Wednesday, June 30, 2010

book club (lyn)

Haven’t been to book club since March, only 5.4 pounds ago.  But those few pounds, coupled with summer clothes and a tan, make all the difference.

I arrive a little late.  As soon as I walk in, everyone notices a big difference.  I’m greeted with comments like:

·     “You look amazing.”
·     “Even your legs look so good.  Have you always had great legs?”
·     “I can’t believe you’re 10 years younger than I am.”
·     “Are you working out a lot? 
·     “You got this way just from dieting?!”
·     “Sometimes when you’re older and you lose weight it shows in your face, but not in a good way.  But that didn’t happen to you at all.  Even your face looks better.”
And my favorite:
·                        “You look f—king unbelievable!”

We talked for hours about life and kids and even the book (which I loved), Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann.  

I just hope that a year from now I still look and feel this good.

tight spot (m)

What I like most about losing weight are the unexpected benefits.  They surprise you at almost every turn, reminding you of how much of a role weight loss --and weight gain --play in our lives.

In September of 2007, I consulted with a nutritionist.  She was based in Brookline in a building complex that was part of a medical center.  The attached parking garage was one of those nightmare structures--dark, narrow and windy.  Even at 8:30 a.m., you had to wind your way to the top floor to find a space.  The slots were undersized by most open parking lot standards.

One particularly horrible day, I got a spot, went into my appointment, and came out to find that a Yukon Denali (bigger than a regular Yukon which is a beast) had stuffed itself right next to my car, on the driver's side.  I couldn't fit in the space to open the door.  Ditto the right side, although I think most normal people could have fit there. 

What do I do?  Call Triple A and ask if they can bring a large scale shoehorn to get me in?  Airlift me through the sunroof?

I opened the trunk of the SUV and crawled in, climbed over the back seat and, huffing and puffing, sat in the driver's seat until I caught my breath enough to drive out of there....proverbial tail between my legs.

It was a low point.

Today, I went to see the surgeon for another consult.  I got there a little before the appointment and didn't want to be late so I took the first parking spot I saw.  The cars on either side of the open spot parked right on the white line which made for a tight squeeze.

I pulled in, turned the motor off and got out.  Opened the door and was careful not to bump the door of the other car.

As I walked uphill to the entrance, I paused to reflect on the fact that I no longer worry about "body clearance."


results of going cold turkey (lyn)

Two weeks at the Cape with no scale and no tracking. This is what I ate that is typically not on my meal plan:

·    Three small pizzas
·    Two burgers
·    Two big lobster rolls
·    Two orders of crispy fries
·    One big order of fried clams
·    A two and a half pound lobster
·    Guacamole
·    A homemade blueberry crsisp-2 large servings at one sitting
·    A half-sub for lunch almost every day
·    Stuffing (once in a chicken and once in a lobster)
·    Lamb Chops

Today I go to my Weight Watchers meeting.  It’s nice to be weighed in by Marianne, led by Steve, and trade stories (some not weight-related) with Eileen, Betsy, Shara, and the many others I like. 

I get on the scale and am elated.  I’m up only a blip… point 4 pounds from when I left town over two weeks ago.

I’m going to try not-tracking.  I like the freedom of not measuring and weighing and computing everything I eat.   I will weigh myself daily and see if that can be a substitute. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

blurred vision (lyn)

I lost 25% of my body weight and M’s lost about 60 pounds.  By any standard, that’s a lot.  But still, some people don’t notice. 

Here’s my theory:  It takes awhile for people to adjust their vision to what they are accustomed to seeing.

I’m lucky.  I’ve always been thin.  Well, thin until I gained an extra 35 pounds or so.  When I see people I haven’t seen in a while, and they don’t notice my weight loss, I find a way to weave into the conversation.  Sometimes, to the embarrassment of Alexander, not so subtly.  I’m at my parent’s and see someone I haven’t seen since the previous summer.  “How was your year?”  “Great.  Alexander just finished his junior year and I can’t believe we are looking at colleges.  Oh, and I lost 40 pounds!” 

People are often surprised, as in, “Wow.  I didn’t know you had 40 pounds to lose.”  Or, “Where were you hiding the extra weight?”  Or, “You look great now but I never thought of you as heavy.” 

