A blog about making art while losing weight
Mistakes are proof that you are trying.

I can feel myself slipping out of weightloss mode. It all started with chocolate cake.

After watching myself fail at healthy eating habits my whole life, I’ve learned that I never intentionally end a diet or weight loss plan. It just sort of slips down from the top of my mind into the forgotten realm, like a dream. And I can feel it start to happen this time.

We celebrated my mother’s birthday on Friday night, and I made a chocolate cake with buttercream icing for her. My first round of icing tasted weird so I found a new recipe and tried again, futzing with it until it tasted right and had the right consistency. Which meant I ended up eating some of it, and even a little bit of buttercream is a whooole lotta calories. Plus, my mom requested spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. I had successfully avoided plate fulls of pasta for the past 8 weeks until Friday night. The pasta plus the cake meant I ate nearly 3,000 calories on Friday! That’s almost double my daily allotment. It made me so tired – I fell asleep at 9:30pm.

Then the weekend wasn’t very focused. I ate pizza on Saturday and fried chicken on Sunday, both at family events. Eesh. I’m starting to notice a trend. Family = overeating.

So today I am avoiding the scale. I’m so afraid the number that pops up will completely demotivate me. If my weight is up then I’ll feel hopeless, and if the number is down, I will learn that overeating is okay. So the scale will stay in the corner of the bathroom today. Maybe tomorrow.

NSV: I am proud that I continued to track everything I ate even when I overdid it. It’s so hard to admit and record your own weaknesses. It’s like turning in a test you know you failed. But I did it, and that’s progress.

I am also thankful that I have a therapy appointment tomorrow. I need the accountability.

Dream Sweets

My subconscious officially knows that weightloss has begun. For the last two nights I have dreamt about eating. First I dreamt of eating a whole carton of Homemade’s Cookies ‘N Cream ice cream. Last night I dreamt about cherry pie, which is odd because it’s not even that tempting during my waking hours.

This always happens when I start restricting my calorie intake. I dream about binge eating desserts, and the same eat, guilt, and regret cycle plays in my dreaming mind as it would in my conscious mind. I feel indulgent and weak while it’s happening. Then I wake up relieved I hadn’t actually consumed all those calories and annoyed I didn’t enjoy it more.

I could make millions if I could teach others how to lose weight through lucid dreaming. Oh crap, it’s already a thing.


Well, I’ve had a setback. I dislocated my knee while trying to go downstairs while holding my son. Thankfully I was able to fall backwards and he was completely unharmed. But my knee, not so much.

My knee first dislocated when I was 12, while on a ladder, while performing in a play. No joke. I’ve had bad knees forever it seems. I have also been overweight forever it seems.

I should go to the doctor and have them do all the tests to see how bad it is. It’s swollen and painful, but I can walk, I haven’t lost any feeling in my leg, there’s no bruising, and the kneecap slipped back in after only a few seconds. I’m sure I’ve done some ligament damage, but I didn’t hear or feel a pop, so it’s not severed. I’ve severed a muscle before in my calf and it felt like a bunch of rubber bands broke from tension. So weird and so painful.

The proper term for my knee problems is Patellar Instability and Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome. Essentially I have loose ligaments around my knee. My knee was recently made weaker from all the stairs I’ve been climbing unloading stuff from mom’s basement. It’s super easy to dislocate my knees – particularly my left one. It usually happens when my left foot is planted and the rest of my body turns right. Most often my knee only slips a little then goes right back in place (subluxation) – more disturbing than painful. But this time I was holding my son and trying to navigate around our babygate at the top of the stairs, and wham, full dislocation and immediate severe pain.

So I should go to the doctor and confirm all this, but this is America. I have insurance, but it won’t cover everything. My deductible is $5,000. Plus I have to take time off work to go the appointments, and I don’t feel like my work would be too happy with me. I already have knee braces and a cane. Plus, I know the source of the problem already, I’m obese. I’m working on it, but I still wake up obese every day.

My plan is to take it easy for a while to let it heal, then start some physical therapy on my own. After I lose more weight, I will join a gym and get a personal trainer with experience in joint injury recovery/physical therapy.

Of course, if I heard of this happening to anyone else I would tell them to immediately go to the doctor and get it looked at. Screw the money and the time, your health comes first and it could be worse than you think. You could possibly prevent future damage by getting it seen to now. Your Googling does not equate to a medical degree. Don’t be a dolt!

