Sunday, March 30, 2008

Yesterday's Whirlwind- Part 2- The Accident and The Surprise

After the race, we headed back home. We were expecting a friend from out of town, Heather, to be over around lunch time, so we wanted to do a little cleaning. Then, Angie's phone rang.

Her cousin had been a passenger in a car hit by a drunk driver, and he was in the ICU. We immediately went to the hospital and spent a couple hours with Angie's family. Her cousin was on a breathing tube and heavily sedated. He had bleeding in his brain and a large cut on the back of his head that had to be stapled. Not good.

We all went to a pizza place nearby so her family could be away from the hospital for a bit. I really wanted pizza, but I resisted the urge and got a turkey sandwich instead. I saw everyone else eating desserts, and I almost got up to buy a piece of cake. I really wanted it, and I felt like I'd earned it after the morning's race. Then, Angie convinced me not to get it. She reminded me we'd be going to dinner with Heather and that might be a more appropriate time to indulge.

That should have been my first clue.

We parted ways with Angie's family and raced home to continue cleaning before Heather's arrival. She hadn't seen me since I lost the weight. That's always fun for me. She had lost some weight as well through a low-carb plan, but she informed us that she was off the diet for tonight and wanting pizza.

That should have been my second clue.

So, I suggested we go Waldo Pizza. If I'm going to splurge on pizza, I want it to be really, really good, and Waldo is the place to get good pizza.

When we arrived at the restaurant, the hostess showed us to a table, but then another dude came over and said "That table is reserved." The other girl was like, "No, it's not," and then the guy said "YES, it is."

That should have been my third clue.

The guy showed us to another room. I rounded the corner and saw my mother pointing a video camera at me. Then I saw my dad. Then I saw a bunch of my friends. Then I heard "SURPISE!"

I stood there with my mouth hanging open. I'm sort of grateful I don't have any pictures of the event yet, because I'm quite sure I looked like a stunned idiot for a good ten minutes. I was speechless. I looked at Angie, who apparently had been planning my 30th surprise birthday party for about two months. She was so relieved that the secret was finally over.

I managed to make my way around the room and give everyone a hug. I just kept saying "This is CRAZY!" over and over. All the tables were decorated with pictures of movies that came out the year I was born. Superman, Attack of the Killer Tomatoes, The Deer know, all the classics.

The awesome feeling was slightly diminished by the horrible pain Angie's family was going through. They had planned on attending the party, but they obviously couldn't because of the accident. They were definitely missed.

Despite the terrible thing that had happened, it was still a great party. It was so nice to have friends from all facets of my life, as well as my parents, meet each other. There was much pizza eating and beer drinking. Very, very much. It went on into this morning as well (not the beer drinking). I'm not going to feel bad about it. It was my 30th f-ing birthday party and I was going to enjoy myself, dammit. Angie was actually worried I'd be angry with her for having my party at a pizza place. Silly, silly girl.

It took a good 20 minutes before I was able to speak coherently. By that point everyone was directing my attention to a large video screen. Angie put together this wonderful video that brought happy tears to my eyes.

It was such a fun time. I couldn't ask for a better girlfriend, family, or set of friends. To have everyone there meant so much to me. As more pictures or videos become available, I'll be sure to post them.

After the party we got a call from Angie's aunt. Her cousin was now breathing on his own and knew the answers to basic questions. He's still unconscious most of the time, though. It's still obviously a very serious situation, but things are looking up.

Technically, I'm not 30 until THIS Saturday, so I'm planning to ride that "I'm in my twenties" wave for 6 more days. I'm so happy that I got healthy and improved my lifestyle before hitting 30. I'll be more active and vital at 30 than I ever was at 25, or even 20. There are so many more things I can do now, and I'm not afraid of really living life. That's a great feeling.

Yesterday's Whirlwind- Part 1-The Olathe 5K

Sorry it's taken me so long to write about yesterday's race. Yesterday is now a complete blur. There was so much going on! In fact, so much happened yesterday that I'll have to split it into two posts.

We woke up at 5:45 am so I could throw on some running clothes, eat a piece of toast with peanut butter, and get on the road. Upon starting the car, I remembered I was almost out of gas, so we frantically stopped by the gas station and put a few bucks in the tank. I was so scared of being late, but I still didn't go too fast on the highway because I already got one speeding this week. Eesh.

And then, something terrible happened. I ran over a bird. I was going about 60 mph and there was no way to avoid it, but I still felt terrible about it and almost cried. This unfortunate occurrence tainted the way I was feeling about myself prior to the race.

Despite the late start, we still got there about 30 minutes early, and it was c-c-cold out. I didn't want to stand around outside and freeze, so we hung out by the packet pickup table for a bit. As I watched the other runners doing stretches and sprints around the building, I felt like I didn't belong; like a fraud, unmotivated and lazy. I didn't want to warm up or stretch. I had a goal of finishing the race in under 30 minutes, but by this point I was in "I'm a loser mode" and I seriously just wanted to go. I have to stop with the negative self-talk. It does me absolutely no good.

Don't worry- things will get better.

Around 7:25, everyone started heading outside and lining up. I jogged and jumped around a tiny bit to get my blood going, but that was really the extent of my warm-up. It was so cold, and all I just kept saying to myself, "Come on already! Let's just get this over with." Finally someone fired the gun and we were off. I was in the back, which was sort of a mistake, as I kept having to weave around people to get a better position. My next race I'll try to be somewhere in the middle.

However, passing all those people helped me snap out of my bad mood. I forgot about the bird and how cold it was, and I was just there, in the moment. Like last time, I wasn't wearing a watch, so I had no idea what my time was as I passed each mile marker. Thankfully, the course was mostly flat and easy to run. There were only a couple hills, and they were no big deal.

I spied the finish line and picked up speed. Then, I saw the clock. It said 29:30. I thought I wasn't going to make it, but I had to try. I started running with every ounce of strength I had left.

I came in at 29:42! In the picture below, look at the lower clock. The upper one is for the folks who were doing the marathon. As you can see, I was pretty stoked to make it across that finish line in under 30 minutes. I threw up my arms and I'm sure the people on the sidelines there think I'm quite insane.

