Monday, March 26, 2012

Diagnosis: Obese & Eggs on Ice


I've been so swamped this week, I haven't even had a chance to update what turned out to be one of the worst weeks the Mistress has had in recent months....UGH.

I went to my new Ob-Gyn to get a check on the large ovarian cyst I was diagnosed with last fall. At that October check up, I was told that I would most likely not only need surgery, but would need my entire left ovary removed. I had been in a great deal of pain and was very nervous about needing surgery-- again...I had cysts 10 years ago and had laparoscopic surgery to have them removed.

So, first I got the good news: The cyst had shrunk and I won't need surgery. Yay!

Then we started talking about fertility.

I'm turning 37 this June and the Doc had me take a blood test to determine my FSH levels-- it's a test to find out if I have "diminished ovarian reserve." Basically, to figure out if my eggs are drying up. The doctor said, "Even if your levels are normal, I'd suggest freezing your eggs if you're not planning on getting pregnant right away. 36 year old eggs are a lot better than 40 year old eggs." True, but I was a little startled by the suggestion--- freezing eggs is expensive and seems sort of dramatic.

Then again, I have a friend who is 39 and pregnant who told me last week, "START NOW! It took me 3 years to conceive!!! Don't think you can just snap your fingers and get pregnant when you want!"

JP and I have been talking a lot about babies lately-- specifically, about securing a financial future for ourselves so that's possible. I mean, we both have regular money coming in now, but it's far from a "financially secure" situation.

My eggs are probably getting old and I need to put them in the freezer. It's a troubling thought.

But I'm burying the lead.

The nurse put me on the dreaded Doctor's Office Scale. Let me preface this by saying that I: 1)was fully clothed 2) had a belly full of coffee and breakfast and 3) hadn't pooped. Sorry if that's TMI!

The scale read 176 pounds. MY PRE-BOOTCAMP WEIGHT!!!! WTF??!!!

But that's not even the worst of it. Dr. Feel Good says, "Parker I see you've put on 15 pounds since your last visit in October."

He gets on his laptop, starts typing numbers in and says, "Well, at 5'11 and 176 pounds, that puts your BMI at 33. That puts you in the Obese category."

I'm sorry, did he just say, OBESE?????

I mean, some over-indulging in wine and cheese may have tipped the scales a bit, but OBESE? ME????

To his credit, he said, "Well, you don't look obese."

And then, in his esteemed medical opinion voice, he tutted: "A healthy weight for you would be about 145. I think you should lose 30 pounds."

Then, to add insult to injury, he said that trying the controversial HCG Diet would be a good option for me. (That's when you inject yourself with a pregnancy hormone and starve yourself for a month eat 500 calories a day for a month.) "Give it a try and email me what your results are!"


I burst into tears as I was leaving. It was just too much to handle. I tried to wrap my head around the bottom line: I'm obese with old eggs. More tears.

I sat down at my computer at work and pulled up a BMI calculator. Here's what it told me:
24.5 NOT 33!!! I would actually have to weigh 240 pounds at my height to have a BMI of 33. What kind of calculations did this doctor do? I was furious. And very relieved.

I have a serious problem with this doctor's approach--- from giving me false information to suggesting a dangerous diet. Had this been 5 years ago, it could have catapulted me into a dangerous tail-spin into eating disordered behavior. Fortunately, I'm stronger than that now and will not be going down that road. But it could have been a horrible trigger for me.

Crappy doctor aside, my weight is on my mind. What started as a plateau has definitely turned into a slide in the wrong direction. I'm really struggling with the best way to proceed. Both The Plan and Chrono-nutrition backfired on me. I'm working out for between 45-90 minutes a day 6x/week and I would have expected far different results by now!

That leads me to believe that I'm eating the wrong things, drinking the wrong things and simply going about my diet in the wrong way. Flirting with one diet and trying another one, but not sticking to anything is not going to get me to my goal weight.

Here are what I believe are my biggest culprits:

1. Coffee with fattening creamer in the morning. I drink International Delight's Irish Cream and it's way more calorie/fat laden than I thought. I Tb is 35 calories!!! (And the Mistress likes her coffee light and sweet....that's a lot of 1 Tb's!)

2. Wine with dinner. Most nights.

3. Portion Control at Dinner. Despite a pretty moderate breakfast and lunch, my last meal of the day can border on a binge-- often with second helpings. This is the penalty for being such a good cook!!


I also suspect that the medications I was on and weened myself off of have resulted in a sluggish metabolism and perhaps an under active thyroid.