Similarly, M often says that she’ll see someone she hasn’t seen in awhile and they don’t seem to notice.  I believe it’s because that person is still seeing her the way she was, not the way she is.  I have no doubt that M looks incredible (I even had a dream last night that I finally saw her and she was thin and fit and looked amazing). 

We lose weight because we want to, for ourselves most of all.  We notice and celebrate every point tenths of a pound lost.  It’s exciting and empowering.

The accolades we get are great, but secondary.  Especially since it takes the world a bit longer to adjust their vision.

whew! (m)

Got on the scale this morning.....down the 3 pounds from yesterday.

Had been feeling guilty about not going to the restaurant opening for my friend last night....saw pictures of it in the newspaper this morning.

It was the right decision for me. 

My WW instructor says we need to be a little selfish if we want to be successful on this program.

Had I gone last night, I might be up another pound today.  Fourth of July parties this weekend.  I was afraid that if the scale went up 5 pounds, I might head all the way back to where I started.

You gotta do what you gotta do.

Monday, June 28, 2010

snap back to reality (lyn)

Up at 5:15.  On a bus to Providence at 6:45.  Then a train to NY at 8:45.  Arrive at Penn Station at 1:30.  Home by 2.  The day is hot and muggy and no ocean in site.  Miss the Cape already, and many things about it.  So I make a couple of lists:

What I miss
·    Losing at gin to my mother
·    Having the beach be just a short golf cart ride away
·    Residing in a place where pedestrians trump cars
·    Spending uninterrupted time with Alexander
·    Being able to buy affordable lobster
·    Shopping at Maxwells (maybe that’s a good thing to not have close)
·    Driving around in my mom’s car
·    Absenting myself from television and newspapers
·    Playing with my parent’s sweet but slightly psychotic new cat, Ellie
·    Sleeping in a very cold room (the AC here is so much better than mine at home)
·    Eating a less careful diet
·    Being able to do laundry without putting coins in machines
·    Reading with an ocean view
·    Spending far less money then when I’m in NY
·    Taking daily walks with my mom and her friends
·    Being awoken by the birds every morning
·    Having family dinners
·    Avoiding my financial crisis

What I Don’t Miss
·    Not much

rsvp (m)

The Product Management group at Gillette in 1981 was a young, vibrant place.  It's what sold me on coming back to Boston when I had my heart set on working in New York with my friends from business school. 

There was something about the atmosphere created by 75 bright, energetic and fun people that was especially compelling.  I really looked forward to going to work every day.  I can still remember our outings to the Cape and seminars in New York.  What a cast of characters.  Each special in their own way.

One, in particular, stood out for her style.....Kathy.

Kathy came into the product marketing function via the Finance Department.  Brimming with confidence, decked out in Armani and Calvin Klein and wholesomely beautiful, it was inevitable that Kathy would leave the beancounters in the dust and join the movers and shakers in the Marketing Department.  When I joined the company, she was a product manager and the boss of my very good friend, V.  They were fun to watch as they were opposite in so many ways.

What I remember most about Kathy was her mink coat.  Full length.  There were no closets in our offices, just hooks with a hanger.  Some idiot placed the coat and hook right at the entrance to all the offices so that your coat was the first thing any visitor saw.  I must have walked by Kathy's office one hundred times a day to get to my boss Bob's office.  That mink coat was right in my face.

Over time, Boston became too small for Kathy.  She left for the glamour of NYC and did quite well, culminating in a job as President of a beauty company.  She remarried twice.  Ironically, her current husband is a Boston man and a partner in a successful enterprise that develops restaurants and some of the hottest nightclubs in town.

Tonight, Kathy and her husband invited me to the opening of his group's newest restaurant.  The chefs are the most recognized names in Boston today.  The invitation says there will be plenty to eat and drink.

I got on the scale this morning and I'm up 3 pounds since last week.

I rsvp'd that I can't go and explained the reason why to Kathy.

She sent me a gracious note back saying that I've done incredibly well these past several months, she understood completely, it's probably a lot of water retention from the salty food on the Vineyard (she has a house there....of course) and that I should eat parsley and spinach today.


