A journey in words...
Welcome to my journey in words! A story about health, exercise, weight loss, food addiction, humor, size discrimination, sarcasm, social commentary and all the rest that’s rattling around inside my head...
I now twit, er... or tweet. Anyway, you can follow me on twitter @Aeon1202
Friday, October 30, 2009
Another week of persistent hunger, of painful feet, of wanting and not having.
Another weigh in at 264 lbs.
The exact same weight I was last week.
That's all today.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Invested in You
For the rest of you, you’ve been warned…
I realized that I get ravenous before that time of the month. I’ve been watching and tracking and it hits like clockwork; week before hand I want to eat anything that isn’t nailed down.
Understand that at this point I’m sort of used to being hungry, it’s not bothering me – but this is different. This is a combination of hunger with an alarming drop in the willpower to ignore it. It’s a hormone-deep instinct to feed, preferably on as much fat as possible.
There’s got to be some scientific reasoning behind this of course… something to do with breeding and babies and keeping a baby healthy or just getting my body ready to reproduce in some fashion. I don’t know, but it’s aggravating as heck. It’s probably related to the same hormones that keep a woman from losing weight very effectively during that same week (mentally I’m preparing myself for another disappointing weigh-in on Friday).
Knowing it’s coming does help. But what helps the most is Ted. I wish I could recommend that every weight loser out there get themselves a Ted; but alas… there’s only one and I’m not sharing.
Yesterday was bad. I had my breakfast, I had my lunch (leftovers from our Anniversary dinner on Monday) and then went back to my desk for the afternoon of work. I had prepped a snack for myself for the afternoon – carrots. But as the afternoon approached I didn’t want carrots, I wanted carbs.
So I wolfed down some pretzels.
Still hungry I began fixating on the vending machine and all the fat and carbs it contained. Also on the huge plastic cauldron of Halloween chocolates that’s been sitting at the reception desk for nearly a month already.
Instead I opened up an email and sent up a cry for help to Ted. In minutes he was there for me; reassuring me…
“You can do this…”
“I am proud of you…”
“I am on your side…”
“I am invested in this, and in you…”
Whatever happens I know that my partner and best friend is invested in the process, in my journey and he’s pulling for me every step of the way.
It was enough.
Later that night; after my trip to the gym and a sensible vegetarian dinner – I was cramming tortilla chips and buttered bread into my mouth when the phone rang. Ted… he was headed home late from work and his spousal telepathy must have gone off because he felt the need to check in on me to see what I’d had for dinner and what I was doing now.
All I wanted was to get him off the phone so I could go back to eating buttered bread, but he could sense something was up and he didn’t want to let me go.
In the end he managed to salvage it for me; yesterday wasn’t one of my best calorie days – but I stayed within my top number by the skin of my teeth, by the grace of God and by the help of my husband.
This is nearly impossible to do alone; that’s why people go to group meetings, find people to be accountable to and support one another.
To all those out there who don’t have a Ted; I can’t stress enough the importance of finding somebody to be that for you. Somebody whose invested in you and believes in you, and your dream.
We can do this together.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
A Pleasant Surprise
And does this place love Halloween? Say Hallelujah yes it does…
It was coated, and I mean coated, in Halloween STUFF. Mostly those little button or motion activated figures that screech or move or cackle at you. I noticed the wait staff would go by, reach out and press a button on this one or that one in passing just for fun, trying not to get noticed by the guests. It was a good time.
I had chicken marsala with baked potato, broccoli, Caesar salad and a righteous little cup of French Onion soup (or nectar of the gods as I like to call it). I indulged in a dinner roll and dessert too; French Silk pie – my favorite.
When the meal arrived, I set aside half the chicken they gave me as well as half the baked potato; and packed them up for lunch at a later date. Walking home – I came to a realization…
I was full.
I mean uncomfortably full, stuffed full. I turned to Ted and said to him;
“Correct me if I’m wrong, but two months ago I could have finished off that whole dinner no problem without saving a full fifty percent of it for later on… yes?”
He nodded in agreement, replying “one of the things I’ve always liked about you is that you can eat a real meal like a guy – not just pick at food like a lot of girls do.”
Has the persistent hunger of the past month and a half actually made my stomach shrink? Could this be possible..?!
Although it was uncomfortable being overstuffed (ugh, I can see why I wanted to give that up) the realization was an extremely happy one.
Happy too was getting home to fill out my daily plate and realizing that with the walk; I was still 50 calories under my daily maximum. I had gone out expecting to go over, but because of all the calorie budgeting I had done the rest of the day – I still made it.
Plus I got French Silk pie.
“You - what is best in life?”
“To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of the women.”
“WRONG! You – what is best in life?!”
Monday, October 26, 2009
Seven Years Ago Today
And yet – put it on, and you’re nothing but beautiful.
I was no exception. As I’ve said before I had my gown custom made from combining two patterns that I chose with a hefty amount of creativity from me and my seamstress. I picked out a brocade fabric in a color called ‘candlelight’ which is ivory with the lightest blush of pale pink. The dress didn’t look pink at a glance, but it had a warmth to the color that helped keep me from washing out while wearing it. With my creamy Elmer’s glue-like complexion, stark white on me is just not a good idea.
It was beautiful, and I felt beautiful that day in a way I never had before and never have since.
Seven years ago at eleven o’clock I was at the salon having my hair twisted into a hundred big corkscrew curls and being fitted with a crown of Champagne roses and ribbons that matched my dress. It took forever, and while my stylist, Sabrina, was working… the rest of my bridal party finished up and one by one or in pairs started hitching rides from the salon back to my parent’s house.
Finally, it was completed and I thanked Sabrina and looked around. I was alone. Thankfully my mother had paid for everything in advance because I didn’t have a penny on me. I stepped out of the salon into the temperate, beautiful fall afternoon of my wedding day and stood there alone on the sidewalk; wondering how long it would take for someone… anyone… to realize they’d left the bride behind. Since my wedding started at two I hoped it wouldn’t be too long.
It wasn’t, but the humor value of being the forgotten bride on my wedding day still makes me chuckle. I think in total I was only standing out there five, maybe ten minutes with my big curls blowing a bit in the autumn breeze.
At two o’clock we were at the church. I’ve heard brides say they don’t remember their wedding ceremonies well; but I do. I remember speaking quietly and trying to keep my voice low pitched, clear and loud enough to be audible. My voice is high pitched normally and a lot of emotion can make it shoot up to subsonic levels. I remember Ted trying to get the ring on my finger, struggling a bit, and me giving him the ‘one minute’ gesture before screwing it fully into place myself (you can see me doing this on the video too). I didn’t cry, and I wasn’t nearly as scared as I thought I would be.
I remember feeling very calm, solemn and full – like standing in the presence of something wonderful.
