Sunday, February 20, 2011

One month

This is me, one month into my diet. I have no idea how many pounds I've lost so far, because I'm not weighing myself. I have a tendency to be very competitive, and very, very impatient. I want results immediately, and I want them to be extraordinary.

When I've tried to diet in the past, I've found that weighing myself led to feelings of despair and frustration. I've never been able to lose as much as I expected to lose as quickly as I expected to lose it; getting on the scale and seeing the real number gave me a "what's the use?" feeling that led to giving up and gaining more. So this time, no scale. I've committed to four months of healthy eating and exercising, and I'll wait until then to see how I've done, pound-wise.

Every month, I'm going to look back and see how I've done. This month has gone well, I think. I'm feeling a lot better; I have more energy, I'm sleeping better, and I've seen a change in my size. My chin is pointy again. My nose got thinner; I had to readjust the nosepiece on my glasses to see properly. My eyelids aren't puffy any more. I went down two, count 'em, two bra sizes - and I'm wearing jeans that I couldn't even zip a year ago, without a muffin top bulging over the waistband!

I've already met my goal of dropping one size in four months; my new goal is to stay there, or possibly go down one more size. I'm not going to beat myself up if I don't; I've already met my original goal, and this new goal is strictly for extra credit. I'd like to eventually fit into size 3 jeans, and size 8 tops, but that is my final goal. I've always been broad-shouldered and busty; even when I was thin, I needed a larger size on top, so I don't expect that to change. But I used to be slim-hipped, and I'd like to be there again. Not this quarter, though - that goal is much longer-term.

I'd like to be exercising more; I am definitely exercising more than I was before I started, but I think I could be doing more, so that's my primary goal for this month. I'm very happy with my new diet; I cheated twice this month, once on my sister's birthday, and once on Valentine's Day. Sadly, both times, the yummy desserts didn't agree with me; my mouth loved them, but my stomach said, "no way." As it stands right now, I really have no desire to try that experiment again. My body has made it abundantly clear that it doesn't want sweets. Sorry, tongue. You lose this one.

All in all, it's been a good month. I like how I feel, and I'm not avoiding the mirror any more. I still have more to lose, but I don't hate the way I look; I can walk by a mirror and actually look into it and smile. I can take a picture of myself and let other people see it.

Yay, me.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Moving down the stack

Not unlike a lot of women, I've got a stack of jeans in my drawer. At the bottom is the holy grail - size six. They move on up from there. I've just tossed out the largest pairs, and I'm down to fitting into the ones I haven't been able to zip for about a year. Oddly enough, they're all the same size. Every single one of them are labeled size eight, and they're from the same manufacturer. However, one group is about a year and a half older than the other group.

Before I tossed the too-big pants, I held them up to the smaller group to see what the difference was. It's an amazing two inches. Yup, in the past year and a half, size eight jeans from this manufacturer got two inches bigger in the waist and hips, and so did I.

That's really sneaky.

Oh, on some level, I knew it; I couldn't zip the old size eights anymore. But I was perfectly willing to overlook that and go on happily, telling myself that I was okay as long as I was wearing a size eight. It was the tag that counted, and the manufacturers know that. They're perfectly willing to play into my little delusion; they knew that I would continue to buy new clothes as long as they have "size eight" written on the tag.

And I'm sure I'm not alone.

Of course, now my mind is reeling. If size eight jeans got two inches bigger, then what happened to size six jeans? Are they two inches bigger, too? Am I really a size six, in today's sizes, right now? And about those sixes at the bottom of the stack - which are much older than any of the size eights - are they really fours in today's sizes? Or even smaller than that?

I'm not going to find out, yet; I'm committed to not buying new clothes, or even trying any on, until my birthday, at the end of May. I want to give myself enough time to make a real change; and, in any case, I've got a few more sizes in the stack to get through before then, so there's no risk of running out.

But it definitely gave me something to think about; it gives me hope that I really am uncovering a thinner me.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Look for me in Perlen Poesie

I've got a project coming out in the Spring issue of Perlen Poesie; I'm honored to be in the same issue as the amazing Suzanne Golden.

I'm not going to tell you what my project is; but I will tell you that it's one of my favorite pieces. For those of you who don't pick up the magazine (it's published in Germany) the pattern will be available in my shops in a couple of months. Yes, I will tell you which one it is after the magazine is available.

It is so exciting to me to think of my pattern being published in a language I don't even speak; I can't wait to see it. I'm also looking forward to making new friends; Perlen Poesie is a beautiful magazine.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Modified multi-tasking

Multi-tasking is not a concept I was born understanding. For most of my life, I did one thing at a time. I like to start something and work on it until it is done.

