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, December 20, 2013

I Fail At Christmas

I know there are people who enjoy shopping. They say this enjoyment stems from our ancient hunter/gatherer instincts, but I seem to have been born without the gatherer gene. Since I strongly suspect I’d make a lousy hunter as well, I probably would have been one of those tribe members who just got left behind to starve because they were useless. Which may be why my body is evolved to be so very calorie efficient.

I despise shopping. I despise it so much that it’s starting to ruin Christmas for me. If I’m not stressing over what to get someone then I’m stressing over my financial situation or worrying about who might unexpectedly get me a present when I failed to reciprocate whether out of a lack of resources or a simple inability to come up with or find something that might make a good gift in return.

I’m not even a good gift receiver. Due to my inability to shop well in return when someone hands me a thoughtful present I mostly just squirm inside, casting a light over my own desperate inadequacy in this department.

When I enter a store, whatever I am searching for magically vanishes into the ether. My husband, who is a highly skilled shopper, has even noticed this effect. If he goes out alone he can quickly locate whatever he is looking for, usually on sale, but if I come with him then the two of us shuffle endlessly between stores as the black cloud of my bad shopping Karma lingers over us erasing whatever we are looking for from consumer existence. If I’m shopping online it’s out of stock and will be backordered for months (assuming it ever becomes available again). Since finances are always tight I can never even begin most of my shopping until I receive my holiday bonus at work, which always occurs (as it did this year) five days before Christmas. This leads to days like today where the entire day is spent sitting in traffic, searching for parking, dodging cars trying to run me over in parking lots, wandering for aimless hours in stores until I finally concede that I am never going to find what I’m looking for and ask a beleaguered sales associate for help. Then of course I find out that whatever I’m looking for is out of stock / only available via their website / they’ve never even heard of that before.

The end result of which is me sobbing in my car in the parking lot while other shoppers hurry quickly past trying very hard not to notice the woman having an ugly cry in a semi-public place. Hey, at least I made it to the car before breaking down.

Of course, making it home and realizing I was so busy feeling sorry for myself that I quite simply forgot the last stop I was supposed to make at the grocery store doesn’t really make anything much better.

Lastly, after having begged not to be left alone with any of the Christmas chocolates that people insist on giving us during the holidays, I found myself left alone with them anyway and may or may not have binge-ate about 700 calories worth before stopping. It was one of those times that my anger and frustration over what is, essentially, the eating disorder that I live with led me to understand why some might be sorely tempted to just go into the bathroom and quickly reverse the problem.

If I could somehow untangle this horrendous, consumer driven shopping requirement from a holiday that is supposed to be spent celebrating the joyous birth of Jesus Christ I would gladly give back every Christmas present I have ever received.


Status Update: 1.2 lbs. lost, 47 lbs. total

So… this past week.

I’m closing in on the 50 lb. mark and it doesn’t feel all that long ago that I was complaining over it seeming to take forever to reach 40 lbs. – so that’s a good thing. In another seven or so I get another set of pictures as I am having Ted take a set of me in the same poses and outfit every twenty pounds down. I’m not ready to share them yet, right now they’re just for me, but I’ll probably make some sort of incredible shrinking me gif out of them eventually.

People who didn’t already know I was attempting to lose weight have started to notice that I look different – so that’s another good thing. The fact that I’ve started collecting some clothes that fit probably helps.

The best I suppose is that I feel I’m back on track after my Thanksgiving/Birthday derailment, I was very afraid at that point that I’d run out of steam, but I continue to progress.

I can feel myself getting stronger during my workouts, able to do more for longer while still feeling in control of my movements. However it’s obvious that the next piece of fitness equipment I need to invest in is a really good sports bra. I’d like to transition to some higher impact stuff, but when I do there’s a lot of pain and awkwardness when the gigantic (and totally useless) flesh globes attached to my chest slam around. When I’m jogging I actually fold my arms over my front to try and hold them in place. There’s got to be a better way. I’m really not a fan of my huge boobs. They’re so… not streamlined. Meh.

In my weekly class a genius fellow member gave me THE BEST line to give when someone is trying to push holiday food on me that’s not on my plan, I actually used it this week at work. A well-meaning guy was trying hard to convince me to take a piece of the Godiva chocolates he was giving out as he walked around the office, and after my polite, “no thank you” failed to work – I said the following:

“I really can’t, I’m allergic to those. They make me break out in fat.”

Meryl was right, works like a danged charm!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

MY BODY IS BACK! (Er... where did it go?)