I remember the expression on Ted’s face – like a man who’d been given a prize beyond his imaginings. I remember seeing how much he loved me in his eyes.
I remember dancing at our reception to “Dela” by Johnny Clegg and how much fun we’d had learning our choreographed moves before hand – and the way people clapped along with us.
I remember the food… not great, but good. I remember chocolate chip wedding cake and having my picture taken while I toasted the cameraman with a can of diet coke.
I remember Vlad up on his ladder.
I’ve been told ‘I love you’ before in my lifetime; but Ted taught me what it is to be shown love beyond the word of it; his love is in every action he takes.
On the inside of my wedding band it says 1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 7; “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
All these things he has shown me. He has looked at me every single day since that one and told me that I’m the most beautiful, most sexy, most desirable woman in the entire world. Every time he said these things, he meant them utterly. The force of his belief behind them is like a flame inside, I can feel it when I touch his skin. It resonates out to me, like two strings that vibrate to the same tune.
I have never spent one day hungering for attention, for affection, for love. I have never felt inadequate or anything less than treasured.
For all this and more, I thank you. You are the great love of my life and I long for another seventy times seven years to spend with you – no number can never be enough…
Happy Anniversary, Ted.
Friday, October 23, 2009
A Tough Day
I seem to do a lot better when I eat small amounts spread throughout the day – basically keep myself a little bit hungry all the time. On days when I hoard up my calories for a specific dinner I want (like the garden sandwich from Palermo’s near my house – yum) I feel overstuffed and huge afterward.
I have no evidence of course, it just feels like whenever I take in a big bunch of calories all at once my body immediately stores them instead of using them; even if I’ve had less that day overall then I theoretically need.
Also – I went to the gym Tuesday, and I’m going right now on Friday for weights and weigh in. That’ll be twice this week and that’s not even half as much exercise as I need in order to see losses.
Lastly I seem to have hurt my foot. I’m flat footed and I know flat footed folk are prone to foot issues, but I’ve always been fortunate and had none. Tuesday on the elliptical the bottom of my right foot started hurting really bad; it had been a little tender previous to that but on Tuesday it went into overdrive and hasn’t let up. It’s tough not to get pulled down by that kind of thing; when you know you need to be moving a lot – pain or no.
So overall not feeling great about things right now; hopefully I’m wrong and the scale will surprise me, but I kinda doubt it.
Either way I’m taking off my shoes this time before getting on. Every ounce helps.
Back from the gym. I weighed in at 264 lbs. which means I lost one lousy pound this week, and if I hadn’t taken off my shoes I’d probably have been exactly the same as last week.
Knowing why this happened doesn’t actually make it suck less. Or make me think about all the things I wanted to eat this week and passed on in favor of losing weight; like French fries, a root beer float and the ever present Halloween candy that dogs my every step at the office.
Right now I feel like why did I bother?
Was I not hungry enough all week, or have I been at this long enough that the little tiny men with picks and jackhammers who run my metabolism have finally figured out that a catastrophic change is occurring and slammed all gears into brake mode?
I don’t know. I just know it’s not a good day today.
Yeah... that’s all for now.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
When Garments Attack
All right, if I’m being honest it’s more of a hate / hate relationship. To my defense, they started it.
First of all clothes never fit me. On top of being overweight, I’m high waisted, hourglass figured and long legged with chunky calves and arms. This means that pants slide up (in utter defiance of gravity) to rest way up high at my middle, almost under my boobs, generally leaving my white, thick ankles bare to the world. Sleeves stretch skin tight over my upper arms even as the shoulder seams are sliding down out of proper positioning and any boots higher than ankle simply never fit.
I mean what is up with clothes and gravity? If it’s supposed to stay low, it rides up. If it’s supposed to stay up you bet your butt it’s heading for the floor. Is this some magical property of fatness or do skinny people go through it too?
I’ve spent a large portion of my life in fear of flashing underwear. I’m not kidding. I stare sometimes in fascination at people who bend over or simply sit down and seem somehow unaware that not only are they showing several inches of skin in the back but also a yard or two of underwear material to boot. How can they not notice that? And I have to admit that particular epidemic isn’t limited to the obese, I’ve seen skinny girls (and guys) flashing the tight whites more than once.
I can’t just get into a car or sit down in a seat, I get into a car and adjust. Because invariably the action of sliding into the car seat hicked up my shirt in the back, yanked my pant legs up to my knees and left my bare back pressed to the back of the seat. When I rise, I’m yanking down. When I sit, I’m yanking up. It’s like my clothes are in a continual fight to get as far away from me as possible.
I guess I can’t blame them; I’ve stated my hatred of them so often – it’s no wonder they don’t like me. Even shopping is done with grudging acceptance of a necessary task because I’ve no desire to wander about naked either.
That’d be bad for pretty much everyone.
Then there’s the fashion choices available for the overweight. In short, they’re expensive, poorly made and ugly. Take bathing suits for example… obviously this is not going to be a flattering look for the overweight regardless; but what rocket scientist decided that what might make the situation better is to cover it with shiny, cheap, fake satin looking nylon stuff? Preferably with a big skirt to float around your ears the moment you get in the water and large, loud floral patterns to boot.
Also, what is so danged difficult about the concept of an hourglass? Am I totally mistaken or is this not in fact the ‘classic’ female shape? And yet when I actually find a pair of pants that fits over my impressive backside it’s invariably gaping open like a saggy circus tent around my waist. Note to the fashion industry: I am not shaped like a column.
Then there’s shirts… again, if they fit over my belly then they’re falling off my shoulders. Because a woman with hips my size must have shoulders like a linebacker to balance them out.
The end result is that I always wear clothing that’s too big for me. I know it makes matters worse, I know it makes me look larger and fails to show of my assets (read: boobs). But it comes from just wanting to hide. I want to drown myself in warm yards of cozy fabric just the same way you dive under your covers at night and yank them up over your head for comfort.
I am the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal – if I can’t see you, then you must not be able to see me either.
Monday, October 19, 2009
I can remember at some point early on in our friendship I was complaining to him and his wife, my friend Melissa, about some slight that a thoughtless co-worker had made toward me. At the time I was working at Smalls Formalwear in retail, and our Assistant Manager was one of those very tall, very skinny guys who could eat an entire cow and remain the same size. He couldn’t abide ‘fat people’.
I don’t remember what it was he said or did that so hurt me, but I do remember Mike’s response. He, also a skinny guy himself, snorted with impatience as though he in turn couldn’t abide stupid people such as my Assistant Manager… and he said to me; “Carolyn – don’t ever let some idiot convince you that you’re not pretty.”
He said it with this amazing air of truth, as though it were quite plain for anyone with eyes to see – and anyone who couldn’t see it was too foolish to be bothered with.
