Thursday, March 27, 2008


Wow…time has really gotten away from me. Apologies to the three people who actually read this -- I’m sorry for the delay in posts. For the past two weeks life has been carrying on as usual. And actually, I’m drawing a blank right now – what in the heck have I been doing!? Ah yes….after my shopping spree in the snow storm, Sean decided to get in on the clothes action himself. The very next weekend we hit up Kohl’s and Macy’s and he bought some great new clothes for Spring/Summer. My favorite item was the pair of plaid shorts…I’m a sucker for the preppy look and Sean wears it well. In addition to clothes, we took a long awaited trip over to Williams-Sonoma. Uncle Kevin and Aunt Sandy gave us a gift card for Christmas and we finally remembered to bring it with us to the mall! It took some serious browsing before we decided on what to buy. Since our poor kitchen is bursting at the seams (due to lack of cabinet space), we couldn't splurge on any utensils or appliances so we settled on specialty foods -- Margarita mix, soft pretzel mix, coffee cake muffin mix, and yeast. I know...yeast is way out of place there, but it came with a recipe for Parmesan Black Pepper No-knead bread. I couldn't pass it by. These items are sure to set us up for some great Summer parties.

Choosing to avoid green beer and shamrocks, I spent St. Patrick’s Day with my good friend Jill at the Bonefish bar. She’s one of those friends, full of positive energy, who puts me in a great mood whenever I see her. We could spend hours talking without running out of things to say, and I love that. We bounced around between hundreds of stories - some sad, some serious, some funny – and before we knew it, three hours and three glasses of wine had passed. Spending time with Jill was way better than green beer.

The rest of last week was just ho-hum. I did manage to dye a few eggs. Check it out -

I know they're boring, but green was the only food coloring I had at home. Anyway, work asked us to bring in Easter eggs for a contest, so this was my contribution. I decided to spice up my entry by adding a third egg. Get it? Ham? HAM? Green Eggs and Ham. I know, I know...side splitting material.

I was excited that my company allowed us a holiday for Good Friday. The day was beautiful and I was able to do some last minute shopping for an Easter dress (which will also act as "The Dress Stacey Wears to Summer Weddings".) I made Coffee Cake Muffins for Easter breakfast, and after a very inspiring service on Sunday, Sean and I went to Bonnie and Ed’s house for dinner. Along with honey ham, pineapple casserole, and deviled eggs, potato salad was part of the spread. I normally don’t enjoy potato salad – too much mayonnaise for my taste – but Ed surprised me with a delicious batch. I made sure not to overeat since I’m still part of this weight loss program, but then a piece of cheesecake started calling my name…Oops. You can imagine my surprise when I was down 3 pounds at the weigh-in the following Monday. It was my biggest weekly loss since the beginning of the challenge. So thank you, Cheesecake, for not sticking to my thighs.

Bonnie put Casey in a lovely yellow Easter dress complete with a matching straw hat. It was adorable, hilarious, and mildly freaky all at the same time. Casey loves wearing clothes.

Another significant part of Easter weekend was that Sean replaced his own brakes. This may not be a big deal for some of you, but I was really impressed with his mechanical talent. Sure, it took him most of the day to figure it out, but the point is that he did it! (and he saved himself a big chunk of change…which also makes me proud.) I can't even change a tire...

As this week comes to a close I have 2 things on my mind: 1) Will Sean finally mow the yard? And 2) Will Lost be good tonight? I hope so…because last week’s episode was somewhat of a bust. I actually fell asleep at the end.

****UPDATE**** LOST was a re-run. ARGH! They ran out of the new episodes, so we are officially on hold. This island drives me crazy...

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Shopping up a Storm

Just as predicted, the cold weather swooped in last weekend and Nashville got a whopping THREE INCHES of snow. You’d have thought it was a full-on blizzard with the way everyone was acting around here. The grocery stores were packed with families stocking up on canned goods and water. Some schools and offices closed early on Friday in anticipation of the snow, which didn’t start falling until 7:30 p.m. Seriously, people…get a grip! I’d hate to see what would happen if there was an actual disaster. I can’t really blame anyone for overreacting. The Nashville weather people and newscasters blow the slightest chance of snow way out of proportion.

I was at my mom’s house Friday night where my sister hosted a Premier Jewelry party for some neighborhood friends. We looked outside to see big snow flakes falling and accumulating. (“Accumulating” being the operative word here since it doesn’t happen that often.) I left the party around 8:00 with plans to buy a pair of boots at Kohl’s (clearance sale – yay!) Soon after I started my journey to the other side of town, I realized that this snow thing was a bit more challenging than I anticipated. I couldn’t see lines in the road! You see, the entire town had shut down by 6 p.m. leaving a solid blanket of snow on the roads, and I was one of only a handful of brave people trekking through the treacherous weather. Thankfully, my 20 years of residency made driving by memory a bit easier, but I was still a little nervous about my car sliding. Driving very cautiously I made it to Kohl’s and slid my way through the super-slick parking lot. Again, not being able to see any lines, I made up a parking space and went in to shop. Much to my surprise, I was not the only person in Kohl’s that night as there were a few families browsing the aisles with me. I’m glad I braved the storm because I got the last pair of boots in my size. Shopping success!

