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, November 14, 2014

Packing on the Pounds

Think about that phrase for a moment.  What does it do to you?  Does some part of you inwardly cringe when you hear it?  When it’s applied to a person, what do you think of that person?

I really dislike the phrase, “pack on the pounds.”

It crops up often in news media.  Gossip magazines will squeal with delight over celebrities who have gained a little weight, possibly because they’ve had a baby or some other silly little life altering event, screaming out headlines like: “so-and-so is visibly fatter, they’ve really packed on the pounds!”

The other place I frequently notice it buried is in articles about the obesity “epidemic” or how life changes and the passage of time can cause our body weight to increase.  For example articles that say things like, “women over 40 can really pack on the pounds,” or, “after women get married, they really let themselves go and pack on the pounds.”

The phrase itself brings to mind something I used to do on the beach as a child.  I would sit in the sand and pack it all around me until my legs and the lower half of my body was encased in it.  Then if I’d struck water in one of the holes I had dug, I’d make dribble castles all over my thighs.  I did this because the sand felt cool and good and because it was fun – I was packing on the sand all around myself.

Here’s why I have a problem with it in regards to weight gain: “packing on the pounds” implies an intentional, deliberate action.  I was deliberately packing sand around my body because it was fun, and using the phrase with regards to weight says that the person doing it is trying as hard as they can to gain as much weight as they can.  It brings to mind mental images of people gleefully grabbing up globby, greasy handfuls of fat and smacking them onto their own thighs and stomach in an effort to see just how big they can intentionally make themselves.

With very few exceptions, people don’t gain weight on purpose.  Most of us don’t even fully realize when it’s happening.

I got up to 290 lbs. very gradually over the course of thirty-some years.  Even though I’ve been suffering from binge eating disorder since I was around twelve or thirteen (I think it began around the time I began my first calorie restrictive dieting effort) I have never put on weight very quickly.

Since I journal everything I eat I now have a good working knowledge of how many calories a lot of foods contain, but I believe that most people do not.  A single tablespoon of butter or mayonnaise contains 100.  A tablespoon of olive oil is 120.  On top of that, when someone is eyeballing a portion instead of measuring, they don’t really have a clear understanding of just how small a tablespoon or even a cup of something actually is.  It is not difficult to gain weight in a culture of convenience food and vehicular travel, and you don’t have to be a lazy glutton to make it happen. A few high energy food choices or a single cup of full fat hot chocolate a day is more than adequate to do the trick.

Pervasive and negative language choices like this are another facet that I believe contributes to fat hatred and bias in the United States.  Much like my previous post about the way overweight actors are used and portrayed, this is another subtle negativity that works its insidious way into people’s brains.  It teaches us to see a fat stranger or even a friend who’s gained some weight and automatically think, “woah – they’ve really packed on the pounds!”

It implies deliberate self-neglect, a slovenly nature, and lack of care for personal health that is in most cases both unfair and untrue.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Coming Clean

The reason there have not been steady status updates in a while is because it has now been officially a quarter of a year (three months) since I lost any significant weight.  I’m not gaining, I’m holding steady at around a 75 lb. loss.  I go up a pound, I lose two, I gain three, I lose one a week for two weeks, I gain one, etc. etc. ad infinitum.

I’m not quite ready to call it a day and decide that life at just over 200 lbs. is good enough, but I also haven’t yet cracked the code for shedding that final 45 to achieve my goal weight.  After losing as much as I have, it feels tantalizingly close, and yet as stubbornly slow as my metabolism has become it also feels endlessly out of reach at the same time.

Sometimes I’m highly motivated for three or four days at a time, sometimes I’m spending three or four days firmly wedged back in my old habits.  The problem is half metabolic slowdown due to extended starvation conditions, and half a motivational loss.

I haven’t found the secret to getting back on track, but I am glad that I’m maintaining and protecting the investment of all the work I’ve done so far.

If anybody has a suggestion for getting things moving again, I am all ears.