Last night Ted and I were on the pre-snowfall bread and milk run (not really, I just needed yogurt and we were out on date night. Date night after eleven years of marriage involves grocery store side trips) and I saw the below magazine cover while we were waiting in the checkout line:

I think this is one of the Cardassian folk who are famous for… er… something I’m not aware of. She’s extremely pretty, and has a figure I certainly would love to have.

My confusion is over the words on the cover: “MY BODY IS BACK!” Was she existing as a disembodied head for the last couple of months and everyone failed to notice? (Holy American Horror Story, Batman!)

Obviously the implication is that she used to be (probably slightly) heavier and now that she’s thinner she once again possesses a body whereas she er, I guess didn’t possess one… before. This leads me to wonder, what is it that fat people have below their necks if not bodies?

People really need to think before they say this stuff.

Also right below the big, strange headline the magazine states that she slams “fat bullies” and yeah, the fact that she was bullied for her appearance just stinks. Whoever she is, whoever you are, nobody deserves bullying for ANY body shape or size. And how is she “getting revenge” by apparently putting her body into the shape that her bullies were telling her she should? She basically just did as they told her to, didn’t she?

All that matters is: does her body look and feel the way SHE wants it to? If it’s this way, then cool (like I said, it’s an awesome body) but if it’s another way then that should be totally cool too – whether that other way is heavier, thinner, or well… whatever she wants. It’s hers and hers alone.

If I ever wind up on a magazine cover for reaching my goal weight (highly doubtful, but who knows) I will never say something like: “MY BODY IS BACK!” For one thing I’ve been fat since I was twelve and I’ve managed to successfully not lose track of my body the whole time, in fact I presume it will actually get less easy to locate as it grows smaller.

No, my title will read: “I ALTERED THE WAY MY BODY LOOKS FOR PERSONAL REASONS!” Because it’s simple, honest, and the truth. I didn’t even do it to save my life or my health, my health was good when I started and I very nearly lost my good health by trying something too drastic. I simply did not like the way it looked. And that’s more than enough of a reason.

I think this cover should read: “I AM CONTENT WITH THE WAY I LOOK NOW AND I DON’T CARE WHAT ANYONE ELSE THINKS!” Because hopefully it’s true, and it would be a refreshingly empowering thing to see a woman say.

Friday, December 13, 2013

A Scientific Perspective on Weight Control

I may be many things, but although I do quantify myself as intelligent I'm no scientist.  I am, however, friends with brilliantly science-minded folk who are conveniently also well spoken, well written, and willing to write intriguing guest posts for me discussing the science of weight loss and gain.

To that end, I present my friend Charles and his assessment of human biology with regards to thermodynamics and the conservation of energy (thank you, Charles!)


In every discussion of diet or weight control I see, someone implies it's just a matter of calories in minus calories out; if more calories go out than in, then fat will disappear. To someone who knows nothing of science, this sounds like science. I've heard it referred to as a law of thermodynamics; actually it's the law of conservation of energy. If one attempts to apply it to diet and fitness, one demonstrates one has no understanding of science. While calories in - calories out is a law of physics, it is about as relevant to human diet and exercise as saying runners gain weight due to relativistic mass increase as they approach the speed of light. It's true, but flat-out dumb. It's irrelevant in practice when describing humans because neither variable is measurable. The calorie labelling is barely relevant to what an individual body absorbs, and calorie figures for exercise applied to individuals are laughable. (Even a relatively simple exercise like walking; imagine how much terrain or gait difference would influence calories required for movement.)

To make any kind of scientific measurement of calories in - calories out, you would need to not only burn the food in a calorimeter, but the excretions. You would need to have the individual live and exercise in a calorimeter during the experiment, and you would need to (impossibly) burn the individual to ash in a calorimeter both before and after the experiment to measure changes in their bodies. Fat is certainly not the only potential change, nor the only calorie-relevant one.

Calories in - calories out is probably repeated with the intent of being an encouraging idea, but I doubt it's encouraging now if it ever was. There's too much access to estimated values, which never include any uncertainty data. People follow what they imagine is a scientific system, and it doesn't have any actual predictive value because it was never science.




As a brief afterword, what my friend wrote above puts me in mind of the fact that I can easily check three different online calculators to try and find out how many calories I've burned for my height, weight, age and gender for a 45 minute, 4 mph walk and get as a result: 232 calories, 420 calories, and 556 calories. I hate that. How am I supposed to accurately stay within my desired calorie regimen for the day when it's impossible to say how much I'm burning via workouts? So frustrating.

