November 26, 2010-present weight loss




2012 weight loss



Friday, December 16, 2011

Homeward Bound

Kenny and I fly to EWR at 6 this evening!  I need to do a lot of packing between now and when my car comes, so adios for now Blogland. 

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Do Your Pillows Fit?

I am very fussy when it comes to pillows.  I can spend over an hour at Bloomingdale's trying various pillows before making my final decision.  I place the pillow on the wall and lean into it; I hold the pillow in my hands and push it up towards my face to replicate what it will feel like to be face down in it.  It is quite a process.  Mom is frequently with me for these experiences and comes close to needing a diaper due to her laughing fits. 
    
I am still using the pillows that I bought way before surgery, and they no longer fit me correctly.  I am a stomach sleeper- I know it isn't good for my back, but it is really the only way I can consistently get to sleep.  My old pillows are now way too thick.  I guess because I have a lot less stuffing in me than I did last year, my head is closer to the mattress.  If I place my head towards the center of the pillow, my head is supported at a really unnatural angle.  Instead, I use the thin corner of the pillow.  I clearly need new pillows but doubt I will have time to spend sorting it out during this trip home.  
    
We all know that our clothes stop fitting, and many of us (I am not one of them) have had medicines that no longer fit us as we lose weight.  But how about your pillows- do your pre-surgery pillow still fit? 

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Kenny Then & Kenny Now

It is no secret that Kenny was opposed to my decision to have WLS.  He thought that I would lose weight on my own if I tried hard enough... and consequently, not trying hard enough was the reason I was fat.  Fast forward to now.  I have one of the most supportive husbands around.  He goes on and on about how great I look and how my decision to have surgery was the right one.  Not only that, he sees that it has completely changed our lives.  I am active, and we can have so many experiences that were off limits to us only a year ago.  He is also proud of me.  Kenny is a man who is very particular and very critical.  It takes a lot for him to be proud of me or impressed by my accomplishments.  With my WLS, he is completely proud of what I have done.  He is also proud of me, as his wife, when our friends are stunned by my transformation.  We did lunch with a friend today, and our friend didn't recognize me in the beginning (I was at the table alone).  He walked over with his jaw on the ground.  At a cocktail party this past weekend, Kenny's colleague and his wife couldn't get over what I have done. 
  
As for whether he thinks I could have lost all of this weight without the band, we haven't specifically discussed it.  I am pretty sure that he now appreciates how instrumental the band has been and that it is a fantastic tool.  He gets that I was not just a pig- I was HUNGRY.  He gets that being healthy was almost impossible when I always felt like I was starving (and that working out was so difficult to struggle through when I knew I couldn't possibly burn off the calories that I was consuming).  Most importantly, he fully understands that the band wouldn't have helped me at all if I hadn't been willing to make the lifestyle changes necessary to work with this little contraption.  I feel that this is the thing that has made him happiest.  I eat well and work out regularly.  I am not flying back to the doctor every few weeks for fills, I am not relying on an overly tight band to control my hunger, and I am not sitting on the couch while complaining that I still need to lose weight.  I have completely changed my life!  Oh, and I can still eat 'regularly' when we go out to dinner.  I might leave a decent amount of food on my plate, but nobody cares about what is or is not on my plate as much as I do:)    

Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy Bandiversary To Me

Wow, my life today, December 9, 2011 is so much different than my life on the morning of December 9, 2010.  
  