Despite the rocky start to the day, I managed to set a goal and meet it. There's no greater feeling.

By this point, it was only 8:00 am, and a LOT happened after that. Read on!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Packet pickup party in my pants

Okay, maybe it's not a party in my pants. I bet it got your attention, though.

Tomorrow I'll be running in my second 5K race. After work today, Angie and I went to pick up my race packet. I've only done this twice, but it's been so much fun both times. It's like opening a little present. My number for this race is 1961. I called my parents to see if anything exciting happened to them that year, but they couldn't remember. So, I checked it out on Wikipedia. Out of all the things that happened that year, here's the one thing that resonated with me: Charlie Brown successfully flew his kite.

Now I'm off to take a bath. Calgon will take me away...where, I don't know.

Oh! Also- tomorrow is weigh-in day!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Lucky Bamboo

When I finally graduated from college (it took me a while), I received a beautiful lucky bamboo plant from a friend of our family. There were seven perfect bamboo stalks tucked away into black river rocks, in a pretty ceramic container. That was a little over four years ago.

I've put that bamboo on the desk of each job I've had since then. The first job lasted about a year. The people were nice, and so were the customers. I just hated the actual work. There was a lot of travel involved, and I was in a new relationship and didn't want to be away from the nest. So I quit. The bamboo was still doing well while I was between jobs. It was growing new shoots and it had a nice, healthy green color.

The next job was for a very prominent electronics company. I was one of about 100 customer support reps who helped people figure out how to work the $1000 piece of equipment they just bought. It was an awesome company with awesome products. The customers, however, were complete assholes. As I drove to work each morning, 30 minutes on the highway, I would have tears in my eyes because I hated it so much. I only lasted there about three months. I also developed a nasty phobia of highway driving. The bamboo, however, was still going strong.

The very day I decided to quit job #2, I got a phone call regarding a resume I'd submitted nine months earlier. The company was very well respected, and I'd been applying for every job that came up there for a long time. So, I was really excited to get that call. I started working there about a month later. It's been two and a half years, and I'm still at the same place. Sadly, the bamboo isn't doing too well. I lost three stalks a few months ago, and this morning I think another one died. Only three are left.

My bamboo plant is the only plant I have, and I've grown rather attached to it. When I saw that yellow stalk this morning, I became very sad. As silly as it sounds, I almost cried.

This bamboo is supposed to be lucky. The idea is that you put it in a place where you want good fortune to come your way. If there's anywhere I need good luck, it's at my job in customer service. I answer emails and phone calls regarding customers' memberships to our services. These people aren't calling or writing me to tell me how awesome our company and services are. They're telling us- they're telling ME- that they're unhappy and it's MY fault.

If you work in customer service, you know how much stress and tension this can cause. With each person who gets angry with me, I get so anxious that I feel like ten minutes has just been taken from the end of my life. Also, being a professional punching bag is demeaning. Some people have told me I need to develop a thicker skin. I just think people need to stop being assholes to complete strangers (me).

My lucky bamboo clearly isn't bringing me luck at work anymore, so tomorrow I'm bringing it home.

I know some people I work with read this blog, so let me just say I have no immediate plans of quitting. But, my future has been on my mind lately. I've been considering going back to school to become a nutritionist, or perhaps even a personal trainer or some kind of weight loss coach. Since I've lost this weight, I finally feel like I have something I can offer the world.

When I talk about nutrition, exercise, and getting fit, I become passionate, animated, and engaged. When I sit at my current desk job and answer emails, I type the words "we apologize for any inconvenience" over and over and over. Which sounds better to you?

Before, it was about finding the job that would make me the least miserable. Now, I believe it's possible for me, and my bamboo, to find something we really, truly enjoy. Wish us luck.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

And Doogie saw that it was good

As I'm sitting down to write this post, Angie tells me I'm in Doogie Howser mode. Remember his cheesy little computer with the blue screen? Did you ever notice that he never actually recorded what occurred in his life that day? He'd just write stupid little adages. I remember thinking "Man, this dude is going to be 60 years old, reading his old diary, and he'll have no f-ing clue what he was talking about."


When I decided to stop weighing myself daily, I'll admit I was nervous. I've been stepping on that scale every morning for nearly a year, so saying goodbye to the habit was difficult. I haven't weighed myself since Sunday, and I'm feeling surprisingly fine about it.

In general, I've been less tense. I've been replacing some of the nastier things I say to myself with positive things. Even the cereal addiction is subsiding. Okay, I did eat maybe a gram of All Bran this evening when I was packing my breakfast and snack for tomorrow, but big whoop.

Also, I feel lighter, and my ring is looser on my finger. I've noticed that stress and tension makes me puff up like a blow fish, so it stands to reason that I'll retain less water if I'm more relaxed.

So, to sum up, I think I made the right choice. On Saturday I'll weigh in and see if I've lost, maintained, or (gulp) gained this week. I'm hoping to see 163 or less, but if I don't, there will be no panicking or beating myself up.

I'm trying to think of some cheesy, introspective, Doogie Howser-ish way to end this post, but maybe you can just assume I've already done that so I can go to sleep. I'm tired.


Monday, March 24, 2008

Scaling back

I've decided to weigh in weekly, rather than daily, for a while. Lately I've been feeling my self-esteem plummet whenever I step on the scale. I've lost so much weight, and it's a huge accomplishment, so I should feel good about myself, right? That doesn't happen too often these days. My self-talk has been more and more hurtful.

Remember that morning I stepped on the scale and it said 163? I was so happy, elated, emotional, and proud. That was the only morning that number appeared. The next few days it hovered around 166, and this was before I started sneaking handfuls of cereal. My diet and exercise were perfect, and still I wasn't seeing that number that had made me so happy before. It made me feel like a failure, but WHY?

I'm sick of feeling that way every single morning. It's not healthy for my ego to take a hit every day at 6:00 am, nor is it a good way to start the day. Back in the early days of my weight loss, when I'd see a smaller number every few days, it was like opening a little present each morning. Now, not so much.

I'll weigh in on Saturdays for a while and see what happens.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

I'll always love you, cereal

Hi. I'm Morgan, and I'm a cereal addict.

"Hi, Morgan."