Sunday, June 27, 2010

big week (m)

Monday-consult with the cardio thoracic surgeon for my mother.  He's recommending open heart surgery.  She's not buying it.  Who am I to push her?  I won't even get my knees done.  My two brothers joined me for this appointment.  My mother took it all in. Only when we got in the car did she say something: "That nurse practictioner's hair smelled like sweat."  Afterwards, we go to lunch. I order beef kabobs and eat two cubes of beef, half a baked potato and a salad with vinegar and 2 tsp of olive oil.  I bring the rest home for dinner but H eats it after skating.

Tuesday-consult with H's costumer for outfits for this competitive season.  PG is brilliant.  His clothes are superbly crafted but he's very literal, so the conceptualization part of the equation is like having back labor...painful and long.  Every time we see him, it seems, his left brain encroaches a little more into the right hemisphere of his brain.  He's so mathematical and logical that getting him to envision something is torture.  H's long program this year is the theme from Jesus Christ Superstar.  PG, the designer is flummoxed: "Jesus didn't wear pants!" he complains.  The big summer competition is 4 weeks away and we can't agree on a concept.  I'm so stressed afterwards, I eat a bag of red Twizzlers.  I think they are 7 points.

Wednesday-My husband, T, turns 60 years old.  We decorate the house with streamers and banners.  We fete him with cards and gifts.  We take him to dinner at one of his favorite places, along with my mother and Sam's friend, J.  He looks happy, but as I mentioned, he doesn't talk much.  I saved most of my points for the day.  After a boiled lobster and a salad, I eat a piece of cake.  It's from a famous bakery.  I hate it and can't believe I wasted several points on it. 

Thursday- I get up at 6:30, let the GE repairman in to fix the freezer in the side-by-side, take H to the rink, come back to learn the bill is $900 and Rich (from GE) will need 3 hours more to fix the freezer, let Chris from Comcast in to convert the last tv to digital.  Chris blocks my car which makes me a little late for Merlin.  Merlin is in a chatty mood (think of where we started) and that makes me a little late for my trainer who asks me for the recipe for the salad from Sorrento.  We get chastised by another trainer for talking about food all the time. Come home and GE is still there, the window washers arrive and don't speak English and I have a meeting in Cambridge for one of my projects and the head guy (the only decision maker in the group) has quit his job ("Didn't you see it in The Globe today?" they ask me).  Had 10 points up until 7 p.m. and then Sam, J and I go out for dinner at a Turkish restaurant and I eat too much hummus and pita.  I was full when the entree arrived.

Friday-Get H off to the rink, come back home and pack the car up with recycling to take to the dump.  Come back, make the beds and then take J to the airport since Sam is working.  Go grocery shopping, pick H up from the rink, pack lunches for the family and finish packing my clothes and beach stuff.  We are headed to Martha's Vineyard for a family vacation.  Part of T's birthday gift.  Just make the ferry with brutal traffic.  Arrive there and have dinner at an Italian restaurant.  Ordered grilled shrimp and a salad.  My order came after everyone else had finished their meal.  The waitress apologized profusely and took my entire order off the bill.  I celebrated with a gin and tonic.  4 points.

Saturday--Walked and walked and walked.  Boat trip around the island.  Saw some incredible homes.  Went to the beach and actually took off my cover-up but still was on the lookout for harpoons (old habits die hard). Came back to the hotel and walked into Edgartown. Limped back.  Dinner was swordfish, jasmine rice, steamed spinach and fresh mixed berries for dessert.  Walked out of the restaurant and heard someone call our family name.  Baseball parents from Sam's college.  From Manhattan, but they own a home right in Edgartown.  Invited us to their home on Sunday.

Sunday- Last day on the Vineyard.  Swam.  First time I went into the water this year.  Got out and my bathing suit was hanging off me.  It fit much better dry.   It looked like they let the air out of my chest and butt.  My husband said "You may want to buy a smaller size". Or, I could not go in the water and keep what I have until next year.  Went to brunch at this place in Vineyard Haven.  A hippie joint.  Ordered the egg white and black bean thing.  Waitress says she "digs it."  It was terrible.   Had a couple of forkfuls of H's banana cinnamon pancakes.  Was about to spear another bite when I noticed a woman sitting at the same table I was at last year.  She looked as big as I was last year.  It was like looking in a reverse looking glass.  I put the fork down.  Visited the friends' house in Edgartown.  I could live there.  Late ferry home.  Drove halfway to Boston in dense fog.

