It’s so fluffy!

I find myself conflicted. Losing weight is supposed to be a positive thing, but sometimes it doesn’t feel that way. My body isn’t the same as it was the last time I was at this weight. Some of my old clothes fit. Some of them don’t. It’s been so long since I was at this size that half the stores that my work clothes are from don’t exist any more, and the clothes are out of style. I’m also older so some of the clothes are not as flattering or appropriate. It sucks, because I basically threw 10 years of my life away being fat.

Honestly, I don’t like the way I look now. Hopefully things will improve once I get where I want to be. It’s going to take a lot more work.

Changing your diet has its downfalls. After you change the way you eat, things that once held a lot of appeal suddenly don’t taste as good as you used to think they did.

It all started with a Board meeting at work. When the Board members show up, the office provides lunch, and if anything is left over an email goes out for everyone to “come and get it”. I wasn’t tempted by the usual deli offerings after Tuesday’s meeting, but there was just one brownie left. It was soft, chocolaty, and covered in pecans. Honestly, it was worth throwing off my daily plan.

However, that brownie led me down a road of bad food choices for the next two days. Tuesday night I didn’t feel like cooking, and the kids talked me into ordering pizza. Mind you, I only ate two pieces, and it didn’t really derail me – just put me at maintenance calories for the day; but I felt bad about it. Not only was the pizza not in alignment with the healthier choices I have been making, it really just didn’t taste good. It used to taste savory and garlicky and wonderful. This pizza seemed overly sweet and greasy. It wasn’t made differently, I just had a different reaction than I used to.

Wednesday I swore to myself that I would hop right back on the wagon, but I met some friends over by McDonalds during the lunch hour. Instead of driving over to the grocery store for a salad like I had planned, I swung through the drive through and got a Big Mac meal (one of my favorite meals there). Once again, it was a disappointment. The fries tasted greasy and the sandwich seemed to be all bread and sauce. Not to mention that it used up all my remaining calories for the day. I ended up eating only green beans and mushrooms at dinner, ultimately going just 71 calories over my goal.

In all, I really didn’t derail my food plan that much. The worst effect was the one to my ego. After having been good for a month, I let myself feel guilty for eating the “wrong” foods. In reality, they fit fine into my day with some minor adjustments. I just assigned guilt to them because they’re supposed to be bad for you.

The change in eating has really started making a difference though. I’m down a dress size, which is nice because that was one of the goals, but bad because I had recently bought a new wardrobe. I’ve noticed other changes as well, like now I can cross my legs. I can’t remember when I stopped being able to do that, but one day last week all the sudden I could do it again. Yes, I know it’s bad for you. I don’t care. I know that losing the next dress size is a ways away, but it’s something I can actually picture now.

What did I learn by all of this change so far? Focus on eating healthy food most of the time, but don’t skip the brownie. Brownies are yummy!

Updatey Fu

I am suddenly obsessed with knitting a sweater. Specifically this sweater on Ravelry: Birdie Fair Isle Cardigan by ViolaGee I would post a picture instead of a link, but I appear to be html incapable of doing so.

In other news, our house full of instruments is going to grow by two. The boys have decided to take up string instruments. It all started when the youngest decided he wanted to play the string bass. We couldn’t find one to rent in his size, so he decided to learn the cello instead. The oldest, not to be left out, chose to play the viola. We have consultations with potential teachers this weekend for each of them. I’m not sure where I’m going to find the money for rental instruments and lessons, but we’ll manage.

Still on the diet. It’s going, but the loss has slowed. Adding in carbs means I’m eating closer to maintenance. Sometimes being short sucks.

Rachel Barton Pine’s concert at VCU in Richmond, VA last night was terrific. I hate driving into the city during the weekend but it was entirely worth it, even though I had to walk four and a half blocks from the parking garage in stilettos. My feet look like I tip toed the whole way in pointe shoes; but I don’t care cause real life Rachel Barton Pine, that’s why.