Virtually every time I'm in the kitchen, whether it's preparing dinner, washing the dishes, or filling up my water glass, I reach for one of the five
(yes, five) boxes of cereal in the pantry and eat a small handful. Sure, a handful or two of cereal is no big deal, but if I'm doing it every time I walk into the kitchen, I'm in trouble. This probably contributes an extra 100-300 calories to my diet per day, and I haven't been logging it. So, not only am I eating all these extra calories, but I'm basically hiding it. Not good. Not good at all.

The boxes of cereal that currently live in the cupboard are:
Kellogg's All Bran With Yogurt Bites
Kellogg's All Bran With Strawberry Medley
Fiber One Honey Clusters
Honey Nut Cheerios
Cinnabon Crunch

This clearly can't go on. So, my beloved cereal, I must say goodbye. After the remaining cereal is gone, no more of the delicious brands above will be purchased.

Even though eating this much cereal obviously isn't good for me calorically, it does have its benefits in the fiber department. I've noticed some, um...improvements since I started eating high-fiber cereal every day. So, I don't think I should give up the stuff completely. Rather, I should refrain from eating the delicious brands, and pick up some tasteless cardboard-like stuff that will give me the fiber I need without making me want to eat the whole box in one sitting.

I just wanted to confess my cereal addiction to the world and let you all know I'm working on it. Every fall off the wagon I've had the last couple of months all started with my hand dipping into a cereal box, so I think it's time to face the truth. There are some foods, even healthy ones, that I just can't have in the house.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Everything I need to know, I learned from Anne of Green Gables

Last night, I went to bed feeling defeated and sorry for myself after having cheated. The scale reflected what I did to myself yesterday, and I wasn't at all surprised.

One of my favorite movies growing up was Anne of Green Gables. Yes, of course I know it's a series of books, but for me, this is probably the only case I've encountered where I enjoyed the movie more. In one of the many ridiculous situations Anne gets herself into, she invites her best friend, Diana, over for tea while her foster parents are away. She accidentally serves Diana currant wine instead of the raspberry cordial which was left out for her. Anne's friend gets really drunk and stumbles home, then throws up in the bushes while her entire family watches in horror.

Get to the point, you say? Okay, okay, I'm getting there. Diana's parents are so enraged that they forbid her from seeing Anne. Anne is devastated and confides in her teacher, Miss Stacy. Miss Stacy says Diana's parents will come around, and everything will start fresh tomorrow. "Tomorrow is always fresh, with no mistakes in it," says Anne.

Oh my. That was a really long story to get to my point, which is that tomorrow is a clean slate. After seeing the number on the scale this morning, I decided not to pout about it. There was nothing I could do to erase yesterday. So, I was determined to make today a good one.

Yesterday, while I was wallowing in self-pity, I called a few friends. I knew I couldn't be shoving cereal into my mouth if I was talking on the phone. I dialed the number of a friend who has struggled with weight in recent years. It's been a real roller coaster ride for her, and I knew she would get what I was going through. She understood when I told her how obsessed I am with food, exercise, and weight loss. She told me I'm in for a life-long battle and recommended I see a therapist. Awesome. Anyway, she recently moved into a new house and told me I should come see it. When I was trying to figure out my exercise for today, I decided to walk over to her new house and see if she was home. Sadly, she wasn't, so I walked to my parents' house. I hung out there for a while, then I walked home, for a grand total of 9.18 miles traveled.

I know all that walking doesn't undo my slip-up, but it got my mind out of "I'm-a-failure-mode" and into "I-can-do-it" mode.

Side note- the girl who played Anne, Megan Follows, turned 40 a few days ago. That, combined with my impending 30th birthday, is giving me that not-so-fresh feeling.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Pledge shmedge

I cheated today.

I'm trying hard to just let it go and move on, but I'm pretty upset. I made it only 11.5 out of 27 days. Not even halfway.

All I can do is dust myself off and pick it back up tomorrow, I suppose.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Serial Bowls / Lenny Syndrome / Toadfood / Another 5K

I have all kinds of fun stuff to talk about today. It's the first day of Spring, it's 67 degrees outside, I'm wearing jeans at is good.

Serial Bowls

First, I wanted to talk about our serial bowls. Doesn't she mean "cereal bowls," you ask? Nope. Serial bowls. Let me explain. My girlfriend has a creepy but endearing obsession with all things serial killer. Last year, as I was strolling through Urban Outfitters, I saw these bowls and immediately knew they would be a Christmas present for Angie.

I love eating my All Bran and yogurt out of these things. It's strangely fun to get that last dollop of vanilla yogurt from the bottom of the bowl and see Charles Manson staring back at me. I can't use the Dahmer bowl, though, because he's creepy. Not the other three, just Dahmer.

Next topic: Lenny Syndrome

In Jaime's blog post today, he made a great analogy about Lenny from Of Mice and Men. Here's what he had to say:

"If you've never read Of Mice and Men, Lenny is the big, dumb brother who doesn't know his own strength. Actually, if you've seen My Name is Earl, I guess it's pretty much the same setup. Anyway, it turns out I am Lenny (or Randy, for you Earl fans), and my weight loss is my precious little pet mouse. Okay, I could also be describing the scene from Tommy Boy where Tommy describes his failing sales abilities to a slightly freaked out waitress. I guess this is a story as old as time/mice.

So I get the mouse, I pet it, and it's happy. All is well. Then I think, if I pet him twice as hard, he should be twice as happy! So I do, and the mouse either dies or just becomes very jaded at having a stupid owner. Either way, I have failed as a mouse owner. This is the story of my recent weight loss."

This made SO much sense to me. Since hitting the 100-lb mark, I've been petting that mouse so hard I think its little head is about to pop off. I'm working on easing up, but it's difficult.

Next topic: Toadfood

My parents refer to tofu as "toadfood." They're not fans of the stuff. They think it tastes like sweat socks. Personally, I think the stuff is delicious. It's like a blank canvas, in that it absorbs all the flavors you're cooking with. Last night, I made Red Curried Tofu from the Cooking Light web site, and it was really good. Anything that makes my house smell like an Indian restaurant is a good thing in my book, especially if there are leftovers involved.