I remember immediately feeling touched, and comforted, and I believed what he said because he said it in his no-nonsense way that simply brooked no argument. I was pretty, and my Assistant Manager was in fact, a real moron.
Years later he would spend the entire morning of my wedding day running back and forth from my parent’s house to the church in his car carrying messages, or supplies, or whatever needed carrying and generally making sure that everything was okay and running smoothly.
I guess that’s just the kind of guy he was.
Sunday, October 18, 2009
It wasn’t a bad day actually it was a pretty good one. Church anniversary followed by brunch with my church family, and then a late afternoon of cooking up and enjoying a healthy dinner before getting caught up on episodes of “The Big Bang Theory” and a Bible study that Ted and I are involved in at our church. Ironically the study topic was Evolution – ironic because we’d been watching a show called Big Bang Theory right before hand.
Okay, well I thought it was funny anyhow…
My bad night began when I finally sat down to track my calories for the day. I mentioned I was at a church brunch right? Are people out there familiar with how most church ladies cook? I thought I did okay, one helping no refills and no deserts despite the chocolate cake looking fabulous and drool worthy. But as I tallied up the calories on the three yummy salads that I had consumed, I started to worry. By the time I was finished totaling up brunch, I was already at 1,000… not a place I like to be before dinner time.
Then dinner… sweet potato fries, mixed vegetables and a thin chicken fillet. Doesn’t sound too bad, does it? Add in the butter and olive oil from cooking. Then add in the Yoplait whipped chocolate mousse yogurt I had afterward; then two ounces of cheese from the plate of cheese that Ted was snacking on. Cheese is 100 calories, for one ounce. Just… one.
What do you get? 2,247 blasted calories – that’s what. About 500 OVER where I want to come in at the top of my range for the day!
Dangit dangitty dangit dang dang. I know better than to eat before I track, and I did it anyway!
I am so not happy.
Yeah I know, I know… it’s one day. But this hasn’t happened in a month, and you don’t know how scary this is.
I’m not kidding – it’s scary. I feel like I’m dangling over the precipice of eating control and could fall back over the cliff into gross overindulgence at any second. And today, it felt like I did.
What if I wake up tomorrow and can’t keep this up anymore?
The simple truth of the matter is… there, but for the grace of God, go I.
Yeah, I know I know… I’m being too hard on myself. But right now it’s all I can feel.
Here’s praying for a better day tomorrow.
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Let me explain…
Today; Sandi and I had our pictures taken quite a lot. We’re looking for decent photos to put on the website that my husband Ted is putting together for us for our RPG (read: role playing game) production company: Thalia Productions.
We wanted some fun, appealing photos of the two of us for the site and our friend Chris took them for us with his mighty fine camera and mighty fine skills.
They honestly looked great, from what I could see of them on the little camera screen, but I couldn’t help but notice something… In posing, I would feel like I was doing a particularly good or exaggerated pose; back arched, or hip out, neck cocked or what have you. However when I see the photo itself I always just sort of look like I’m standing there, lumpy as always, no matter how far I tried to push the pose.
I can only guess this is the result of my body being literally masked by a layer of fat. And I even remember being told this way back in acting class; that being overweight in acting is a heavy (haha) liability, in part because fat people aren’t considered pretty by the industry and the farther away you look from ‘standard’ the fewer roles will be available to you. However it’s also a liability because you have to push through that much harder for what you’re doing to be visible outside of your layers. Fat blunts you; like wrapping heavy cotton gauze all over your body that you then have to work through in order to be seen. I found that out the hard way today.
On the upside I have to say; I really didn’t think I looked bad. Fat yes, not posed very dramatically yes, but Chris did an amazing job, and I do have a pretty face.
I’m happy with how it went, but I have to admit I’m also looking forward to trying it again once I’ve finally freed myself from all of these stifling layers. I’m looking forward to leaving my cocoon, to peeling away all the protective layering, and seeing what I’ll actually be able to do and feel without them.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Moving in the Right Direction (yay meat)
Another Friday, another rotation in the weight room, another weigh in…
According to the Doctor-type scale at the YMCA I’m 265 lbs. as of today, which is three pounds down from last week and I think about fifteen pounds total from my starting point (the first time I weighed in I was 277, but that was actually a week after I got rolling – I’m guesstimating I was all the way up at 280 there at one point).
I forgot, or possibly lost, my trusty MP3 player today. You can imagine my dismay when I got to the gym and emptied out my gargantuan handbag in a frantic search for it. I’m hoping I just left it in the desk drawer at my office because getting through the cardio portion of my workout is completely boring without my music to inspire me.
I did notice however that I’m an awful lot friendlier without it. Partially this is because on Friday afternoons the wellness center is mostly populated with kindly older ladies who smile and say hello to me – and it’s virtually impossible not to smile and say hello back to people who remind you of your grand mom. They also make me feel like Hercules because invariably following one of them onto a weight machine, I get to move the weight level UP for once instead of down.
So yeah, I talked to more people, smiled at more people and had a few more laughs today than I would normally have being plugged in – but chucking along on the cardio machine without my music to back me up was a serious drag.
Feeling good, feeling strong. The pain from weight lifting won’t hit me yet for another 24 to 48 hours, and I got beef stew for dinner. Yum.
I had almost forgotten just how much I love a good bit of red meat – and stew’s a nice way to get it. The potatoes, carrots, onion, etc. all have a relatively low calorie cost. They’re cooked with meat, so they’re meat flavored (yay) and you wind up eating a relatively small amount of the actual meat. I found it very satisfying.
So – in honor of red meat and omnivores in general; here is the beef stew recipe I used tonight (with nutritional info courtesy of the Daily Plate):
2 & ½ lbs. cubed steak
1 & ½ lbs. red skin potatoes
1 large sweet onion
2 -3 cups baby carrots
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1 jar of beef gravy (17 oz.)
1 can of college inn beef broth (14 oz.)
1/3 cup Worcestershire sauce (I like Lea & Perrins)
Salt & pepper the raw steak, then sauté in a tablespoon of olive oil until it’s browned and dump the meat and all it’s lovely cooking juices into a crock pot.
Chop all the vegetables and add them to the crock pot.
Add all other ingredients, mix well, and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 5 hours (low is better).
Very good if you’ve got some sliced fresh bread to dip into the juicy bits at the bottom. It was a tiny bit bland for me, so next time I think I’ll add some gravy masters to the mix. However as stew goes; it was quite English – warm and filling for a cold autumn night.
Serving Size: About 2 cups
Fat: 13 grams
Protein: 43 grams
Thursday, October 15, 2009
The Fat Fee
Then my eye scanned down to the sizing chart…
Misses Petite: $7.99
Misses Tall: $7.99
Women’s: $9.99 (size 1XL to 3XL)
Women’s EXT: $12.99 (size 4XL to 5XL)
I can only assume the EXT at the end there stands for “EXTRA fat!”