Let's go back to my surgery day... I was Dr. K's first surgery of the day, so mom and I drove into the city well before the sun rose.  Mom hates driving in the city, so I actually drove myself in.  I parked the car, and we walked into the hospital.  It was so early that security had to check my name against the records to let me in.  I was surprised by how grimy this part of the hospital looked.  It really was a city hospital- and not in a good way.  So we went upstairs to admitting, and everything became SO REAL.  I filled out my paperwork and was really concerned about what would happen if there were a problem with the surgery.  Kenny was working in London, I was undergoing surgery in NYC, and even though Kenny is my husband, the hospital would have to rely on my mother's decisions were there any  problems.  I completed the paperwork and waited to be taken back to the next area.
I was called back and put in a little room with my mom.  There I changed, folded up my clothing and waited.  The hospital clearly caters to obese patients, so my gown covered me very nicely.  It was actually so large that mom could have hopped in as well, but that would have been creepy.  A nurse finally came in to weigh me and asked how I did on my liquid diet.  I completely deflected the question.  The reality is that I skunked the rigid liquid diet after Day 1 and instead followed the nutritionist's calorie and protein guidelines without drinking those horrible shakes (for anyone who hasn't had surgery yet, don't follow my lead).  I couldn't tell the nurse this, so instead I answered with a fact- that I lost 20 lbs during the liquids phase.  She was actually really impressed that I had lost that much weight and said that many people don't lose anything.  People, if you don't lose weight on the liquid diet, you are doing something wrong.  At some point the anesthesiologist came in and reviewed my blood work.  He told me that I was pre-diabetic and showed me where my levels should be, funny that my GP hadn't mentioned this.  Then we waited some more until Dr. K came in.  She had been tied up in a meeting and was running late... and I gently suggested that she take a breather and relax before she started cutting me open.  She is so incredibly cute, and my mom liked her immediately.
Then the scariness really started.  The surgical nurse came in to get me.  I assume I gave my mom a hug but am really not sure about that.  Then the nurse walked me to the surgical suite.  For all of you who had the benefit of some sort of happy drug before going (or being wheeled, more likely) to the surgical suite, you suck!  My only complaint about NYU is that this is not their policy.  Patients walk down the hall and into the room stone cold sober.  It was frightening.  I started telling the nurse how pretty she was, and in reality she was.  She was about 6' tall and joked that her long arms were helpful in the OR.  Then she told me to put my little cap on, and we walked into the room.  I burst out in tears.  I am actually remembering how terrified I was when I walked in there last year and am starting to tear as I type this.  Of course I had this one moment where I thought that there was still time and I could get the hell out of there before it was too late, but then I decided to go through with it (they already had my credit card details and would likely bill me either way).  The people in the OR were watching me cry and telling me everything would be alright, and I immediately thought that they must think that this is my punishment for letting my life get so out of control... like, well, if you hadn't eaten yourself to 320+lbs, you wouldn't be here today.  I hopped up on the table, and the table looked like a big crucifix (with pieces sticking out for my arms).  Someone numbed my hand before inserting the IV, and someone else put pressure booties on me.  My one smart ass comment, made more for my benefit than for the benefit of the OR staff, was when I looked at myself stretched out on this table and said something like, "Isn't this what they do to people getting the death penalty?".  Everyone in there giggled, and that was just about the last thing I remember as a non-banded woman. 
The next thing I know, someone was asking me to move myself from the operating table to the wheelie bed.  I was actually alert enough that I hoisted myself onto the bed, though I have read that most of you are still in La La Land.  I bet the OR staff loves patients who come out of anesthesia quickly, as moving the bariatric surgery patients must be pretty unpleasant.  Dr. K stood over me and said everything went well, and someone wheeled me to recovery.  My recovery nurse was sweet and had been banded herself, though she had not really lost any weight.  Just what someone less than one hour out of surgery wants to hear!  My mom came back to visit me, and Dr. K came at some point as well.  She said that my liver was perfect:)
I knew that I had to walk, drink water and use the toilet before being discharged, so I was on a mission.  I was NOT spending the night in the hospital.  Once the transfer people (who were surprisingly rude) moved me to the next floor, I told mom we were going for a walk.  I covered my exposed butt, grabbed my IV pole and lapped the floor.  And yes, I made sure the nurses saw me.  We circled the floor twice, and I told mom we should do one more lap.  I don't know what I was thinking, but I guess I figured that more laps would give me extra credit.  I felt like hell after Lap #3.  I lost all color in my face and was really woozy.  Mom made me sit down and mentioned that the final lap was probably a bit too much for my system.  So we just chilled and waited.  I spoke with Kenny, who was majorly relieved that everything was OK.  For those of you who have not followed my blog from the beginning, Kenny was really opposed to this surgery (read more about that here).  He thought I could control my eating if I just tried harder and was also convinced that I was going to die having surgery.  Being 3,500 miles away made the situation even more difficult, so getting to say hi and let him know I was fine was great.  I finally received my liquid dinner and was able to get everything down.  After a trip to the bathroom, I was ready to leave.  I needed one of Dr. K's underlings to examine me before being discharged, but I wanted to have all of my ducks in a row.  The (cute) underling finally came and said I could be discharged.
My recovery was mega easy.  I didn't have discomfort from the gas and wasn't sore near my port or incisions.  I had no interest in doing crunches and was cautious lifting myself out of bed, but other than that no complaints.  The liquid painkiller did its job, and I always knew my body was feeling the effects once my hands started to tingle.  My mother was a star the entire time!  She made me soup after soup, including curried cauliflower and a spicy Mexican soup, and enough low fat Greek yogurt smoothies to ease Greece's financial woes (that place would have gone bust in 2010 were it not for my surgery). 
So what about today?  Well, I am hovering around 210 rather than pushing 325.  I wear a misses 14 or 16 rather than a 22W.  I wear really high heels and can even walk in them.  Yeah, my toes tingle at the end of the night, but that doesn't bother me.  I no longer buy wide gym sneakers, and I no longer wear the only pair of flats that would fit my feet.  For that matter, I no longer buy clothing or shoes just because the items fit.  For me to buy something it must be perfect (or a bit too small).  I am active and I am mobile.  I travel so much more easily than I did a year ago.  My seat belts fit with lots of room, and I actually choose to sit in the middle seat when traveling with Kenny.  He got the raw end of the deal with my weight issues for so long that he deserves some comfort in either the aisle or window seat.  Nobody gives me that look of dread when I walk down the aisle of the plane and stop at a row to squeeze in now.  For years people would drop their eyes and say a silent prayer that I would sit elsewhere.  I can walk quickly and am no longer exhausted after doing simple tasks.  I walk to the grocery store rather than taking the bus.  I have girlfriends who want to shop with me, go out to clubs (not sure that is ever going to happen), discuss healthy recipes, and even, gasp, go to the gym.  I actually GO to the gym.  I average 5 days a week and typically work out for 80-90 minutes. 
At last month's appointment with my OBGYN, we discussed how much more weight I should lose before trying to get pregnant.  She said that ideally my BMI should be 27 but that this might not be a realistic number for me.  She said that I have lost enough weight to start trying (not trying yet for the record- much to the dismay of my mother).  I went from never having my period to being healthy enough to try to get pregnant within 12 months.  I feel like I am a much better wife to Kenny.  I can more easily participate in life than I could last year, and I no longer feel that I am holding him back.  I have also come closer to fitting the role of the Corporate Wife.  I know it sounds silly, but his industry is very image-based.  People dress amazingly well and are always put together.  The same goes for the spouses, who are impeccably groomed.  I could not fit (pun intended) into that category last year.  I was round and, more times than not, I was sweaty.  Last night I attended a cocktail party without Kenny; he was supposed to come but wound up working until 11:30.  I went on my own and was so comfortable, even though I only knew the husband and wife hosting.  At the end of the night the wife actually told me that my dress was very sexy! 
Today also marks another milestone- I had my first gym date today.  Our date was supposed to be on Monday, but that didn't work out.  So today we met for a 10:30 aqua aerobics class at her gym.  This means I wore a bathing suit in front of a tall, slim Greek woman- on purpose.  We wound up having a fantastic time and stayed at the gym until nearly 3:00.  Remember, this is Europe.  The nicer gyms have more of a spa element to them than do American gyms.  After our aqua class we stayed for a swim.  Then we gabbed in the pool and just kicked and kicked.  We spent a few minutes in the hot tub and then changed to go lift.  We did some lifting and then lounged in the sauna.  After the sauna we lounged on the lounges, and then we showered and went off to a late sushi lunch.  I am actually considering switching to this gym so I can have more gym dates.  One year ago I was undergoing surgery for being even more obese than ‘morbidly obese’, and today I worked out with a friend, changed in front of her and am considering taking out a membership at the more posh and trendy gym to allow for even more gym dates.  WOW!    
Where do I go from here?  I am not done losing weight.  I am still obese, and I know I can continue to work towards my goal.  I’d like to hit Onederland by the end of January and know that this will be a bit of a challenge.  I am committed to making it happen though and just have to make sure that the 30+ meals I am scheduled to eat in restaurants this month don’t mess with my plan too much.  At least I am now aware of how badly dining out can derail my plans and can make better choices when I am not cooking at home. 
I have learned that the band works differently for different people.  We were all fat for different reasons, and we will all lose weight differently.  I was always a quantity person- I ate large quantities of good food.  I could get down 12+ ounces of salmon without blinking or eat a large filet mignon.  A typical sushi/sashimi dinner was never enough to make me happy.  I always ate the 'right' foods; I just couldn't get full without eating much more than I should have been eating.  Being banded was a major life change, but I didn’t require that much reprogramming when it came to WHAT to eat.  Maybe that is why weight loss has been pretty consistent.  I am rarely tempted by milkshakes or fast food.  I don’t bother with pizza, and I am unlikely to binge on cake or other sweets.  From what I read on the blogs, it looks like those of us who only have an issue with quantity might have a slightly easier time getting onboard with the band than bandsters who have to completely relearn not only HOW MUCH to eat but also WHAT to eat.  That is a lot of retraining, and I assume it is yet another hurdle to overcome.  My year hasn't been easy- I have literally worked my a$$ off to lose this much weight, but at least I am not usually tempted by high fat, high carb options.
I really enjoy this blogging community and am so thankful for the support and guidance I receive from many of you.  Thank you allJ
And now, I will leave you with my December gym picture.  It is really blurry, but I tried.                           

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Fat Girl's Dream

These past two travel weekends have been a dream for my inner fat girl.    Let's start with Marrakesh.  The food is heavy and warm, and there is a TON of it.  I was very tight for the first time ever and ate next to nothing, but wow, a year ago I could have really tucked into these tagines.  On our second evening, we went to L.e.T.o.b.s.i.l., a popular restaurant in the medina that offers a set menu.  We started with an assortment of salads. 
  
I could only eat the eggplant, but look at all of these dishes!  
   