Last, but not least: the next 5K

I signed up for my second 5K race, the Olathe Marathon, Half Marathon, and 5K. Jaime and Jessica (another friend from work) will be competing in the half marathon. I don't think I'm ready for that yet, so I opted for the 5K. It's my second race in a month! Since I'm only running 3 miles, and those nut jobs are running 13, I'm planning on waiting around for them to finish. That way, I can cheer them on, and also get a photo of the 3 of us together.

Whew...that's it!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Tuesday, March 18, 2008


I just plugged my height and weight into a body mass index (BMI) calculator, and it came out to 24.9. This means I'm officially "normal" according to the government's standards. I'm not sure what to say about that. I guess it's a good thing. I'd be much more curious to get dunked in a water tank to see what my body fat percentage is.

The BMI scale is flawed, as I'm sure you're all aware. You could be a body builder with insane muscles, and still be considered overweight if you use the BMI method. But, since I'm not really a body builder, I think in my case it's a good way to get a rough idea of where I am in the spectrum.

In other news...

There is a HUGE tin of Danish butter cookies at my workplace. I want to eat them, but I'm not going to.

It's Tuesday, which means The Biggest Loser is on tonight. It also means I'm eating vegetarian corn dogs for dinner and running on the treadmill afterward. It also means it's my night to visit my grandma at the nursing home.

Tune in tomorrow to see pictures of the inside of my pantry and refrigerator. That's right, folks. Only here at Morgan Gets Thin!

Space cadet

Yesterday and today, I accidentally put on my underwear inside-out. I haven't done this in years, and now, all of a sudden, two days in a row.

I've been preoccupied lately. I'm not exactly sure why, but reaching the 100-lb. mark probably has something to do with it. Food, my weight, and exercise are constantly on my mind- so much so that I'm not paying enough attention to the important things in my life, like Angie, my friends, and putting my underwear on correctly.

This is not to imply that vigilance over one's health is not important. I think I should stay on top of it; if I don't I'll gain it all back. There's a happy medium out there, though, and I have to find it. Or maybe I just have to find "happy" without the medium.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Scale anxiety

I was really nervous about weighing in this morning. It's typical for my weight to fluctuate day to day, which is normal and not something I need to stress about. My weigh-in was so wonderful yesterday, however, I didn't want to backtrack. I stepped on and it was 164. No biggie; I've still lost 100 lbs. I followed my eating and exercise plan yesterday, so I know I didn't do anything "wrong." It still irked me a bit, though.

Lately I've been considering a weekly weigh-in, but I honestly don't know if I could stay off the scale more than a couple days. I'm of the opinion that a daily reminder of my progress is a help and not a hindrance.

A question to my readers: how often do you weigh in, and how did you decide how often to do it?

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Inside my kitchen

Going to the grocery store is an errand that a lot of people dread, but I actually like it. I enjoy figuring out menus for the week, writing out a list according to the geography of the grocery store layout, and getting the stuff on the list.

One of the things I like the most is unpacking the groceries, then gazing upon the bounty. Wanna know what our kitchen looks like after I put the groceries away? Good! I thought so.

Here's the pantry. On the bottom shelf, from left to right, you have brown rice, tofu, cashews, soup, oatmeal, diced tomatoes, black beans, vegetable broth, canned artichoke hearts, cannellini beans, chicken broth, cereal (aka The Devil), and cooking spray. On the middle shelf, we've got some baking needs, like baking powder, flour, etc, Sri Racha sauce, soy sauce, pasta, and dog food. Top shelf- more baking stuff, then our lunch boxes.

In the freezer on the top shelf, we have some puff pastry that's been in there for about 18 months, some frozen mixed berries (for smoothies), and a log of lean ground beef that I'll be using for Moroccan Beef Patties with Couscous on Friday. On the bottom shelf, we have Boca sausage links, Boca bratwursts, and Boca burgers. Next to that is a box of Morning Star corn dogs. The crock pot meal in the back has probably been in there for two years. I need to throw that away. Then we have some whole grain blueberry waffles.

Last but not least, the beloved Frigidaire. The drawers in the bottom have lots of bell peppers, carrots, zucchini, herbs, and other veggies. On the bottom shelf, there's a smoked turkey kielbasa for a stew I'm making tomorrow, and a bowl of random leftovers. In the drawer to the left is deli sliced turkey (mostly for the dog) and assorted shredded cheese. Above that, lots and lots of light vanilla yogurt, cottage cheese, jello, a random bottle of Miller High Life on its side, and water. Top shelf- a container of sliced mushrooms, salsa, no fat sour cream, wraps, pickles, and applesauce.

There, now. Wasn't that pretty sweet?

101 lbs gone!

Remember the beginning of Sixteen Candles when Sam is standing in front of the mirror the morning of her 16th birthday? She's scrutinizing her body and face for some kind of evident change. She wants to look and feel different than the day before.

I woke up this morning, and before I even got on the scale, I kind of knew today was the day. I felt different- stronger and leaner- than I have any day before now.

I always thought when I hit the 100-lb milestone, I would hop on the scale, see the number, hop off, and it would be just like any other day. I really didn't anticipate getting emotional or being super duper happy about it. It's just a number, and it doesn't make me any better of a person than I was yesterday.

But I did get emotional. I got on and off that scale probably 10 times, just to make sure the thing wasn't lying to me. I've had a grin on my face all morning, even when I started crying a little bit a few minutes ago. Back in May of last year, the thought of losing 100 lbs. seemed CRAZY. Now, not even one year later, it happened.

I'm so grateful to all of the people who have supported me during this huge change in my life, especially Angie, my parents, and my three group-mates at

Okay, I don't mean to sound like I'm at the podium, accepting my Oscar, and thanking my agent. I definitely feel like a winner, though.

Can I get a WOOT WOOT!!!!!!!!!!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Restaurant nutrition information

When I check out the nutrition info on a restaurant web site, I never know if I can trust it. We went to Applebee's tonight (because we're classy) and I had the Weight Watchers "Cajun Lime Tilapia." The broccoli tasted pretty salty and buttery. It tasted too good to be low cal. Maybe they just found a way to make it taste better without adding a bunch of extra fat, but somehow I doubt it. I find it hard to believe that the line cooks at Applebee's care about how many calories are in my dinner. Call me cynical.

