Thanks for Your Opinion (NOT!)

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 5, 2013 in My Adventures in Dieting

I was standing in line for the microwave at lunch today, and an (almost) complete stranger came up to me, took my Lean Cuisine box out of my hand and proceeded to tell me how bad is was for me.  He pointed out the ratio of carbs, sugar and protein and when I looked at him with a stunned look on my face, he said, “I assume you ARE concerned about your diet, no?”.  How crushing is that???

I should add here that he was eating a one-dollar Banquet brand frozen salisbury steak dinner.  Healthier than my butternut squash with green beans, carrots and walnuts?  I think not.

I supposed I should be more concerned about my diet.  I have put on about 40 pounds in the last year-and-a-half.   Ugh – yes, that’s right.  Hate to admit that.

Why has this happened?

There are several reasons…

I had established a great diet and exercise routine for a few years, but when my brother started going through chemotherapy and I had to drive him back and forth to his treatments, that routine fell by the wayside.  I just didn’t have time for my job, my kids, commuting to Fox Chase Cancer Center AND exercising.

Plus, the more I saw my brother suffer, the more I thought, “What’s the point?”.   He ate well, exercised regularly (he was at the gym every day and was in the best shape of his life) and STILL got stage 4 cancer.  So…even if you do everything right, you aren’t guaranteed to live a long, healthy life.

Life is so very, very short – why not eat potato chips or a piece of cake if I want to?

Of course, logically, I know that if Ken hadn’t been in such great physical shape, he might not have survived the extremely aggressive radiation and chemo.

I know, I know…now I need to apply those logical facts to a new diet and exercise plan.  Before I have groups of onlookers counting my calories for me in the break room.  Sheesh!

(By the way, I did respond to this man’s rude unsolicited dietary analysis today by saying, “My brother ate healthy all of his life and STILL got stage 4 lung cancer.”  I shouldn’t have said it – I know.  But it’s how I feel and I just couldn’t help myself.  Now THAT’S a conversation stopper.)

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Posted by Kathy Torrence on Oct 4, 2009 in My Adventures in Dieting

I suppose that’s the theme of all of my posts lately – sorry about that.  Real life gets in the way of blogging, I guess.

I missed wishing a happy birthday to my dear husband Michael last week.  We celebrated with a dinner at Guillermo’s in downtown Pitman.  Pitman is undergoing a resurgence, of sorts – in the last few months, several new restaurants have opened and we’ve been lucky enough to try them all (maybe that’s why I haven’t had to time blog). Funny thing is, since it’s still a small town, we ran into several other people we knew at dinner.  And for days afterward, friends and neighbors stopped us and said, “We saw you eating dinner at Guillermo’s on Friday night.”  I guess they saw us through the window?  Life in a small town – can’t get away with anything.

Speaking of which, I’m sure everyone was concerned with exactly what was on my plate since my weight seems to be the other big topic of conversation in town.  I reached my goal weight last week – I’ve lost a total of 48 pounds since January 1st.  It took a lot of hard work and certainly didn’t happen overnight – if you do the math, I lost about 1 1/2 pounds per week on average. 

I’m finding some very interesting reactions from people…

The first thing people ask is HOW I lost the weight.  They are expecting to hear it was some magic pill or secret diet plan.  When they hear it was eating healthy, counting calories and exercise, they are usually disappointed.  Problem is, there is no secret – we all know how it really works to lose weight, it’s just no fun to do it. 

People are amazed that I have the time to exercise.  They think you need hours of time and an expensive gym membership.  I don’t belong to a gym.  I have 3 kids, work a full time job and commute an hour each way every day.  But I am probably in the best shape I’ve ever been.  I just take about 20-30 minutes each day and try to hit all the major muscle groups plus mix in a little cardio too.  No special equipment – just some videos and a whole lotta sweat.

Some people have taken me aside and asked if I’m ill or depressed.  They make me look them in the eye and swear that I’m okay.  I never expected that reaction.

Other people keep staring at me and tell me that they can’t get used to seeing me this way.  Or that they can barely recognize me.  I have to admit, sometimes when I look in the mirror and catch a glimpse of myself, I feel the same way.  I have two badges at work – one photo was taken 1 1/2 years ago and the other was taken a month ago.  They don’t even look like the same person.

Another very strange reaction that I didn’t expect was the reaction from men.  As much as people try to tell you that weight doesn’t matter in how attractive someone is, the awful truth is that it does.  Even though I am happily married and WAY past my prime (at 41, I’m certainly not a head-turner), all of a sudden, I find that I’m getting cat-calls, those awkward stares and smiles in a way that I didn’t get almost 50 pounds ago.  And the truth is, it makes me uncomfortable.  Maybe I should be flattered, but the other day when a group of men told me to turn around so they could see my rear in my jeans, I was thinking “sexual harassment”, not flattery.