Okay, stay with me here… I’m aware that the clothing industries justification for the fat surcharge is that it takes SO much extra fabric to make fat people clothing. Then why are the tall sizes the same price as the misses?!?!
I will tell you why. Because the fat surcharge has nothing to do with extra fabric. It has everything to do with allowable and acceptable discrimination. In my opinion there is no difference whatsoever between charging more for a size 18 to 22 than if a shop keeper turned to a customer and said “oh – I see that you’re (insert nationality here), that means it’s five dollars more for you.”
Except, that in our society – it’s acceptable to discriminate against the plus sized. After all, it’s our own fault we’re like this. We’re lazy, sloppy, undisciplined. We eat huge quantities of food for no reason and bloat ourselves up to be a burden on the rest of you! On purpose!
Oh, and we eat babies too.
My first experience with the fat surcharge was at weddings; the bridal industry is really into it and their fat fees are some of the highest I’ve seen, far over JC Penny’s modest two to five dollars.
My sister got married when I was about fifteen; I think at the time I was around a size sixteen or so, and pretty cute (in a big 80’s hair sort of way). Since I was going to be in a wedding for the first time, I was of course on Weight Watchers – so I had lost about fourteen pounds between the time of my initial measuring and when the dress actually came in.
I remember how crestfallen and embarrassed I was when I tried the dress on and it was too small. My mother, ever the protective parent, actually whipped out my Weight Watchers card (she happened to have it in her purse) to show the sales lady that we had signed documentation proving that I was fourteen pounds lighter now than I was at the time of my measuring. So how exactly had I obtained a dress that was at least a size too small?
On the upside, I don’t think they charged my mom for the alterations. But there was nothing to be done save for sending the dress back and getting in another one, a size eighteen this time – because as any bridal dress place will tell you, they absolutely cannot make a dress bigger. Only smaller.
Except, when the new size eighteen arrived for me a few weeks later, I couldn’t help but notice that the factory manufactured tag on it was stamped size eight – and someone had scribbled a one in front of the eight, in pen.
Flash forward to my senior year of high school and my friend Andrea getting married. The bunch of us bridesmaids went happily to Bridaltown to get fitted for our dresses for the wedding. Jem got to try it on, because she was the enviable size eight sample size. Then we set about getting measured and placing our orders.
After giving everyone the cost, the saleslady leans across the table toward me and says in an apologetic whisper “yours is going to be thirty dollars more sweetie, because you’re such a big size.”
Such a big size. I was a size eighteen.
I felt my face flush scarlet and my ears burn – in mute embarrassment, I think I merely nodded, not wanting to ruin the mood by asking the question that was choking in the back of my throat right there and then.
I called back later for some answers. Apparently, when you get to a size eighteen; the entire fabric cutting machine must be reset and it’s oh so much extra work – plus, of course, all the yards upon yards of extra fabric required to cover my bloated form.
Flash forward again to my own wedding; now about a size twenty two. Still fat, and yet – still not really a head turner.
Early on in my engagement I went into a store called Country Bride and began sifting through the gorgeous white and cream poofiness – lost in dreams of my upcoming wedding day. A smiling sales lady approached and was happy to hear of my upcoming nuptials, happy to help me.
Except – I couldn’t try anything on. Not one single dress in the entire store would fit a size twenty two (which in bridal dress sizes, actually translates to a twenty six).
Dismayed, I asked the helpful sales lady how I was supposed to know if I wanted to buy any of their dresses if I could not try any of them on?
The answer: bring a thin friend with you to try them on for you.
How, ladies and gentleman, am I supposed to be able to tell if a gown will look good on my whacky body – by putting it on my skinny friend’s?
I’m glad to report that I didn’t pay a single dime to the corrupt, hurtful, discriminatory bridal gown industry on my wedding day. I bought armloads of gorgeous fabric from Maxine’s Daughter on fabric row – and hired an amazing seamstress named Susan Sampson, who put talent, friendship and artistry into every stitch.
I could not have been happier with the result – and with no fat fees whatsoever.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Weight Loss Limbo
When a normal weight person drops twelve pounds, you see it right away. When a 200+ person drops twelve, it’s kind of like throwing a bucket of water into the ocean – who can tell?
And yet I’m desperate for positive feedback because this is not an easy thing I’m doing, so I keep telling people ‘hey – I lost twelve pounds’ and they’re very encouraging, but it’s still not the same as that wonderful, unsolicited question…
“Hey… did you loose weight?”
That hasn’t happened yet, and my clothes still feel about the same. Although I did buy three pairs of pants two weekends ago that all seem too large – I have a sneaking suspicion that I just bought them too large, I tend to do that.
I’ve also been considering hunger a lot, and I realized that all my life I’ve feared it. Not fear of starvation, that’s a whole different ball game – but a fear of the discomfort of having to live with mild, annoying hunger pangs as I do about 75% of the time when I’m losing weight. Avoidance of that has been a huge barrier between me and losing weight all of these years. What if after the meal is done – I’m still hungry? By thinking that I’ve been planning, in advance, to overeat – for most of my life. By doing that I have not been enjoying my meals because I’m too busy worrying about what I will eat next. It’s not that my ‘fullness meter’ doesn’t work, it’s that my mental meter is way, way off balance.
One of the mind readjustments I’ve had to make is learning that it’s really not a big deal to feel hungry. I can enjoy a movie while feeling hungry, I can play a board game while feeling hungry, I can check my email while feeling hungry, I can get through a work day with it there hanging out in the background waving its little flag at me (or drooling on my shoulder so to speak). I can go to bed hungry.
I used to joke that when I get hungry, I get sad. It was a joke but well… not really. I have all my life tended to experience minor feelings of sadness when hunger is hanging out too long, but with an attitude adjustment I’m learning to get past it. I have to see it as the positive thing it is… a reminder to eat which, when ignored, means that my ample reserves are going into action. It’s nothing to be afraid of.
Anyway, hello to all from weight loss limbo. My mother’s bathroom scale pronounced me at 263 last night – which would actually put me fourteen down in the first quarter. Not too shabby, but we’ll see what the physician’s type scale at the gym has to say at my regular weigh in this Friday.
Ted tells me I look slimmer quite regularly; although to be honest if I had actually lost weight as often as he thinks I have I’d be in negative digits by now. The eyes of his love are not only blind, but I think backwards as well. Still, it’s good to hear. It’s good to have his loving, supportive encouragement on this long road. More than once he’s skipped a treat he wanted simply because he didn’t want to eat it in front of me, or grabbed me and pulled me out of the kitchen or away from a bad choice – and I couldn’t be more grateful for him right now.