I am not a "power bar and shake" kind of girl. Yeah, I can do an occasional Think Thin bar for breakfast. I even tried one for lunch last week, as Tracy's Dynamic Eating Plan prescribes, but I was starving all afternoon! I think they taste "fake" and they just do not satisfy me.

My gut feeling is that I simply have to go back to basics: Lean protein. Veggies. Fruit. Fewer carbs. Cut out the alcohol. Burn more calories than I'm taking in. It's not brain surgery. But damn, it's hard.

Here's where I am on this.....I'm not willing to live on steamed chicken and broccoli. It's not realistic. It's not me. But I'm also not going to accept 170+ pounds. I'm just not. Losing 30 pounds? Prolly not gonna happen. But maybe 20? I don't like thinking about numbers at all, but I've got to keep myself in check, here.

Any and all suggestions would be greatly appreciated!


Saturday, March 17, 2012

Perfect Design II Day 13: Ten Day Challenge & Grocery Cart Perspective

JP and I went grocery shopping together this week and after unloading the groceries into the van, I asked if he was going to take the grocery cart back. We had been having a political discussion about the Republican primary candidates, and he put on his best politician face and said, "You want to take the country back? You can't even take the grocery cart back!"

We cracked up laughing! He said, "You see, Parker, there are 3 kinds of people. There are the people who take the grocery cart back. There are the people who don't take the grocery cart back. And then there are people who pay someone to take the grocery cart back for them."

To that I said, "Well, put me in that third category...only without the ability to pay. So take my cart back, Bee-atch!" We had a good chuckle about that one!

So what does a grocery cart philosophy have to do with anything, you may be asking? Everything, my lovelies.....everything.

You see, everyone has the best intentions to take that empty cart back...either back to the store or at least to the cart rack in the parking lot. Then, some underpaid employee has to go out 79 times a day to organize and stack them and push that cart train back to the store where the whole shopping cart process starts over again.

How many times have you been in this situation: By the time you get your groceries loaded into the trunk, every last bag, every last carton of eggs and gallon of milk, you look at the time and you think, "Dang! I'm late for Aunt Gertrude's birthday party!" Or, "Shitballs! I have to get to that employee meeting early before the boss notices I'm not there....early!"

So, you leave the cart there, precariously tipped against the curb, hoping you can get out of that parking lot before someone notices that your cart is now on a collision course with a grandma pulling her huge Buick into a Handicapped space and the new Mom waddling out with quintuplets.

It's the same attitude that is so easy to take with our workouts. Leave it at the curb....make a promise you'll take the cart back workout next time. It's the equivalent of rolling that mat out for muscular structure and never actually getting your ass into plank position for 40 reps!

The problem for me is, once I leave that damn cart there once, I do it again. And, it's easier to justify...again. Pretty soon, I'm that girl-- the one that the grocery store employee brings up in a meeting-- you know, that girl who always acts like she's in such a rush, she just ditches her cart and takes off.

You know, that girl, who just ditches her workout and takes off.

Sound familiar? Thought so.

Do the right thing. Get your workout in. Take your damn cart back.

Or, my favorite thing is to combine them and do the Shopping Cart Dance, baby! Make it a Cardio Cart, whoop whoop!

Now, onto the 10 Day Challenge. A couple girls on Facebook who I tag each morning for our "workout accountability" decided that we should do a 10 day workout challenge. We are all doing different levels of TAM and everyone is doing their own thing with diet, but we decided to add in Tracy's Mat arms and Hamelin's Abs to our workouts for 10 days in a row. Hamelin is a trainer who has a similar workout philosophy to Tracy's--- emphasis on the accessory muscles.

Also-- some of the girls doing TAM's Metamorphosis, have had issues with what has been dubbed, Donut Abs, where there is a protrusion in a donut shape in the lower abdominals. Many of them found Hamelin's abs to be a great alternative and a solution for shrinking the "donut."

Whether or not the abdominal ring of puffiness is caused by poor form or separation of the abdominals from some rotation in the Meta series, is not clear. But, regardless, I think it's a good idea to mix up some other fitness styles that have the same technique that Tracy uses.

I created a workout page on Facebook for our 10 Day Challenge-- with the hopes of adding a monthly challenge! Feel free to join me on Facebook, or simply use the below videos to supplement your current workout:

I will be adding in this series to my current workout-- wrapping up Perfect Design II this weekend and beginning Perfect Design III!

Join me for the challenge!


