October 1, 2011


I guess the most interesting thing about my story from Friday night is that the comments about my sex life came before I finished recounting my experience. My intent with withholding the ending was partly to maintain suspense, but also because I was tired from all my traveling and didn't feel up to writing the whole story out in one night.

I said I was going to sleep with Bobby - it was our plan, we had talked about it, discussed it openly - but as I finished the first part of the story, I didn't say if we did or did not.

Whether or not anything happened between us that night is between us, and I'm leaving it at that. I will say that I stood at the door for a few seconds, looking through the peephole at him standing there, and I hesitated before opening the door. That I was excited to see him, but that the feelings I had before I left Chicago were definitely different. That I wasn't sure if sleeping together was such a good idea, since I didn't feel that same connection, or at least not as strongly.

I *will* say that we talked a lot that night, and that there were tears. We parted with a kiss and a smile and a
Drive safe, have a good day at work, and I'll see you next month.
And I spent the rest of that day wandering around Chicago, eating poorly/too much and feeling lost and alone in a place that used to feel comfortable, a place where I used to belong. It was very clearly not home anymore. I felt completely detached, and it was very strange. A month ago, these were my streets. Now, I'm just another visitor. I'm here, but not to stay.

And I thought about my summer, and my life, and my relationships, and everything else that has changed since July 2010. And how much of it has been like traveling - with everything from preparations and anticipation to the occasional mixed feelings while on the journey. There are moments when things don't go as planned and it's painful, and there are times when you find yourself in a place completely different than you expected yet you can't help but feel pleased with where you end up.

On Sunday morning, I left Chicago feeling burdened. Heavy with the physical weight of my binge - the kind of rock bottom feeling that I had in summer 2010. And heavy with the emotional weight of not knowing what to do about my situation with Bobby. We're not in a relationship, we never officially were. We said we'd keep in touch and see how things work long distance, and I was hoping to establish some clarity on that while I was in Chicago. We talked, but there were no clear, black-and-white resolutions.

I'm on a journey, complete with plans and perhaps over the limit on my baggage. I spend a little time in each decade of weight loss, in each phase of eating or exercise habits, and then I'm back on the road, searching for my next destination.

As far as the part of my journey that has Bobby on the ride with me ... I'm not quite sure where we're headed. But I'm trying to take in the sights and enjoy the journey as much as possible, and know that afterwards, I'll be able to look back on whatever happened with clarity and a feeling that regardless of the outcome, I've grown from the experience. When I was in high school, my senior yearbook quote was one that I found while reading an article in Time magazine about people with obsessive compulsive and personality disorders who would go camping in the mountains as part of their therapy. One of the campers remarked that
An adventure is something that sucks until it's over.
And that idea stuck with me. I could see how it applied to high school. And later, to college. And now, to most of life.

September 30, 2011

Roses and thorns

I'm down to 196 this morning, a 3 pound loss for the week. And I'm thrilled, especially after seeing 202 on Monday morning after coming back from Chicago.

Saturday was pretty much a day-long binge after how tough Friday night had been (part two of the story tomorrow, I promise), and I got back to California craving a healthy routine. I made one last less-than-healthy dinner on Monday for Justin and me to get rid of the ingredients, and for the rest of the week, I have tried to eat raw/vegan. My only off-day was Wednesday night, when I threw a dinner party and baked a vegan cake (had one piece and sent people home with all the leftovers!) and made a few kinds of ravioli, some of which had a little feta cheese in them. And even that was under my calorie goal!

If I have said it once, I have said it a thousand times. It feels so good to do right by my body.

The plan of "eat better, eat less, and move more" has been suffering since I got to California, and I have slowly but surely been getting my act together. Moving more? Easy - I bike 11 miles a day just with commuting. Eating better? Tough at first, but under control now. Eating less was the last one to tackle, and the toughest - it has been so easy to fall back into old habits of eating a lot, especially when paired with poor choices. But something clicked this past week - maybe leaving onederland and realizing how lousy 202 feels compared to 192? - and I've been able to stick to my goals and not eat most of my exercise calories. I'm ready to keep moving forward, to continue on towards my goals. And, again - it feels so good.

I'm feeling very touched by all the responses I got yesterday to my question about blogging and commenting with honesty. I understand everyone's points of view, and I know that by exposing my life like this, I am opening myself up to thoughts, ideas, and criticism. I think there's a difference though, subtle as it can sometimes be, between sharing an honest opinion and proselytizing. For nearly 400 posts, I haven't had any issues with personal attacks - which is not to say that Wednesday's comment was a personal attack, but something about it rubbed me the wrong way and felt like it crossed a different line than the usual constructive criticism I am so grateful to receive.