And then I had kids. Leaving aside the fact that almost nothing ever gets done once you have kids, I suddenly found that it was necessary to pay attention to more than one thing at a time. Saying "hold that thought, " just doesn't work with a kindergartner.

So, after many years of semi-successful multi-tasking, I'm getting used to it. Sort of.

A few months ago, I committed to being part of the beAd Infinitum Design team. It's a 6-month commitment, and I'm required to produce two designs by the 15th of each month, using their patterns. It's a sweet deal; their work is very different from mine, and I've been enjoying rummaging around in their brains, via their patterns. I don't think any of the maths have stuck yet, but i've learned a thing or two, and had a lot of fun doing it.

So, you ask, where is this going and what does it have to do with multi-tasking?

My kids taught me how to do several different things at the same time, but I've always been careful to keep those things from being too similar. I can bead, do laundry, and help a kid with homework all at the same time, but those things are very different, and require different parts of my brain.

But now I'm trying to design and execute multiple projects at the same time; between the commitment I've made, the projects I want to do, and the vagaries of my muse, life has become very interesting.

So I've compartmentalized again.

Since I'm working on a very intensive piece of beadweaving for the Bead Mavens' Challenge, I decided to make a strung necklace, using their Double Rose Window beaded bead, for my first February design team project, and use wire-working, with an Infinity Dodecahedron beaded bead, for the second project:

Modified multi-tasking. We do whatever it takes, right?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Do you want fries with that?

There was an article in this morning's paper about fast food restaurants; it seems they've decided that their market is people who want a lot of calories for a small price. They're making their burgers even bigger, and the bigger they are, the faster they sell.

Included in the article were calorie counts for some brand new fast food offerings: the Stuffed Steakhouse sandwich from Burger King has 600 calories, the All-American Jack sandwich from Jack in the Box has 840 calories, and the Footlong Cheeseburger from Carl's Jr. tops that with 850 calories. By the way, those numbers are just for the burgers.

Add a large order of fries (590 calories) and a 32 ounce Coke (388 calories) to your Burger King sandwich for a grand total of 1,578 calories; 1,966 calories if you go back for your free refill. At Jack in the Box, a large order of fries has 580 calories; add that and a 32 oz. Coke (with a free refill) for an All-American meal that contains 2,196 calories. Add a large fries (470 calories) and a 32 oz. Coke (with free refill) to your Footlong Cheeseburger for a grand total of 2,096 calories. And a Big Mac meal? 704 calories for the sandwich (that 570 number they love to share is for the Big Mac without cheese!); add fries (500 calories) and a 32 oz Coke (don't forget the free refill!) for a grand total of 1,980 calories.

That's a big lunch.

But, hey - we all know that fast food isn't exactly good for us, right? Well, how about these numbers for a couple of popular sit-down restaurants: choose a Fire Pit Bacon Burger from Applebees, and you've just consumed 1,070 calories. Add french fries (400 calories) and Coke with unlimited refills . . . . and, in no time, you're over 2,000 calories. At Chili's, the Barbeque Ranch Burger has 1,110 calories and the fries have 520 calories. With our favorite soft drink (unlimited refills!) the meal once again weighs in at over 2,000 calories. And that's without dessert.

Beth Mansfield (spokeswoman for the company who owns Carl's Jr.) said, "If we wanted to listen to the food police and sell nuts [n.b. 160 calories] and berries [n.b. 80 calories] and tofu burgers [n.b. 80 calories], we wouldn't make any money, and we'd be out of business." (Total calories from a meal of nuts, berries and a tofu burger: 320. Add a glass of water for free.)

Just to put that into perspective, the average recommended daily calorie intake (yours will vary based on your age, height, weight and activity level) is 1,940 calories for women, and 2,550 for men.

One meal. That's all it takes.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Anatomy of a challenge

I've been working on my Vernal Visions Challenge piece for awhile now; it's actually a piece that I've been wanting to make for close to a year now.

There have been several reasons why I haven't made it before now; the main one being that I couldn't figure out how to do a critical part of it. This piece is inspired by the work of Faberge; he, of course, worked in gold and precious jewels, and I'm working in seed beads.

There is a difference.

I tried close to a hundred ways to make this tiny little component that inspired me, and failed miserably each time. I knew that I should be able to do it, but I just couldn't find a way to translate it into beads. Until recently. And the solution was so simple I nearly cried. All those complicated, crazy things I tried didn't work at all; and here it is in seven beads, done. In this piece, the challenging part isn't going to show in the final product; the challenge was finding the simple way to do it.

So now, with that problem solved, it took only a few tries to work out the rest of it. Now I know what to do, and how to do it; all that's left is the doing.

The part that shows is such a little bit of the work.