Thanks to an awful toothache that resulted in me having a wisdom tooth removed and being unable to eat much, I beat my own record from last week and dropped five pounds this week ending up at 205.  Now whether that’s a good or bad thing, I’ll take it.  My very first weight loss goal is in sight.  Watch out 200, here I come!

So I did manage to do a little gym research this week in between the Vicodin coma I found myself wandering in and out of before I was able to have my wisdom tooth removed.

I found a 24Hour Fitness gym that was a little closer than the one I was considering and that as luck would have it, is having a special right now on new memberships.  I decided to go with the chain 24Hour Fitness for several reasons.  The first reason being that it works within my schedule, meaning I can literally go work out at any time I choose to.  As I mentioned last week, that’s always been a challenge for me, fitting physical exercise into my daily routine.  The second reason I decided to go with a chain gym is that my benefits at my job will help cover some of the costs, which is always a good thing.

So maybe today or tomorrow I will make my way over there to sign up.  I am mainly interested in resistance training and light cardio at this time.  I realize that as I continue to drop weight, I will need to tone my body to avoid the flab syndrome, which to me is just as dreadful as being fat.

I missed out on hiking last Sunday because I ended up having to escort my boss to an event on Sunday morning, but I am planning to get back out there this Sunday.  I find a kind of peace being up there looking down on Los Angeles.  Several of my friends have offered to join me in the morning trek and that always helps because the conversation flows and before I know it, I’ve made it to the top and am headed back down.  As a back up, I always bring my iPod which is filled with great music to keep me going and of course my water.  I have to have my water.

In terms of eating, like I said, because of my toothache I didn’t eat as much this week because it was extremely painful.  I did manage to squeeze in a few salads.  Yesterday, about 24 hours after my extraction on my way home from work, I stopped by my favorite vegetarian and health food spot Simply Wholesome and picked up a salad and some veggie chili (for today’s meal).  I ate the salad and it was sooo good, probably because I hadn’t been able to eat since I had my tooth pulled.  I’ve found that throughout my weight loss trek, there are so many different variations of salads that there’s always something to move my taste buds.  My favorite salads are the Thai Chicken Salad from California Pizza Kitchen and a pear and gorgonzola salad from a little restaurant in Larchmont.

I did have a moment of weakness this week.  Because I was in so much pain and couldn’t really eat, I had a hunger panic attack in the middle of the night, twice, that led me to the cupboards and found myself digging out oyster crackers.  Yes, oyster crackers!  Those little crackers, as good as they are, are filled with sodium (i.e. salt) and enriched white flour, two evils I have been trying to stay away from.  I felt so guilty as I was eating them and panicked so much that I thought I was going gain like 5 pounds because I ate them.  But in the end, I didn’t gain wewight and it really helped because I was taking strong pain killers that can create havoc on your tummy if it’s completely empty.

Last Friday, I did treat myself to a French crepe at the Farmer’s Market, another favorite place of mine.  I confided in my friend who I was dining with that I thought I was going to pay for eating it by gaining weight, but I didn’t.  She said I was getting paranoid about food, and maybe she’s right.  The crepe had spinach, mushrooms, and tomatoes in it and it came with a salad.  Not the worst food choice in the world, right?  But I am in a place that I never been in before, I am really watching the food the eat, and I don’t mean as it goes into my mouth.  I mean really trying to make sensible choices.  At the end of the day, it’s not about dieting but switching to a healthier lifestyle that will sustain me.  I don’t want to lose this weight only to gain it back because I went right back to eating unhealthy foods after I reach my goal of 170 pounds.

So things that I have noticed since I have lost 31 pounds.  I have to wear a belt with my pants.  I haven’t had to wear a belt in God knows how long.  In fact, I own very few belts to begin with for that exact reason.  But here I am, wearing belts with my jeans.  I’ve noticed that my tummy has gone down tremendously.  I don’t look like I am pregnant so much anymore, lol. So with my tummy going down that means that I can see my feet much better and while that may seem like a small thing, those of us that are fat will tell you that it’s not.  I’ve also found that it’s been much easier to cross my legs, something that I hadn’t been doing much of in the past five or so years.  My legs are getting a bit smaller, not much though.  I am hopeful that the hiking and the gym but will help with that.  But nevertheless, they’ve changed a little.  Last Friday I attended the Memorial Service of a dear friend of mine who had committed suicide.  I decided to wear a dress, a black dress.  I hardly ever wear dresses and my colleagues had never seen me in a dress before so when I arrived at the office (we carpooled to the service) everyone was in shock and complimented me on my weight loss because I guess you could really see it in the dress.  That was when I really noticed my legs because the dress came to my knees and with my heels, my legs looked kind of good and I was like, “you go girl!”  I’ve also noticed that my breast don’t seem as big.  One thing I remember from my weight when I was smaller was that my breasts were not as big as they are now, and I loved it.  I hope that as I lose weight my breasts go down even more.  I’d love to go back to a 36 C.  I am currently a 38 DD.

Okay so this is the weekend, the weekend of Dinah Shore. Last week I mentioned that I was conflicted on whether or not I would attend because of my nervousness and the pressure I feel about being in a situation with so many women, women that in my mind are going to be a lot smaller and prettier than me.

First, shout outs to everyone who sent lovely emails to me encouraging me to go.  I appreciate the support.  It really makes a difference.  My friends also got into the picture and went so far as to arrange my transportation to make sure that I go, lol. 