Monday, March 12, 2012

Perfect Design II Day 8: Chili Winner but No Weight Loser

The Mistress and her "Major Award"

It's a major award! Well, not really, but it is my first cooking award! First place at a Georgia Chili Contest-- whoop whoop!

JP wanted to go to a car event on Sunday-- he has a really cool retro '66 Ford Econoline Van-- and this was a chance to get together with a bunch of dudes to talk about their sweet rides. We took picture of our van (baby blue on the far left) with two other Econolines. It was literally, "Vans Down By The River"--- for any of you familiar with the hilarious Saturday Night Live skit.

Vans Down By The River

The bonus for me, was that it was also the Ford Owners Annual Chili Cook Off! I've been wanting to compete in a chili contest since I came up with this killer recipe. And, the Mistress did not disappoint...I won 1st place-- the "Hottest and Most Unique Flavor" as the judge described. Yay for me!

Here's the recipe-- and it's the REAL recipe. I expect any and all winnings sent to me if you enter this and win a contest!

Feel free to substitute the ground beef for ground chicken, turkey, bison, or even tofu, for any vegetarians out there. The key to the flavor is the chipotles and the beer. It is spicy, so if you're not a fan of heat, then cut back on the chipotles and jalapeños.

JP named this:

"Slap Yo Mama It's So Good" Chili....


2 pounds ground beef (sometimes the butcher will label it “chili mix”-- the beef is thicker than regular hamburger meat)

1 pound spicy sausage (I use Jimmy Dean HOT sausage)

3 Tablespoons butter

2 medium or 1 large yellow/white onion diced

4-5 garlic cloves diced

2 jalapeno peppers diced (not seeds)

2 cans Rotel tomatoes (original)

1 (6 oz) can of tomato paste

1 can of red beans with juice (Kidney)

1/4 cup honey

4 Tablespoons BBQ sauce

1 Tablespoon Tabasco sauce

4 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (diced with seeds), plus 4 Tablespoons of sauce

1 12 oz bottle amber beer

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 Tablespoons brown sugar

2 cups of beef stock (I prefer using "Better Than Bouillon" paste. You boil 2 cups of water and add 2 Tablespoons of the paste and mix.)

2 Tablespoons Cumin

4 Tablespoons Chili powder

1 Tablespoon Garlic powder

1 Tablespoon Onion powder

2 Tablespoons Paprika (Hungarian/spicy is best)

2 Tablespoons Brown sugar

1 Tablespoon Cayenne pepper

1 Tablespoon Kosher Salt

2 Tablespoons Black pepper

4 ears corn on cob

Bunch of Scallions

Shredded cheese

In a large saucepan, brown chili meat and sausage. Do not drain.

In a separate frying pan, melt butter and saute onion, garlic and jalapeno until soft, 5-7 minutes. Add to beef saucepan and stir to combine. Add all the spices to the beef mixture and saute over medium heat until combined...Pour in everything else and simmer for 2-3 hours!

On the workout/diet front, I'm reaching new levels of frustration with my weight plateau. Over the last month since I finished bootcamp, I seem to gain and lose the same 4-5 pounds. My range has been 162-167 (depending on whether I'm carrying a gluten baby!) I'm still down from my original 176+ pounds, but I'm ready to get back to the teeny, tiny, version of ME!

I cannot for the life of me, seem to dip into the 150's. It's freaking driving me nuts. I know I need to get better about diet. I'm not snacking as much while on the chrono-nutrition plan, but I had to start cutting back the carbs a bit--- it was too much to have a full 1 cup of rice/potatoes at lunch. Today I had between 1/2-3/4 cup of rice with chicken-- and I've started adding a few more veggies back into lunch. Dinner is always a struggle for me. MUST NOT EAT CARBS.

I think the wine during the week isn't helping my fight, either. It adds calories and usually encourages binge eating-- or at least a second helping!

My workouts, on the other hand, have been great-- I love the Perfect Design series and I finally treated myself to a new pair of kicks.... Saucony Progrid Kinvaras. I LOVE them! I literally had worn a hole in my old dance cardio shoes!

My new dance cardio shoes

I'm going to try to be more vigilant about tracking my calories and making smart food decisions. It is frustrating for me to be working out so consistently and then ultimately, sabotaging my progress by overeating or eating the wrong things.

Do you girls struggle with consistent diet??? Fill a sister in-- any and all advice would be awesome!


Friday, March 9, 2012

Perfect Design II Day 5: Chrono-Nutrition Solution?

Grandma Ronnie always used to say, "Eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper."