From there we had a wonderful chicken tagine.  If it weren't for the extra liquid that I asked for, I would have gotten none of the dish down.  Even with the extra lube I ate only a few bites.  Kenny finished up his serving and was stuffed.  I mentioned to him that it was odd that we weren't given couscous or vegetables, but neither of us needed more food.  We expected that dessert would follow but then noticed that more food started coming out of the kitchen.  Enter, Stage Left, Tagine #2.  It was a fabulous lamb tagine served with an enormous bowl of couscous, vegetables and some chick pea liquid/soupy thing.  The servers came over, placed all of this food in front of us and I was horrified.  Kenny looked at me and erupted in laughter when he saw my face.  It was scary.  It was so much food it was glutinous, and my expression was somewhere between fear and disgust.  And of course I could barely eat and felt terrible leaving my meal mostly untouched.  My inner fat girl looked longingly at the food- I just looked in amazement when I noticed that people at the other tables were actually eating more and cleaning their plates!
 
Then we travel to Vienna, and I can again say, the food is heavy and warm, and there is a TON of it.  I spent the weekend chowing down on gigantic sausages, stuffed with cheese no less, on the streets of town and eating very deeply fried meats.  I controlled myself enough to eat little portions, but this food is a far cry from the fish and veggies I typically gravitate towards.
    
 Eating sausage outside the Albertina
    
 Dinner at one of the most famous schnitzel houses in town
 
 Kenny ordered the schnitzel, and I had the chicken cordon bleu. 
We also shared a potato salad.
  
 Before and after. 
Kenny actually preferred my dish and hijacked one of my chicken breasts.  

 In case the meats weren't enough to get us through the weekend, we also had to try the famous Sachertorte (chocolate cake) at D.e.m.e.l..
   
    
 The baker making the Sachertorte
    
 Our cake and two wonderful cups of hot chocolate
(perhaps the best hot chocolate I have ever had)
 
 Isn't it pretty?
  
    Not impressed- we only shared one piece and left that much behind.
      
Again, my inner fat girl was thrilled to see so much yummy food.  I am happy to report that my less fat current self took control, with the help of the band, and didn't let my inner self lose control.  My former self would have cleared the plate, every plate, pictured above.  Even if I hadn't loved the cake, I would have eaten ALL of it.  Just because I could.  No longer my friends!  

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Weekend Catch-Up

Our Vienna weekend was just spectacular.  I loved everything about the city and had such a wonderful and relaxing time with Kenny.  We stayed at the Hotel Bristol, which is in the heart of town and right next to the Vienna State Opera.  We were upgraded to a fantastic suite overlooking the VSO- a great way to start the weekend. 
  
The view from our balcony
  
 Our hotel 
  
One of the realities of traveling pretty frequently is that I don't bother planning for trips the way most people do.  Most would start researching well in advance of their departure, plan out what they are going to see, book restaurants, and so on and so on.  Not me!  I do just about ZERO planning.  I bought our travel books on Wednesday morning, and we left on Friday afternoon.  After a quick read I realized that I'd missed the boat on being able to see a lot of what Vienna had to offer- The Vienna Boys Choir books over a month in advance as do tickets to see the Lipizzan Stallions.  Whoops! 
  
On Saturday morning we went to St. Stephen's Cathedral and took the lift to the top of the tower.  It was on the chilly side but we saw such nice views of Vienna and of the beautiful roof of the cathedral.  We toured Christmas Markets, visited the Liechtenstein Museum and generally walked from one end of central Vienna to the other. 
  
On the top of St. Stephen's Cathedral
 
 Christmas Market
  
  The Christmas Markets were cute, but I was bummed that most of the items on display looked so mass-produced.  Where are the handmade and unique ornaments?
  
I am a Christmas light fanatic; I LOVE seeing the decorated streets and buildings.  Vienna has some of the prettiest lights I have ever seen.  I was among the many tourists constantly stopping to snap photos of another street or another decoration.  Kenny is very patient and just accepts that walking one block can take anywhere from 20 seconds to 5 minutes!
  
   
     
    
      
When we made it back to the hotel the Concierge told me that he was able to secure two IMPERIAL BOX seats to see the Sunday performance of the Lipizzan Stallions.  Kenny said that seeing my face light up when I was handed the tickets was one of the best things he has seen recently (isn't he cute?).
   
The following day we visited the Imperial Apartments and the Treasury of the Hofburg Palace before seeing the stallions.  We also made it to church for a few minutes to hear the Vienna Boys Choir perform.  It was a real treat to hear the VBC, but the highlight of Sunday was seeing the Lipizzan Stallions.  These horses and riders are just amazing.  The performance lasts about 80 minutes, and there was not a boring moment.  Photography is strictly prohibited during the show, and I was one of the few in attendance who followed the rules.  Alas, I took no pictures of the horses:( 

 The Hofburg Palace
  
   
    
    View from our seats
 
   

Friday, December 2, 2011

One Hundred Posts and Movement Towards Onederland

Only 8.7 lbs to ONEDERLAND.  I almost hate to post this new low, because after big losses my body boycotts and I promptly gain 3 lbs back.  But damn it, I am claiming it.  We go to Vienna this evening, so it will be interesting to see what a weekend of cake, strudel, sausage, and weiner schnitzel does to this number.
  
In other news, some interesting things are happening at/around the gym.  I had met an American at the pool of my gym last year- pre-surgery.  I have seen her working out upstairs recently, but she was always with a gym buddy.  And then I was concerned that maybe it was someone else and I would look like an idiot for approaching her (one of the strangest things in England is that strangers never speak to each other, so they remain strangers until they are properly introduced- odd).  She was by herself on Monday evening, so I spoke with her.  I had already completed my 60 minutes on the elliptical and 30 minutes on the Wave and was just planning to say hi and leave.  She was in the middle of her run, so I walked on the treadmill next to her for about 20 minutes while we caught up.  Then she said 'come do abs with me', and I thought she was nuts.  I mentioned that I had to get home to prepare dinner, but she still nudged me to come.  It was a 15 minute class, and she suggested that I just do 5 minutes to try it.  So I did.  She is in much better shape than I, and I was unable to do everything the trainer wanted (he is very strict).  Luckily he came up with alternative exercises for me when some of what he was giving her was obviously NOT going to work for me.  I stayed for the entire class and was very happy that I had someone pushing me to try something new.  Unfortunately I almost passed out when the class was over.  I hadn't planned on working out for so long (at this point I had completed my 90 minutes of cardio, the 20 minutes walking and then 15 minutes of a high intensity abs class) and was in desperate need of food, sugar, anything.  I actually felt like my head was going under my legs, I became frighteningly nauseous and just knew I needed to sit down.  Everything started to go dark, and I could barely hear.  I wound up NOT passing out, but I definitely came close.  Anyhoo, I thought it was great that this super fit woman wanted me to accompany her to a class. 
  
