Sunday, July 10, 2011

Baby Steps


Whoa, it's difficult. I should've known this. I was warned many years ago but my ego doesn't let me listen to others' advice. At twenty-eight it's difficult to get out of any habit. These past six weeks I've concentrated on two: my nutrition and my anti-socialness.

As a card-carrying member of the Fat Kids of the World, not eating whatever deliciousness I want is like asking Paula Deen to cook a meal without using butter, mayo, or heavy cream: damn near impossible. Paula would have to re-learn everything she knew about cooking. Therefore, I set about to re-learn what I knew about food.

Sidenote: I'm not a believer in "diets." I hear too many people complaining and being unhappy when they're on them and most of them regain the weight. What I set out to do was learn about calories and nutrition and thus make educated decisions about what I put in my mouth.

THAT'S WHAT SHE SAID! (You were all thinking it)

So here's what I learned:

1) Even the tiniest food has a value. I used to wonder why I could work out and not lose any weight. Well that's because I was doing the "exercise" but not the "diet." You would think that someone who has watched so many seasons of The Biggest Loser would have learned this already. But no. As I said before: I like food. I like going to Paradise Bakery in the afternoons to get a chocolate-chip cookie. Or rewarding myself on a job well done with a greasy mushroom swiss burger and fries (Homer Simpson drool). Or, my personal Achille's Heal, a mocha frappuccino. Yeah...that had to stop. Everything has a value. I'm very conscious now of calories, fat content, grams of fiber, sodium, etc. Oh and most of all, I'm conscious of how long it's going to take me on the treadmill to eliminate those calories (usually a long time). BUT that fat kid inside me, the one that will be with me forever because I honestly love that huggable pork chop, still pokes me in the stomach sometimes and says, "c'mon, it would be a sin not to try it. Just a little bit." Nobody's perfect ;-)

2) Coffee and lattes are not the same. Hello, my name is Susana and I'm a Starbucks addict. I go there every morning. I have a gold card with my name on it. The baristas know what I want and how I want it. A couple of times the line was so long that I got my drink delivered in my hand and I was told "it's on the house." Yeah, I'm THAT person. Well, I WAS that person. You see, calorie-counting is exactly like keeping a budget: you have to cut the fat. Interestingly my financial budget had room for morning latte but my nutrition budget didn't, lol. I cut it out and now I walk every morning into the coffee place in my building and order their blend. It's very good and the barista has now remembered who I am and I don't have to tell her that I don't want a receipt. I miss my friends but I'm sure they'll understand. There are plenty more addicts for them to cater to.

3) Fruits and vegetables are bomb! Okay, this one I have to give to my mom because she's always tried to feed us, if not healthy, then at least not heart-attack-inducing meals. She's always taking the fat off of things and she uses grease as little as possible. But one of her tricks was to get us to eat fruits and vegetables without us really noticing. She purposefully mixes green beans with the corn so that we won't pick it out. She doesn't buy potato chips but instead cuts up fruit and puts it on the table, knowing that she raised four fat kids that can't resist anything. So when I read that when I get hungry between meals I should eat some berries or carrot sticks as opposed to a Kit-Kat Bar... well, that one wasn't so hard.

Of course I relapsed. As I write this I can still smell the french fries from this afternoon's trip to Jack in the Box on my fingers. I've also been lagging on my exercises (next blog) but that's what Monday's are for. The point is that there is a light in my brain that has been switched on and I will always be aware of the repercussions of ignoring that light. This isn't about weight. I've lost a lot of weight over these past few years and I am incredibly happy to say that I'm deeply satisfied with my body right now (that's a first). This is more about health and nutrition. Food and I are no longer lovers, we're really good friends.