Friday, October 9, 2009
When I was a kid, my brother had a heavy metal rock band called The Jury – we used to go see them play live. The venue I remember most clearly was this tiny dive under an elevated train called the Philly Cookbook – I think it was near Conshohocken, but it’s hard to remember now.
They were really good. But now, almost twenty years later, my brother’s music has gone from good to excellent. I can’t describe how sweet it is to be able to go to one of his shows now at a place like the World Café and sit among friends and family listening to how deep, mature and wonderful the music has become.
How sweet it is to be here at all. My brother’s had kind of a long road too.
If you’re reading this and haven’t yet, go check out the John Clarence Band on MySpace… well worth a listening to:
So today isn’t about food or weight loss really, just about how glad I am to be here in my thirties, happily married and surrounded by friends and family that I love. How grateful to God for every undeserved blessing, every kindness, and every road.
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Sweet Temptation & Social Judgement
This wasn’t a dinner off, and I prepped for it by eating modestly for the whole day beforehand but I was somewhat nervous walking into Teddi’s house with no clue as to what I’d be facing (or eating). I needn’t have worried really; she’s a healthy cook.
I selected a portion of lamb (about five ounces), a serving of potatoes and a serving of snow peas with mushrooms. My indulgence, ironically, was a helping of Caesar salad. For the uninitiated Caesar salad is an indulgence because of the frelling dressing, it’s a total fat-fest diet killer, however I love the stuff. So thbbbtt. I skipped the bread and the macaroni and cheese, lovely as they looked – I know them for the carb laden calorie beasts they are.
Boy howdy – lamb is a happy thing. Very, very tasty… Although when I got home and looked up its calorie content I went into sticker shock for just a moment. 85 calories / ounce! That means my modest 5 oz. portion was 425 calories and 23 grams of fat! Owie!
Still, because of the aforementioned budgeting I made it through well within my daily calorie count. The hard part was dessert…
Normal people when gathered with friends, like a bit of desert. Obviously I’ve had a lot more than my fair share of desert in my life so far, so I need to take a pass on it for a bit to make up for that. But I absolutely adore sugar; especially when it’s combined with chocolate. The milkier, the fattier the chocolate – the better.
A friend once said to me “I think about 5% of the people who say they like dark chocolate actually do like it best, the rest just want to look cool.” I think she’s probably right there so I’ll be the first to admit; I’m a milk chocolate person. The kind with zero nutritional benefits, the sweeter the better. Heath bars? Milky way? Three musketeers? Heaven.
Sorry… I mentally derailed myself there with a lurid fantasy about chocolate bars, I was talking about last night’s dessert…
Pumpkin tiramisu. With this incredible pumpkin spicy mousse on top and gingerbread cakey stuff underneath, sprinkled with nuts – the smell was pure heaven.
I didn’t eat any, not a bite. The truth is I have a sweet tooth that can sort of stay asleep if I don’t feed it. It’s actually easier for me to just not taste at all, then to taste one bite and no more. So I had two cups of fantastic, hot tea and thought hard about the costume corset I want to get for myself when I attain my goal weight. Here’s a picture…
Is this better than desert? Right now I think so, hopefully I’ll still feel that way in another six, ten and twelve months. As the blog name suggests – it’s a very long road I’m on.
Oh, and yeah, I’m a big geek – just in case anyone is actually reading this who doesn’t know me in real life.
As I sat there last night enjoying my tea I experienced slight concern over whether I was making others uncomfortable by being such a hard nose about what I’ll put in my mouth right now. I would never want to make anyone feel like I was judging them, I’ve been judged too often myself in life to ever do that. Besides which I feel as though no one around me needs to refrain as much as I do – since no one else is so overweight.
Beyond that I do not want to become an obsessive. I’ve sat in the past having conversations with people who could speak of nothing except the nutritional value, caloric content and bad side effects of food or when they’d get in their next workout. I do NOT want to be that girl.
But then, I’ve had to make this such a huge part of my psyche right now – how can I avoid it?
No good answer there yet, but I’ll keep working on it. Thankfully I’ve got friends good enough to tell me to shut to heck up about it if I start to become a nuisance.
On occasion I can recall sitting and speaking to people who couldn’t wrap their heads around fat people. Who couldn’t fathom why anyone would put a single bite of food in their mouths that they didn’t need for nutrition and everyday survival. Couldn’t fathom someone being unable to change their eating habits even though those habits were very likely propelling them toward an earlier grave than necessary.
To those people I say – you might want to get down, right now, on your knees and thank God that your body doesn’t crave food it doesn’t need. Because if it doesn’t, that’s a gift you did not earn, pure and simple.
Most of us normal humans just like to eat, and that impulse once it becomes a habit, is as hard to break as any addiction. Possibly harder – since smokers don’t have to smoke one cigarette a day (and only one) in order to survive.
Oh I’ve been judged all right. Judged and found wanting. As if I were not aware that when someone was speaking to me indistinctly about ‘fat people’ that they were really saying “YOU Carolyn – why can’t you just stop eating?!”
Whatever happens now, succeed or fail, I will never become that. Never.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Bizarre Gym Habits
I think I’ll call him “Purell-head Man”.
There are quite a few of them at this point…
“H1N1 Woman”: This is the woman who worked beside me on one of the Elliptical machines, staring in mute horror at the news when they were first breaking the story of the H1N1 (swine flu) virus. As she began shaking her head and muttering to herself, I made an effort to gently reassure her…
Me: “Ma’am… last year the media swore we’d all die of bird flu, the year before that it was sars. Honestly – when you’re frightened, you tune in and they make money. It’s good business for them to frighten you. But really, I don’t think you need be any more concerned about this swine flu thing than the regular seasonal flu.”
H1N1: “No, no you don’t understand – this is much worse… much much worse!”
I shook my head and made no further attempts to quell her fears. Though I am happy to report that five months later she’s still alive and well and going to the gym – which is good, because H1N1 seems like a nice lady.
Which brings me to…
“Hoagie-in-the-sun Man”: Sadly this one probably needs no detailed explanation, but I’ll elaborate anyway for the uninitiated. As I was working out on my favorite machine; a man in dirty jeans hopped on the machine beside me and began working out with great enthusiasm. Huffing, puffing and sweating big drops that fell profusely all over himself and the machine. I began to catch whiffs of what can best be described as the odor that would result from a mayonnaise rich hoagie left to spoil in direct sunlight for a good two to three days.
Now I’m not a germaphobe honestly, I’m aware that people sweat when they work out at the gym. But quite frankly if you are reasonably clean beneath that sweat you don’t smell all that bad. A stench as powerful as Hoagie’s had to be a week minimum in the making.
As it began overwhelming me in waves, I gave up and left.
Next we have...