It makes sense: Our bodies need fats and carbs in the morning to fuel our day, some more protein and carbs mid-day to keep us going, and minimal calories by the end of the day, since our heavy lifting is considered done.

The Chrono-nutrtition plan is based on that philosophy-- and along the lines of "Why French Women Don't Get Fat." I remember traveling through Europe when I was in college and being stunned by the gorgeous, thin women munching on cheese and bread as they sipped their wine. The key, apparently, is not just what you eat, but how much and when you eat it....

I got turned on by the Chrono-nutrition concept after reading some of the European girls touting this eating plan on Facebook. Some loyal TAM'ers were complaining that despite losing their saddlebags, their boobs were disappearing too. I can totally relate-- anytime I lose weight, it comes out of my face and chest first. (And there's not much there to begin with!)

Well, Chrono-nutrition has been touted as the, "Eat carbs and cheese, lose weight, but not your boobies" diet. I was intrigued.

Being consistent with my diet has been my biggest challenge in this commitment to getting healthy. I did OK on the Bootcamp menu, except for breakfasts. I hate fruit for breakfast! It's refreshing, it's lovely, yes. But does it satisfy the Mistress? Not so much.

I've always been a big breakfast person. Interestingly, even when I was my thinnest, my typical breakfast was eggs and toast with hash browns....I may have only eaten cauliflower after 10am, but I definitely enjoyed that first meal!

The Chrono-nutrition diet calls for a big breakfast of toast with cheese and butter...I repeat, toast with cheese and butter! I read that and was thinking, "This is a diet? Sweet! Sign me up!" You can have meat with your breakfast and up to 3 eggs a week.
Chrono-Nutrition Breakfast: Udi brand gluten-free toast with butter and jelly; scrambled eggs with brie cheese and turkey sausage

Lunch is 9oz of lean meat, (that's 3x the Tracy portion!) plus 1 cup of rice or potatoes. No vegetables. I repeat, no vegetables. Weird, huh?
Chrono-nutrition Lunch: 9 oz of grilled chicken with 1 cup of rice and chopped basil

Snack is chocolate and fruit...I made the chocolate blueberry pudding on the Bootcamp menu yesterday and today I made strawberry chocolate pudding. Divinely DELISH!

Chocolate Fruit Pudding
1 cup strawberries or blueberries
1/4 cup chocolate chips or dark chocolate melted
1 Tb cocoa powder
1/2 cup water
2 Tb coconut milk/cream

Blend in the food processor and freeze until ready to eat.
Chrono-nutrition Snack: Chocolate Blueberry Pudding

Dinner is another 9oz portion of protein, preferably fish, or a smaller portion of red meat with a cup of vegetables. No starch. The plan says if you're not hungry, to skip dinner altogether.
Chrono-nutrition Dinner: 9 oz Salmon with 1 cup of sautéed spinach with fresh garlic

I've done the diet for the last 2 days and the biggest change I notice is that I'm not at all hungry between meals. I have always been a "three squares a day" kind of girl-- not a big snacker. When I had a personal trainer years ago, it never felt natural to have the six mini-meals, as I was instructed to do. When I eat, I want to EAT in volume. The little snacky snacks here and there never satisfied me and usually made me hungrier.

Lately, with the intensity of my workouts, I felt myself getting hungry every 2 hours-- and thought that maybe, I should re-think the mini-meal concept. But, the problem for me the last few weeks, has been eating the mini-meals during the day and then a too-big meal at night since I was so damn hungry when I got home.

The other issue, is well....GAS. So much embarrassing gas. Just call me Gassy McFarterson.

I don't know whether it's been the increase in fiber and veggies in my diet, or more gluten issues, or what, but it's bad. I mean, BAD. And JP and I are not the "poop and fart in front of each other" kind of couple! So, I blame....the dogs. Just look at them. You can almost hear them saying, "Don't blame us, Mom!"
Blame it on Bonnie & Clyde...

NOT the case the last 2 days! I've been satisfied without being stuffed. I think the rice at lunch has a big part to play in that. No more cravings for salty, crunchy stuff in the afternoons.

And the gas has disappeared!

Could I have found a diet solution that actually works for me???? Dare I dream?

Since my metabolism is still adjusting to being off my anti-depressant and everything internally is still in flux, I figure I should pay attention when something seems to be working. And this definitely seems to be working! We'll have to see if the scale reflects thatwhen I finally get on it this weekend. (gulp!)