The best part of the whole weight loss thing is going shopping.  I walked into Gap yesterday for some new dress pants, flipped through the sale rack, pulled out a few pairs of size 6 pants, took them into the dressing room and they fit perfectly.  I kept spinning around in the mirror and looking from all angles – I was very proud of myself.  Me – in a size 6.  I NEVER thought that would happen again.  I wanted to say to the sales girl when she asked how the pants fit, “You don’t understand – I just lost ALMOST 50 POUNDS!  I’m not your average size 6!  I’m not like those girls who are naturally skinny!  I had to work really hard to get here!!!!”  But I didn’t.  I just said, “They fit perfectly.”

So now the challenge is, how do I stay here without gaining any weight?  I also don’t want to lose too much more either – I want to be healthy, not gaunt. 

This week has been particularly hard for me because I have been having some issues with my sacroiliac joint and have been instructed to stop all exercise for at least 2 weeks while I’m in physical therapy.  I don’t want to get out of the good habits I’ve formed and I don’t want to put on weight from extra calories not burned.  So I’ve been cutting back a bit this week – no dinners at Guillermo’s for me.  This is going to be a real game of balance while I try to settle in at this weight…wish me luck.


Summer’s Here!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jun 25, 2009 in Family Stuff, My Adventures in Dieting

Seems like I was just posting that spring was here – now it’s summer already.   I can’t believe it! 

I’ve dropped a few more pounds for a total of 37 pounds lost so far – not too shabby!  My original goal was to lose 40 and now that I’m just a few pounds away, I was on the Internet (uh-oh – you know this can’t be good) and found a height-weight chart which told me that for my height, I should actually be about 10 pounds lighter than I am right now.  I guess that 40 pounds ago, where I am now seemed like such an impossible goal, but now that I’m here, 10 more pounds should be easy, right?  So with a minor adjustment, I’ll be at my ultimate (and surprisingly achievable) goal by the fall. 

The kids started a fabulous summer camp program at Rowan University this week called Kids Rule.  It teaches them a new sport every week and has them running, swimming, and playing hard every day – Emily even fell asleep on the couch last night!  It’s good to see them having so much fun – makes me feel less guilty for working all day.

Matt has joined the summer youth Hobo Band playing the clarinet and he’s also taking lessons this summer from a very talented teenage girl as well.  He’s surprisingly good – I think music is going to be his thing.

Emily just had her spring dance recital as well as her gymnastics ‘expo’ too.  And Andrew will be pitching at his last Little League game on Saturday night – he is going to be too old to play Little League next year.

We’re getting ready to go on vacation in a few weeks – back to our favorite campground, FrontierTown in Ocean City, Maryland.  I’m really looking forward to it – I could use some time away to just relax and spend some time with the kids without a hectic schedule…


Catching Up

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Apr 24, 2009 in Family Stuff, My Adventures in Dieting, Today's Photo

Working full-time certainly has affected the amount of time I have to update my blog!  Today is my day off, and I have about 5 minutes before I go and try to cram every weekday errand that needs to be done for the next 2 weeks into one day (can you say the DMV, optometrist, bank, etc…), so here’s an abbreviated synopsis of what’s going on with the Torrences (in bullet form – can you tell that I’ve been putting together a lot of presentations at work lately? – but not necessarily in sequential order):

  • I turned 41 and had a GREAT birthday which included a massage and a camping trip to Cape May (not at the same time)
  • Easter Sunday came and went – we had brunch with my parents at Cracker Barrel this year
  • I’ve been keeping up with my diet and exercise ‘plan’ (not really a plan – just trying to eat less and move more) and have lost a total of 26 pounds as of today
  • My mystery headaches were diagnosed by a neurologist as an ‘extended migraine’ – they lasted over a month and are being treated with a medication called Topamax.  The medication is helping – and as an added bonus, weight loss is a side effect! :)

Here are a few quick photos too:



That’s all I have time for right now…time to move on to the next errand…


A “Me” Day

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 9, 2009 in Family Stuff, My Adventures in Dieting

Yesterday I had a chance to spend some time on myself – a rare thing for a working mother of three!

In the morning, I went to an exercise “bootcamp” with my friends Cheryl and Kim.  It was pretty intense, but surprisingly, after all the exercising I’ve been doing lately (I’ve lost 19 pounds now since Christmas), I kept up pretty well.  I was actually a little bit proud of myself – it’s nice to see my hard work pay off.  A few months ago, I NEVER would have been able to keep up with the class. 

And after the class yesterday, I decided to go do a little bit of shopping for some new work clothes.  I’m down 2 sizes now – yipee!  I went up into the attic a few weeks ago to find some of my smaller sized clothes and found that all I really had in that size were jeans – It seems that the last time I was this size, I was a stay-at-home mom and all I wore were very casual clothes.