Net/net: an eventful week; held my ground diet-wise despite all the celebrations/vacation, but need to get back on track for the next 20 pound push.

favorite meal (lyn)

If I were on death row, my last meal would probably be tonight’s dinner- a 2 ½ pound lobster, crab-filled stuffing, and corn on the cob, at home, with my parents and Alexander.  If I were on death’s row, I wouldn’t save the meat from the claws, but tonight I do.  I’ll make lobster salad for dinner tomorrow in New York, bringing a bit of the Cape back home.

cleaning closets (lyn)

It’s an overcast day and I suggest to my mother that we clean some of her upstairs’ closets and drawers, something she’s been wanting to do since last summer. 

There are three bedrooms upstairs and we begin with the red room, so named for the red wallpaper that has been in there since the house was built in 1978.  Whenever I suggest changing it, or maybe just painting the room a shade of white or pale yellow, my mother always says, “Why?  I like it the way it is.”

There are two closets in this room, and two chests of drawers.  The upstairs has become the catch-all for the clothes my mother cannot bring herself to get rid of, but I’m sure never wears.  I know she needs a throw-away coach, and I’m well qualified for that job.  But it’s tougher than I think.  Every item has a backstory, and most items require some level of coercion before they can be tossed.  “I wear that on my morning walks.  Don’t throw it out.”  “But it’s an ugly jacket from 20 years ago.  You’ll never wear it again.”  “I use it on cold days.  Keep it.”  “What about this faded Dunkin’ Donuts T-shirt?”  “No.  Keep it.  Jeannie thinks it will be valuable one day." (Jeannie used to work for Dunkin’ Donuts so she would know!).  On my prodding, my mom lets me throw out old Discovery and Animal Planet shirts (I used to work for them and do not think these shirts will be valuable one day).  Among the clothes going into the keep pile are a beautiful pink baby jacket from when I was an infant, and a similarly small tattered dress from when my mother was about two.  Also not thrown out are clothes from my grandmother, a peignoir set from my mother’s honeymoon, and a dress and a few sweaters that my mother either sewed or knitted (she was a master at both).  I also find a couple of pairs of running shorts from years ago that fit me again and still look good. 

By the time we are done, we have filled five large garbage bags, and have decided to do the other two rooms when I return in August. 

It’s a cloudy day, but my last one here.  So I go to the beach to sit and read, and leave behind a lifetime of memories sitting on the red room’s floor.

my favorite store (lyn)

Downtown Falmouth is charming.  Beautiful little shops of all kinds.  Cars stopping at crosswalks for pedestrians.  Lots of free parking.  And a nice New England feel.

It’s also where Maxwells is.  About 1,000 square feet of the most perfect casual clothes, for both men and women.  The buyers find things that are just not sold anywhere else.  Beautiful quality.  Interesting designs.  And knowledgeable, stylish employees. 

I’ve been going there for years, and know the owner, the manager, and all the salespeople.  Whenever I visit  Falmouth, I visit Maxwells about as often as I go to the beach.  Which is often.

So my first day here I go to Maxwells.  I get there early and it’s quiet.  Only Doug (the manager) and Betsy (one of the slim, beautiful, salesgirls) are working.  I start browsing and choose a few tops and one skirt to try on.  Last year the skirts I tried on were a size 10  (and if they were too tight, I would not go to a larger size).  The tops I tried on (and bought) were always a size Large.  So today I start with a size 6 skirt and it is just a little too big.  I’m waiting for Besty to notice the new me, but she doesn’t.   When I ask for a size 4 (thinking for sure that this is the perfect opportunity for her to say, “Size 4?  Last year you were a 10, weren't you?” But she doesn’t.  Instead she says, “I’m sorry.  We don’t have any size four’s.”

I then try on a gorgeous, blousy top in Medium, and it’s too big.   I have to ask for a size Small, and still, Betsy doesn’t say a word.  Nor does Doug.  Nor does Judy, the seamstress, when I bring in a skirt to be made smaller from a previous year's purchase.  

