Monday, September 27, 2010

So close and yet so far...

Day 29

Loss: 4 lbs
Total loss to date: 24 lbs

Lessons from the week...

I am confident navigating dangerous menus. I have successfully eaten at Biaggis, Olive Garden, the food court, Panera Bread, Noodle Company. As an aside, every restaurant should post their nutritional information online (this message is for you Quaker Steak & Lube!)

Being thinner does not necessarily mean you are happier. Happiness comes from some other place entirely.

My clothes are starting to feel very baggy. Even my "skinnier" jeans. I donated the entire portion of my "smaller" wardrobe last year, so these jeans will have to do. Besides, I really want to wait until I am MUCHO thinner to go on a shopping spree.

And in other news, my maid failed to show up again this week. Me thinks I have to fire her. Oh, wait. We don't have a maid, oh sorrow...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mirror Mirror

I've come to the conclusion that I am backwards.

If you've seen Beverly Hill 90210, (or my fav 1990s drama - Models Inc.) or any ABC after school special, let alone, Oprah, you know that girls (and women for that matter) are hyper critical of their bodies. To the extreme of having unhealthy, skewed or totally warped body images. What they see in the mirror isn't what is. They gaze at themselves in the mirror and all they see are flaws. Girls think they should look like Gisele Bundchen. Women want Jennifer Aniston's legs. Julia Roberts' smile. Michelle Obama's arms (a nod to my liberal readers...)

Not me. The Mara teenager spent many days and night sitting at the dressing table mirror perfecting the eye makeup. Another coat of mascara. A curl of the iron. Don't get me wrong, I cared what I looked like - I just wasn't overly critical. I think (and my high school friends can correct me if I am wrong), I was always sort of in the upper echelon of the high school caste system. I was never the IT girl, but I was an acceptable girl. I took care of myself. I never wore the same thing to school twice. I had a brand name (at my school, Gap, The Limited, Laura Ashley, these were importanto) wardrobe. I had long blonde hair. I used Lancome makeup. I played sports. I was smart. I was in choir (albeit as a tenor). I think I was not completely embarassing to the male sex. Some dared to date me. (Of course, I did have one major stigma - I was Dr. Eddy's daughter - but that's a whole different post...)

I can count, probably off the top of my head, the times in my life that I fit into certain, umm.. lets call them, unattainable clothing sizes (the orange silk Laura Ashley shift dress in the summer of 1994 comes to mind). Ladies, you know what I am saying. I know for instance, the size and brand of the prom dress in this photo - I also recall the desire to wear styles and trends that I couldn't fit into for the life of me. I envied the girls in my class who could wear it all. I certainly did not think I was one of those girls.

Fast forward. College. Well, ok, so freshman 15 and all that. I definately participated. Late night pizza. Bar food. Alcohol. Yep. Yep. Yep. Excercise? Not so much. Junior year, I went back to England. I got skinny in Durham, cause well - I had no other option. I had to climb 4-5 flight of castle stairs to get to my room - Keep 44 - and get this - no phones, and I had no cell phone (so backwards American). So, literally, if I wanted to see my friends, I had to WALK around and find them. Isn't that just crazy? Walk to class (when I went), walk around the river, walk around town, walk up the castle, down to Dix Neuf... walk walk walk. By spring 1999, I was probably the skinniest I had ever been in the post age 18 Mara era. Somehow, I was able to pull off mini-jean skirts and skinny little tee-shirts. Darn. Hot is so wasted on the young. Ala.....

Mirror Mirror. What does Mara see? I still see this. Can you believe it? I mean, who looks in the mirror at age 32 and still sees their young 24 year old self? On first read, it probably doesn't seem like such a problem to have. But, the denial prevented me from addressing the long overdue growth of my waist line. Until now. Now, I see. And I feel. And the flab is very real.

20 pounds in, and the mirror is starting to reveal the self that I am. The flab. The leftover. I see what all those after school specials are about now. It is hard to accept all this extra me. I just want it gone. I need to reconcile the new Mommy me with the old hottie me. I need to find out who this body, mind and soul really is these days. And I need to accept what I see in the mirror and stop asking who's the fairest of them all?

And if you think this post is just an excuse to post some old awesome photos of myself... you might be right. Everyone needs motivation!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Big Two - Oh!

Super psyched this morning, Week 3 of tranformation Mara. Official weigh in!

Loss: 5 lbs
Total loss to date: 20 lbs

I am not sure what more I can say about 20 lbs. It doesn't seem to make that much of a difference. My clothes are fitting looser. My shape is less round. I feel flabby. I can feel the sore muscle under the remaining weight, getting firmer.