So does my satisfaction in my physicality have anything to do with my tiny step into being more social? Consciously? No, it doesn't. Subconsciously? I'll leave that to you Psych majors to figure out.
I think that gradually I am losing my distrust in all of society and being more selective about who I just don't want to know/see/listen to. Some people are nice. Some people are honest. Some people of the male persuasion can be nice, honest, and cute. Granted it's like searching for the Holy Grail, but there'll be adventures and experiences along the way. With that being said: I am now taking a step towards being social, and perhaps it could ultimately turn into taking a big step towards reversing the curse. Because, just like with the diet and exercise, this stuff doesn't happen on its own. No one is going to knock on my door and say, "Hi, wanna be friends?" Geez, that didn't even happen in elementary school. I gotta make the effort. So here goes the baby step...

I feel a little dizzy and lightheaded. Does this go away?

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A Lake, a Snake, and Tiny Tim

It's taken me forever to write this blog and I do apologize to my fellow travel companion for my procrastination. Yet, it took her almost a month to get her film developed so I'm calling it even :)

Last month, Memorial Day weekend to be exact, my cousin and I decided to go on a road trip. I believe I can speak for both of us when I say that a few days of escape from the world were completely  necessary.
Leave behind the problems, the worries, the heartbreak, and get in a car and drive! (That might be my new mantra).

We started from South Gate (representin') in the early morning. Of course every time I go to South Gate I must stop at my favorite coffee place "Tierra Mia." For you millions of readers out there, you must go! It's delicioso. I hear rumors that there is one in Norwalk but SOMEONE hasn't taken me. I shall keep the name of the guilty party secret. For now.
So off we go towards Lake Havasu, a place neither of us had ever been to. We weren't sure what we were expecting to find. It is, after all, a lake in the middle of nowhere and it was a long holiday weekend. I do believe my cousin held the desire of getting in a bar fight, get me drunk, and get me to hook up with a boy. But more on that later.
We arrived (if memory serves correctly) at around two in the afternoon. The lake was visible from the highway but, swear to the Big Guy in the Sky, it took us like two hours to actually reach the water. We had no idea how to get TO THE LAKE.
We were so hungry that we parked by London Bridge (an actual bridge from London, duh) and had fish and chips at the first place we sat down. I suggested that before the festivities start we should find a place to crash, seeing as though the hard-core party people would be arriving soon. Thus we did two things: we drove all the way back to the beginning of town, entered WalMart and bought two chairs; and we found a hotel room.
And what a room it was.
A corpulent man (big word, I know) in charge of the Motel 6 gave us the key to our room, which was magnificently overpriced, and we lugged our things inside. Or at least to the door. The smell that hit us nearly knocked us over. It was...piss. Yep, no other way to describe it. It smelled like piss. We go back to said innkeeper and informed him of our little problem.
"They all smell the same," he says.
What? Did he personally piss in all of them so they could smell the same? WHAT?!
So he follows us to the room and walks in and he says...nothing. Because he can smell it. He then opens the door to the room across the hallway (which smells relatively better) and says, "This one doesn't have a bathtub."
Really? You think I care about a bathtub at this point? Thank you, we'll take it.
Finally we left our things and proceeded to find out how one gets to the actual lake. Sure, if you have a boat it's easy. Anyway, there seems to be some sort of beach-like thingy but there were too many people there so we drove (more driving) to the part that is owned by the government. True story.
We took out our chairs, unfolded them, and sat down to relax. There were only a few people, the water was clean, and the sun was setting right in front of us. It was great.
Of course we got hungry again. Time to clean up and hit the town *woot*
Okay, disclaimer: I care very little for bars, drinking, and "hooking up" and even less about putting those things together. Which is why I'm about to tell you about the best, most delicious friggin salad I have ever eaten in my life.
Okay, so we go to this place called..? Who the hell cares, it was pegged as a Mexican place. It was pretty  empty, most of the customers were being seated outside. The waitress seats us at a big round table with like seven chairs and I tell her there's no need for this since there's only two of us.
"Susana, sit down"
"No, why do we need this huge table?"
The waitress moves us all the way to the end and it's then that I find out that the table across from us was full of cute boys. Oh well, I'm hungry. Our waiter (because the waitress got huffy) was very nice and my cousin only ordered drinks while I, being a card-carrying member of the Fat Kids of the World, ordered a salad. A scallop salad.
From the balcony we can see some outdoor bar (??) and hear their fantastic DJ. Of course I'm being sarcastic because anyone that would take Adele's "Rolling in the Deep" and mix it with Techno should be shot. Is there no respect anymore?
Anyway! Did I mention that my back is turned and I have no idea who is around us? This will be important later but in the meantime my salad arrives.
O.M.G. I'm not kidding, I want to drive the who-knows-how-many hours back just to eat that salad again. It had these gigantic scallops that were cooked perfectly. The greens were fresh. It had just the perfect amount of dressing and there were pieces of mango scattered about. *insert Homer Simpson drool*
So as I am having fantasies about kidnapping the salad chef, this guy comes up to us and starts talking. He needed to smoke (strike 1), he looked very young (strike 2), and his name was Tim (ball 1). Let me say this to the future mothers of America: Don't name your kid Tim. He will have to forever endure being called Tiny Tim and while it might be funny when he's young, it will not be flattering when he's older.
PS - I'm not the one who started calling him Tiny Tim, though I did think of it.
So Tiny Tim is smoking just outside our area and he starts talking in a Southern twang. Turns out he's from Asheville, North Carolina (one point for Tim). Had he been relatively sober and not thinking with the "other" brain we could've had a conversation. But, alas, Tim and his friends were not sober and were not interested in conversation. In fact he actually said "We're gonna go to BJs"
It's the name of a club.
"You should break your car in and hook up with Tiny Tim," is what I was told by the devil not on my shoulder but sitting right across from me.
"Umm... no," is what I answered. Though I will admit that the thought passed through my mind and stayed there longer than it should've.
Tiny Tim said goodbye and gave us his number in case we wanted to "go on the boat" tomorrow.
From there we left too to see if we'd get into a club but neither of us felt like paying $20 to get into a fight. Therefore we walked around and watched people grinding on the dance floor and this sad drunken creature hopping up and down to a horrible song. No one paid attention to her and it was pretty sad.
Drunks *sigh*

