Archive for November, 2010

Uh oh.

November 30, 2010

Zaro’s now has a chocolate cheesecake muffin.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

201.5

November 25, 2010
201.5

201.5

…And on Wednesday, my weight dropped quite satisfyingly again. All this walking, along with being mostly very good on my diet, is paying off.

Day Two Hundred Eighteen

November 25, 2010

Tuesday was a good day, with one or two minor flaws.

I got up earlier than I had for weeks; I was getting my strength back in the wake of the antibiotics! I did my long morning walk, which felt particularly good because I began challenging myself by alternating between the lectures I was listening to on my iPod: History of Ancient Rome; History of ancient Greece; and History of England from the Tudors to the Stuarts. I was happy to find myself able to focus my mind in ways that I hadn’t been able to for some time.

During the cold walk back home, I gave in to temptation and bought a hot chocolate at the deli in Mamaroneck. And when I got back from Manhattan at about 9:45, I had a helping of yogurt with honey. The first was a blast of unnecessary sugar, and the second was a sugar influx just before bed. Other than these fairly small transgressions, I did quite well on my diet that day.

Not buying anything at Zaro’s

November 25, 2010

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On the way back from Manhattan on Tuesday night, I made my customary willpower pass by Zaro’s in Grand Central. I knew there would be special Thanksgiving goodies in the window, and they did not disappoint.

These Thanksgiving treats look so ridiculous that they’re not actually appealing to me, so not buying any was no challenge at all. There were some other things on the shelves inside, though, that were a different story. Pecan pies. Various other pies. Coffee cakes of every stripe. These I would have liked to have bought and devoured. But I didn’t. This doesn’t count for as much as it would during a normal week, because I knew I’d be eating my own delicious pumpkin pies on Thursday. But it’s a small victory, or at least a reminder that I have a vastly clearer head than I did last winter.

202.5

November 25, 2010
202.5

202.5

On Tuesday my weight dropped quite satisfyingly.

Day Two Hundred Seventeen

November 25, 2010
Deli I pass while walking to and from Marshlands Conservancy

Deli I pass while walking to and from Marshlands Conservancy

I’d taken my last antibiotic pill on Sunday night, so on Monday morning my strength was just beginning to come back to me. I got up a bit earlier than I had been, and went on my long walk to, around, and back from the Marshlands Conservancy.

I’d been listening to Teaching Company lectures on ancient Rome, and finding myself receptive to them in a way I haven’t been in years. So I dusted off some of my CDs with backup copies of various lecture series, loaded them onto my iPod, and organized my playlists. I also watched more DVD lectures on the history of the Papacy.

I did very well on my diet that day. Above is a picture of the deli I refrained from walking into during my morning walk, for fear of succumbing to my urge not only to have a hot chocolate, but also to buy one of their homemade muffins. In the evening I controlled my desire to overeat. Would that I could do as well every day.

203.5

November 25, 2010
203.5

203.5

Here’s my weight reading from Monday morning. I had a bit of an increase from the weekend, as expected — nothing I couldn’t take off during the week.

Day Two Hundred Sixteen

November 24, 2010

Sunday was a reasonably successful dieting day. I took another long morning walk around the Marshlands Conservancy, and continued with my historical lectures when I got home. For most of the day I ate sparsely, following my diet to the letter. Then, at night, I splurged slightly. I got a bit carried away with clearing out meat from the freezer, so I followed up a reasonable early evening sausage sandwich with a not-so-reasonable late evening burger.

On the upside, I finished my ten-day course of antibiotics that night. From then on, it was just a matter of recovering my strength.

Day Two Hundred Fifteen

November 24, 2010

Wow. How did four days slip by without me posting anything? Well, let me try to catch up.

Saturday was my long-awaited eat-whatever-I-want day. As soon as I woke up, I made a trip to Stop & Shop for a bagel and a container of their shockingly good oatmeal-raisin cookies. When I got back, I enjoyed some of the cookies with my morning tea.

I took Grace on a walk around the Marshlands Conservancy, my new morning hike location. The day was crisp and sunny, and I enjoyed showing her all the trails.

On the way back, we stopped at a wine and beer tasting at a local beverage store. Back at home, I had my usual brunch feast: an omelet with bacon and a toasted, buttered bagel.

In the evening Grace and I made pizza: she made the dough, and I cooked the sausage and garlic, and put it on the pizza along with the marinara sauce, fresh mozzarella and fennel. Mmmmm.

The Asylum

November 20, 2010

I started writing the following back in September, but wasn’t satisfied with it. I finished it just now because the new display of Winter Oreo cookies at Stop & Shop reminded me that I’m still in the asylum.

A small selection of the bakery goods at Stop & Shop

A small selection of the bakery goods at Stop & Shop


“When we remember that we are all mad, the mysteries disappear and life stands explained.”

–Mark Twain

Here’s a small portion of the bakery goods available at Stop & Shop. I look at this and I think “My god, we’re insane.” Any species that would make such a surfeit of something so bad for itself so readily available has lost its grip.

A few months ago I was comfortably ensconced within the asylum: I would have bought one of those ring cakes just because it looked so good. It still looks as good, but now I have the clarity and strength to walk away.

About five years ago I’d gotten into the best shape of my life and was feeling sure of myself; I would have told you that I was never going to get out of shape again — that I was out of the asylum for good. Since then I’ve gone through several cycles of falling from grace, clawing partway back up to where I was, and then falling again. I don’t know if I’ll ever feel that old self-certainty again. I don’t know if I should.

I’m still in the asylum, but at least I know it. These days I spend most of my time walking around the grounds, enjoying the fresh air. Occasionally I stumble and find myself back inside (as when I spent a few weeks in late October eating everything in sight) but I’ve gotten better at making my way to the exits.

I live in fear of losing myself among the inmates again someday — for a month, for a year, for the rest of my life. The feeling is like a heavy, oily cloud hanging at the edge of my consciousness. Whenever I catch a glimpse of it, my heart sinks.

I wrote the previous paragraph and then struggled to articulate how, along with the fear, I feel a surge of hopefulness. And now I see clearly that the hope is not separable from the fear. My feelings are like a piece of repouss√©: the fear hammers its shapes into the reverse side of the metal, and on the front side the contours of hope emerge. The fear defines the hope. Without seeing in my mind’s eye what I don’t want to be, I’m not fully understanding what I do want to be.

My fear of reentering the asylum may be the best tool I have for staying out.