Monthly Archives: December 2012

Broken Records…

So I grew up in a house but as I graduated college, my mother downsized and became an apartment dweller. When this happened, years of my life were moved to a storage facility. Today I was in storage, consolidating, sorting, moving things around, etc and discovered several old journals.

In more than one of these journals I saw countless entries about starting a new diet, losing weight, getting fit and so on and so on. I immediately felt discouraged because I thought damn woman you are just a never ending broken record. How many diets have I started to only end up heavier than before? How many fitness vows? Journals full of my weight loss struggle left me feeling a lot of shame and for a short while I started down the path of “what am I doing? this is only going to end like last time, I’m a failure.”

But then I thought about what I had really written in those journals, and more importantly, what isn’t written in those journals. So many of those entries are about losing weight for a show, to get into grad school, to take a trip, impress a boy/man, prove to someone else that I am good enough. No where in those journals do I admit to an improper relationship with food, I never use the word addiction, I don’t talk about health or surviving. All of my previous attempts have been connected to an external short term goal. So once the event happened or passed, or I was dumped, the drive or *need* to lose weight went with it.

So now I am interested in breaking new records: getting to my goal weight, being the lowest weight I have been as an adult, improving my cardiovascular health, staying on the elliptical for more than 20 minutes, running for like more than 5 minutes. I don’t want to come back to this blog in a year or two only to find I have given up on my goals. I want to finish what I start. FOR ME. Not for a man or a wedding or Jamaica or a big deal something or other I’m going to attend. Will being healthy and feeling good at those things, in those places, or on a date feel good? Heck yes. But those are rewards and not the goal.

So that’s part of why I am here instead of on the pages of a journal that only I will see. You will know if I stop writing, you will know if I fall of the wagon, go off program, cave to the self-loathing that haunts me. I know you don’t know me, most of you don’t know my name. I don’t intend to post photos. But even if you’re not there, I pretend you are because it makes me accountable. Because this time I cannot fail.

Thank you for reading.

PS After writing this blog, I got word that a dear friend’s mother had a stroke. She had a brain hemorrhage due to high blood pressure. My friend’s mother is stable now, but this news was frightening. In 2001 I developed PIH (pregnancy induced hypertension), I never had high blood pressure before I was pregnant, but I haven’t been rid of it since. So you see, this time I cannot fail.

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A Blog for Christmas

So right after the holidays millions decide it’s time to lose weight. Gym memberships soar. Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers see their membership numbers increase exponentially. Me, I decide the week BEFORE Christmas to get serious about what I’m putting in my mouth, and even more serious about the thoughts in my head. In doing so, I have really started to identify triggers and my particular compulsions.

Allow me to share two Christmas tales.

Tomorrow I’m going to a relative’s for a big family gathering & meal. In preparation, I asked about the menu. For me that’s a first. In the past I’ve just shown up and eaten some of everything (except stuffing, that I don’t do). Well turns out there aren’t any sound choices on deck for the holiday buffet. So who’s brown baggin’ Christmas dinner? This lady. I’d rather just pack food I know I can and will eat AND enjoy, than sit there starving, cranky, or binge and feel guilty. So hey, victory for me.

It came at the cost of: feeling a bit like a special dietary project, admitting that I am consciously aware of and being mindful of what I’m eating these days, and the risk of insulting the host. These things have caused me great shame in the past. Shame that I am no longer interested in. So my fit and trim host will have to forgive, though I’m not apologizing for, my desire to not gorge on cheesy carbs and fatty meats.

I say no to letting shame or embarrassment cause me to do what I know is unhealthy for me.

Story number two.

Out with family tonight at a restaurant that I did not choose I became increasing frustrated because the nutrition information wasn’t available. I’m on my smart phone and scrutinizing the menu trying to find the one thing I *can eat. I was so frustrated, my inner four year old monster stomped her foot and screamed “fine, I just won’t eat!” And while my family ordered a deep dish pizza I sulked and sipped my diet coke. And then it hit me, I’m afraid of food. I’m.Afraid.Of.Food. The solution for me was to just not eat. That’s not any more healthy than eating everything. I realized that this is why diets don’t work and that I’m not in this to exchange one bad habit for another but to make serious changes in my relationship to food. So I put on my big girl drawls, and opened the menu again. I found a salad and small appetizer that I could eat without with minimal guilt.

In the real world I’ll be faced with temptation everyday. Saying no to a brownie makes perfect sense (not in a logical way but in a sensible adult trying to lose weight sort of way), but I have to eat. So I have to feel empowered to make smart choices even if the calorie count isn’t listed or I don’t know how many grams of fat are in a dang on thing. I can’t be afraid of food. I am the only one empowered to empower myself.

So see, I’m learning. It’s still early. Tomorrow hasn’t happened. But I am teachable.

Thanks for reading.