Staying weight-loss-savvy at parties

Our good friend Megan throws a St. Patrick's Day Breakfast every year. This is the first year I was able to attend, and I'm on this "no cheating pledge." I was a little nervous. Megan is the most awesome hostess around, so I knew the food, drink, and company would be amazing. In the past, I've tended to go a little overboard at her functions, just because I wanted to taste everything. I usually have too much to drink, which leads to lowered inhibitions, which leads to overeating. I didn't want that to happen today.

I've said it a million times, and I'll say it again. You have to have a plan. My plan for this morning was to do a strenuous workout before the party, so I ran 5 miles on the treadmill. A workout like that really curbs my appetite. I gave myself a 450 calorie allowance.

The last time I saw a lot of these people, I was heavy. One girl came up to me and said "Have we met before?" I just said "Yes, at Megan's Halloween party. I'm Morgan." She looked confused for a second, and then said "Oh! Good to see you again." It was pretty funny.

I'm proud of myself because I made a plan and stuck to it. I was able to indulge in small bites of a few "naughty" foods without completely wrecking my plan. The only alcohol I had was a small Bloody Mary. I figured any drink that includes a celery stalk can't be all bad for you.

The party was a lot of fun. For the first time, however, "fun" didn't include drinking until I was slurring my words, or eating until I was stuffed. WOOT!

Randomness in the blogosphere

The weirdest thing happened the other day. I work for a company that provides online content to other companies' web sites. I got an email on Thursday from a client who needed some assistance. When I looked at the bottom of the email and saw the name of the person who wrote it, I was very shocked to see it was from Jennette, aka PastaQueen. Her blog, Half of Me, is one that I look forward to reading every day. She also wrote a book called Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir, scheduled for release this May. The cover of the book inspired me to take that photo of myself standing in one leg of my old fat pants.

As soon as I saw her name, I picked up the phone and called her. I didn't even think twice about it. It might have been prudent to think "Hmmm...she's at her normal job. Perhaps she doesn't want one of her super-fans calling her while she's in Clark Kent mode." But nope, I just called her. She answered and I said "Hi, Jennette, this is Morgan from [company name]. I just got your email. I just had to call when I saw your name, because I read your blog!" She seemed a little stunned. I guess she's never "met" one of her readers in everyday life. After I was done gushing, we actually talked about work-related stuff.

I discovered her blog when my own weight loss was starting to slow down. Around this time, I was getting really discouraged and wondering if I was doing everything right. I can't remember exactly how I came across her site, but it was just what I needed. She chronicles her progress with such humor and eloquence that it's like a book you don't want to put down. I can't wait for her actual book to come out. I will be more than happy to give her my money, because reading her blog has given so much to me. So thanks, PQ. You're a rock star.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Friday = Automatic good mood

My good mood from yesterday carried over into today. The only time I was in a bad mood today was when the dog ate his own poop this morning. What the hell is that about? It's the most disgusting thing, and we're powerless to stop him because he's so small and fast. And afterward, he just looks at us like, "What's the problem? Poop is delicious!" Then he licks his chops. Gross!

No, Buster, poop is not delicious. Believe me, I know all about delicious things, and poop is not one of them. Not that I've ever tasted poop...

Okay, this post is going to the bad place. Must change subject.

The plan for tonight is to have "breakfast for dinner," which is another way of saying I'm too lazy to cook a real meal. So, it will be whole-grain blueberry Eggo waffles, eggs, and Boca sausage. We're also going to watch the movie called Sunshine, which was directed by Danny Boyle. He directed 28 Days Later, one of the best zombie films around.

It's a scheduled rest day for me, so there's no exercise happening today. Tomorrow I'm on the treadmill for 90 minutes, though, and I'm not looking forward to it. My time spent on the treadmill lately has been even less fun than normal, and I'm not sure why. Ever since I ran the 5K race, I've been feeling a little sluggish. I think I'm sick of being inside. I'm ready for spring!

In other news...

I tried a Kashi frozen meal today. I got the Southwest Style Chicken. I used to eat a lot of Weight Watchers and Lean Cuisine dinner when I started losing weight, but they never really filled me up. The Kashi one did. There were lots of interesting grains in there, and all the different components were recognizable. What I mean is, it wasn't all one big pile of microwaved crap. You could actually see the corn, beans, onions, peppers, and chicken. Good stuff. They're not paying me to say that, either.

Alright, time to start the weekend! Still no cheating for me, and I'm really not bummed about it one bit.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Feeling great today

I'm in a great mood today. Taking those photos last night was a huge confidence booster. To see myself standing in one leg of my old pants...well, it's mind boggling. Those things used to fit me like a glove. They were size 26. The really scary part is, Lane Bryant only goes up to size 28. I was only a couple sizes away from being too fat to shop at the plus-size store.

I woke up and saw 166 on the scale this morning, which means I'm only 2 pounds away from hitting that 100-lb milestone. Since I'm doing this "no cheat pledge," I think it's realistic to assume I'll be able to reach my century mark in a week or two, maybe sooner.

This morning, I did two strength-training workouts from The Biggest Loser Volume 2 DVD. I did "Bob's Bootcamp" and "Functional Flexibility." Lots of lunges, squats, and crunches. I enjoyed myself. Yup, it's true. I enjoyed exercising today. I felt powerful and buff afterward. Ready to take on the world.

I also averted snack time disaster. When I'm sitting at my desk in the afternoon, I get the munchies. I eat my planned snacks, but still feel like eating when I'm not really hungry. Also, it's Thursday, which means I'll be going to the nursing home after work and probably won't have dinner until after 7. That's dangerous for me. So, I was a little concerned if my afternoon snack of All Bran with Yogurt Bites mixed with light yogurt would fill me up. It's been almost 2 hours since I ate it, and I'm feeling good.

The Biggest Loser DVD... $9.99
Kellogg's All Bran... $3.00
Fitting your whole lower body into your old fat pants... priceless.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Okay, I'll tell you...

When people ask me how I lost the weight and I reply "Diet and exercise," they tend to look disappointed. They want me to say it was a pill, or maybe a chainsaw. The truth is, I did use a special program, and I've been keeping it from you. I'm sorry. This infomercial will give you all the basics of the program I'm on.