But at least the jeans I found fit me – so I started wearing them to work. 

While my workplace is pretty casual, people starting commenting on the fact that I was wearing jeans every day – I blamed it on Mike.  He doesn’t see the point in spending money on clothes that I will (hopefully) not be wearing for very long as I continue to lose weight.

Speaking of work, I’m finding that people are starting to notice my weight loss.  And for some reason, it makes me extremely uncomfortable – not sure why.  I guess I don’t like to think that I’m the subject of conversations – I’d rather not be noticed at all, I suppose.  Mike thinks it’s a control issue – since I’m not present during the conversations, I can’t control where they go.  I may need to examine that a little further…

Anyway, I finally broke Mike down on the spending-money-on-smaller-sized-clothes issue and I went out in search of a few pairs of black pants to get me through the next few months.  After trying on MANY pairs of pants at Gap and Macy’s, I found the perfect pair – the new pants from Dana Buchman at Kohls.  They fit me so well, I bought two pair!  While the tops in her line are a bit too colorful (and a little too wide) for me, the pants seem to be made to actually fit a woman’s body – no gap at the waist, just the right amount of stretch…love ‘em!

So while I’m holding off in buying a whole new wardrobe, at least I have some jeans and black pants – what more can a girl want?  A new pair of shoes, maybe…


Back from Florida

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Mar 2, 2009 in Family Stuff, My Adventures in Dieting, Our Goldendoodle Puppies, Today's Photo

The kids and I are back from our trip to sunny Florida – and have been welcomed back with a snow day!  I am SO not a winter person – I just don’t understand why anyone would enjoy being cold.  When the colonists decided to settle in America, why didn’t they go further south so they wouldn’t have had to worry about those severe winters anyway?

At least for a few days, we enjoyed some gorgeous weather and great company.  We stayed with my dear friend Linda, her husband Tom and their children Kylee and Zachary.  My kids were excited to be able to swim outside in February. 

And yes – I took all three kids to Florida by myself – Mike stayed home with the dogs.  Getting through security at the airport was interesting – we had to take out all of our electronics, remove our shoes and put all the bags, coats and liquids on the belt – not nearly as easy as it sounds.  With three of us, it was quite the project.  To make it easier on the way home, I pulled out all of the iPods, Gameboys, cameras and cell phones ahead of time – plus, we were able to go through the faster “employee” line after I showed my FAA badge (it doesn’t come with many perks, but that’s one of them).

This was Matt’s first time flying and I was afraid that with his AS, he might have an anxiety attack.  He did, at first, but I was able to distract him by letting him play on my laptop (something he is not normally allowed to do).  Mid-flight, he looked over and said, “I don’t even feel like I’m on a plane – I feel like I’m at home.”  I was happy he had a good flying experience on the way there, because on the way back, we flew through a front that caused some moderate turbulence during the ENTIRE flight (even I was stressed – FAA perks don’t help you there).  But he handled it okay – I told him it was just like going over bumps in the road.

While we were visiting, we spent a day at Epcot which was a GREAT choice for Matt (he doesn’t like rides at all) and the other kids as well.

P2250029Epcot was a great combination of hands-on science stuff and cultural displays which was perfect for the kids.  They also had a new scavenger hunt program using a Kim Possible theme.  You’re given a Kimmunicator (aka cell phone) that gives you clues and activates special features throughout the park – even Andrew thought it was really cool!

We also visited the beach while we were there:

P2250018I wish I would have pushed my hair out of my eyes for that photo!  And I’d also like to point out how tall my son Andrew is (although he was standing on a little sand dune).

The kids enjoyed staying with their friends and had so much fun playing and swimming – we also visited Linda’s friend Judi who was kind enough to warm her pool for our stay.  My kids were in the pool for hours – the last time they’ll be able to swim until Lake Kandle opens on Memorial Day weekend.

Oh – and we also attended a ‘Puppy Shower’ – the Brandons got a new Westie puppy after we left and the neighbors threw her a party to celebrate while we were there. It was actually really cute – there were games like ‘pass the rawhide’ and a little agility course for the kids to maneuver while acting as puppies.  Their new puppy Molly will join Geddy’s brother Buddy who was more than happy to attend the party:


It was so nice to be in the sunshine – even if only for a few days.  But now it’s back to reality – and about 8 inches of snow.  Even the FAA Technical Center is closed today – and no one can remember the last time that happened!