Getting from Franklin to my house in Nashville normally takes 30 minutes, but the BIG SNOW STORM turned my trip into an hour and a half. I opted for the interstate knowing that the secondary and back roads would be completely untouched. (see also: scaredy cats) My thought was that the constant flow of cars on the interstate would’ve prevented a lot of accumulation, thus leaving the roads more passable. WRONG. Again, I was one of only a few drivers, and no one could make out any lines on the road. We played follow the leader as we headed into the city at a whopping speed of 15 miles an hour. I saw several cars spin out on the side of the road, and one guy ended up facing me in the center lane. Oops! Thankfully, I was completely safe and I managed to keep my car under control. It wasn’t that difficult after all. After 25 years, I can now add ‘Driving through a Snow Storm’ to my list of accomplishments.

The snow was completely gone by the following afternoon.

Saturday meant more shopping for me. Turns out, going to the gym 5 days a week means eventually buying a new wardrobe. I had been putting off shopping for several weeks because I absolutely dread spending the day trying on clothes. It was also a matter of timing for me. What if I continue to get smaller? Why should I spend hundreds of dollars on clothes if they will be too baggy in a couple of months? But it was time to bite the bullet -- my pants were unprofessionally baggy. So baggy, in fact, that my co-workers were making comments about them.

Hell, I was SAFETY PINNING my pants on the side because my belt was too big. It was bad. My saggy clothes had become an official “thing.” Like a monster living in my closet…A Fat Clothes Monster.

Sherri and Tiffany graciously spent the day with me picking clothes off racks, brining pants to my dressing room, and objectively critiquing my choices. I treated them to lunch as a thank you for all their hard work. Seriously, shopping can wear you out! Having their company made the experience much less painful for me. In fact, I actually enjoyed myself. I was so pooped after a day of shopping that I came home and took a 2 hour nap.

Monday, March 3, 2008

Feed Me

I'm hungry. I've been hungry all week. Even after a decent-sized meal, my stomach growls saying, "Feeeeeeed Meeeeeee. Feeeeeeed Meeeeeeeee." It's a mildly painful and miserable feeling to be hungry after you've just eaten. I mean, really I just want the hunger to go away. It's difficult to ignore sometimes, but I can't give into it.

I was recently asked to write an essay as part of a challenge for the weight loss program. Here are a few paragraphs of what I wrote:

For me, food has always been a form of celebration. So many wonderful memories are sparked when I recall the sounds, smells and events involved with good food. (And believe me; I consider most food to be “good.”) Whether it’s gathering around my grandmother’s table with the whole family, attending a fellowship pot-luck at church, or sharing a special occasion at a nice restaurant, food somehow finds its way into every significant, and not-so significant, moment in my life. In my opinion, a good meal mixed with good company is the perfect recipe for happiness. And in my case, it also became the recipe for gaining weight.

I knew I was getting fat, but where and when did it happen? It wasn’t an easy diagnosis. For several years I ignored the fact that I was adding pounds. I gained the majority of my weight during college when unhealthy, cheap food (namely Wendy’s) was readily available for a student on the go. Stopping by Waffle House or Krystal was the perfect way to end a night out with friends. I was no stranger to scattered, smothered, covered and topped. One word comes to mind while reflecting on this period of my life: Overindulgence. If it was cheap, fast, hot and cheesy then I was going to find some way to eat it. Even though I knew my eating habits were terribly unhealthy, I felt strangely entitled to this lifestyle. What college student has the money or time to prepare fresh healthy meals? I sure didn’t know any. And why should I be any different? This attitude was detrimental, and it was quite some time before I realized the consequences of my actions.

As the weight came on, I found myself buying bigger clothes until I reached the largest available size in the Misses department. When size 16 started to get snug, shopping for clothes became a huge ordeal. I was now restricted to shopping in the Plus Size stores which was a dreadful experience. While I was too big for “normal” clothes, I found that I was too small for the plus sized clothes. I was in the midst of Clothing Purgatory where nothing fit my body. NOTHING.Every outfit I bought was ill-fitting and unflattering. The fact that I was so uncomfortable in my clothes kept me from enjoying social activities. Choosing an outfit for a dinner date with friends would send me into depression before I ever left the house, keeping me in a sour mood for the rest of the night. I continued going out with my friends, but there was always an underlying sense of embarrassment that kept me from being completely happy.