Some photos

Ever since I started my weight loss program, I've anticipated with longing the day I would be able to fit my whole lower body into a pair of my old jeans. That day is here. I've gone from a size 26 to a 12. Craziness.

Walking to work

I walked to work today. I've never done that before, and it was strange. It's about a 4.5 mile trek from my house to the office. I carried all my food, as well as a change of clothes, in a backpack. The sun was not yet up when I left the house at 6:45 this morning. Rush hour was in full force as I walked, and it was slightly nerve-wracking to have all these waves of cars whizzing by at 45 mph. By the time I got to the office 67 minutes later, the sun was up and I was cold, sore, and sweaty. I changed clothes in a bathroom stall and tried to warm up, which took a couple hours. When I get cold, it's really hard to warm myself up. It kind of sucks. I suppose it will come in handy this summer, though.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008


It's Day 2 of the "no cheating" plan, and so far so good. It's been empowering, in a way, to not have a choice in the matter. When I wanted to get an extra bowl of cereal after dinner last night, I just said "Nope, no cheating until my birthday." It was nice. Instead of eating, I advanced to the hard level on Guitar Hero III. I made it to the Scorpion's "Rock You Like a Hurricane" before getting booed off the stage.

I've been trying to think of other things to distract myself with during those moments when I want to raid the Frigidaire. Here are a few things, some of which I've already employed:

-play Guitar Hero
-play with the dog
-read a fitness magazine
-take a bath
-organize photos
-sort through old "fat clothes" that no longer fit, put in bags for donation

Subject change...

At the end of the week, I'd planned on evaluating my caloric intake again. Since upping my calories to 1500 per day a couple of weeks ago, I haven't really lost any weight. Or, if I did, it came back. I'm not sure if I should stay at this level for a while or drop down to 1300 or 1400. Perhaps it would be prudent to wait until my "No Cheating" pledge is fulfilled. That way, I'll have some honest data to work with. The past couple of weeks have been rather tainted by some weak moments, so I guess it couldn't hurt to stay at 1500 until April 5th.

In other news...

-My thighs no longer rub together when I walk. I'm not sure
exactly when this changed, but when I realized it, I was astonished.

-I met up with my dad and his friend for their regular Sunday morning walk. His friend said he hardly recognized me.

-I signed up for the Trolley Run on April 27th. It's a 4-mile race, and I'll be participating with some other folks from my workplace, including Jaime. Today Jaime tried to convince me to run a half marathon at the end of this month. He was all, "You'll get a medal if you finish!" and I was all, "You're clearly insane." I'm good with 5Ks for now, dude. But you go get your medal.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

My pledge

Today has been rough. I've had a lot of junk food. I had ice cream, buffalo chicken wings, and fries. I was craving sweet stuff, so Angie and I went to Sheridan's, where I had what they call the "Mother In Law Concrete," which has chocolate chips, rice crispies, and bananas. It's pretty delicious. I really didn't feel guilty after eating it. I ran 8 miles yesterday and walked 5 today.

Angie had a jones for salty stuff, so we wound up at some sports bar at 3 o'clock in the afternoon, eating chicken wings about half the size of my forearm, as well as French fries. I wasn't at all hungry, and I still ate the stuff. The whole time, I knew I was f-ing up royally, but I did it anyway. It felt very, very wrong. It seemed almost criminal... I told Angie I might as well be doing lines of coke, because that's seriously how bad I felt about myself during and afterward. It's now about three hours later, and I'm still sick to my stomach.


As I was finishing off my last wing, I made a pledge that until my birthday (Apr. 5th), I will not have any more spontaneous cheat foods. What I mean is, I will stay totally on my plan. I can have the occasional cheat item, but it must be planned and within my calorie range for the day. There it is. I'm putting it out there for all of my readers (all three of you) to see.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

A new day

Thanks to the three of you for posting a comment yesterday. I was having a very panicky moment and needed the support, so thanks for coming through for me.

Today has been better. I had a nice long talk this morning with some coworkers who are into weight loss and fitness. It's nice to have people around who understand what I'm going through. I've stayed on plan with my calories and exercise today as well. There was a party at work today and I had a beer, but I had planned for it. I did 3 miles on the treadmill this morning, then on my lunch break I did a Biggest Loser cardio workout. I'm watching Lost right now, but after it's over I'll do 45 minutes on the treadmill. Breaking up one big workout into two or three mini-workouts helps me to stay focused throughout the day, and I've heard it's a more efficient calorie-burning tool as well.

A couple of you suggested that I try maintaining for a while rather than focusing so much on losing. That's good advice, but I don't think I'm ready for that quite yet. I'm so close to a 100-lb. loss, so I'd like to get at least 2 or 3 pounds past that mark so I have a buffer. I also have a doctor's appointment on March 31st. I'm planning on talking to her about my goals to get her opinion. I still don't know what my goal weight should be. Once I have a number in mind, I think I'll feel better.

Weather permitting, I will also be running the Olathe 5K on March 29th. I'm a weenie when it comes to bad weather, so I'm going to wait to register for the race until I know it won't be rainy or freezing. Having an event to train for should help me with my focus.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008


Well, I just had yet another mini-binge. I'm not sure what's going on with me. The past couple days, I've been feeling depressed and scared at the prospect of having to watch what I eat for the rest of my life. Tonight, I just wanted to let it all go and return to my former self- the girl who didn't care if she ate too many calories or didn't exercise. I just miss my old life sometimes. It's not that I miss all the eating; I really don't. What I miss is not caring.

Of course, now that I've eaten what basically amounts to a second dinner, I do care. A lot. I know I'll pick myself up tomorrow. I'm not going to gain all the weight back tonight. However, I'm still feeling guilty and embarrassed at my behavior. I'm very dedicated to logging everything I eat on my page. I know there are a few people who even check my logs to see what I eat on any given day. The idea that those people are seeing a side of me that I consider weak...well, it makes me want to cry, really.

Angie even tried to talk me out of eating all that crap tonight. She tried to get me to figure out why I wanted to eat. She was being really sweet. At the time, I felt like there was no special reason; I just felt like having a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, so I did.