“Mr. Boob-Stare”: Again this one’s probably a no brainer, but Boob Stare is unique in that he appears to be about 85 years old, of Asian heritage, and his manner of boob watching is one I’ve never encountered before. He stands roughly five feet from the machine I’m working on and very slowly does squats – up and down – all the while engaging in very deep breathing exercises and staring fixedly at my chest.
Granted, I’m a generously proportioned woman so I have no doubt my chest does interesting things as I’m bouncing up and down on a cross trainer, even with a sports bra.
Teddi pointed out to me that mine might be the biggest boobs he’s ever had a chance to study in detail. And my coworker put it simply by saying “Carolyn, you’re a giver.”
Yep – that’s me… giver of bouncy boobs to old guys. *sigh*
“Older-Guy-in-Insanely-Good-Shape”: I realize my names for these people aren’t the most creative, but these are the impressions they give. Insane Shape looks like he’s somewhere in his 60’s and he can power walk at a speed most people can’t keep up with while running. I mean this guy is fast. And he doesn’t do it for ten or fifteen minutes, he goes for about an hour – all the while carrying on pleasant conversations with the folks around him. I’m fond of Insane Shape, he seems like he’d be fun to talk to. But being shy I merely observe him from a distance with a certain envy both for his fitness and his outgoing personality.
“George Clinton”: Of Parliament Funk. He works at my gym. Okay not really, but a guy does who looks a lot like him, minus the multi colored braids. Outgoing, gregarious, friendly and funny – I watched him hang out with, help and talk to people for months before finally working up the nerve to say hello and introduce myself.
So now I know that George’s real name is Dino. For someone as shy as me, that’s real progress.
I guess that brings me to me…
“Shy-Girl-Who-Seems-to-be-Talking-to-Herself”: For one thing I rarely speak to anyone, and honestly I should. These folks aren’t body beautiful muscle-heads, they’re YMCA members like me. In baggy sweat clothes, out there after work, trying to make positive changes in their lives. They aren’t scary and with the exception of Hoagie they’re not smelly either. They’re just normal people. But I’m like an island of one on my machines, perpetually plugged into my MP3 player and… when I noticed someone giving me a puzzled look tonight from the machine across the way, I finally realized that I’m lip synching along with whatever I’m listening to.
To the people who cannot hear what I’m hearing, I can only imagine how nuts that looks…
Monday, October 5, 2009
1987 - Jackie's Story
I grew up in the era of Guess jeans, Esprit sweaters and Tretorn sneakers (that had to be laced just so). The era of big socks and leggings with a huge sweater pulled over top. Remember that look? It gave even skinny girls the appearance of a gigantic Easter egg. My favorite huge sweater was dark pink and black in vertical stripes – I shudder just to think about how that must have looked, especially with my big 80’s hair and Madonna chic jelly bracelets.
At the time, though I wasn’t huge, I was huge for the era and look. The average girl around my age was at that time fighting to stay under 100 lbs. It was a serious status symbol if you could break into double digits on the scale.
I remember at one time I was hanging out at my best friend Jackie’s house and we got to talking about appearance. Jackie looked a lot like Tracey Ullman (in a cute way) and had what boys considered at the time to be the perfect body. She was tall and athletic, she ran regularly and played sports and she had a crazy orange hydrogen peroxide dye job (I still can’t believe we used to do that to our hair). She could walk into any of our favorite stores at the mall, put on anything and have it look fantastic on her as I looked on in supportive best friend envy.
In a fit of teenaged morbidity I asked her that day if she would kill herself is she weighed what I did. She considered it for a couple of moments, and then gave me an honest answer: yes, she would. I know how bad that sounds, but Jackie wasn’t being mean and she certainly wasn’t recommending I go home and swallow a handful of pills. She was simply answering me honestly, and I think even as she said it part of her realized how crazy the honest answer was. But that’s what it was like, that’s how much pressure she felt to keep her body perfect, to stay slim so that boys would notice her (because her parents certainly never did). No wonder she ran all the time – she was running away from not just social suicide but real suicide as well.
Of the two of us she’s really the one who deserved the pity, and I know that now. Yeah I was bummed and sad because boys found me invisible – but I was so young. As I’ve learned since then that kind of attention can wait. And when it comes for real it’s so much better than a pimply teenaged boy sweating on you at a roller rink. And the reason why I never got so dangerously desperate for their attention can entirely be attributed to my parent’s unconditional love for me. Yeah they encouraged me to try to get slimmer, but it was encouragement for my well being – not because they didn’t always love and accept exactly who and what I was. I will always be grateful to them for that.
I can’t stress this belief enough; when a father loves and cherishes his daughter he teaches her that she has every right to expect her future husband to cherish her. When she learns how valuable she is from the first man in her life – it sets her up to never, ever settle for anything less from other men as the years go by.
When a mother looks at her daughter with blind eyes to every single flaw and says to her “you are so beautiful” with every ounce of love in her heart, then that daughter knows it’s true, even if she’s an obnoxious teenager who wants attention by insisting otherwise.
I had that, and I’m pretty sure that Jackie didn’t. So though I was bummed about my social life, I much more importantly knew beyond a shadow of doubt that I was truly and safely loved at home. What did she have? All she had was the transient, flimsy attention of teenaged boys who had years to go before they’d even begin to start developing a clue about how to support a woman they love.
I think about Jackie now and wonder where and how she is – I hope she’s okay, and that she found someone who loves her regardless of whether her body is still perfect or not.
Sunday, October 4, 2009
Buffet in Zombieland
Previously; my Buffet brunch would look something like this:
Eggs scrambled with peppers, onion and sausage with bacon or scrapple on the side and French toast covered in butter and syrup, followed by soft serve ice cream covered in chocolate, caramel and mini M&M’s. Calorie total: 1,829 – an entire days worth of calories in a single meal.
My ‘healthy’ option with spinach salad topped with green olives, garbanzo beans, red pepper, mushrooms, mini corn and sunflower seeds covered in buttermilk ranch dressing. With chicken fingers and mashed potatoes with gravy on the side. Followed up by soft serve ice cream covered in chocolate, caramel and mini M&M’s. Calorie total: 2,059 – more calories than I should eat in an entire day.
And I’m not going to lie and say that I would skip dinner on Sunday brunch days. No… later Sunday night I’d generally be ready to go for a normal evening meal. Looking at these totals now it’s no wonder to me that I’ve wound up where I have.
Obviously things needed to change. And they needed to change with my being surrounded by the painful temptation of fatty, calorie laden foods at my fingertips. Planning in advance seems to be a good weapon for me, so the night before I logged into my Plate and pre-selected what Sunday morning brunch was going to be.
Today I had two scrambled eggs with sausage, pepper and onion. A side of cottage cheese with cranberry chutney and granola and a plentiful serving of pineapple chunks, red grapes and cantaloupe. Calorie total: 885 – obviously this is far better than what my norm used to be, but it still seems awfully high for a meal that felt like it was primarily fruit. The indulgence that put it over the top was the granola. I love granola and its good for me – but let’s face it; it’s a food that consists of high fat / high calorie oats and nuts that are glued together with honey. No wonder it’s so tasty.