One of the guys who works for Kenny recently proposed to his girlfriend.  We hosted the couple on Wednesday evening- champagne, wine and finger foods.  They hadn't seen me since October of last year and almost tripped over themselves when they saw me.  I now know how people are going to react and almost get the giggles when they try to be polite and not address the elephant (or non-elephant for that matter) in the room.  The woman is Greek, tall, slender- think perfect body.  Well, she has invited ME to HER gym to work out with her next week.  How cool is that?  This would NEVER have happened before.  So on Monday I have my first ever gym date!  After a weekend of heavy food, I will need it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

A Big Ole Pain In My--- Foot

My pretty new sneakers
PS- I no longer wear WIDE!
   
I desperately needed new sneakers last month.  I had been wearing the same sneakers since before I had surgery last year, and they were in bad shape.  The insole had completely formed to my feet and gave almost NO support.  I was also suffering from this horrible pain on the balls of my feet that radiated out to my toes.  It would start when I was on the elliptical and would sometimes get so intense that I could not complete my routine.  Once the pain started, it even made riding the recumbent bike difficult and painful.  It was terrible. 
   
I assumed that the new sneakers would alleviate this pain, but no such luck.  I put them on, worked out and the pain was as bad as ever.  I did some research online, and I found that the pain was likely caused by the way I was moving on the elliptical.  I always positioned my feet towards the back of the pedals, meaning that my weight was in front of my feet and I was constantly rocking my feet back and forth/putting all of my weight on the balls of my feet.  So I tried a new approach.  I moved my feet to the front of the pedals and focused on keeping my feet planted on the pedals.  With my feet towards the front of the pedals, I no longer need to lean forward as much to move my arms.  It hasn’t completely relieved the pain, but it has reduced it significantly.  The toes still get a bit tingly- at least it is tolerable now!
On the subject of sneakers, I learned something interesting when purchasing my newest ones.  The store I go to is focused on runners, and I just love it.  Not like I do the whole running thing with any degree of frequency, but still.  I like the salespeople, who are both knowledgeable and helpful.  I planned to buy two pairs of sneakers and asked the sales guy if there is a benefit to rotating the sneakers on a daily basis rather than wearing one pair to death and then replacing them with spares.  He said that after a workout, the insoles take 30 hours to fully spring back to life and that I can prolong the life of both pairs of sneakers by rotating them.  Who’d a thunk that insoles were so finicky?        

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Marrakesh Musings

I am really not even sure of where to begin in explaining our weekend in Marrakesh.  It was an interesting place to visit, but Marrakesh is part of a small number of the many places I have seen that I have little to no interest in revisiting.  I neither hated nor loved it.
  
When we disembarked from the plane, Kenny immediately remarked that we were certainly not in the Middle East.  Where most of the Middle East- especially the parts he travels to for work- looks like a mash up (for all of you Gleeks out there) of the Arab World and Las Vegas, Marrakesh had none of that glitz and fakery.  We checked into the hotel, had a quick bite and decided to walk around for the remainder of the day.  Our hotel was just outside the Medina, for that I am very grateful, so we had a short walk to reach the Koutoubia Minaret and Jemaa el Fna.

    Koutoubia
  
This is where things went downhill slightly.  Non-Muslims are prohibited from entering mosques in Morocco.  We knew this upfront, but it is really annoying.  So we could go TO but not INSIDE Koutoubia.  Yeah, it might be their culture, but could you imagine if St. Patrick's Cathedral (or all Catholic churches in the US) discriminated against all non-Catholics!  I have a feeling that this would not be well-received, but I digress.  We've toured mosques in Dubai and Istanbul and knew we weren't missing all that much, but still...
  
   Jemaa el Fna
 
So we walked a few minutes to Jemaa el Fna, the main square, where the snake charmers and men with monkeys are.  It is disgusting!  I have a real fear of snakes, which by no means helped my opinion of the square (I still have pictures of snakes in my mind when I close my eyes at night and have to really think about something else to distract me or I cannot sleep).
  
  
I gave Kenny the camera to take a picture of the snakes, because I refused to get close enough to snap anything. 
  
Next thing I knew, Kenny had a (small) snake around his neck... idiot!  Seriously, some snake charmer walks up to you with a snake and looks like he is going to wrap it around your neck and you STAND there and LET him do it!  NFW folks.
  
The snake guy took a pic of Kenny with the snake,
and you can see how far away I stayed from this whole scene! 

Of course the snake guy then demanded a ridiculous amount of money for the pictures (about $20 when it should have been $2), but Kenny didn't have much room to negotiate when he had a serpent wrapped around him.  So $20 poorer and sans snake, we left Jemaa el Fna.
  
We booked a tour guide to bring us around the Medina and the Souks on Saturday at the suggestion of several friends who had been seriously hassled when walking around.  After booking guides they were able to have a much more enjoyable time with much less aggravation.  This was by far the best investment we made during this trip. 
  
Our guide, Abdel, was fantastic! 
 
He brought us to the Ali Ben Youssef Medersa (Koranic school), showed us a local bakery, Bahia Palace, the museum, and on, and on, and on.  The best part of hiring the guide was that people in the souks were much less aggressive towards Kenny and me when we were with Abdel.  We avoided the touristy stores and bought very little, though I did return home with a beautiful embroidered black cape as well as a bright red wrap.  
    
The women make dough in their homes and bring it to the local baker for baking
  
After Saturday we had had enough of Kenny and Nora Experience Marrakesh and decided to get massages on Sunday morning.  Luckily one of the top spas had availability, so we were able to get a couples massage before our flight.  The place was BEAUTIFUL, but let me start from the beginning.  We arrive at the spa and are each shown to a changing room.  It was the first time I have not had anxiety about a spa robe fitting, which made the experience much more relaxing from the start.  The attendant handed us each a little pair of undies (think of something about 90% smaller than what an American spa gives you for a bikini wax), and I just smiled.  There is no way that little elastic band would have stretched an extra 12" to get around Nora's Belly- 2010, but it easily handled NB- 2011.  So the attendant puts us into a beautiful marble room with a gigantic jacuzzi- probably 8' by 20'- to soak before our massages. 
  
Now onto the massages... I love massages but typically indulge only in the States.  My friends have told me their very amusing stories about how massages differ when traveling abroad, and now I have my own to add to the mix.  Kenny and I were shown to our room, and it became obvious that this place was not for the modest.  A woman stood behind each of us and immediately took our robes- no stepping out of the room while we disrobed, no sheet to lie under so only the part of the body getting massaged is exposed, no, no, no.  Hey, when in Rome. 
  
We get on our respective beds and enjoy a wonderful massage.  It was kind of odd being so exposed, but I wasn't going to let it bother me.  I started ass up, an unfortunate sight for the masseuse, and at some point she grabbed this little elastic holding 2 square inches of fabric to my body and pulled it down to, well, my ass crack.  At least it didn't go any lower than that.  This was a very thorough massage, and my tush has never felt so relaxed!  She finally had me flip over, and I assumed that this is where the sheet would come into play to cover me.  Nope, nada, zilch.  The only part of my body not massaged was hiding under the aforementioned two square inches of fabric.  I even got a stomach massage!  While I will still enjoy being covered by a high thread count sheet in the future, I was a lot more comfortable getting this massage than I would have been last year.  I am big, but it isn't like this poor woman was attempting a massage through a gigantic layer of fat!  My only hint of anxiety was when I thought, 'OH NO, she can probably feel my port', followed by, 'OH CRAP, could she possibly massage the area vigorously enough to flip my port?'! 
  