As for the hunger, it has pretty much dissipated. At this point, I've got to hope that my body has adjusted to my new diet. Each day this week, the scale went steadily down at least a half, if not a full pound.

Gotta keep at it!

Friday, September 17, 2010


More than one person in the past 24 hours has said to me: "You know, it takes 2 weeks to create a habit. You are well on your way." That doesn't really sound like a lot of time to me, but for the sake of building myself up, I will embrace my new habits.

Friends have been asking, so what are you eating? or maybe a better question, what aren't you eating? I will outline my daily intake further down this post. I did consider Weight Watchers. In law school, I did an online diet, I think it was EDiets. I have read Dr. Oz's book, "You on a Diet", and I have watched numerous other shows about how to lose weight.

The bare naked truth is, if you want to lose weight, you have to burn more calories than you consume. Now, there are numerous ways to do this. You can eat all sorts of wacky stuff. You can drink shakes. You can take pills. You can be seduced by sugar free, fat free, splenda, low carb, whole wheat, whole grain, less this, less that. Or you can just try to eat less.

I knew stupidity wasn't my problem. I know better, I've just been grossly negligent when it comes to my own health. After contemplating joining Weight Watchers, and looking at some online programs, I realized - if this is REALLY going to work, I've got to do it my way. I've got to be able to get thru the day and consume less calories.

So that is what I am doing. In the past 3 weeks, my food intake has looked like this:

1-2 cups of coffee / coffeemate / sugar (that is my splurge)
3/4 c. Kashi cereal(or 1 c., depending on Kashi type and serving size) w/ skim milk and/or berries

1 Healthy Choice Steamer Meal / These range in calories from 170 - 320. They taste good. They are portion control. They give you no options and no way to fail.

If it is a 220 cal or less meal, I will have a Yoplait 100 cal yogurt or 90 calorie Granola bar. (What your labels people - granola bars can be full of calories!)

Dinner. This is where it gets hard. I cook for Erik & the girls. My default meal is usually a protein, a starch and a veg. Some examples:
Last night it was a soy/citrus marinated pork chop, some Indian inspired basmati rice from Target and peas.
The night before I did a basic whole wheat pasta with tomato/basil sauce w/ ground beef.
We've done veggie pizza. Turkey parmesean calzones. Tacos. Any number of normal family friendly foods.

With my dinner, my only goal is to watch my portions, particularly the starch. Rice, potatoes, bread can add calories quickly. I keep my protein portion to the size of the palm of my hand. And I load up on veggies. I figure I am ranging between 500 cal - 750 cals a night for dinner.

Oh, and the only thing I drink is water.

Sum total: 1200 - 1400 calories per day. Part of doing this requires you to figure out how many calories you have to eat to lose weight. There are a variety of calculators out there. I've found this site particularly helpful:

The second habit I have created is excercise. I think, if you want to lose weight, you've got to figure out a way to excercise. This is, in many ways, harder than watching what you eat. You've got to get excercise clothes. Shoes. You've got to change into them. You got to find an activity that you can do. You get sweaty. You feel lethargic. Huge. Less than fab.

I've been doing it 30 minutes every day. We've got a Wii. And I am doing Wii Fit. It is fun. It is silly. It works my body and my mind. I get sweaty. I get revived. I get more energy. And I get on it again the next day.

It has the added bonus of tracking your goals for you if you want.

At some point, I realize that the Wii might not cut it. But for now, this is working. I may want to join a gym at some point. But best to create habits before I go spending a bunch of money. I've learned before, spending money doesn't get you skinnier. It just gets you poor.

Whoops. I've been at this too long. More for another day.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Week 2

Official weigh in for Week 2:

Lost: 2.5 lbs
Total Loss to date: 15 lbs

I worked out every day on Wii Fit this week and it feels good. My energy level is up and I am starting to feel my body change. I am sad to see how quickly my weight loss has slowed, but convinced I will meet my goal by Thanksgiving - to be down another 10lbs for a total loss of 25 lbs.

Most surprisingly, I am not that hungry. Occassionally around 4pm and 9pm, the stomach yells at me, but I just drink some water and get over it.

I should have done this years ago....

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ode to Elaine

I am having a sort of affinity for Juila Louis-Dreyfus these days. I think it stems from her "spokesperson" role for Healthy Choice foods, and since I've been eating a lot of them recently...

