Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Cursed Thing Actually Works

I already knew this about Weight Watchers, but still, it pains me to admit it: it works. I followed the Flex plan from August to October of 2008 and lost around 15 pounds. Of course, being the person that I am, I hated (and hate) counting points and told myself I'd learned about portion control and didn't need it anymore. So I stopped. And so did my weight loss. Worse, over the past couple of months, I started gaining again.

So I started doing Weight Watchers again, and lo and behold, I've lost 9 pounds in the last 2 1/2 weeks. Suddenly, I'm willing to believe my scale is accurate again, now that it's on a downward rather than upward trend. It feels good to be losing, but counting points is still extremely tedious, so I try to find inspiration where I can.

I've been reading The Healthy Fellow, for instance. It's a lot of information to absorb, and my experience with BFF and his diet bible tells me that I'm really not a fanatical whole foods/strict dietary combinations kind of guy, but it's helpful to have daily or near-daily reminders about making healthy choices. I like him because he claims to have lost 70 or 80 pounds in recent months, a goal I can certainly relate to, and he talks about driving past fast food joints and craving milkshakes, which I can also relate to. I like having reminders about healthy living, about healthy choices, and he gives me a daily dose. It's not 100% me, with a focus on organic and whole food and all of that. I feel like I'm a long way from tweaking the details; if I can just make some major shifts, I'd be better off, and I can worry about fine-tuning the mixing-this-with-that or the the powerful effects of such-and-such spice or supplement down the road, when I've moved beyond the fat bastard stage.

So anyway, Weight Watchers. Damn thing. What really works about Weight Watchers, I think, is thinking in terms of expendable currency. One of BFF's end-of-the-world environmentalist books (or probably more than one, actually) talked about what a different world it would be if environmental costs were figured into the economic system, if a product's economic impact were included in its actual financial cost to the consumer. What a different world it would be. McDonald's wouldn't be nearly so inexpensive, just for an obvious example. I've been thinking about Weight Watchers that way. Suddenly a bowl of chips and salsa, what I would have thought of as a healthy snack before, becomes too expensive in the currency of points. 9 chips? For 3 points? No, it's not worth the cost. What other choice can I make?

And that, my friends, is why I'm suddenly in love with spaghetti squash. The end.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Lifeguard III: The Redemption

So we jogged to the playground this morning. As the clock ticked past 10, the lifeguards started showing up for work at the adjacent pool. We ambled over and watched them work from outside the fence. We counted them. There were four. One had a broom. One had a big broom. One had a hose. We talked about how they were sweeping; they were cleaning up; they were getting the pool ready for the kids.

Eventually Thumper started talking to them. "Hi! Hi! Hi, Lifeguard! Hi!" The lifeguard responded, but didn't come near. No one poked him.

I asked if we could look at a tube. "What, like, just to look at?" said the lifeguard. Yes, just to look at. So she passed one through the fence. I set it down, and asked Thumper if he wanted to touch it.

"No." he said. So I left it there. After a few minutes, of course, he couldn't resist. He touched it. We talked about it. I told him it helps people swim, like his Noodle.

"Swim, like a Noodle!" he said. "It not hurt you!" he said.

"No," I said, "it won't hurt you. The lifeguards use it help people."

And so on, for a half hour or so. We watched; we talked.

"He's got a broom! He's sweeping! Like a Noodle! It not hurt you!"

So hopefully that went a ways towards desensitization. I'm thinking we'll try the pool again after we go to the gym tomorrow. Maybe, just maybe, the sight of a lifeguard won't send him right over the edge this time. Maybe.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Lifeguard! He's So Silly

I've tried two more times to take the boy to a pool, but once he sees a lifeguard, it's all over. Today he started to lose it in the locker room, but I managed to calm him down and get him changed. We've talked several times about lifeguards. I call them friends. I call them nice. I say they help people. I say I like lifeguards.

"I like lifeguards, too!" he says. Or sometimes he says, "Lifeguard! He's so silly!" So I thought maybe we could do it today. But as soon as he saw one, he was done again, crying hysterically and saying, "Put on shirt? Go home?"

So I dressed him, picked him up, and headed toward the exit. On the way, though, I stopped by one of the female lifeguards. I told her lifeguards make him nervous and asked if he could touch her tube. She took her sunglasses off and talked to him. Of course, she had to poke him a couple of times, too. I don't know what it is with the poking. Anyway, he stayed calm, but he didn't want to look at her or talk to her. He did touch the tube once, though. So maybe that's progress. I guess we'll keep trying.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Seriously. Quit Poking Him.

I took Thumper swimming yesterday. Or tried to, anyway. We've been more than a few times this summer, to two different pools, and he loves it. When I asked him yesterday if he wanted to go swimming, he was thrilled. I asked him what swim suit he wanted, and he picked out the blue trunks with the fishies swimming on them. When we got to the pool, he marched right up to the gate, carrying his Noodle.

When we got past the gate, he asked, "Where's the lifeguard?" I pointed out the one in this chair, and the one in that chair, and the one over there hosing off the deck. "Yeah!" he said. "It's a hose!" We found a seat in the shade, I stripped him down, put on his swim diaper, and was just pulling up his trunks when he freaked out. He so loudly and suddenly burst into frantic tears, that he made me jump. My first thought was that he'd been stung by a bee. Well, actually, my first thought was that I'd accidentally squashed his cojones when I was pulling up his trunks, but he hadn't a mark on him, and he didn't seem particularly focused on the groinal region.

He crushed himself to my chest, and I asked him what was wrong. Did he have a boo boo? What happened? He wouldn't say; he just kept repeating, "Put your shirt on? Put your shirt on?" Now, I wouldn't be surprised if me taking my shirt off caused someone to scream at the pool, but my shirt was still on. With his confusion over pronouns, he was telling me he wanted to put his shirt back on. When I did, he said, "Go home." Do you want to go home? "Yeah." OK.