I will leave you with one last nugget about Marrakesh.  We constantly felt that we were being scammed, because the reality was that we were being scammed.  Everything is a negotiation there, from the taxi drivers who refuse to use the meter to the person who points you in the right direction and then sticks his hand out for money.  On our first night Kenny had already had enough of the taxi ripoff scheme.  We paid 30 dirham (about $3.60) on the way to dinner and knew that the taxis outside the restaurant would expect us to pay more.  So the first taxi said that it would be 40 dirham to get back to the hotel, and Kenny said no, we paid 20 to get there, and we would pay 20 to return (see, he learned the art of the negotiation).  The driver said fine, he would take us for 30.  I was good to go, but Kenny said NO.  He made me WAIT ON THE STREET for a taxi who would drive us back to the hotel for 20 dirham ($2.40).  I wanted to kill him.  A cab finally said that he would take us for 20 dirham, and we got in the back of his car.  The car wouldn't start.  He kept trying to turn over the engine, but the car simply refused.  At this point I was trying not to look at Kenny, because I was only barely maintaining my composure and not bursting into laughter.  The driver told us to wait in the car, and he got some other drivers to help him back the car out of the spot and then run behind the car and push us down the road until the freaking car started!  It was one of the funniest situations we have ever been in, and we laughed all the way from the entrance of the hotel to our room.  For $1.20, my husband almost got us KILLED.  Oh, and this car didn't even have working headlights.  I am of the generation where we talk about things that are Soviet-era and post-Soviet era.  I am pretty confident that this car drove its first mile in the rarely mentioned pre-Soviet era.  Amazing!       

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving in London is NOT as much fun as it is in the States, primarily because Kenny is working today.  Friends of ours are hosting Thanksgiving dinner this evening, which should be amazing.  The husband's mom is a professional chef (owns her own restaurant) and is preparing some sort of feast.  Yum!  Or it would be yum if I could actually eat.  I have started getting TOM tightness- not good.  Kenny and I were out with a friend at a very nice sushi restaurant last night, and Nora could not eat.  I tried a few pieces of sashimi and promptly excused myself so I could rid my body of what it obviously didn't want.  The body was no happier with my spinach and shrimp lunch today, so the three bites that I ate are now somewhere in the pipes of our building, and the rest of the dish is in the garbage.  Yuck. 
 
I am bringing rum balls and a very yummy trifle for dessert.  I would typically offer to bring sides, but I didn't want to bring something mediocre when dealing with a real chef!
  
    
Kenny is taking tomorrow off, and we are going to Marrakesh for the weekend.  See you next week!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Updated Measurements

From November 26, 2010 to November 16, 2011:
  
Waist: -12" (ONE FOOT!!!)
Hips: -11.5"
Chest: -12" (ANOTHER FOOT!!!)
Each wrist: -0.5"
Left upper arm: -3.5"
Right upper arm: -4.25"
Left thigh: -6.5"
Right thigh: -7"
Left calf: -3.75"
Right calf: -4"

Spread The Word Around... Guess Who's Back In Town?

The girls are back in town
The girls are back in town
I said
The girls are back in town
The girls are back in town
     
    
I was very lucky to never had FBS (Fat Boob Syndrome)- even at my heaviest.  I might have been a 44C, but at least it was a C and not a DD!  Over the past few months I have really feared that The Girls were going into hiding as I continued to drop pounds.  Not good news!  Luckily I have remedied this situation with a new collection of push-up bras.  How did I get through my 20s without these things?  They are nothing short of FANTASTIC!  I guess pushing up 44Cs wouldn't have been a brilliant move, but my much more modest 38Cs are very happy that they are getting the love and support that they deserve.      

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Partner Sabotage Study

Amanda Harp, a Doctoral Candidate in Clinical Psychology at Clark University, emailed me last week and asked that I complete an anonymous online survey meant to assess for partner undermining of weight loss (and, of course, spread the word).  I assume many of you have participated by this point, but here is the info for those of you who have not... 
  
*Have you been participating in a weight loss program for the past consecutive 5 weeks?
*Have you been in a committed, cohabitating relationship for the past two years?
*Do you ever feel like your partner/spouse gets in the way of your weight loss?
  
Amanda G. Harp, M.A., is completing her doctoral dissertation at Clark University on a subject you may have experienced personally or heard about from your friends, acquaintances, or clients--partner undermining of diet/exercise.  Please promote this throughout your social network so that this important research can be garnered from those who are struggling with partner interference of their weight loss efforts.
  
Your participation in this survey should take approximately 30-45 minutes (there are open-ended questions which sometimes take participants longer to fill out depending on their particular experiences with the phenomenon of partner undermining. We appreciate your thoughtful responses about how you feel your weight loss program is undermined by your romantic partner and how this affects you).
   
The responses to this survey are anonymous and cannot be traced back to participants. Any question may be left unanswered. Participation is voluntary and may be withdrawn at any time. If eligible to take this survey, you will be provided with an email address to enter a lottery for $100.
   
This study is being conducted by Amanda G. Harp, M.A., who is a graduate student in the Psychology Department at Clark University under the supervision of James V. Cordova, Ph.D. If you have any questions about this study, please contact Amanda Harp (aharp@clarku.edu) or Dr. James Cordova (jcordova@clarku.edu)
   
Full study details at:
  
http://tinyurl.com/Clark-Study (Also, http://surveys.clarku.edu/Survey.aspx?s=eb8b5da9cb6940d88f2cfd4d48207f56)

Ethics Review Information:
  
This study has been approved by the Clark Committee for the Rights of Human Participants in Research and Training Programs (IRB). Any questions about human rights issues should be directed to the IRB Chair, Dr. James P. Elliott, 508-793-7152.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Nora's First Escada

Sorry for the brief blogging hiatus, but I was in NJ for a week and spent that time running around like a lunatic.  I had to see my gyno for my three month check up on a cervical cyst I have had for years.  Her partner had been a bit concerned about it when I saw her in June, so I had to go for tests over the summer.  I finally got word that everything is OK, but ah... the anxiety leading up to hearing this was not fun.  I also had my 1-year check up with Dr. K.  I know it is a bit early for the visit, but I didn't want to have to schedule the appointment closer to Christmas when I will be at least as busy as I am now.  Dr. K said that my espohogram looked good and that I was still losing weight steadily.  She flat out refused to give me a fill, and in reality I agree that I don't need one quite yet.  I am slightly concerned that I will need one closer to Christmas and will not be able to get one, but I will cross that bridge later.  
   