The next morning we went hiking. Again, the purpose was to start at the trail and reach the lake. We walked and talked and were generally having a good time until I hear a hiss!
It was a snake! A snake! Hissing at me!
Yes, I jumped about three feet in the air and yelled. The thing watched us walk away but we were more attentive after that and I think I counted about a hundred lizards and a rabbit because of it. There is a slight drop somewhere when you start to enter the "crack" in the mountain.
btw, the person who wrote the guidebook either has a great sense of humor or has no idea what double meanings are.
So we had to slide down this rock but to get back up (if we made it back) we had to hold on to a rope and climb. Ummm...I don't think so. I don't approve of climbing.
"One of us should try it first."
Yeah, the one of us that isn't me.
After about a half hour of debating and going back and forth, the one of us that isn't me slid down and climbed back up.
"It's really easy," she says a bit too enthusiastically. Why aren't we in Tiny Tim's boat?
So I slide down, fairly easy; and then I climb up, also fairly easy. The lesson: things are worse than what they seem.
Okay, let's keep going. Did I mention we were looking for the lake? Did I mention we didn't find it? Again. Who the hell knows how to reach this damn hole but once we reached the part where there was nowhere else to go but back, well we went back. Walk, climb, trudge. Wait, where are we?
We perhaps got a little bit lost. We perhaps came out on the highway a few yards away from where we parked the car.
Not only is my car a beautiful sight all on its own, but it also had water. Warm water, but water nonetheless.
On our way back we stopped at Dairy Queen to eat ice cream and plan the next leg of the trip which I will not relate because it has nothing to do with a Lake, a Snake, or Tiny Tim whom we never heard from again. I hope he found BJs.

The next post will come sooner, I promise. It's really exciting, I've been counting calories. Oh and there was also that other thing.