If anyone can comment and leave me some pearls of wisdom or support, it would be much appreciated. I'm going to be fine. I'm not going back to morbid obesity. Right now, though, I'm feeling scared and I need my peeps (not the marshmallowy kind).


Here's a great new comic called We The Robots, by Chris Harding:

I seriously think I have seasonal affective disorder. I've been so bummed out by this cold weather. It makes me not want to exercise, and eat bad food.

I can't wait for spring.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Hypochondria via Google

In the past three days, I have diagnosed myself with three diseases/disorders:

1) pleurisy
2) rheumatoid arthritis
3) seasonal affective disorder

In general, I'm a really healthy person. I don't get colds or the flu very often. I used to have headaches almost every day, but that stopped when I began exercising. Still, I've had my share of problems.

A few years back, I had to have my gallbladder removed. That was unpleasant. Everyone who's had it done makes it sound like a walk in the park, which it isn't. True, they don't have to cut half of your body open to get to it anymore, but it's still surgery. There was pain. Also, the surgeon was listening to Santana during the procedure, and to this day I can't hear Black Magic Woman without getting really upset.

Due to the headaches I referenced earlier, I used to be an ibuprofen-popping fool. This led to liver problems. My liver enzyme levels were dangerously high for several months, but they're now coming back down since I stopped eating ibuprofen like sweet tarts.

Third, I have a non-active thyroid. Yup, that's right, I have a thyroid problem. So does my mother, and so does my grandmother.
Every fat girl's dream, right? When I started taking synthroid a couple years ago, I thought I would immediately lose 100 pounds. Not so much. My doctor said I could expect to lose a few pounds from getting on medicine, but that's it. She was right. I wasn't weighing myself regularly in those days, but I estimate I lost about 10 pounds.

Lastly, I have high cholesterol. That just makes me mad. After losing 80 or so pounds, I sauntered into the doctor's office, ready to hear the results of my latest blood work. When she said it was 236, I was stunned. Apparently, if you have a thyroid problem, this can lead to high cholesterol.

Obviously, losing weight has made a huge, positive impact on my health. There are still times when I have funky symptoms and I google them.

That's how I wound up having pleurisy.

Let me back up a bit. As you may have read, I ran in a 5K race on Saturday. Since then, I've had a very sharp, very acute pain in my upper left lung when I inhale deeply. So, I googled "sharp pain when inhaling deeply." Turns out I have the pleurisy. Crap. Gotta do something about that.

Then, yesterday, my bones were achy and throbbing all day. I googled "achy, throbbing joints," and it turns out I have rheumatoid arthritis.

Today I've been really depressed. It's also been extremely cold in my workplace. I started drinking warm beverages this afternoon, and I feel better. I googled "depressed when I'm cold," and I guess I have seasonal affective disorder, or SAD.

Clearly, I'm a mess. I'm off to get a thoracentesis, then I'll hit the tanning beds so I can get some UV rays for my SAD.

About last night

This is an artistic rendering of what happened last night. I fell off the wagon.

As I've said before, my binges these days are worlds different than before. Fast food is no longer involved, nor is a gallon tub of mint chocolate chip ice cream. These days, my binge foods usually consist of cereal, yogurt, fudge pops, or nut products. The compulsion is still the same, though. The same things go through my head as I'm doing it, whether it's a Big Mac or a bowl of All Bran.

There were several factors which played a role in my mini-binge. What you're about to read may sound like a lot of whining and excuse-making, and you're right. I still want to get this out of my system, because I'm hoping it will help me deal with it next time if I make it available for the world to see.

Factor Number 1: I didn't exercise yesterday. After running a 5K on Saturday and walking 8 miles on Sunday, I was in a fair amount of physical pain. Everything from my waist down was hurting, so I thought a break from exercise was warranted. Everyone needs a break every few days. The body needs time to recover. Even so, on days that I don't exercise, my diet has a tendency to suffer. I'm not sure if this is psychological or physiological; it's probably a combination of both. Either way, it's annoying and I have to stop it. Taking a break from exercise does NOT mean I should let my eating plan go to shit too.

Factor Number 2: Yesterday was Monday. My job tends to be stressful on Mondays because stuff has built up over the weekend. I work in customer service, and customers tend to be meaner on Mondays. When I get stressed out, I want to eat.

Factor Number 3: I was freezing cold all day long. The temperature control at my place of employment is a joke. People wear gloves and some even wear their coats around the office. Since I've lost weight, I've been feeling colder, too. I've read this is common and it should go away in a couple of years. I really hate being cold. It makes my bones hurt and it puts me in a foul mood. For me, foul moods lead to mindless eating.

Factor Number 4: I drank alcohol. Out of the blue last night, Angie decided she wanted a drink. I thought that sounded pretty good, so I had one too. Actually, I had a shot, and then I had another cocktail, so really that's two drinks. After that, I plummeted off the conestoga, onto the hard prairie floor.

Okay, now that I've finished this post, I'm going to let go of my guilt. It's a new day.

Monday, March 3, 2008

New clothes

I put off getting new clothes for a long time after losing the majority of my weight. Every time I've dropped a size, I've gotten a new pair of jeans and that's it. I didn't want to waste money on clothes when it was probable that they'd be obsolete in a couple of months.

Thankfully, I was one of those people who never threw away her "skinny clothes" after getting fat. Not that my skinny clothes were all that skinny- I think the smallest was a size 14- but this is still way smaller than a size 26, which is what I wore before. So, up until now, I've been digging out old clothing that used to fit. Most of it was wearable, but still very out of style.

I recently started getting comments like "You need some new clothes!" so I figured it was about time to brave the mall.

I'm a jeans-and-a-t-shirt kind of girl who works in a business casual environment. I don't like to put a lot of thought into my outfits, nor do I care about being trendy. When it came time for me to brave the clothing stores, I was actually nervous. What if they didn't have anything that fit me? Yes, this is a thought that still goes through my head after losing 97 pounds.

As I wandered through all the "normal people" stores, it occurred to me that I had no idea what my style is. Let's face it- if you're a fat girl, you probably shop at Lane Bryant or Catherine's or Dress Barn. All of these places seem to think fat women LOVE bedazzled shirts. They think we're all cat people. They think we're all Dorothy Zbornak from The Golden Girls. Not so! However, when presented with such a limited number of clothing choices available in one's size, you're pretty much stuck with what you get. It's sad but true.