I visited the Under Armour outlet to pick up some gym sweats last week- boring!  On my way back to the car I passed the Escada outlet and saw the most dangerous word I can ever come across when shopping: SALE.  I typically avoid Escada, as the clothes have not fit me since 2004 or 2005.  I decided to take a peak this time and see what the store had to offer.  My rule was simple- no cashmere sweaters and nothing stretchy.  If I was going to plunge into the realm of designer merchandise, it had to be real clothes (skirts, jeans, trousers, etc.).  A very nice saleswoman approached me before the door even closed behind me- always a good sign- and I chose a pair of jeans and a pair of pinstriped trousers, both in size 46.  The jeans fit perfectly, but the pinstripes were TOO BIG on me.  I wound up buying them in a 44 instead.  Yippee!  So now I know that I can actually wear some 'normal' clothes.  After this epiphany I went home and weeded through my remaining clothing at mom's home.  I am now able to wear most of my old but very, very beautiful Ellen Tracy outfits in size 14!  I also fit into a pair of size 14 jeans that I bought on sale over the summer and never, ever thought I would actually squeeze into:)
     
Mom and I went for much-needed pedicures on Thursday.  Her pedicurist, Arlene, had not been working at the spa for several months as she was battling liver cancer.  She cam back recently, but I had not seen her since last winter or spring.  She came in and started speaking with mom and completely ignored me.  I sat there silently- Arlene finally looked at me and almost jumped out of her skin.  Her chin dropped down to her chest, and she just stood there.  It was quite funny that the woman who did my nails for my wedding and has known me for more than 5 years didn't immediately recognize me.   
   
An artist girlfriend of mine had an opening on Saturday evening, and I bought a new dress... as well as new shoes (4.5" heel with a 3/4" platform), of course... for the occasion.  I had my mom take a picture so I could do a little collage.  Unfortunately, mi madre has an uncanny way of cutting off the top of my head in photos.  Anyway, this artist girlfriend and I are from the same area and have a number of mutual acquaintances.  One is a girl I went to school with from beginners-high school.  I probably hadn't seen her since graduation in 1997.  She was at the gallery, and I 100% refused to go over and say hi.  I remember her as a Grade-A Bitch, and I have heard that she hasn't changed.  At some point she saw me, raced across the gallery, wrapped her arms around me, and told me how fantastic I looked.  She said that we simply MUST meet up for a boozy lunch or dinner and catch up, etc.  I am certain that she would not have even bothered approaching Fat Nora, let alone saying that we should catch up.  I don't know if I will ever bother reaching out to her, but it was so nice to have her come to me!  The opening and subsequent evening out at a local restaurant/bar wound up being so much more fun than I had expected.  I am a social person, but the idea of spending the night with (mostly) strangers really didn't appeal to me.  I like feeling comfortable meeting new people and being pretty confident that I am not going to be a sweaty, fat mess in a crowded room! 
   
I probably have a lot more to report, but this post is getting ridiculously long.  Instead, I will leave you with my comparison photo. 
     
 
 

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Conversations I Didn't Have

Yesterday was a really enjoyable day for me.  After going to the gym I met a new girlfriend, N, for lunch (I mentioned her a couple of weeks ago after our dinner together- her husband is a colleague of Kenny's).  We gabbed all through lunch, walked around Notting Hill and Kensington and then came back to my flat for a drink.  Afterwards I met another girlfriend, K, for drinks.  These women have one thing in common- they never knew me when I was at my heaviest.  They know me as a heavy woman but not as someone who is knock, knock, knockin' on heaven's door due to her weight.  I am amazed on how this changes the dynamic of our conversations... and more specifically, how it changes the actual conversations we had. 
  
With each of these women I discussed weight (not numbers obviously), dieting, working out, jogging, etc.  We openly discussed foods that we are willing to splurge on vs. foods that aren't worth the splurge, how to make it through a long workout (especially when the iPod dies) and on and on and on.  We discussed clothing and shopping.  K, who is barely a size 2, even talked about how she got 'fat' when she moved to London.  Her concept of fat is significantly different from mine (I think she gained 6 lbs or so), and I almost giggled when she talked about getting fat, but it was so refreshing to speak with a girlfriend who was not overly edited around me.  It was like a whole new world!  When I was at my heaviest, girlfriends and I could NEVER talk about any of these things.  I didn't work out, I couldn't shop at the same stores as my friends and I even got to the point where my feet got too fat for nice shoes.  And as ridiculous as it is to hear a woman who wears a size 2 talk about being fat, it was comforting to feel 'normal' enough that she would even say something so silly to me. 
   
I never noticed all of the conversations I wasn't having back when I wasn't having them.  Now that friends and I are comfortable talking about so many topics that were off limits not too long ago, I really appreciate this change in circumstance.  I spoke with my mom this morning and mentioned this.  Mom can be pretty brilliant and she said that girlfriends wouldn't speak with me about working out or clothing any more than friends would discuss paintings or nuances of colors with a blind man.  She is 100% correct.  Needless to say, I am happy to be out of the blind category. 
  
While I am on the subject of how other people view me now, let's move onto how men deal with me.
  
  
Because I am a very married woman who until the end of last year weighted only 1.4 lbs less than this cute Vespa, I have gone through the last few years never being hit on.  It never bothered me- again, married- but now I really don't know how to deal with being hit on. 
  
I was walking home from lunch with a girlfriend on Monday, and I have to say I looked pretty cute.  I was wearing nice jeans, high shoes, makeup, a fur-trimmed cape, and a nice bag.  It was a good ensemble.  Well, I am walking along in my kind of oblivious but still taking everything in Nora way, and this guy actually stops me.  You know the type, the 'I know I have met you before' guy.  And I am trying politely to tell him that, in fact, he has not met me, but he just won't hear of it.  So I do the smart married woman trick- I scratch my forehead with my left hand so he can clearly see my wedding band and engagement ring.  Nope, that didn't help either.  Finally the guy asked if I had a husband (and yes, for the record I did try to walk away) and I said that I did.  That was it, he got the picture and went on his way.  But wow, it was funny that I really didn't know how to deal with this guy.  Something similar happened the last time I was in the States.  I took the ferry from my mom's house into the city in the evening, and I was the only person on the boat other than the crew.  I wound up sitting with the guys to watch Monday Night Football.  I am friendly, and apparently this is issue #1.  Nora should just read here Kindle and keep to herself.  I sat next to one guy, and we talked about his tattoos.  I know that tattoos are pretty popular in Blogland, but they just don't do it for me.  I've never had one, never scheduled an appointment to get one or even flipped through magazines to pick out the perfect tattoo for me.  So I very innocently mentioned that I am not a tattoo person and that I don't do needles (minus fills, of course).  His response was to look me up and down and say, 'So, you are afraid of things that stick you'!!!  I almost had to lift my jaw up from my chest manually.  I was completely shocked.  Mom said (yes, mom is getting a lot of air time today) that I am going to have to start using my radar again to avoid the creeps and some of these odd situations.  Hey, getting hit on can be flattering, but I need to re-learn how to actually act when it happens.    

Monday, November 7, 2011

Baby We Were Born To Run

I frequently read about bloggers who are trying C25K and I immediately think these bloggers are nuts.  I hate running and have always hated running.  I hated it in gym class and have never changed that opinion.  The only time I ever ran on a treadmill for more than a minute or two was with my old GP when I was 23.  I had been walking next to him, and he pushed me (in a nice way) to jog with him.... and I hated it.  My knees ached the next day, and I, once again, decided that running was not for me. 
   