In the future I need to replace it with a smarter option, thankfully I’ve got a week before this particular obstacle hits again to figure it out.
As I sat lingering over my fruit and watching my skinny husband polish off one of his bacon sandwiches (after his chicken fingers, mashed potatoes and bacon mushroom omelet mind you) I have to confess to feeling a certain resentment. I know this boils down to simple math; but why he can eat like that and still stay thin? Why does he never have to even consider his weight in great detail? It’s something that I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to really wrap my head around, or even have an answer for.
However the good news is that I survived brunch without overindulging.
Which brings me to Zombieland – the movie we saw afterward. Prior to seeing the film I had turned to my husband and said: “All this movie has to do – is deliver on what the preview promised. Lots of humor, and lots of zombie killing. And I’ll be a happy customer.”
Did it? Why yes, ladies and gentlemen – it surely did. It was a shotgun wielding, baseball bat swinging, piano dropping, car running over (twice) good time. I hate it when Hollywood preaches to me – but if they’d like to entertain me with a good old fashioned zombie smack down, I’m there. I haven’t laughed so hard at a film since Bruce Almighty (“I do da cha-cha like a sissy girl”).
Plus I couldn’t agree with Zombie survival rule #1 more: Cardio.
I can’t help but notice how much the actor Woody Harrelson reminds me of my brother Jack these days, especially in this particular movie. When I mentioned this to my friend Peter; he agreed that my brother does have a high Zombie-uprising survivability factor. He has power tools, and knows how to use them.
Apparently my perpetual video game playing Stepson would have a high Zombie-survivability rate as well due to good hand / eye coordination, weapons knowledge and a tendency to avoid other people. Who knew?
My own factor, alas, would be quite low – at least in my current state. Not only am I in bad shape but I’m way too social. All the more reason to keep on adhering to Rule #1 before the crazy mutant virus hits and begins turning the masses into shrieking hordes of shambling undead.
So… in summation for Sunday; Brunch is hazardous – but Zombieland rocks.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Dinner Off, Shopping & The Big Saturday Breakfast
The first is the Big Saturday Breakfast. My husband Ted and I like to sleep in on Saturdays. When we eventually rise, we enjoy meandering to the kitchen and cooking something together which we then enjoy as a family. Sometimes breakfast fajitas, sometimes scrapple, sometimes waffles. Either way it usually involves some form of egg and breakfast meat and is always pretty calorific.
How could I give that up?
I decided I couldn’t… so today after waking I described to Ted (my husband) what I wanted to do. By the time I arrived downstairs after my shower he had everything prepped, chopped and ready for me because he’s absolutely fantastic.
So here’s what I did…
In a teaspoon of butter; I sautéed up about a quarter of a sweet onion until it was slightly translucent and just beginning to caramelize. Then I added about half of a chopped, fresh tomato. I seasoned both at this point with salt and pepper. Then over the veggie mix I poured ONE scrambled egg. Just one – it was all that was needed to hold the mixture together like fabulous veggie glue.
The resulting pile was HUGE and very satisfying. When I tabulated it up on the Daily Plate it came to only 175 calories, so I added in a little round bread as well – bringing my Big Saturday Breakfast to a grand total of 275 calories. Sweet!
This technique of course is great with whatever vegetable you have on hand; mushrooms, spinach, asparagus – whatever you have and whatever you like. I particularly enjoy the fresh tomato with it because for some reason they combine fabulously with egg.
After that I went shopping with Teddi. As many people may tell you I’m not allowed to shop alone. Because I don’t. If left to my own devices I will wander three to five feet into a store, glance around halfheartedly and then decide that nothing inside will fit – and bam, I’m outta there. I will then happily wear the same clothing (usually in two to three sizes too large) until it has become rags and is practically falling off of my body. The only reason I went this time, is because a well meaning friend at work quietly told me it was time.
And she was right. My work pants are in such poor condition that the hems at the bottom are fraying open. Also a number of my sweaters are stained and one is so big that it looks like a misplaced circus tent. So off I went with my patient, resident shopper in tow and my husband’s blessing.
The good news is that I’m apparently wearing a size 22 in some brands, down from my top size of 28. The other good news is I don’t think I drove Teddi completely crazy, just possibly semi-crazy. She has the patience of a saint when it comes to finding me clothes.
At one point I stepped out of the dressing room in a really beautiful, light spring dress that was on clearance and announced to her across the crowded store “I feel naked.”
No… I really don’t sound these things out in my head before pronouncing them. Obviously.
And no… I didn’t buy it, though I probably should have, it was both lovely and flattering.
At any rate we both survived, and that brings me to… Dinner Off.
Dinner Off is a concept I find very important in this process. It basically refers to a single meal in an otherwise strictly low calorie day when I don’t count calories, don’t scrimp and simply don’t worry and think about weight loss – not for long, just a couple of hours.
Doing Dinner Off once a week isn’t a good idea. Doing it once every two or three months? Not a problem. And it keeps me sane. It makes me remember that hey, I can still go out and just enjoy food every now and then and not obsess over it. Quite frankly if I obsess all the time and at every meal my friends are going to kill me.
So I had a fabulous dinner off at an awesome Asian buffet… I celebrated the pan fried dumplings, the crab Rangoon, the sugared doughnuts, the Chinese barbeque chicken, the breaded shrimp and these fabulous little shrimp fritter thingies. All of it.
Afterward I feel thoroughly satisfied if perhaps a teeny bit stuffed; and I’m going to drop about 2,000 calories onto my Plate total for today – trying to figure it out piece by piece is an exercise in futility. I prepped for it in advance by otherwise only having my 275 calorie Big Saturday Breakfast, and did plenty of moving while we were out shopping for the afternoon. So the great thing is; I don’t even feel guilty.
Tomorrow I face my weekly challenge: The Sunday Brunch Buffet. Pray for me…
Friday, October 2, 2009
I need to start this out by saying that I have never in my life been hungry. Not truly hungry. I’ve never gone a day without food – not even fasting for religious reasons. Each day of my life I’ve acquired or been given enough food to sustain myself quite nicely, and in fact I’ve obviously sustained myself too much over the years. Out of respect for the millions of people who do suffer true hunger in this world on a daily basis, I just needed to state that and how grateful I am for what I have before I begin.
That being said, Weight Watchers is currently running a commercial that features an adorable, furry, orange Muppet like monster to represent hunger chasing a woman around to torment her. He looks like this:
I would like to humbly disagree with the fine folks at Weight Watchers’ assessment of what hunger looks like. From my perspective, this would be a lot more accurate:
Hunger is neither pretty, nor cute. And the simple truth of it is – as you loose weight you are going to live with it peering over (and possibly drooling on) your shoulder for awhile. If you’re like me and have a hundred pounds plus to remove – it’s going to be your companion for a good long time indeed. So you better take a close look at that ugly mug, and learn to love it.