I think what struck me most about the comment in question was the language, I guess - that it wasn't just that I am doing something terrible by not "keeping myself sacred," but she made it sound like I am going around sleeping with every guy I meet. I was upset not necessarily by the accusations, but by the idea that this is the way I am being perceived. Based on everyone's comments on yesterday's post, I can see that her way of seeing things is the exception and not the rule, which I am thankful for.

I'm not out at bars every night, taking home a new guy. I'm not sexually indiscriminate - I start seeing a guy, and after getting to know each other a little, the relationship moves forward. I know that in the past I have used sex the same way I used food - as a means of hurting myself. That is something I have written about extensively, and it isn't a practice I observe anymore. I'm not trying to hurt myself by sleeping with any guy who tells me I'm pretty so I can feel better about the fact that I hate my body. I love my body. I do what I can to honor it and treat it well. And part of that, for me, is expressing love via a physical connection with a man I am pursuing a relationship with.

Everything I write about here comes back to the same goal I had in mind when I first got started: I'm trying to find out how to live the healthiest life possible, how to figure out a sustainable way to change my habits for the better, how to open myself up to new feelings and experiences while keeping my healthy living goals in mind. It hasn't always been easy, but I knew that from the beginning - life can only be lived via trial and error, and the mistakes I make help me guide my future decisions. Buying peanut butter when I know I am stressed out is a bad idea, which is why I don't keep it in the house. Sleeping with Matt right away was a bad idea - which is why I waited with Bobby. I make mistakes, I learn from them. As a flawed but perfectly normal human being, it's the best I can do.

September 29, 2011

What I do with my body

"You are the child of God's holy gift of life. You come from me. But you are not me. Your soul and your body are your own, and yours to do with as you wish."
As I prepare myself to share the events of my Friday night and the behind-the-scenes of what exactly has been going on with Justin, I find myself hesitating a little.

I've always been proud of the fact that I'm very honest here - moreso than in my "real" life, I think, because this is, above all else, a place for me to document my journey of self-discovery. A huge part of that has been my weight loss, but as my body has physically changed, my life has shifted - I can do things now that I couldn't do before, and this is a place where I can document all my firsts, all my experiences.

My voice has certainly shifted from a year ago. My issues and concerns are not the same as they were at 345 pounds, and not just with food or exercise. With weight loss has come a few attempts at dating, and I believe that I've approached the subject as tastefully as possible. That said, I got a fairly unsettling comment on yesterday's blog post. It was an understandable argument from someone whose views on sex and dating are far more conservative than my own, and I found myself immediately defensive. And then, confused.

The conflict: am I allowed to make the argument that you can't tell me what is right or wrong for my body on my healthy living blog, somewhere where the focus is very dominantly trying to figure out exactly what right and wrong may be for my individual circumstances, somewhere where I write out my experiences and ask for feedback and advice?

I'm really quite interested in seeing what people think about this. How honest is too honest - as both a blogger and a commenter?

September 28, 2011

Thursday, Friday

I spent this past weekend in Chicago. I woke up Thursday morning with a lot on my mind - thinking about things I wanted to see and do in the city, but also, anticipating seeing Bobby again for the first time since I left four weeks ago. It was mostly a good nervousness, but still, the anxious feeling filled my stomach.

I taught my three classes on Thursday morning, then arranged for a taxi to bring me to the small local airport - the most direct flight possible involved a small commuter plane from my town to Los Angeles. The plane had 19 seats; there were four of us on there. A little scary when it got bumpy, but all in all, not bad.

We were running late, so when we landed at L.A., I ran to catch my connecting flight to Chicago. Got there in the nick of time!

Went straight to Lorelei's on Thursday night since I got in late. Talked a little, slept. Oatmeal with raisins and more chitchat for breakfast. Then, we walked to the el (saw this en route - love!).

We went to the Chicago Cultural Center and then to Millennium Park - all sorts of lovely, Chicago-specific things.

Then we went to the French Market to meet up with Mike for lunch. Vietnamese sandwiches, Italian gelato, and hours of conversation and laughing. It was absolutely perfect.

Then we went down to the lakeshore and walked seven miles, just taking in the scenery and talking more. We had a lot to catch up on - Lorelei told me about the classes she is taking for a high school teaching certificate, and I told her about the university and my new town.