Now that I can walk into most stores and find something that fits me, I still don't know what looks good. I brought Angie with me to get a second opinion. The other night, we went into a store called Anthropologie. This is a store I used to frequent in my fatter days, but I stuck to the side of the store dedicated to cute household items and dishes. This time, I went to the clothing side. I saw a pair of Bermuda-style shorts that looked fun:

Let it be known I haven't worn shorts in public since I was about 13 years old, so just the act of trying these things on was a miracle. I picked a size 12 off the rack, convinced they wouldn't fit. I went back to a fitting room and they slipped on like a glove. Not only that, but they looked cute. I would be proud to wear these in public, after applying a little self-tanning lotion, that is. I was ready to make them my first non-jeans clothing purchase when- d'oh!- I saw the price tag. $78! No way. Not for shorts. I'm not made of money, people.

Even though I didn't buy them, the experience made me less apprehensive about shopping for new clothes. We went to the Gap next, where I bought two pairs of pants for work. One pair was khaki and the other is sort of a chocolate color. Then we hit the sales rack at Dillard's. There I bought two sweaters, a cute button-up shirt, and a pair of capri pants.

For the first time in years, I came home feeling elated about my purchases, rather than defeated. Shopping for clothes is- gulp- fun. I can't believe I'm saying that, but it's true. I had a good time. Also, it helped me come to the realization that I'm comfortable wearing shorts again, and I can't stress how big of a deal that is. Woot woot!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

More pics of the race

There was a guy at the race taking a lot of pictures, and he was kind enough to post them on the web. Here are the ones I found of Angie and me. The first one is Angie and the rest are me; I'm not sure how that happened. I look like I belong in a Mentos commercial in these photos. Also, you can see the older gentleman I referred to in my earlier post- the one I was trying to keep pace with.

I checked the results from the site, and it appears my official time was 33:02. In my age/gender group, I placed 20th out of 36. I think that's pretty damn good for a first try.

I did it!

The race is over! It was a great experience and I had very respectable result for a first attempt. I'm chomping at the bit to tell you all about it, so let me start from the beginning.

First of all, I could hardly sleep last night because I was so excited. I dreamed about running and racing the whole night. I must have run 20 miles in my dreams, which makes sense, because when I woke up and weighed myself I was 3 pounds lighter than I was yesterday. I'm only ONE pound away from a total of 100 lbs lost so far.

Angie and I got up at 6:00 AM like we always do and watched the morning news for a while. It was about 40 degrees at the time and kind of breezy. I ate one piece of toast with a tablespoon of peanut butter. Angie had a peanut butter sandwich and an apple. We got our running clothes on and we were out the door by 7:45. At about 8:00 we arrived at Johnson County Community College and saw the sea of cars. Luckily, my dad was just arriving as well and we were able to spot each other without too much trouble. He seemed really excited too. Here is a photo he took of Angie and me:

I jogged around for a bit to warm up, and did a couple half-assed stretches. I'm not big on stretching, which will probably come back to haunt me some day. It was really windy at this point, and I was getting cold, so I was glad to get things started.

Angie and I positioned ourselves toward the back of the pack and before we knew it, it was Ready, Set, GO. We both started out jogging. It was an exhilarating feeling running with that huge group of people. Here's a nice Where's Waldo shot of us taking off.

Angie and I parted ways soon into the race. I ran ahead and must have gotten a little overzealous, as I got tired much more quickly than I'd anticipated. I tried to pick people near me who were going at a steady pace and mimic them. There was an older gentleman, probably 65 or 70 years old, who I paced myself with the majority of the race. I will begrudgingly admit I had to stop and walk three times, but I each time I recovered within a minute and picked right back up with the running.

Angie says she saw the mile markers on the course, but I didn't see them. I really have no concept of how long it took me to do the first, second, or third mile. There were cheerleaders lining the trail every few hundred feet, shouting out stuff like You're doing great! and You're my hero!, which was wonderful, but I was hoping they'd have them stationed at each mile marker, calling out the current time so we could gauge our pace. I should have just worn a watch. Oh well. It's probably better that I didn't know how far I had left to go.

My dad walked from the start/finish line to another point on the trail so he could take our photos part-way through the race.

Since I really had no bearing on, bearings...I had no idea how much longer I had to go, and I was getting extremely tired. The wind was blowing hard and my breathing was embarrassingly loud and huffy, but I kept going. I just stayed with that old dude. At one point, under my breath, I muttered, I'm going to beat you. I was getting sick of not knowing where I was on the course, so the next time I saw a cheerleader I managed to spit out How much farther?, and she said there would be a water station and then I'd see the finish line shortly thereafter. When I got to the water station, I kicked it into high gear. I rounded a corner and saw the finish line, and I started booking it as fast as my legs would carry me. I saw my dad snapping my picture. If I look like I feel like I'm gonna puke, that's a very accurate assessment. I felt like I was gonna puke.

It's hard to tell from the picture on the right there, but the time on the clock was 32:50. My goal was to come in under 35 minutes, so I accomplished that. I don't know what my "official" time was, but as soon as it's on the race web site I'll let you know.

I went over to my dad and he gave me a big hug and said he was proud of me. I got kind of choked up and almost started crying. I thought about my life not even a year ago, and how running a 5K would have been laughable at the time. Now I almost consider myself an athlete. It was a very emotional moment for me.

I sipped some water and cheered the other runners on as they came through the finish line. I saw Angie coming around the bend and started snapping pictures and yelling for her at the top of my lungs. She ran her heart out across that finish line. Her goal was to walk the race in under an hour, and she blew that goal out of the water. I'm really proud of her.

That's my dad in the foreground in the picture on the right. You can see on the clock that Angie's time was 48:47, which beat her goal by over 10 minutes.

After the race we got some food. They had bananas, oranges, bagels, and donuts. I opted for half a banana, a couple segments of orange, and a donut. It was a Krispy Kreme donut, but it still tasted delicious after working so hard to earn it.

I hope this is just the first of many races to come. Now that I know I can do it, I'm ready for the next one. Bring it on!