Why is that?
Well the body wants to maintain a status quo – that’s how it’s built. Drastic changes generally aren’t so good for it, so it works in ways to keep them from happening. The metabolism isn’t like your brain, it can’t logically realize that oh, being lighter is better for my health in the long run and I’ll just shut off that hunger impulse for now. No, it’s going to fight to try to stay the way it is – and as you are losing weight you are taking in fewer calories than you need in a day so that you go to your storage lockers (those fat cells again) and burn them instead.
The result here is that your hunger is going to kick in. At first it’s going to kick in a lot. It’s going to try to get you to consume more calories so that you can stay the weight you are. Because in an ideal situation staying the weight you are is good for you.
This is why a lot of diets fail, because let’s face it – hunger sucks. All the ones that try to tell you you’re going to loose weight and never feel hungry? They’re lying to you. You’re going to feel hungry, and you’re going to have to learn to live with that at least while the weight loss process is occurring.
Okay, now that I’ve been depressing – here’s the upside… it won’t be forever. When you achieve your goal weight, you can start letting your body maintain itself as it should – which means you’ll no longer have a need for hunger. When you feel it now, when it’s getting big and ugly RIGHT in your face… remind yourself that it’s a temporary process. I guess sort of like Childbirth (not that I’ve ever done that) you’re having pain now, to achieve a positive goal for the future.
When you feel it gnawing inside of you try to picture tiny builders going in and gathering up all the reserved energy you’ve been storing – taking it out, and using it to build nice things for you like new skin, hair, fingernails… try to associate it with something positive. What you are feeling is your body rebuilding itself. It’s going to be a little painful, but ultimately it is good.
Okay, here it is; the truth…
I weigh 277 lbs. All right, I used to weigh 277 lbs. Since I made some changes three weeks ago I’ve lost a few, bringing me to 268 lbs. as of today.
But 277 is the truth I used to hide. I used to round it down to 250, and people bought 250 from me pretty easily. For one thing it’s still such a high number compared to a normal person that it was shocking enough to believe, and I felt myself very forward thinking indeed being willing to tell people my weight even though I was a fat girl. When you’re at least 100 lbs. overweight it all starts to be somewhat relative.
But I wasn’t really telling anyone the truth, I was lying to them and to me. I was rounding way down.
So there’s the truth, ugly though it may be. 34 years old, 277 lbs. to start with and stuck there for quite awhile. My routine of weekly gym visits, healthy foods (in overlarge quantities) and daily sugar / salt snack indulgences was perfect to keep me balanced at a way too big 277 lbs. for a very, very long time.
People would puzzle over me; my friends – aware of my healthy cooking proclivities, trips to the gym for cardio and weight lifting and never witness to my late night Oreo cookie binges, couldn’t fathom why I always stayed the same. They placed me in the category of unfortunates with unnaturally slow metabolisms and tried to reassure me with affirmations of how good I looked anyway and the phrase “you’re healthy – that’s all that matters.”
But it wasn’t true. There’s nothing wrong with my metabolism, and my appetite is indeed larger than normal, but that’s from years upon years of overfeeding it. Thankfully the mechanism that helps me feel sated and full never shut off, so that much at least is still working in my favor. It’s true that I’m solidly built and adequately muscular – but no amount of muscle can account for a woman weighing nearly 300 lbs. Bodybuilders don’t even weigh that much.
How did I get to that weight? It didn’t happen overnight, it was years upon years of slow training and apathy. It was years of dieting up and down, always trying and always failing. I can’t blame a slow metabolism and I can’t call myself big boned. I’m of average height for a woman, 5’ 7” tall with nice, even proportions. I’m even moderately pretty – with nice (if somewhat pale) skin, green eyes and dark gold hair that more or less does what I want it to. I spread all my weight out all over my body – which simultaneously makes me look slightly slimmer than I really am, and keeps me from suffering from any major health concerns as no one part of my body is taking on the strain. My blood pressure, cholesterol and sugar levels are all normal.
As of today, I have failed at 100% of the attempts I have made to get myself to a normal body weight.
That’s a really depressing sentence to look at, but it’s true. I’ve lost weight before but since it didn’t stay lost I can’t consider those attempts a success. I once did spectacularly well on one of those pre-subscribed, zero fat, food-in-a-box diets that pickled me in salt and in the end cost me an internal organ (buh-bye gall bladder). Turns out your body actually does need fat to be healthy. Go figure. And of course I did well, I didn’t have to think. All I had to do was slit open the box, microwave and (sort of) enjoy. But when my body started to fail for want of real food and I had to rejoin the real world of hard choices, the weight came back – with interest as always.
So what am I doing? I count calories. I do this because weight loss is truly a very simple mathematical equation: eat less of them than your body requires to function in a day, and it will quite naturally reach into its storage units (those would be your fat cells) and use up the reserve.
According to the tracking website I use to see what the heck I’ve been putting in my mouth (thanks Daily Plate) I can have about 2,000 calories a day and loose 2 to 3 lbs. per week. No offense to the Plate whatsoever, but I feel strongly that that number is too high – so my goal is to come in between 1,200 and 1,700 every day. Anything less than 1,200 is pretty much guaranteed to grind my metabolism to a screeching “stop starving yourself, idiot!” halt in protest. And anything more than 1,700 is an indulgence day. As in, hey Happy Birthday – have a slice of cake!
I stay conscious of things like fiber and protein – protein makes you feel fuller for longer and fiber is good to keep your inner workings working smooth. I stay conscious of fat, yes – you need some, but really not very much. I stay conscious of sodium (currently it’s my demon, I can’t seem to come in under my recommended daily allotment of the stuff for anything). I stay conscious of sugar and aware that I suffer from a profound addiction to it and cravings for it. I drink about eight glasses of water per day. Doctors keep going back and forth on the actual health benefits of that, but I figure it’s easy – and it can’t hurt.
I don’t eat much meat. About one serving of animal protein a day, on average. I have nothing against meat – as an omnivore my body is designed to digest, run well from it, and thoroughly enjoy it. But it has a calorie and fat cost that’s usually higher than what I want to pay. In other words, if I eat less meat – I can eat more of other stuff. I like to eat, so more for me is better.
Lastly but most importantly, I pray about this. One thing I know for absolutely certain is that my willpower is utterly inadequate to this task. If I’ve done one thing, it’s prove that to myself in great detail.
So why am I going to succeed this time when I’ve failed every other time? I honestly don’t know. I just sort of woke up one day and realized; it’s time.