Fast forward to today.  I tried running again, and I did what any smart person at the gym would do (because I now have a male follower, I feel the need to be a bit less gender specific... let's see how long this lasts for)... I took the treadmill next to the hottest guy working out to give me a good incentive to keep running.  It worked.  I completed 1.6342 miles in 20 minutes- this included a 1-minute walk followed by a 19-minute jog at a rate of 5mph.  I won't be breaking any records at a 12-minute mile, but I am very proud of myself for maintaining this pace for almost 20 minutes.  The wild thing is that I could have kept running.  I wasn't really tired, but I was bored.  So I walked for another 10 minutes, did the Vario for 40 and then rode the bike for 30.  It was a good working out day!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Trusting The Calorie Counter

Do any of you actually trust the calorie counters (or more specifically the calories burned counter) on cardio equipment?  I was working out on my newest favorite machine today, the Technogym Wave, and got to thinking about the calorie counter. 
  
   
Yes, I enter in my information, but do I really trust that the number of calories this machine says I have burned is anywhere close to the number of calories I am actually burning (especially given some of the articles that say these numbers can be very inaccurate)?  Is it really possible that I burned 945 calories in 70 minutes?
    
  
I complete at least 60 minutes of cardio a day, 5 days a week.  I like it, and it certainly isn't going to harm me in any way.  I don't plan my eating based on the calories the machines tell me I have burned, so I suppose it really doesn't matter all that much.  Still, I'd like to know whether most of you rely on these counters.
   
After my workout I threw on my sweats and went to the market.  Before even leaving the locker room, I had stopped sweating and my body had come down to a normal temperature.  This is the first time I noticed how much easier it is for me to cool down after a workout now.  When I started working out, I would sweat all the way home and would even hold off on showering (not for long, I promise) until my body had normalized.  Now I step off of the equipment, get dressed and feel cool almost immediately... and that, my friends, is very cool!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I've Been A Bad, Bad Girl

Yesterday marked our two year anniversary of living in London.  We celebrated (errr, acknowledged) this last night by having some cheese and Tokaji after dinner. 
  
 
When I took this photo, Kenny asked if I was going to title it
"My husband is trying to sabotage me"
   
It was certainly yummy in my tummy but was far from a wise diet choice.  The front cheese (in the little tub) is Vacherin Mont d'Or and is heavenly.  It is a seasonal cheese, so it is only available for a few months a year.  I baked it in the oven for 20 minutes- it was like a creamy, gooey fondue without the work of fondue.  The other cheese is Stinking Bishop, an English cheese.  I didn't overdo on the cheese and only had a piece of bread the size of a cracker, but I failed to show similar restraint when it came to the wine.   Oh well, today is another day. 
   
I haven't done a gym comparison shot since September 22, and I thought it was time to see how I am looking.  A month really isn't enough time to see results, so I figure I will keep snapping photos every 5-6 weeks.  I go home for Christmas on December 16 and hope I will be able to see a bit more progress in my mid-December photo. 
   
  
I always wear the same cut/size of Adidas shorts and Under Armour tank/bra to make the side-by-side a tad more true to reality.  Still, it is impossible to stand in the same position and hold the camera at the same angle, so this isn't the most accurate comparison.  I am (slowly) seeing a difference.  My chest has come down significantly, and legs are slimming nicely (I can see how loose the shorts are now).  My mid-section seems to be taking a bit longer to see huge results, but even it is a bit less fluffy than it had been.  I am working hard at the gym and am eating well (minus The Great Wine and Cheese Debacle of November 1, 2011), so I am excited and relieved to see that this effort is paying off!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Flu Vaccine And Obesity

I just saw an interesting New York Times article this morning- Study Suggests Obesity Hinders Flu Vaccine.  Eleven months after receiving the vaccine, over half of the obese patients in the study had a decrease in antibodies.  Only a quarter of non-obese participants.had this decrease.  The study also showed that white blood cells (which help fight the flu infection) decrease as BMI increases.  As obesity-focused research expands, we are going to continue to see more and more obesity-related complications popping up! 
    
Because throwing up can be so dangerous for bansters, I have considered being vaccinated against the flu this year but have yet to do so.  Do many of you get vaccinated?  Do your doctors suggest it?

Monday, October 31, 2011

My Life In Kilograms

Living my life in kilograms is an aggravation, but it is my reality while living in London.  The first time I worked out on the elliptical a few months ago, the machine asked me for my weight.  I don't remember my exact weight, but it was somewhere around 250lbs.  So I entered in my weight, and the machine told me this was an invalid number.  It took me a minute to remember that life over here is in kgs- not in lbs- and that the machine thought that I was 550lbs.  I took out my Blackberry to figure out what my weight was in kilos (ahh, dividing by 2.2 is always fun).  Now as I lose weight, I always have to figure out the kg equivalent in order to get a (somewhat) accurate calorie count on the cardio equipment.  Today is the first time I have not weighted triple digits in kilos; today I got to enter 99- exciting!
  
Now check this out.  We fell back over the weekend, so it is dark an hour earlier.  I took this outside of my flat on the way home from the gym at 5:20pm- sad:(
     

Being In The Teens

Hitting my 100lb goal was amazing, but getting out of the 220s is possibly even more exciting.  Being in my teens, albeit the high teens, means that Onederland is getting close!  I am thrilled about moving towards this next threshold. 
    
I had forgotten to mention two things about our tasty dinner out with the new Londoners in my earlier post, so I will do so now.  This dinner was the first time I wore all misses clothing out (apart from when I wear jeans, which barely counts).  I wore a large Ellen Tracy cashmere tank top with an extra large matching cardigan and a size 16 Ann Taylor skirt.  I accept that Ann Taylor is cut big and an AT 16 is gigantic compared to a designer 16, but I don't care.  This time last year I wore a 22W from Talbots after all:)  I remember when I started buying all of my size 14-16 clothes during law school.  With the help of Adipex and a wicked gym routine, I had lost a lot of weight.  After years of fat clothing, I was very excited to be able to fit into the clothing that everyone was wearing and I went shopping crazy.  I had a saleswoman in the Ellen Tracy department of Bloomingdale's, and I am convinced she was able to retire due to the amount of clothing I bought.  I bought more items than would have been reasonable for a first year associate, and I was in my first year of law school.  I just couldn't help myself.  I felt so liberated and so... alive!!!  I felt normal.  Yeah, I might have been limited to the larger sizes of these stores, but I was easily shopping in stores that had been off limits to me just a year before.  That is how I feel now.  I am doing most of my current shopping in my closet at mom's rather than buying garments that will only last me a few months, but I am starting to remember how good it feels to wear these smaller sizes again. 
    
Secondly, meeting new people is so much more comfortable for me now.  I have always been social and never suffered from the fat girl shyness that seems to be so common in heavier women.  At the same time, I was always concerned about how people would view me during these dinners.  How would they react to my eating an extra piece of bread because I was hungry?  Would they look down on me for clearing my plate?  Would they notice that I was always sweating due to my extra insulation (sounds nicer than fat, doesn't it)?  Most importantly, what would the couple say when they left the restaurant?  I am pretty sure the comment was frequently something like, she is nice, but isn't it sad that she is so big.  Now I am much less worried about how people view me.  Yeah, I am big, but I don't stand out in a crowd anymore.  Isn't it nice! 

Sunday, October 30, 2011

There's A Crazy Lady At The Gym!!!

