle, this time I will change my life.  I just think it’s really helpful to recognize the things I’m struggling with and put them down on paper – even if it’s virtual paper.


Hold Up May 19, 2009

Filed under: Weight Loss Updates — Tara @ 6:46 pm

It’s Tuesday, so that means it’s weigh in day!

I’m down 2.8 lbs this week, which is awesome (that’s 2 lbs, plus the 0.8 I was up LAST week)!

I actually stayed for the WW meeting tonight, which is the first time I’ve done that since I started.  I know, I know, people who attend meetings are more likely to have weight loss success, blah, blah.  I don’t care.  You know what I’ve discovered?  Fat people in my city are mean.  Mean and sort of rude.  I kinda already knew that there was no “fat fellowship” happening by the way that I’m the only one of my friends who has a weight problem.  I don’t think the mentality is for us to “stick together” so much as it is that there’s only one fatty per group allowed.

I’m sorry, was that not politically correct?

What I meant was that, instead of having many “overweight” people who can sympathize with each other’s struggles and offer support in times of said struggles, the “overweight” people in my city tend to be more of the “thank God I’m not as fat as HER/HIM”-type.  Then they stay away from other “overweight” people  just in case people are more likely to notice they’re fat if they’re clustered together.

So I stayed for a meeting and regretted it.  First of all, I was starving.  My body recognized that I had left work about 45 minutes ago and that’s the signal that it’s almost dinner time.  Second of all, weighing in before meetings means that there was a lineup.  I hate lineups.  I really do.  For me, if I’m in a line there is always a person at the front who is determined to be the slowest, most annoying person EVER served.  It’s not that I’m impatient, it’s just that I despise stupidity (I also recognize that many very smart people have very stupid moments – me included). 


I’m standing in line and the woman behind me taps me on the shoulder (I hate being unexpectedly touched by strangers too, it always nearly gives me a heart attack) to ask me if I know how much the electronic scales are.  I respond that they’re $42.99 and she raises her eyebrows, indicating that the price is high (I assume, that’s the face I make when I’m astounded by pricing).  I nod, knowingly, and then say in a quiet voice that Walmart sells electronic scales for about $20.  She looks me up and down (I wish I were joking) and then says “well I want one better than the kind they sell at WALMART!” 

Screw you lady!  My scale came from Walmart and it works just fine!  The batteries were even included!  And might I remind you that YOU talked to me first!  I’ll just take my sage wisdom and bargain-saavy elsewhere, thank you very much!

So if you ever wander into the suburbs of Toronto, beware the “overweight” person.  They may judge you for having an (allegedly) inferior scale.


Push May 18, 2009

Filed under: Goals and Expectations — Tara @ 11:20 am

I’ve decided that I need some new motivation.  I’m still chipping away at the weight in fifteen pound increments, but I think one of the reasons I had so much early success is that I was driven to meet a specific poundage lost by the time my mom came to visit.

Therefore:  new goal!

I turn 28 years old on September 21st.  Coincidentally, I’m taking vacation that week.  My sister (who turns 21 this July) and I have been discussing a trip to Vegas, which we’ve decided should take place during this magical week I’m off (magical because my birthday is on the 21st, she’s turning 21 and we could play blackjack AKA 21).

I have decided that I want to have lost 100 lbs by the time we go to Vegas. 

It’s not impossible, but it is an aggressive goal.  It means losing 38 lbs in just over 17 weeks or 2.25 lbs per week.  I think I can do it though, and at the very least it’s some serious push to get my butt in gear when all I want to do is lie on the couch and watch Alias DVD’s (seriously, I miss that show and seeing Star Trek this weekend – where I once again denied myself movie popcorn – only made it worse).

In other news, there’s something wrong with my stomach.  My doctor thinks it’s either an ulcer or gallstones.  She’s given me some pills to combat the acid in my stomach and so far there seems to be some improvement, even if it’s given me a chronic headache that hasn’t gone away for a week.  I guess it’s worth it not to regret eating every time I swallow food.


The News May 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tara @ 9:13 am

Some new things and updates….

I joined Spark People recently and I love it.  I still keep track of my WW points on paper, but I enjoy tracking the actual food I eat on their nutrition tracker.  Plus, I really think it’s helping me learn how many calories things have (as opposed to how many “points” they are worth).  SP has this really cool tool where you can build recipes by the ingredient and then it will tell you the complete nutritional info for a serving.  This comes in very handy when you’re trying to modify normal recipes to make them diet-friendly.

I also have joined a gym (I’m such a little joiner lately – just like Baby).  It’s a Goodlife Fitness that operates out of a local mall.  It takes the entire upper floor of a former department store and it’s massive.  Not cheap either, but I’ve recently come to the conclusion that I have to start lifting some weights and since I don’t own any, it was either buy weights or join a gym.  Since I’m also not exactly sure where to begin with weights, I thought it would be prudent to sign up for 6 sessions with a personal trainer.  I bought a book recently that told me everything a personal trainer is going to tell me about weight lifting is wrong, but I still think it’s a wise investment.  This gym also has some classes that look great, including one that Diet Girl has raved about so I think I made the right decision.

Happy Victoria Day weekend to all the Canadians out there in blogland!  Happy regular weekend to everyone else!


Blue May 12, 2009

Filed under: Weight Loss Updates — Tara @ 10:39 pm

Dammit!  I had my weigh in today and I gained 0.8 lbs!

I was going to come here to post today and totally lie to all of you.  I was going to prattle on about how this is a normal setback, and that I’ve lost so much weight relatively quickly and it’s less than a pound and blah, blah, blah.  Basically I was going to post something being all positive and upbeat.

Well.  Screw that.

I’m upset!  I didn’t go over my points this week!  I got in plenty of exercise!  I ate great! 


This sucks.

This doesn’t mean that I’m deterred or that I’m going to comfort myself with a Big Mac meal from McDonald’s.  It just means that it sucks and I’m sad and I wish the scale had moved in the opposite direction.  I’m going to keep plugging away and hope that I see a more downward trend develop over the next couple of weeks.  This back and forth nonsense (while completely justifiable, given the stomach flu and everything) is super annoying and I’m over it.

That’s all for now.