Finally, we ended up back at her place, and I headed out to go to my hotel room - Bobby got out of work at 9:30 and lives about an hour drive away from the city, so I knew he'd be tired. I wanted to check in, to shower, and to get ready for him to show up.

10:57 p.m., my phone rings. He's here, headed down the hallway to my room. My stomach is a pit of nerves - for a few different reasons.

Because after an extremely stressful and difficult month apart, I'm finally going to see him again.

Because after two months of knowing each other, we're going to sleep together for the first time.

Because I've been spending a lot of time with Justin, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't feeling a little conflicted.

But more on that tomorrow.

September 27, 2011

Stuffed peppers

I promised a new, healthy recipe for Sunday, and then I realized that I was going to be out of town for the weekend.

So what's a girl to do?

I made one anyway: roasted stuffed peppers, two filling halves for just under 250 calories. A recipe of my own invention, sort of. I've seen versions here and there, but this mix was a little bit of what I craved and a little of whatever I had in the fridge.

And wrote up a little post to go with it.

And forgot to hit publish.


Better late than never, I suppose. They were totally yummy, and super colorful, so it's worth the wait, I think!

Three medium sized bell peppers (I used one green, one yellow, and one orange to make it more colorful) - two halved, one chopped
1/2 cup lentils
1/4 lb. ground turkey
1 small zucchini
1 small sweet onion
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 cup tomato sauce
Cook lentils according to package, set aside. Cook onions for 2-3 minutes, then add chopped bell pepper and cook for 2 more minutes. Add ground turkey and garlic powder and cook thoroughly. Remove from heat and add lentils, zucchini, and most of the tomato sauce (reserving a small amount to drizzle over the top). Take the two halved bell peppers and scrape out ribs and seeds. Fill the halves with heaving scoops of filling, then drizzle the tops with remaining sauce. Bake in a 350ยบ oven for 30 minutes.

They were so good - filling, but not too heavy. Justin gobbled up the leftovers within an hour or so of me putting them in the fridge, so they're man approved!

I've been seeing a lot of Justin lately. Between the dinner parties and just getting together to share a meal or a homemade fruit smoothie and watch an episode of one of the TV shows I have on DVD (so far we've seen one episode of "30 Rock," but I'm trying to steer him more towards "Pushing Daisies"), we've spent five evenings together in the past week or so ... every night since last Monday except the three when I was in Chicago.

It's nice - I like not being alone, especially in the evening when I'm most likely to binge. But also, it's nice to be around someone who doesn't have weight/food issues. I like observing how he approaches food and the way he eats, and thinking about some of my own disordered eating habits - the ones I'm working on changing, and the ones I've recently become aware of. (Which, of course, I will write about soon.) It's really quite interesting.

Sunday night, after my sixteen hours of flights and layovers, I got back to my apartment and he came over to see how the weekend went. (That update will come tomorrow.) And then I went to his place, where he cooked some Indian spiced lentils and we had a couple of cocktails. I told him about being a Culinary Historian when I was back in Chicago, and he laughed and said we won't find anything like that where we are. I said I would start something up, then, and he said he'd be a member, and with two of us, we'd have a club. Our dinner parties kind of count, he said.

Things are looking up in central California.

September 26, 2011

Fire Up: Week Two

My positive picture for the week:

On the side of the street in Chicago:

Oh, how I miss that place!

What have you done this week to help you achieve your goals?

(1) Weighed in at 199 - 14 pounds to goal!
(2) Did okay with not eating after dinner - some good days, a couple bad ones. Looking to improve for this week, for sure.
(5) I completed #61 (treat a friend to dinner) on Friday - I actually treated TWO friends! We ate delicious Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches at Saigon Sisters in the French Market in Chicago. So perfect.

What have you done to make yourself feel fabulous?

I wore scandalous pajamas from Victoria's Secret on Friday night and didn't obesess over my loose skin. I started to, and then realized that I look amazing and the loose skin is a sign that I'm doing right by my body, that I've lost weight and am getting healthier. And I just owned the heck out of that nightie. Very cute.

What is your talent? What are you good at?

I'm not sure I have one great talent - I'm a "jack of all trades, master of none" kind of girl. I have a lot of interests and some skill after pursuing them a bit, but nothing really exceptional.

What's been the highlight of your week, toot your horn, what are you proud of?

Spending 28 hours on planes and in airports and not overeating! It's so easy to eat lots of junk there, but I stayed in control - plus I walked around a ton to burn whatever calories I could!

What's your guilty pleasure TV?

Hmm ... I'm not really a TV watcher. I'd say "The Golden Girls," but there's no guilt there. I love them and I am proud!