Frosted Cupcakes And New Clothes

This week’s theme is self image.

While my grandfather stayed with my family for the last month (he went back to my uncle’s place last weekend), I ate more health consciously than usual. I also walked with my mom and him every day, so I got the semblance of exercise. Over the month, I lost about five pounds. Even though five pounds may not be very much (it might not be statistically significant), I felt good when I stepped on the scale.

I spent last weekend in Irvine with my sister. On Saturday morning, I went with my sister to her boogie boxing class. Boogie boxing seems like a variation of cardio kickboxing. I haven’t done a rigorous workout like that in a long time, so the class was very intense. How exhausted and sweaty I was afterwards was a strong reminder of how out of shape I am.

That afternoon, my sister and I went to the Orange County (OC) Fair. Fairs are possibly the worst place to go if you’re trying to stay away from large portions and/or fried food. My sister and I split a mountain of chili cheese fries for dinner and funnel cake with soft serve ice cream on top for dessert. I was so disgusted by our meal that I fortunately declined eating chocolate covered bacon, deep fried Twinkies, deep fried Snickers, and deep fried butter.

The next day, my sister and I were deciding what fun activity to do together. We both have a sweet tooth, so we had the great idea to make cupcakes! We made red velvet and pumpkin spice cupcakes and topped them all with a super sweet cream cheese frosting. So good but so, so bad. Needless to say, I gained back the five pounds I had lost over the last month in just one weekend.

A couple days ago, I went to the mall with my high school friend with whom I recently reconnected (the one who got me addicted to Verbotene Liebe). This was the first time we had met since we graduated high school ten years ago, but it seemed like no time had passed.

I wasn’t planning on buying any clothes, but my friend insisted that I try on some shirts that I don’t normally wear. I’m generally a T-shirt and jeans guy. My T-shirts aren’t form-fitting, possibly from influence from my parents or from an old wardrobe with clothes from when I was heavier, but my friend saw my loose clothing as a sign of low self-esteem.

Possibly stemming from being heavier in the past and/or my lifelong confidence issues, I use clothes as a way to cover my body rather than to accentuate my shape. I’m definitely not fat (I have an average BMI), but I tend to obsess over the fatty areas I do have (especially after the crap I had over the weekend). At least, that’s what my friend thinks, and she’s probably right.

Anyway,  my friend kept stressing that I should think more highly of my looks. I ended up buying a few button down shirts (both short- and long-sleeved varieties) that I can wear with my current T-shirts as a way to add a little style and fit to my wardrobe. Her hope is that I will go to graduate school wearing my new clothes and attract cute preppy college boys. We’ll see.

I’m not entirely convinced that my new clothes are my style, but I do like them. I usually think “that would look good on someone else.” But who knows? Maybe a change in my perspective and they will look good on me too.

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The Starbucks-Gym Combination

My last three days off from work were busy with friends. It was a great change of pace from my normal boring weekends. I really must hang out with my friends more often. Unfortunately, I didn’t have plans with anyone today.

I made a point not to visit Target today. Instead, I went to Starbucks for a couple hours and read one of the texts for the actuarial exams. My usual Starbucks was being renovated, so I had to find another Starbucks in the nearby area. It wasn’t hard.

Afterwards, I went to the gym for the first time since sometime in February (at least I think it was February; I haven’t mentioned going to gym on this blog since early January). I forgot how relaxing the gym is. I did a medium workout to gauge how my body and muscles have changed over the last few months. I was afraid that a lot of my weight loss was from muscle loss, but I still seem to be able to do everything that I could do from when I went to the gym regularly.

I’ve lost about twenty pounds since I started working at Target. I’m five or six pounds less than my “ideal weight,” which I thought was impossible to reach six months ago! Many of my friends have commented on how skinny I am. One of them is jealous that I weigh less than him. Whenever I go out to eat with him, he tries to buy me dessert!

The actual number of pounds I weigh is mostly just a number, not an indication of my health. I already know I’m healthy (knock on wood). Even still, I don’t want to gain weight from gaining muscle. Now that I’m skinny, I don’t want my weight to go back up, even if it’s in a good way (I know, I’m crazy).

Anyway, going to the gym was fun, except that my iPod nano was out of battery from lack of use. I used to listen to my nano every day, but I rarely use it now because I don’t listen to it at work. The battery can’t even hold a charge as long anymore. My (2nd generation blue) nano was a birthday present from six of my graduate school friends in 2006, so it has a lot of sentimental value.