One more thing – I managed to stay on my diet and exercise plan (for the most part) while we were away and I’ve now lost a total of 18 pounds since the holidays.  Unfortunately, I’ve still got a long way to go (I was pretty discouraged after seeing the photos of myself), but at least I’m making progress…


A quick update…

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Feb 16, 2009 in Family Stuff, My Adventures in Dieting

I haven’t been able to post as much since I’ve started this full time work schedule, so I thought I’d give you a quick update on what’s been going on around here…

First, I have continued to stick to my New Year’s resolution and have lost 2 more pounds for a total of 14 pounds lost so far.  This particular week I didn’t make as much progress as I’d hoped – my weight pretty much stayed the same.  But I am happy to report that I am seeing a definite change in the flab vs. muscle ratio – especially in my ‘core’ (a word – along with the word ‘powerhouse’ – that is WAY overused in yoga and Pilates, in my opinion).  I have been exercising every day, even getting up at 5am some days to work out before going to work.  Once you get into an exercise routine, it becomes more and more enjoyable – even addictive (not that I have an addictive personality or anything…).

On the work front, I am happy to report that the Alaska Flight Service Modernization (AFSM) Screening Information Request (SIR) package has FINALLY been released!  This is the package that we have all been working on for the last year.  What does this mean to me?  It means that work on this project can start moving forward again – things have been pretty slow the last few months which drives me CRAZY – I’d much rather be busy (it makes the work days go by faster).  Of course with the timing of things, I’ll probably have to go up to Alaska in the winter next year…

I am adjusting to the new full time schedule – having every other Friday off helps quite a bit.  But working 9 hour days is hard – especially with an hour commute each way.  I did move into a new cubicle with a window view though – which caused QUITE the controversy since I am a contractor and not a federal employee.  Apparently, window cubicles are prime real estate at the FAA Technical Center…

I’m off today and am trying to catch up on some things around the house – whatever I can do to make the weekdays easier!


Diet Progress

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jan 31, 2009 in My Adventures in Dieting

Just a quick update on the never-ending diet/exercise plan…

I’ve lost 12 pounds so far and have continued to keep up with my New Year’s Resolution of exercising at least 5 times a week (even if it’s just for 20-30 minutes each day).

Exercise TV has become my new friend – there’s so much to choose from that sometimes I spend more time deciding which workout to do than I spend actually doing the workout. 

I’ve also been really good about watching what I eat and have tried to start some healthier habits.  No more candy, chips or cakes – I’ve replaced them with fruit, whole grains and yogurt.  Well…I say that, but one of my little secrets to success lies in Pepperidge Farm Chessman cookies (40 calories each) and ice cream sandwiches (140 calories each).  I allow myself one treat every day so that I don’t feel deprived.  Of course, I have to stop at just one cookie in order for this strategy to work… :)

I still have a long way to go, but at least thing are jiggling just a tiny bit less than they used to (and I’m not super-sore after every workout anymore).


Dreaming of Cookies…

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jan 18, 2009 in My Adventures in Dieting

I had a dream last night that I ate an entire package of Double Stuff Oreo cookies – and they tasted REALLY good.  I think this diet thing is getting to me…


New Year’s Resolution

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Jan 12, 2009 in Books I'm Reading, My Adventures in Dieting

Of course, I have fallen into the trap of making a New Year’s resolution (should New Year’s be capitalized?  I’m not sure about that one…).  And, of course, like most people, my resolution is to lose weight.  Again.

I was just reading through my archives and found that I made a similar resolution last year right before I went back to work.  I had even started to make progress and then…well…I’m not sure exactly what happened.  Maybe the huge change of going back to work was too much to handle at the same time.  Maybe working at a desk job did me in.  Or maybe…I should just stop making excuses for myself.  I’m fat because I eat too much and don’t exercise enough.  Plain and simple.

So here I am at the same place again.  Will it stick this year?  I don’t know…all I can do is try.  A few years ago I was in great shape with a regular exercise routine and a healthy diet.  I know it can be done and I know how to do it.  It’s just getting into that routine that’s so hard to do.

The good thing about starting in the new year is that there are so many resources available – it seems that EVERYONE is trying to lose weight in January.

I’ve started a training blog to keep track of my progress (you can also see some before and after photos of me there – and not in a good way).  So far, so good – I’ve managed to do some sort of exercise every day since the new year (again…capitalize new year or not?  Still not sure…) and have started to closely monitor what I am eating.  By the way, I love Comcast’s Exercise TV On Demand – until a co-worker mentioned it, I didn’t even know it was available.  Free workout videos on your own TV – you can’t get more convenient than that!

I also picked up Bob Greene’s new book, The Best Life Diet, and have read through Phase One.  I learned some new things about how the body loses weight and have tried not to become discouraged when the scale is not moving downward as fast as I’d like it to.

I’m hesitant to even post this because I’m so afraid of failing again.  But I thought I’d throw this post out there and maybe feel some accountability for my progress.  Just don’t be disappointed in me if I’m making this same post again in 2010…

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