As soon as I said, "OK," he calmed down. So we switched him back out of his swim diaper and into a regular one, put his shorts and shoes back on, and left. By the time we were finally walking out, he seemed fine again, even cheerful. I asked him several more times what happened, but he has never said. I don't have a clue what happened.

OK, that's not true, I do have a clue. On the walk back to the car, he said, "Met the lifeguard!" And I thought, "Aha!" The last time we went to that pool, he saw one of the lifeguards squatting in the shallow end near us with his whistle in his mouth, his bright red rescue floatation device at his chest, and his huge, reflective aviator sunglasses on. The lifeguard noticed Thumper staring at him and took an interest. He talked to him. He showed him his whistle. He told us he goes through quite a few of them, because with a whistle in your mouth all the time, it's hard not to chew on it. He explained that the floatation device was called a "tube." But while he talked, he kept sort of prodding Thumper with the tube. Gently, but repeatedly. The more he did it, the more nervous Thumper got. When he's nervous, he tilts his head down, opens his mouth, and kind of pulls his lips in tight, like this, only more so. And recently he's begun putting one hand up to his mouth, too. Often people think it's a cute face and it encourages them to continue interacting with him, but to me it clearly says, "Oh, hi! You know, you're kind of weirding me out. Maybe you could back off a little bit?" This is a signal not understood by the little old lady at the senior center yesterday who kept saying, "Come here! Come here!" and trying to reach out and grab his hand. It's a signal also not understood by the usher in line in front of me at event signup today who kept poking him in the belly and saying, "What's your name? If I push your belly, does your tongue come out?" The answer was, "No, but my anxiety level begins to rise. See?" Strangers apparently like to poke toddlers. And give them candy. Or cookies. Or both.

So anyway, back to the pool. The lifeguards eventually rotate posts and the prodder goes away, and we go home to meet Mama for dinner, and Thumper mentions several times over the next few days how we, "Met the lifeguard!" It didn't seem like he'd been too traumatized by the experience, but it had definitely made an impression on him.

Well, when I was putting his trunks on him yesterday, I noticed the same lifeguard in the same giant aviator sunglasses. He was NOT one of the ones we saw when we came in. He was on the other side of the pool, posted by the water slides. And Thumper was looking over in that direction when he lost it.

A YMCA lifeguard terrified my son.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Staying Up Late Enough That I Don't Dream About Ushering

1. The Mrs. said it was too much white.

2. The boy and I have been very busy and having lots of fun, but I haven't blogged much because it's starting to seem like, eh, same old, same old. We did go to Joe McDermott this week:

And the boy danced like a maniac, and we both sweated like crazy:

We also went to Extreme Fun, where he flirted shamelessly with one of the moms. We took Mungo to the Austin Museum of Art. It wasn't the greatest place for him; taking an almost-two-year-old to a place with lots of cool stuff that he can't touch seems kind of mean, in retrospect. But the very touchable Family Lab, and the kids from a school or camp group of some kind that were there, kept him entertained for an hour.

But yeah. We went places. We did things. He's smart and funny and amazing and sociable and I'm proud of him. Blah blah blah.

3. Jamie Foxx did indeed start and finish on time tonight, for which I was grateful. I worked backstage security, checking credentials by the stairs that led up to the stage. I was within inches of both Mr. Foxx and Speedy, his warm-up act. Speedy has a thing for Red Bull, I guess. And I'm not sure why, but I'm always surprised when famous men are shorter than I.

4. I had two major breakthroughs on my "Publishing FileMaker databases on the web via PHP" project today. Hooray! I have to spend the next two days writing more kids furniture copy. Not so hooray.

So there you go. My thrill-a-minute life in four easy steps. Maybe now I can go to bed.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Year In Review

So last July 4, I was in a funk and decided to make some changes, dubbing it the Self-Improvement Project of 2008-2009. Since it's been a year, it's time to see how I've done.

Goal #1:
Exercise for 45 minutes per day, three days or more per week.

I'll call this one a success. Some time during the year, I upped my goal to 4 days per week, which I haven't been hitting regularly lately, but I'm definitely hitting the 3 days per week almost every week.

Goal #2:
Drink two days per week or less.

Hmm. Yeah. Well. Uh, moving on.

Goal #3:
Watch TV for two hours or less per day.

I'll call this one a success, too. Some days I go over, but I've lived up to the spirit, if not the letter, of the goal on this one.

Goal #4:
Finish one book every two weeks.

Again, spirit if not letter. I've been reading much more, and that's a good thing. I almost never actually finish in two weeks, though.

Goal #5:
Stop being snarky about other people.

Well, mixed results on this one. Some people are hard not to be snarky about, but I think I've generally become more of a positive person this year, and I like that. I'll keep trying.

Goals for the coming year:

I don't think I'll codify it quite so explicitly this time. I thought putting it right there on the sidebar would motivate me, but it didn't really. I still failed at the drinking and the weight loss even with it right out there for the world to see, and I eventually took them down anyway. This time I think I'll just keep trying and not beat myself up too badly. I lost 15 pounds, and then gained 10. Most, if not all, of that 15 was lost while I followed the Weight Watchers program. I keep telling myself as long as I'm exercising, I can eat and drink whatever I want, but that's clearly not the case. So I'm going back to Weight Watchers, and I'm going to stick with it longer this time, even though it's tedious. I'm going to stick with it longer and have faith that it will eventually become less tedious and more automatic. Thumper loves pools, and I hate taking my shirt off in public. I really only want one of those two things to change before next summer, so I best get crackin'...
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