The Starbucks-gym combination was what I did for the three months before working at Target, and it’s how I passed the first actuarial exam. Maybe it’s time to go back to what works.

Catching Up Over Fast Food

I had dinner with an old high school friend tonight. We kept in touch off and on throughout college, but I haven’t had much contact with him after I went to graduate school. We actually ran into each other at a restaurant a couple weeks ago. I barely recognized him. He seems to have gained a lot of weight, so it took a few seconds to register who he was.

When he called me up today to finalize our plans, he suggested we go to a fast food restaurant. I was a little surprised. I was expecting to sit down at a “real” restaurant, even if it wasn’t fancy, but I thought maybe he gained weight because fast food is his main source of food. After all, I ate fast food multiple times a day in college. That’s how I got fat.

I don’t eat fast food too often anymore, so I didn’t have a problem eating a small burger or two. I skipped the fries (even though I wanted them). Interestingly, my friend ordered an Asian salad with grilled chicken.

Since my friend chose to meet at a fast food restaurant, I thought maybe he only wanted a short meeting, but we ended up talking for almost two hours. I didn’t say anything about his weight gain (or my weight loss) though, since I don’t know how sensitive he is about his weight.

It was great catching up with an old friend, but I wonder if I should have said something about his weight. In high school, my friend was very fit, much more than I was. What are you supposed to say in such a situation? If someone loses weight, you say “It looks like you lost some weight” or “You look great” or something, but what if someone gains weight?

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Weight Management

I’m trying to eat less to keep my weight at a stable (lower) level. I don’t want to gain back the weight I lost after my wisdom teeth were pulled. I’m eating smaller portions, and I’m cutting my intake of white rice to almost nothing. If the taste of white rice isn’t worth the calories and nutrients I get from it, then why eat it? I’m starting to use the same logic when it comes to desserts and general portion control. I mostly eat white rice with my dinner now just to make my parents happy.

Because I’m eating less and trying to keep my weight down, my dad thinks I’m going to become anorexic. He keeps mentioning how Karen Carpenter (of The Carpenters) died from anorexia. He always talks about how good of a singer she was and how stupid she was for starving herself. My dad clearly doesn’t know how anorexia works.

I’m currently 24 pounds less than when I was fat and only 1 pound over my high school weight (when I graduated). I wasn’t really fat, but I ate (mass quantities of) fast food at least once a day for about two years during college. I was definitely overweight, but maybe not obese. I could eat more than my friends who are a good eight inches taller than me. Two super sized combos from McDonald’s was a normal dinner. It was awesome. Good times had by all. I still don’t know how I didn’t have high cholesterol or high blood pressure.

But after I went to graduate school, I realized I couldn’t keep up that lifestyle forever. That’s when I started losing weight and eating healthier. I never thought I would ever exercise at a gym, but now I try to go four times a week. I used to love eating until I was completely stuffed, but now I try not to be full, just satisfied.

Ever since I started my weight loss, my target weight has always been my high school weight, and I’m now only within a pound of that goal. But according to this diet calculator, my “ideal weight” is 14 pounds less than my target (15 pounds less than my current weight). What does “ideal” even mean? Zero body fat? A swimmer’s body? Even swimmers have body fat (more than runners apparently).

The “ideal weight” is tempting to try and achieve, but that might be excessive. My dad would probably put me in an anorexia rehabilitation center before I ever became close to losing that much weight.

Returning To Normal

I went back to the gym for the first time since my wisdom teeth were pulled. It’s only been a little over a week, but I became tired more quickly than usual. I’ll have to ease myself back into exercising. One good thing, though, is that I lost weight! I’ve been eating much less this last week, so I ended up losing four pounds! The challenge now is revving up my exercise, and maybe also my food intake, while still maintaining the lower weight.

I still can’t eat quite normally yet, but I’m getting there. My teeth are still a bit sensitive, even though my wounds are healed and there’s no more blood. I’m still eating somewhat softer foods and taking smaller bites, but I’m off the ice cream and pudding diet. Food still gets trapped in the gaping holes, too, so I have to rinse out my mouth a few times after I eat anything. I’ll probably have to continue doing that for a few more weeks.

Besides going back to the gym, I also went back to Starbucks to study for my exam. It’s pretty hard getting back into studying at the same level, much like exercising. I still remember all the formulas I need, but the practice exam questions seemed more difficult than usual. Hopefully things will return to normal (or better than normal) soon.