Unfortunately, my new plus sized body wasn’t enough of a wake up call for me. Instead, I would get angry at the clothing companies for failing to suit my overweight frame. “I’m not that big!” I would say. “Haven’t they seen curves before? Can’t they just make this shirt one size bigger so I can wear it?” Friends and family would make comments such as, “You’re tall and you carry your weight well.” While they meant well, these statements only enabled me to continue ignoring my problem. When my doctor warned me that I was pre-obese, I thought, “I don’t look like those people. They’re so much fatter than me. She’s can’t be right about that!” But she was right. What I failed to realize was that I was harming my body by continuing my bad habits. My day-to-day life included zero exercise and I ate anything I wanted regardless of how unhealthy it was. Oh sure, I would eat healthy food on occasion. I’d be so proud of myself if I chose a salad instead of a steak. “Look at me, everyone! I’m such a healthy eater!” But that couldn’t have been farther from the truth. Those handfuls of times when I made a good choice didn’t even begin to make a dent. I needed a complete body overhaul, and one salad just won’t do it – not for me, and not for anyone. It was difficult for me to face the fact that my weight was a direct result of my bad choices. While I wasn’t technically obese, I was on an extremely unhealthy path that would’ve inevitably led to obesity.

Obesity scared me. I couldn’t believe that I reached the point where my health was becoming a medical concern all because of my weight. For the first time in years, I finally started to think about the kinds of food I was putting into my body and the real effect it had on me. But there’s a big gap between thinking and doing. Change wasn’t instant. Part of my struggle came from the fact that I simply accepted my fate as a fat person. I thought, “Hey, it’s in my genes! There’s nothing I can do about it.” I’ve always been a larger person, and I come from a large family. Even in my younger years when I was actually a healthy weight, I still referred to myself as “fat” because I was bigger than everyone my age. Not necessarily fatter, just bigger. I had a terrible body image growing up. I was accustomed to feeling fat and frumpy, so when it finally happened to me, I just accepted it. Was I happy with my new fat body? Certainly not. But I felt extremely helpless, as though something had done this to me, and there was nothing I could do to change it. “This is just the way God made me. I’m just a big girl,” I’d say. Looking back I realize that all these thoughts of helplessness were just my way of avoiding responsibility. I saw other people – friends, family, co-workers – enjoying all kinds of foods with a carefree attitude, and I wanted to do the same. If no one else had to worry about their weight, then why should I?

The build-up was a slow process, but eventually something clicked with me. I realized that I needed to stop comparing myself to other people, and instead focus on myself alone. This problem was now about my weight, my body, and my choices. Some people can enjoy unhealthy foods and get away with it, but I’m not one of those people. It was time for some real change, and I needed to find a successful way to get healthy. Knowing that I wanted to make changes, my mom bought me a gym membership for Christmas. It was, without a doubt, a gift that changed my life forever. I slowly but surely started visiting the gym on a regular basis. It took a while to form a routine that fit my lifestyle, but over time it became second nature to pick up the gym bag on my way out the door. Today I can’t imagine going back to a life without exercise. It’s given me so much more energy and strength along with the self confidence that comes from losing weight. I’m proud of myself for finally learning to take care of my body. I’ll always be tempted by food, but I will strive to continue making healthy choices. -- THE END.

So tonight is our weekly weigh-in at the gym and I'm really hoping to have lost 2 lbs. So far I haven't lost more than 1 pound a week which is extremely discouraging considering how much I work out. I did just okay with my eating this weekend. It could've been better, but I found myself at the Bound'ry with Sean and his friend Kenneth on Friday night. We ordered up several plates of delicious tapas and there's no telling how many calories we consumed between the oysters, foie gras, Korean BBQ wraps, cheese and meat tray, duck breast, sushi rolls, etc.... I was proud of myself for only having 1 glass of wine with dinner and for skipping dessert, but that may not have been enough to get me to 2 lbs. We'll see...

This past weekend was absolutely beautiful. I could definitely use some more of this weather to get me out of the winter funk. I really hate winter. We got a small glimpse of the Spring to come -- 75 degrees, sunny, and NO HUMIDITY. Sean and I enjoyed the fresh air and sunshine by working in the yard on Sunday. We cleaned out the flower beds and Sean climbed on the roof to tackle some of our clogged gutters. I couldn't believe how much dirt came out of those things! Today is the last day of nice weather as the temperature is supposed to drop considerably over the next few days. I'm not so excited for the upcoming weekend - High of 35? YUCK! Looks like the yard work will have to be postponed.

And finally, yesterday was my very first attempt at roasting a chicken. I'm not sure why, but I've always been very intimidated by the thought of roasting a bird at home. I was surprised at how easy it was, and I was really pleased with the final result!