I have an appointment today to get my hair done.  It’s time to have my new growth dealt with and now that Spring is upon us, I am ready for a color touch up and possibly a new cut.  Plus, getting my hair done always makes me feel good.

I said all of that to say, that as of now, I am planning to go to out to Palm Springs.  It’s not going to be easy and I still haven’t completely convinced myself that I am going, but I am going to make an honest effort at it.

I wasn’t kidding when I shared last week about my anxiety attacks crippling me.  They do.  I have them all of the time.  It’s something I have suffered from for a long time.  All of the MAC make-up in the world and new hair dos aren’t going to make them go away, and I realize that.  Like I said, I have been known to get dressed up only to end of staying at home.  With me, this weight loss journey isn’t only about my physical appearance but I am also trying to force myself to confront my self-esteem issues as well.  Because I realize that could very well lose the weight and as my best friend puts it, “still be a hermit.”

But it’s easier said than done, and so I guess I’ll have to wait and see when Saturday comes whether or not I am really making progress in this area.

I did get a lot emails inquiring as to why I had so much anxiety over what other people thought of my physical appearance and why I judged myself up against the looks of others.

Let me just say that it’s very important that parents of young girls be especially cautious of the criticisms that they launch towards their daughter’s physical appearance.  Meaning, don’t tell her she’s fat when she isn’t.  It can lead to a lifetime of inner turmoil.  I was always being told that I was fat by people in my family, even when I really wasn’t.  And I know looking back on my childhood that their comments weren’t intended to be cruel or mean, but when you are a young girl in the middle of puberty and questioning yourself, that doesn’t help.  In fact, it’s what lead to my being uncomfortable in gym class and school… period.  I never felt that I looked right, that I fit in.  Now I know that this is something that a lot of young girls deal with, but I think I took it a little bit harder than most which resulted in me skipping school, wearing clothes that I had no business wearing, experimenting in make-up that I shouldn’t have been wearing, and just having an overall poor image of myself that lasted through high school.  It also didn’t help that on top of being fat, I also wore glasses.  Let me tell you, I was the brunt of many jokes in school that again, all fed into my self image and stayed with right into adulthood.  Remember Judy Blume’s "Blubber?"  That was me.

But what I learned is that the criticisms, no matter what the intent, can have lifelong affects on children.  If you always tell your child that they’re stupid, eventually they’ll grow up and believe it and turn out to be an underachiever, and I believe it’s true for the opposite.  If you constantly encourage your child and make them feel good about themselves, oftentimes those are the children that grow up to be the adults that are sure of themselves and go on to do great things.  Of course there are exceptions to this rule, but overall I think that the analysis is true, which is why we find so many adults in therapy before they hit 30 as they try and undo all of the things from their childhood that are still tormenting them.  Or in the worst case scenario, because many of us can’t afford therapy, we end up in prison, having made bad life choices, or worse yet dead.

For a lot of same-gender loving people, their biggest issue with their family was their sexual orientation, and while that was an issue for me and my family as well, later on into my teenage years, it wasn’t as big an issue as my weight was and quite frankly still is.

To this day, when I go to see my grandma, bless her heart, if she thinks I am looking fat that day, she’ll let me know, same with my grandfather.  And while I know they don’t mean to be malicious about it, I don’t think they’ll ever understand the damage that years of them tell me about my weight has done to me.  Same with my mom who for a long time, referred to me in her own loving way as a “cow.”  Now  mind you, neither her nor my grandma are small women, in fact, my mother is larger than I am.  And maybe, that was their way of trying to make sure that I didn’t end up their size. 

I must say that I enjoy these Fridays when I take off my activist hat and just write about life.  I find all of this to be very therapeutic to get certain things of my chest without the cost of going to see a therapist, lol.  I think that sometimes the person that we see is only a part of who we really are and in my case I know that to be true.  Because like I said, while I am all fine and dandy to get up and speak before a crowd of people on the “issues,” this is the same person that crumbles at the idea of having to go to a party and be around other women and would rather stay in the house than go out to certain events.  I also am enjoying the reality that I wasn’t the only fat geeky girl to experience all of this, although at the time, it felt like it.

I’ve decided that along with chronicling my weight loss journey that I am going to make a concentrated effort to share personal aspects of my life that no one knows but me in an effort to release some of my inner demons that at 29 still continue to haunt me.  Eventually, this will all become a part of a book about my life that I am working on that is long overdue.  You have no idea where I’ve been, what I’ve gone through, and how I got to this point and believe me when I tell you, losing weight isn’t even half of my personal battle I have yet to win.

And if you’re one of those people who are saying why would she want to do that, I’ll tell you why.  Because of the email I got yesterday from a woman who shared that she was strong enough to come out to her family and the world in ESSENCE Magazine this month because of reading my blog and  because we’re all dealing with something and I think that’s okay to talk about it so that people realize that they aren’t alone, like I thought I was.  And because at 29, I know it’s not only about my weight loss but what’s underneath the fat and muscle that is my body, it’s about the mental Jasmyne as well as the physical Jasmyne.

Well, anyway there’s much to do today and I still have my hair appointment this afternoon that I haven’t quite figured out whether or not I am going to let my stylist cut my hair or not.  Decisions, decisions.

I’ll check back in next Friday and let you know what my final decisions were regarding Dinah Shore and my hair cut. 

Have a great weekend!