I wonder if they are all being polite, or if they really don’t notice.  But it doesn’t matter.  I know that when I look in the full length mirror at Maxwells this year, what I see is a whole lot better than what was there a year ago.

gustare oil and vinegars (lyn)

Falmouth is more sophisticated than many of the Cape Cod towns.  It is not filled with a lot of tacky touristy places with $5 T-shirts announcing, “ I Love Cape Cod.”  Those shops do exist, but the town is also populated with many nice specialty stores.  Last night, Cynthia and I discover a new one in nearby Mashpee Commons.  

We have a 30 minute wait before dinner, so we are walking around and bump into Gustare’s.  It’s a small store that only sells Balsamic Vinegars and Olive Oils (  The store itself is a tasting room for the products.   When you walk in, you are greeted by large silver kegs filled with all different kinds of oils and balsamic vinegars from around the world.  The kegs hold products I’ve never heard of, like Chocolate Balsamic or Cinnamon Pear Balsamic. You are invited to sample the products and there are tiny pieces of bread you can use to dip. 

Although there are many I’d like to taste, I start conservatively and buy myself and my mom a bottle of the 18-year old traditional balsamic as well as a bottle of the garlic olive oil. 

I fall in love with this little store, and can’t wait to make a salad dressing using my new ingredients.  

Saturday, June 26, 2010

splurging (lyn)

After a successful weigh-in this morning, I’m ready to go all out tonight.

Alexander, Cynthia, her pretty 17-year old daughter and her daughter’s adorable friend and I all go to dinner at Bobby Byrne’s.  It’s a beautiful night and we decide to eat outside.  I try to act like everyone else and pretend that ordering friend clams with french fries is an ordinary occurrence.  But not only is it something I’ve not done in a year, it’s something I have prepared myself to do tonight, with a lot of trepidation.  I am acutely aware that this is a very bad choice.

Before dinner arrives it starts to rain, and now there are no available tables outside.  We move our table under a large umbrella and everyone is dry and happy.

The food arrives and it is every bit as good as I had imagined it would be.  And the funny thing is that I feel no guilt at all.  I’ve earned it.

weighing-in (lyn)

This morning’s WW meeting is being held in another restaurant, only this one is only two miles from my parent’s home.  I arrive a few minutes before the start of class.

I’m in line to get weighed when a woman comes up to me and asks if I’m new.  "I'm actually just visiting my parents.  I live in New York,"  I say.  She asks my name and I tell her.  Excitedly she says, “Hi, I’m Mookie.”  She’s one of my mother’s many friends, and I’ve never met her, although I’ve heard the name many times over the years. Who could forget a name like Mookie? 

She insists on introducing me to Mary, another friend of my mother’s whom I’ve never met.  The two women are very friendly and jokingly implore me to leave the Cape.  “We miss your mom and want to go out with her but she won’t join us as long as her family is visiting.”  My mother is very popular.

I sit down at a table and soon Davida, another very-nice friend of my mom’s but someone I know, joins me.  The leader here is animated and fun and makes the meeting enjoyable.

The 45 minutes goes by quickly.  But the best part of the meeting?  Despite 10 days of not tracking and bad eating (including a burger, some fries, guacamole, multiple desserts, and bigger-than-usual lunches), I am only up one pound.  

Friday, June 25, 2010

crabapple's (lyn)

I have little say in what we eat when.  Because I am going to a local WW meeting tomorrow, I don’t want a big meal tonight.  Especially since this has already been a very bad week of eating.  But no one else is worried about what they are eating, and no one wants to cook.  So it’s announced that we are going to Crabapples.

Crabapples, like the small satellite library in North Falmouth, has crazy hours.  The library down the street is open Monday and Friday from 2 to 7, and 10-12 on Wednesday, making it near impossible to remember when you can pick up or return a book.  Similarly, Crabapples, a very busy local restaurant, is only open Thursdays through Saturdays for dinner, but everyday for breakfast and lunch.  Even during the busy summer months.  Obviously this family-owned restaurant is not interested in maximizing revenue, or they would be open for dinner every night.   You cannot make a reservation and there is always  a wait of at least 15 minutes, regardless of when you arrive.   The impossibly small parking lot is always full.  The service is good, even if some of the waitresses are a bit crass.  Like the one tonight who loudly declared her disappointment with the $5 tip left by a party of four.  The d├ęcor is Cape Cod kitschy-lots of shells and buoys.  And the clientele tends to skew old.  The six people at the table next to ours all had either a cane or a walker. 