   
Yes, my friends, there is a whack-a-doo at my gym, and she almost always works out when I am there.  I have even tried showing up a bit later or a tad earlier, and it is like La Loca changes her plans when I do.  It is infuriating. 
   
She is an older woman, not old, but definitely not a contemporary of mine.  She works out with a DiscMan, which I find to be highly entertaining.  She keeps a stack of CDs in her locker and listens to Mozart and other classical music during her workout.  Yeah, strange.  She wears the old school headphones with the headband-like thing connecting the two earpieces.  After she has been working out for a bit, she puts a little towel between the headband and her head... I assume to keep her hair from getting too sweaty and from getting a mark.  I would suggest actually showering after a workout to alleviate this issue, but who am I to judge? 
   
She typically works out on the treadmill behind me.  She bangs her hands on the sensors as she walks and jogs- over and over again.  And she SINGS- out loud.  She doesn't sing words, rather, she opts for something more like, "LAAA DEE DA, DEE DAAAAA, DAAAAA, DAAAAHHHHHHH"!  It is almost enough to turn me into a crazy lady as well.  I have come close to saying something to her, but crazy is crazy.  Maybe I'd be better maintaining my distance.  On Thursday she dropped her DiscMan while on the treadmill.  It was just way too difficult for her to cope with, and she wound up falling- feet in the air- when trying to retrieve the DiscMan.  I watched this entire episode in the mirror and actually giggled when I saw her feet positioned somewhere above her ears- coupled with her constant F-bombing.  Sorry, but it is the truth.  In case the image of the woman with the towel on top of her head, feet in the air, was not enough for all of you in Blogland, I will leave you with one more.  The cord connecting the earphones to the device is very long- maybe 8 feet or so.  Once she moves onto lifting and stretching, the fun really begins.  She places the DiscMan on the floor and just drags it around like a little puppy on a leash.  She walks from machine to machine with this DiscMan dragging on the floor, following obediently all the while!  It would really be funny to watch if she didn't aggravate me so.  I wish I could complain to management, but I really doubt this would do much good.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Hip Hop Hooray!

I thought that I sweat broke my iPod at the gym two days ago, but it came back to life for yesterday's workout.  I celebrated by listening to The Notorious B.I.G. followed by Naughty By Nature.  The music certainly kept me more motivated to move than watching the news does (which is what I frequently do), but it came at a cost.  I felt completely dirty.  I hate the lyrics, hate how women are portrayed, hate the N word, hate the violence, hate the vile references to sex, hate all of it!  Other than the beats, I just can't do it.  My issue is that most of my music is jazz, Bruce, Sting and music that is, well, not at all naughty by nature and not at all helpful to a workout.  So I am on the hunt for new music.  A girlfriend of mine is a marathon runner and has a ton of music with a strong beat.  I am going to see if she will hook me up with good gym music!
  
Kenny and I had dinner with a colleague and this colleague's wife last night.  The couple recently moved to London, so we thought it would be nice to give them some American love for the evening.  It seems that they are having a bit of difficulty adjusting to life over here, but that is to be expected.  It is a huge cultural change- I remember how out of sorts Kenny and I felt when we started out in London.  Anyway, we had such a tasty meal that I would be remiss if I didn't describe it for the foodies out there.  I wanted to take pictures to post but couldn't really do that when out to dinner with business people.  I started with spiced lobster tail served over a port-poached fig and sauteed duck foie gras.  It was just heavenly.  Kenny had the crab lasagna with shellfish foam, which was equally yummy.  Our mains were delicious as well- sea bass with blue cheese gnocchi for me and slow coked belly of pork with seared scallops for him.  I didn't eat all of the main, but I did inhale my chocolate mousse with raspberry jelly and mango sorbet.  The fact that the scale is down this morning is a complete fluke (but I will take it where I can).  It frequently takes two days for the scale to notch upwards after a bad meal, so I will probably see a disappointing number tomorrow morning:(
  
Minus last night's slide into the land of the chocolate mousse, I have been eating very, very well.  I don't eat breakfast most days but have leftover fish and veg for lunch.  I cook another fish and veg dinner every evening and wind up having a little snack as needed between lunch and dinner- along with about a 1/2 cup of apple juice mixed with fiber powder after my workout.  I am a bit concerned how I will make out this weekend.  English friends are having us to their home for dinner tomorrow night, so I fear that we will be eating a roast of some sort.  The following evening Italian friends are hosting us for an evening of pumpkin risotto... tasty but so NOT good for my weight or my waist! 
  
To the gym I will go to combat the effects of this food frenzy!
  
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

I'm Jonesing Here

Seriously, I am.  This Traveling Bandita has been travel-free for a month, and it is driving said Bandita nuts!  This is the longest I have gone without seeing anything new and without being on a plane in 2011.  So here I sit, planning our trips for the remainder of 2011.  I have a brief trip back to the States in November to visit doctors and will be staying with mom and Muldoon (always fun to hang out with two of my favorite girls).  Upon my return to London, Kenny and I will be spending Thanksgiving weekend in Marrakesh.  Thanksgiving is obviously not something the English celebrate, so Kenny will just take Friday off so we can be in Marrakesh in time for lunch and some touring around.  I am really not sure how much we will like the trip, but it is worth a try.  While we liked Istanbul, we had very little patience for people hastling us in the street and cab drivers charging us 4x the appropriate fare.  We have been warned that Marrakesh will likely be worse than Istanbul in this regard, which means it won't be the most leisurely of weekends.  In an attempt to make the trip as enjoyable as possible once we arrive, I have started researching restaurants and sights to see.  We shall see how this works out!  It looks like this is going to be a meat heavy trip- mostly pigeon and lamb.  I have never had an issue with meat when out in public, so I do not foresee any issues.  Again, it is only a weekend.
 
The following weekend we are off to Vienna to see some Christmas markets, and I am planning that trip as well.  My German girlfriend has given me some suggestions on places to visit and restaurants to try, and I am pretty sure Vienna will be much more relaxing than Marrakesh.  It will also be terribly cold in comparison.  This girlfriend told me I should have a floor length fur coat for the weekend- sorry darling, but that just isn't in the cards!  My long wool coat, fur hat and warm scarf will just have to cut it.  This will be another meaty weekend, but I suppose I will need all of this meat to keep me warm while walking around sans fur coat:)
 
Kenny and I then go back to the States for Christmas.  We will spend the week before Christmas in NYC and then stay with mom for about a week.  It is always fun to be back in NYC and catch up with our friends, and the City is so beautiful around Christmas!  And of course, Christmas wouldn't be Christmas were our family not all together.
 
Our last jaunt of the year is going to Barcelona for New Year's Eve.  We will be there for a long weekend, and I am planning this trip as well.  We have already visited Barcelona, so we will have less sightseeing to do on this trip than on the others.  The good and bad of this is that we will probably spend a long weekend eating and drinking (wine) our way through the city with no regard for reason.  At least I know I won't eat so much that I will invariably gain an obscene amount of weight in almost no time at all.
 
So yeah, there it is.  This has almost nothing to do with my band, but I really, truly feel the need to talk about travel... and your Traveling Bandita will soon be traveling again!