I was on the Wii this morning laughing at my complete lack of balance. I mean, you know you are in trouble when the Wii asks you if you find that you trip alot. Frankly, it might as well have asked me if I routinely walk into walls. (Which I do... but whatever..) So, feeling completely uncoordinated and thankfully sequestered to my lonely basement (could you imagine this happened at a GYM? With real honest to God people looking at me?! ARGH!).. I thought of Elaine...

Actually, I thought of Elaine, dancing. God, that was classic. The Elaine dance. Proof that even skinny people aren't graceful. And I kept at the Wii and next thing I knew, I had mastered the advance step routine and I was sweating up a storm.

So, Elaine is my new inspiration. Cause, lets face it, she's damn good (to use a Raynor term). And just to cap off my little Ode to Elaine - a quote:

Elaine: David, I'm going to hell! The worst place in the world! With devils and those caves and the ragged clothing! And the heat! My god, the heat! I mean, what do you think about all that?

Can't help but smile. Dance on Elaine.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Investment

Hey, I put some new shoes on,
And suddenly everything is right,
I said, hey, I put some new shoes on and everybody's smiling,
It's so inviting,
Oh, short on money,
But long on time,
Slowly strolling in the sweet sunshine,
And I'm running late,
And I don't need an excuse,
'cause I'm wearing my brand new shoes.
- Paolo Nuttini

Not the shoes I would have liked to spend $130 on, but I warned you - it is going to get ugly around here...

Monday, September 6, 2010

1 week down!

This morning was my official weigh in. I've been cheating all week, seeing the lbs come off the scale has been a major motivation.

I've lost 12.5 lbs this week.

Ok, I know that is crazy. But for all you skinny people out there going - that couldn't be healthy - just remember, when you start out with such a high number, it is easier to lose such a high number. I figure that 12 lbs is like a normal person losing 5lbs. That puts it into perspective.

Either way, it is a great start. I kept my promise. I wrote every thing down. I counted calories. I even ate out (when in doubt - eat vegetarian!). I excercised. My poor neighbors saw me run down the street.... will they recover?

Thanks to Kyle, Mom & Dad for setting me up with Wii Fit Plus, so I don't have to run in circles in my basement anymore! I know it is going to get harder, the real test of my will power is coming.

Thursday, September 2, 2010


All the gurus will tell you. If you want to lose weight, you have to figure out why you eat. There is a whole litany of psychological and behavioral mumbo jumbo out there about getting to the root of the neurosis.

So, Mara.... why do you eat? As you could imagine, this week, as the calorie deprivation set in, this question has been pestering me. Why? Why? Why? Why do I eat? Why don't I stop myself? Why did it get to this point?

There is a lot of talk about self-loathing when it comes to weight loss. Depression, fear, anxiety, not finding love from other places except from food. Heck, food makes you feel good. It tastes good! Like a drug, it is an addiction.

See, none of that really sits well with me. I don't hate myself. I don't think I am depressed (although, perhaps at times have had an inclination towards it), I have love in my life. I am (generally) a confident and happy gal. I am not afraid of the world.

My problem is: I like to celebrate. I want to celebrate every day! Hey! It is Monday! That's worth a brownie! I love Fridays in the summer! Lets get ice cream! I don't want to cook - how about Culvers for dinner?! Blizzard of the week? You bet! And on and on.... and soon, it was every day.

And then add a feeling that I deserved it.

In 2003, I quit a serious smoking addiction. I smoked. A lot. Most days, a whole pack. I smoked first thing in the morning. I smoked first thing at night. I smoked in the car. I smoked at 10am. I smoked at Noon. I smoked after lunch. I smoked before dinner. I smoked at the bar. I smoked. Friends at Bucknell will remember me as the girl sitting on the bench (every bench), smoking. It was an addiction for me. When I thought about quitting I would break into a cold sweat. The withdrawl dreams. The anxiety. I had lost control.

When I successfully quit the cigs, I celebrated! I bought a new car. I ate... and bought clothes, etc. etc. And I ate.. and celebrated. I mean, really - I quit smoking!!! That's huge... but now, all that is left, is me - huge.

My addiction transferred from cigs to food. For as often as I put a cigarette in my mouth, I now put food. I think a lot of smokers go thru this. But, unfortunately for me, add 7 years and 2 babies, I have a leftover. And it isn't in the fridge...

7 years ago I got serious about my health and cut Mr. Malboro from my life. Now it is time for Mrs. Dairy Queen to take a similiar exit.

(and all that psycho babble mumbo jumbo seems to be pretty close to the mark afterall)