I had been giving thought to purchasing a heart rate monitor watch that supposedly tracks my calorie burn for an entire day after I've input my biometrics and it monitors my heartbeats and steps taken, but now I'm seriously wondering if such devices are not a waste of money.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Status Report: 2.8 lbs. lost, 45.8 lbs. total

Good news: everything hurts!

Okay I exaggerate, my face feels fine (aside from the humungous zit I’ve sprouted, what is up with that?)

Pretty much everything else though, is sore. It’s the good sore of a good workout, the kind that usually fades in a day or two. Thing is, since I work out almost every day there’s not much down time for healing. There’s probably a flaw in that plan somewhere, but I find it nearly impossible to stay at my calorie goal of around 1,200 per day without a workout to burn some off. I can carve my appetite down to eating around 1,400 to 1,500 but I can’t seem to get any lower than that – so that extra three or four hundred I keep scarfing has to come off somehow.

In the other good news department: I achieved the goal I set for myself last week of chipping off the two pounds I managed to hork down over Thanksgiving and my Birthday – SCORE!

I always put my weekly and total weight loss up there but I rarely mention how much I actually weigh. I figure it doesn’t matter that much, but this is sort of a milestone so I’m going to mention it.

I began at 290 lbs. and as of today I’m 244. This means that I’m officially closer to 200 than I am to 300.

Small steps, small accomplishments, big goals.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Status Report: 2 lbs. gained, 43 lbs. total

It's really hard for me to face this setback, and to make matters worse I'm having a lot of difficulty regaining control. Thanksgiving immediately followed by my birthday was a one two punch that I need to find a way to recover from. That's why this status report is two days late.

So I'm going to let my husband Ted (also my coach and my biggest fan) speak for me via a message he sent me this morning, because he is absolutely right:

"I just read your most recent blog post.

It's good... it's just that I was looking for a status update. You need to write the update from this week. Your readers deserve to (and need to) hear about your set backs as well as successes. This blog is about the LONG Road, not the easy road. I know it will be hard to admit you gained 2 pounds... but you must tell the truth. It's just good and ethical journalism.

I love you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-Bee honest"

Note: Fail Snail was not part of the email that Ted sent me.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

I miss you, Marion Ravenwood

In 1981, Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark was released. It featured a character played by Karen Allen who became such a fan favorite as Indy’s leading lady that when she re-appeared, twenty-seven years later in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, the audience with which I watched the movie spontaneously burst into exuberant applause.

Marion Ravenwood was strong, funny, sensibly dressed, intelligent and a true adventurer. She could wield a mean frying pan and drink just about anybody under the table. There’s a scene in Lost Ark where Indy shows up to rescue her just as she’s finishing up rescuing herself. Notably, she also pretty much looked like somebody you might know in real life: the adorable, sporty, quirky girl who everybody wanted to be friends with in college.

A day or two ago, Ted and I were watching Scrooged, a 1988 Christmas movie in which Karen Allen also played a lead. Such a different role from Marion that it starkly highlighted what a versatile actress she is. I also saw her play Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie with a remarkably fragile quality in comparison to the action heroism she’s capable of.

As we watched, and I mentioned that there aren’t any actresses like Karen working today (talented, endearing, but normal looking ones).  Ted commented that if Indiana Jones were being cast for the first time today the role of Marion would probably be played by someone like Megan Fox.

It is no longer enough to simply be average pretty or cute. Successful, non-comedic actresses today are expected to be nothing less than preternatural in their level of beauty.

Yes, there is what I refer to as the “chubby funny girl exception”. This consists of Melissa McCarthy and Rebel Wilson and… well, actually they’re the only two I can think of. They’re both lovely women, but since they are sized like the average American they are relegated to having comedic value in movies and sit-coms rather than getting to play a leading lady.

Case in point: Wonder Woman was just cast (to play a supporting role in an upcoming film about Batman and Superman… *snort*) and the woman playing her is a former model and beauty queen. Not having ever seen her on film I can’t speak to whether or not she’s a good actress – although I am confident that she is good at her job having won the role – all I can say I know about her is that she’s very, very, very beautiful.

For a Superhero that’s pretty expected, all the actors who play them are phenomenal looking people. But as actresses like Karen Allen fade from Hollywood and are only replaced by one specific appearance, I wonder what other talent we are missing out on by being denied the sight of someone up on that big, glittering screen who actually looks like they might belong out in the audience too?

It makes me very sad.