Here are some links to the actual diet, translated into English by a fabulous gal on FB. The pics are kind of funny as are the descriptions! Anyway, it appears that I am Morphotype Chéops.

Links About the Diet:

Tonight I'm going to do the measurements--- I'm not used to grams and centimeters, but it's easy to do the conversions online.

Workouts have been awesome! I received the most amazing gift this week from a reader, the lovely and generous Inga Lake....She literally mailed me a treasure trove of Tracy material from Canada! Thank you, sweet Inga!
I'm loving Perfect Design and I feel like my butt might just have lifted up a bit more! I'm combining PD with regular dance cardio, although I've officially broken my rebounder-- 2 springs have popped off and JP, bless his heart, could not weld them back on! Time for a new, trampoline!

I've been getting my workouts in between 5-7am. Now, I'm off to the grocery store now to stock up on more Chrono-nutrition ingredients! Oh, and wine is definitely on the menu tonight! This is a French diet, after all....


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Perfect Design Day 14: Cool Whip & Weekend Blues

I feel defeated. Bummed out. Lethargic. Unmotivated.

I haven't worked out today.

I'm sure if I had, I'd have a better perspective. Despite my best intentions to really get my diet in check and amp up my workouts, especially cardio, which has been lagging all week, I'm moping and grumpy. Disappointed with my complete lack of discipline and all of my efforts sabotaged.

It was an "eat Cool Whip out of the container" kinda weekend. And that's exactly what I did.

I know, I know, I'm usually your Cheerful TAM Cheerleader, rah-rahing us all to our most TAMfabulous selves....But I've had a lot of introspective moments since the end of last week, when I received dozens of responses to my last blog post. Girls emailed me from around the world, sharing their struggles and triumphs with eating disorders. I had incredibly moving Facebook comments from women of all ages and backgrounds who wanted me to know how much they appreciated my story.

Then, I received a Facebook comment from a New York "celebrity trainer" who told me that the TAM program has "eating disordered language"-- and that my support and endorsement of the program was a sign that I was still holding onto my own eating disorder and that I was "leading women down a dangerous path that they might not have the strength to resist."

I was blindsided.

Then, I was furious. How dare she accuse me of doing the opposite of what I set out to accomplish with this blog? My goal has always been to HELP and SUPPORT other women who may be struggling with body image, self-worth and confidence. I have hoped that sharing my own story and being vulnerable would let other women know that they are not alone.

An army of TAM'ers came to my defense, moving me to tears several times. I am forever grateful for my own cadre of supporters, my TAM sisterhood.

I came home that night livid, telling JP about the online drama, just lathering with indignation. How could this woman, a complete stranger, accuse me of such things? How could my personal TAM journey be interpreted as anything other than healthy and good intentioned?

JP, always the pragmatist, and my dose or reality when needed, said, "Parker, when you put yourself out there on a blog and on public forums, you have to be prepared for your fair share of critics. Buck up, Baby!"

He's right.

It made me stop and think about my motivations for writing this blog and it's possible effects on those reading it....Is it obsessive? Am I going overboard with the diet talk? Could my before and after pics be triggers for someone suffering from an eating disorder?

The truth is, I don't know. It feels healthy to me....I love feeling like I've provided some insight or light in my little corner of the blogosphere that makes sense to someone else. It inspires me to write these posts and it keeps me accountable-- in so many ways, beyond my workout.

It's also re-ignited my love of writing, reminding me why I wanted to be a writer a lifetime ago, and why maybe, that might still be a possibility....

Once I was able to digest it all emotionally, I realized that this trainer had a point--- any program that markets to the insecurities of young women, (i.e. "teeny tiny" language, etc..) has the potential to be used dysfunctionally. But, I personally do not think Tracy is banking on eating disorders to drive her sales. I think her results speak for themselves. And I think it is OUR responsibility, as the consumer, to keep ourselves, and our shrinking asses in check!

So to sum up, I want anyone reading this to know that my heart is in this journey that I write about every few days....

My heart is with each and every one of you who has ever struggled to love the girl in the mirror looking back at you.

The irony that comes with that trainer's criticism, is that I feel like this blog started out as a Tracy Anderson journey, but it's morphed (metamorphed?) into MY JOURNEY...

And for that folks, I can only take credit if this leads you down the path with me to whatever MAH-VELOUS we encounter together.....

For a little comic relief, here's one of my favorite Family Guy clips-- with the infamous "COOL HOOWHIP" line from Stewy! Now where's that container of mine? Oh yeah. I finished it. Awesome.