I desperately want to order the fried clams, but opt instead for the Grilled Seafood Medley, consisting of swordfish, shrimp, and one crabcake.  I steal a few of Jean's fries, and leave feeling that I've eaten too much.  

I expect my weigh-in tomorrow to be unpleasant. I think about skipping the meeting all together, but I probably will go. I just hope I haven't gained more than two pounds since my last meeting 10 days ago.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

my sister brings dinner (lyn)

Jean arrives around noon with a trunk full of food and 6 teenagers --- my 17-year-old niece Sally (along with four of her friends) and her almost-13 year old son Jack.  Trying to be helpful, Alexander and I rush to unload the car.  I take a big watermelon out of the trunk and it slips from my hands onto the driveway, and suffers a large crack as a result.  So much for being helpful.

The rest of the unloading goes better.  Bags of chips and Doritos.  Prepared hamburgers.  Cheese.  Kosher hotdogs. All kinds of rolls.  A big vat of homemade guacamole.  A creamy onion dip.  A huge tub of cold pasta salad with feta cheese and sundried tomatoes.  A blueberry crisp.  About 5 pounds of cooked chicken.  I’m gaining about five pounds just looking at it all.  Oh, and did I mention? Jean is probably the best cook in our family, and she’s up against some tough competition from my mother and sister Valerie.  I’m not in the running.

We all go to the beach, but it’s too windy to stay.  I am usually able to sit on the beach for hours, but the sand in my hair and in my ears make it too uncomfortable.  I come home and play gin with my mother, and again I lose.

It’s a beautiful night and the kids gather on the deck and the adults congregate on the screened in porch. Dinner is a smorgasbord of fattening foods, and everything looks fabulous.  First the dips.  I eat too many chips and guacamole.  Then the main course.  One burger with cheese on a bun.  I sneak into the kitchen and count out 14 Pringle Lights, as if that will make much of a difference.  I hope no one will catch me but someone does.  It hardly seems worth an explanation when I’m eating a burger for dinner and devouring my sister’s incredible blueberry crisp.

Jean’s plate includes no Pringle Lights but does have on it, in addition to a cheeseburger, a side of pasta salad and a delicious-looking grilled Chinese sausage.   She’s my height, eats whatever she wants, and weighs 114 pounds.

overheard at the gym (m)

I've been doing PT with Merlin and working out with Ali twice per week-- each.  This is my fourth straight week and I haven't missed one time.  This is unusual for me.  I'd like to say it's pure discipline (also unusual for me) but I overheard something today that gave me insight into why I go.

First, Merlin.  This one's easy.  Despite 40 minutes of exercise--bike, leg curls, leg presses, "crabs" (don't ask) and hip exercises, the session ends with one of his incredible massages.  Ten minutes of bliss.  Then I get taped up (literally) and walk out of there feeling like an athlete.

Now for Ali.  I don't really enjoy the workout.  It's hard work.  She has me on the rowing machine, the bike and about 10 other contraptions (one of which I call the mammogram because it compresses "the girls").  Everything hurts and she pushes me until I feel like I'm about to have a stroke.  We do laugh alot, so maybe that's it.  Or so I thought.

Today, while we were walking over to some instrument of torture, one of the other personal trainers whom they all refer to as "Cindy Lou Who" (blonde braids, big blue eyes, turned up nose, two bright pink spots of rouge and a squeaky voice) turned to us and said "Would you two please stop talking about food?  You're making the rest of us hungry! That's all you guys ever talk about."

Ali and I looked at each other.  Do we talk about food?  All the time?  Then we thought about it.  When Cindy Lou Who stopped us, I was giving Ali a recipe for this vegetable salad I had in Sorrento....just before that, Ali was telling me about a restaurant in New York she recently visited....before that, we were talking about dinner last night....before that, well I imagine it had something to do with food.

And that is why I don't mind the work outs.  The conversation usually is about my favorite topic.