Okay, time to post this and get back to work.

A Lot to Unpack

Starting Weight: 278 pounds
Current Weight: 262 pounds
Weight Lost: 16 pounds

My current weight may be a lie because I was a bit dehydrated this morning. Note to future self: DO NOT be disappointed if your weight next week bounces up a little. A small gain does not mean that you are on the wrong track. For goodness sake, keep it together!

I’m dehydrated because in the last five days I have been a lot more active than usual. I’m sorting and organizing my mother’s basement as a birthday gift. I’m happy to help, but didn’t quite understand what I was getting myself into:

Mom's Basement Mom's Basement 2

I don’t feel like your eyes can do the heap justice. It’s not until you dive into it that you realize the density of the undertaking.

As I was sorting last night, I was thinking about my earlier therapy appointment (second session ever). She started talking about schema and how families create their own culture, be it healthy or otherwise. I’ve definitely grown up with some unhealthy schema, but it’s so difficult to define clearly. I come from a family of over-eaters. Food is a loving indulgence that is deserved and joyous. Preparing and giving food is a loving act. Food makes us feel better when we are sad and it’s the center of celebrations when we are happy. We hardly ever get together and not eat. And getting together is a cause for celebration afterall!

Years ago I remember being flummoxed while watching this scene from Dan in Real Life:

It stuck out to me as wholly odd and unrealistic. No one does that. No one exercises with their family. Clearly it’s just a silly device to showcase Dan’s awkward sexual tension.

But then I couldn’t get the scene out of my head. Yes, it’s a little contrived, but not nearly as alien as I had read it initially. A lot of families do workout together, or play sports, or go bike riding, or do something active. We just never did.

So how do I change the schema without annoying or alienating my family? Should I even try at this point? I’m 37. Our schema is so ingrained it seems pointless and almost cruel to stir things up now.

Instead I think I should focus on my little family of three and get them excited about awkwardly dancing outside with me. That seems a lot more doable.

First Pear

My first sketch in years (graphite on paper). I feel out of practice but am glad to have started.

I aim to complete a series on pears because my identity is so tied to them. My body type is “extreme-pear”, meaning my shirt size is two sizes smaller than my jean size. My trunk’s got junk.

Yesterday I spent several minutes in Whole Foods examining their pear selection, searching for one I could relate to. I chose a tired-looking Packham pear that even captures my cellulite. It has a few wounds and slumps a bit, but still managed to get itself into my hands after a long journey.


Bunny and Turtle

So technically I am “supposed” to weigh under 135 pounds to be considered at a healthy weight. That number sounds ridiculous to me as I have never been below 190 lbs in my adult life. My personal goal weight is about 160 pounds, to the medical field’s chagrin I’m sure. At 160 pounds I will have a BMI below 30, and it’s a scale weight I can actually envision. It still feels extremely far off and abstract to me though.

I have come to terms with the idea that my weight will always fluctuate. I’m just hoping I can keep it fluctuating between 160 and 190 instead of 250 and 280. Weight is simply my battle in this life. That doesn’t mean I hate myself or that I feel worthless. It just is.

My overall goal for now is to stick to my plan: track my food, maintain ~1570 calories per day, and go to therapy twice a month. My first official weightloss goal on this journey is to get to 250 pounds by September 20th. I’m going to a wedding on that day and would feel better in a dress if I were smaller. I can attain my goal if I lose an average of 1.5 pounds per week until then. I’m on pace, slow and steady.

Obese by a Thousand Quirks

I’ve been really stuck on the question of if I am a binge eater. This thread on reddit about compulsive eating habits was hard for me to relate to. I don’t hide meals, go to multiple fast food places, go into a dissociative fugue, eat out of the trash, etc. So what are my bad habits? You don’t get to be morbidly obese without bad food habits, so let’s be real about my choices:

  • Eating to soothe myself. Bad day at work? Graeter’s sundae. Stressed about money? DQ Blizzard. Frustrated by life? Double Stuf Oreos. Wow. I know how to spell ‘Stuf’ correctly because I’ve seen the packaging enough times.
  • Cleaning the plate. I don’t know how this started because I don’t remember my mom lecturing me about starving kids the world over. I think I just picked it up because my parents and sister are clean-platers too. Now I have to remember to think about my portions before I begin eating and tell myself it’s okay not to finish.
  • Eating too fast. Done this all my life, another family habit. I have to be cognizant and chew my food very slowly and force myself to put down my fork from time to time. Now I watch everyone else’s plate and try to pace myself with them, pretending I’m not a basset hound.
  • Over-serving portions. I’m a 5’2″ female. I should never eat as much as my 6″ husband, and yet I often do.
  • Eating sweets at night. When I do indulge in late night snacking, which isn’t often these days, it tends to be something sugary like ice cream or cookies.
  • Neglecting vegetables. There are some veggies I love (broccoli, peas, corn, cucumber, artichokes, etc.), but I never choose veggies as a snack. Eating healthy salads makes me feel like I’m denying myself real sustenance. Whenever I’m at an event or party and the veggie tray is devoured, I’m shocked. Of all the food available they chose celery and carrot sticks?
  • Overusing fatty spreads. I’m an over-spreader. Cream cheese, peanut butter, jam, brie. I have never let myself buy Nutella because I just know I will be helpless against it’s velvety chocolate goodness.
  • Eating while cooking. The fridge is right there, and I have to wait on the chicken to cook, and I’m sooo hungry. I can’t wait. I don’t wait.
  • Getting overly hungry. If I don’t plan ahead and have healthy snacks available, I get overly hungry, my obese brain takes over, and it justifies eating whatever’s closest at hand. I’ve started repeating to myself, “Your hunger is not an emergency,” to shut my brain up.
I’m sure there are more. I’ve asked my husband to tell me what bad food habits I have. Poor guy. Nothing like slipping a landmine under his foot. He thinks I drink too much milk, but I disagree. I keep skim milk in the house when I am trying to lose weight because it satiates me when I have big cravings. I always track and account calories for it, so I don’t consider it a bad habit. But, alas, yes, water would be better.

Bingeing vs. Overeating

Just came back from therapy. It was okay. Mostly she asked me a lot of questions. I did cry some which annoys me to no end. She seemed nice and helpful without being a cheerleader or fake, which is exactly what I’m looking for. I liked the accountability of Weight Watchers, and I think I’m viewing therapy as that plus hopefully greater insight into my issues.

I’ve come to accept that food is my struggle. It seems like such a simple thing, but in 2014 I forced myself to say aloud “I have a problem with food”. A simple, declarative sentence that made me cry to admit. The line between food addiction and bad eating habits has always confused me. After all, isn’t everyone addicted to food? The therapist asked me to explore that a bit and consider if I binge or mini-binge on food. I couldn’t help but think of an old Lifetime movie where this tiny woman would gorge herself on hostess cupcakes and everything she could grab at an out of town grocery then eat it in the woods and throw up all around her car. I don’t do THAT of course, so I’m doing okay, right?

Movie-drama example to the side, maybe I do binge eat without realizing that’s what I’m doing. Is eating when you’re already full considered bingeing? If that’s the case, then hell, I’ve been swimming in a pool of denial that tastes like chocolate ice cream.


When Up is Down

The last few days have been difficult. The number on the scale went up even though I have been tracking all my food and staying close to my calorie goal. I do not want to be a slave to the scale so I limit my weigh-in to once a week. And I know, I know… sodium, pms, stress, glycogen, blah, blah, blah. It’s just so very demotivating when you’re expecting a loss and see a gain.

But this is not nearly enough to thwart my efforts, right? Right.

So let’s focus on the positive. I spoke with my husband about designating one evening a week and a corner of our apartment to my artwork. He has already started clearing out the area for me. I also have my first ever therapy appointment today. Haven’t chickened out yet. Progress.

I hope the therapist is a good fit and not a whackadoo who tries to smudge the weight off me. We’ll see.

Fall down seven times, get up eight.Japanese Proverb

Starting Weight: 278 pounds
Current Weight: 267 pounds
Weight Lost: 11 pounds

I’ve been wanting to get this started for a long time, and it looks like today’s the day. Two things are on my resolutions list every year: lose weight and make more art. So here we are.

My weight loss journey has lurched and stumbled many, many times; I have even tried to start this blog once before. So I’m trying to figure out how to make this time more successful. If I’m being honest with myself, I must say that I have never addressed the mental aspects of my weight struggles. So on Tuesday, I start therapy. Dun dun dun!

There is a lot of stuff rolled up into what I want this blog to be, but rather than explain it, I’d rather just do it. I tend to over-think and under-do, but I’m working on that. I’m working on a lot of things.