As an amateur violinist, I was particularly enthralled by her technique. Fortunately, when you only need to purchase a single ticket options open up; and I managed to snag a seat in the middle of the second row with a fantastic sight line. I was mesmerized by her deft fingering – so quick, with her fingers kept very close to the fingerboard and the fastest pinky trill I’ve ever seen. Her vibrato had enviable variation and depth, and her bow arm was perfection. That was the most controlled spiccato! Although I can aspire to that sort of virtuosity, it is unlikely that it is something I can achieve in this lifetime given my late start.

She played the following:

Duo in A Major for violin & piano – Franz Schubert

Violin Sonata No. 1 in F minor, Op 80 – Sergei Prokofiev

A set of 4 lullabies from her lullaby album:
Wiegenlied (Cradle Song) No. 4 Funf lieder, Op. 49 Johannes Brahams (yes, that one)
Reve d’Enfant (Child’s Dream) Op. 14 – Eugene Ysaye
Lullaby (1918) – Rebecca Clark
Mother & Child No. 2 from Suite (1943) – William Grant Still

Sonata in A major – Cesar Franck

Ms. Pine introduced the last piece as one that is featured in a mystery novel that recently came out in which she is a character. It’s called “Fleeting Note” by Sherban Young. I bought it last night for the Kindle. It’s a nice, light book and I look forward to finishing it.

I have to say though, the highlight of the evening was the Prokofiev Sonata. I swear I didn’t even breathe during it. Ms. Pine stated that it was written as a descriptive of war and you really felt that as she played. Two sections involved putting a mute on and were intended to evoke the wind in the graveyard. It was so spooky! The whole audience took a collective breath at the end. I don’t think I was the only one that was holding mine.

After the program was over she did a meet and greet in the lobby. She and her pianist, Matthew Hagle (who was marvelous, BTW) stayed until everyone was gone to sign books & CD’s. I picked up her 2 CD set of complete violin concertos, which she signed for me. She was so gracious even after I fangirled all over her.

I’ll leave you with the first movement of the Prokofiev sonata played by Oistrakh, for whom it was specifically written.

Messy Little Ball

Yeah, that last post – yeesh!

See, playing the violin is a little weird. Because what you are doing is showing a piece of yourself to the world, it gets wrapped up in this messy little ball of emotionally charged angst. It’s like being a hormonal teenager without the zits. One moment you love that wooden box; and the next you want to set it on fire just to watch it burn.

There’s one thing that always makes things better. It’s painful, and humbling, but it always works.

Practice Better

I didn’t say practice harder, or longer. I said better for a reason. It never fails, but when I start feeling the most frustrated it’s because I’m mindlessly playing through my pieces without focusing on the details. We all do this. It’s a lot more immediately satisfying to play something all the way through. Then we can say we “finished” practicing and feel accomplished when all we managed to do was reinforce what we’ve been doing all along.

It’s not fun to tear a piece apart and practice the same three measures (or three notes) over and over until our fingers can’t do it wrong any more. It really stinks. I hate doing it, but it works. When I take the time to identify what is going wrong and work on it until it’s right, suddenly everything else just gets better.

For some reason, one wrong thing can set up a cascading chain of wrong things. Can’t vibrato on that one piece? Maybe it’s because your brain is busy chanting “Oh crap, that string of 16th notes is going to suck!”. And guess what, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. You were so distracted that not only did the 16th note arpeggio totally fall apart, but you couldn’t vibrate either, and just to make the party fun, your bow started bouncing too. Yay! All that training and it just comes down to whether or not you use your energy wisely.

It reminds me of that movie, “Dodge Ball”. It’s one of my guilty pleasures. My favorite line? “If you can dodge a wrench, you can dodge a ball.” Drill until you can’t get it wrong. Why do I keep forgetting that?

Got One Thing Right

It’s tempting to write only good things in a blog. We all want people to think we are wonderful. I am fortunate in that I have many people who think I am wonderful without having to edit myself that much. My husband is supportive of me no matter what I do. If I want to pig out on ice cream and cookies, that’s OK. If I want to lose (mumblety-x) pounds, that’s just peachy too. It’s nice to have that kind of amazing support.

I’m happy to report that for the first time (try number 4, actually) I am nearly to the end of the first cycle of the 17 day diet without having all that scary ED business start to crop back up. I have lost a total of 10 pounds. That’s pretty miraculous, if you ask me. Cycle 2 makes me nervous because I’m adding complex carbs back in, making my daily intake a bit higher. That should slow down the weight loss, which needs to happen because losing this much weight this fast is a bit terrifying. But a slower weight loss means it will take longer to get to my goal weight. *sigh* At least I’m going in the right direction for a change.

Ten pounds down means I’m also down a dress size. I don’t much like my old clothes, but at least I have plenty to wear while I try to get down to a healthy BMI. I will miss some of my nice new work clothes though. They were cute.

At least one thing is going well.

Playing the violin used to seem so easy. I caught on to new concepts quickly, and advanced at a fairly steady rate. However, for the last year I have been stuck, and I seem to be playing worse than I was this time last year. Simple concepts are difficult to master, and everything falls apart when I try to play anything supposedly at my level. To me, this means I’m really playing things that are beyond me. It’s like trying to jump up and down on a pogo stick while writing in calligraphy and singing a song in a language I don’t know well. I’ve put too much effort into this to quit, but I can’t seem to get better no matter what I practice. This is so frustrating. Most of the time I want to cry after I try to play anything. It sucks so badly to feel like a failure. There has to be a way to get past this, but nothing I’ve nailed stays in my head and fingers long enough. It’s there, and as soon as I start fixing the next problem, it’s gone again. I’m tired of making stupid mistakes because I can’t remember shit.

Playing for this long and not having one single piece that I can play to any reasonable standard makes me wish I had never started. At least then I would never know exactly what a rotten idea this would turn out to be. Guess I’d better go practice. I have a lesson in four days. I swear if it goes as badly as today’s lesson, I’m just going to burst out into tears in front of the teacher; and that would be more embarrassing than playing badly.

Maybe I can only do one thing right at a time.

Fun with Food

It’s such a cliché – new year, new beginning; but I did it anyway. Remember last year when I started the 17 day diet but quit because I was getting too obsessive? Well I gained back five pounds and was feeling miserable so I have decided to go back on the diet. This time I am following it much more loosely. I don’t care about what time of day I take in certain nutrients, or if I cheat and have a bit of bacon here and there. It’s not about any particular food being bad anymore, but whether or not I’m getting the right macronutrients in sufficient amounts, without going over what my body needs to the point where the weight goes back on.

It’s working. I’ve lost the five pounds I put back on (must have been mostly bloat), and am on the road to make some additional progress. One of the best parts is that this time the family is on board. They are having fun trying out new recipes and learning about how food can fuel the fun things they want to do. I haven’t taken away their candy, chips, or sugar cereals. They just join me in my dinner meal which is generally the biggest of my day so that we can all enjoy sitting to the table together. We have found all kinds of fun ways to cook poultry, and on the days I eat stuff they don’t care for (fish) they go out for tacos or something. It has been easy and painless so far.

It is interesting to note that I gained that five pounds back so quickly and lost it quickly as well. I think the contributing factor might be wheat, because the weight changes have been associated with adding bread back, and taking bread out of my diet. I may be slightly intolerant. I will be watching that closely as I start adding things back to my food rotation since this diet is based largely on an ingredient elimination scenario. If it turns out that wheat is a contributing factor, it may mean that I eat less of it in the future. In the meantime, since I lost what I gained back, any future losses mean progress toward my ultimate goal.

One of the reasons I picked now to do this is that almost everyone I go out to lunch with at work is on a diet too. For that reason, we are all less likely to take an hour to get a pizza at the Italian place, or run down to get some fast food on the strip as a group. Call me a lemming, but it’s working for now. However, when February rolls around and they all go off the wagon, I’ll have to bear up and focus on how to stay eating in a healthy way. I am really working to get out of the overweight BMI category. Sure, part of that is because I want to wear cute clothes; but there are other reasons too, like modeling responsible eating for my kids, and being around when they are grown-up. Also, cute clothes. *yay!* Because seriously, nobody is that virtuous.


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