To Have Lost and Still Feel Behind

I should feel some pride in my accomplishment. And I am proud. But I’m also disappointed that I let it get this far, that I got this heavy. So I know I promised myself a clean slate, no worries about coulda shoulda woulda beens, but starting from here and working my way down. So I’m thankful for a 7 pound loss, just scared that unless I keep up the work this loss, like all the others over the last decade will be meaningless. How do I abate the fear that I will fail again? Am I more committed now than I was then? Did I flip a magic switch? Nope.

Today I stayed on program. Today I stayed clean. I’m a recovering addict with 8 days sober. And I don’t say that mockingly or lightly. I have triggers. I have a habit that can’t be kicked cold turkey (pun possibly intended). I know some think fat people are just lazy and lack self-control. I won’t argue that that isn’t true of me, but I will say that I didn’t get fat because I am lazy or lack self-control. I am actually quite self-possessed, in a way a lot of addicts learn to be. Just like some one who might use drugs or alcohol or gambling or sex, I use food to deal with shit; to feel numb or full or ecstatic. And I’ve learned to mask it. So yes, now I am lazy, at nearly 300lbs it’s hard to feel motivated to get off my ass. And yes, the downward spiral of addiction hits terminal velocity, masking it is just no longer possible. This is my life and I’m seriously fighting for it.

I can’t abate the fear.

I can only face it.

One day at a time.

So whether I lost 7 pounds or 0 this week is less important than the fact that I took control, made sensible choices, accepted responsibility for my actions, and didn’t fall off the wagon (and into a bowl of ice cream or box of cheese-its or a funfetti chocolate cake).

 

Thanks for reading.

Why is fat funny?

Several questions came up for me this week:

Why is movie theatre popcorn the most impossible thing to get an accurate calorie count for in the world? All the websites I am looking at give conflicting information.

How on Earth is a 1/4 cup of Alfredo sauce enough to adequately cover a cup of Fettuccine? These are the listed single serving sizes that I have clearly ignored for the entirety of my life.

How come the Tall at Starbucks looks like the kids Jr. Frosty cup at Wendy’s when in fact all standard commuter mugs hold the same 12ozs of fluid?

How come on WW the are no free proteins?

But the big question is why is fat funny. Now don’t get me wrong, I think Cedric the Entertainer is charming, witty, cute and hella hella funny. I have also been known to cut up a bit myself, but as a general rule how does this works.

I saw The Hobbit this week, and (no spoilers here) the fat dwarf was the butt of the jokes, the scape goat. Paul Blart, mall cop. Nell Carter. Drew Carey (who is out of work since losing weight). Melissa McCarthy, the ONLY actor in ALL of Hollywood to get more work by getting fatter. These talents and many more have become the staple side kids, the butt of jokes, the unrequited lovers, the blundering idiots and would be heroes.

Rebel Wilson…hilarious...case in point, she had to halt her weight loss efforts to film Pitch Perfect

But why are their follies funny. If they somehow fit the standard of beauty would we still laugh?

I don’t have an answer. It was merely an observation. But I am kinda over it. I’m over fat, or rail thin, or odd shapen noses, or differently abled bodies being the butt of jokes.

Just realized I’m a hoarder

SO Saturday morning I sat down to type a blog post about my food victory of the night before. I didn’t finish it before I had to get going for the day so I saved the draft to be posted later. And now as I come back to it, the thrill of the moment in gone. Last night I fell off the wagon. Off the wagon, into a bush. Into a bush right out side of Taco Bell.

So now let me preface a few things as I recount the evenings in question:

I am a professional storyteller. In order to have stories to tell, I must spend time with people, observe them, speak with them, hear their stories. In short, I am social. The twist is I am also an introvert. As a result of my childhood (referenced in earlier post), I have come to rely on food to get me through social situations. I hang around the buffet table at parties, grabbing chips here and there, snagging an extra chicken wing or 3 when I suspect no one is watching. After a show, when friends want to get a drink, I propose someplace that is still serving food because I am feeling “peckish.”

And so Friday night, following a show, we found ourselves at a restaurant/bar and I did something I never do. I shared food. Now of course I’ve shared an appetizer or desert here or there but other than with my daughter, I’ve not shared an entree with another adult while out at a restaurant. We have perhaps ordered to meals to split, or I have finished their food in addition to my own. But sit down, order one thing and split it. This was a first. This revealed to me that I have deep anxiety about being hungry. My friends suggest we share, and I think “I am going to still be hungry” even in the absence of hunger. I am a hoarder. I hoard food inside my body. How awful is that. How CRAZY is that. I’ve never experienced famine, or the great depression, or lack of food for more than an uncomfortable few hours. So why am I anxious that I don’t know when I’ll eat again, or where my next meal will come from? Well anyway, on Friday night I get this wake up call and so I share and it was perfect. I was fulfilled, I was being social, friends were drinking merrily and I was so proud of myself.

Then Saturday strikes. Ya know what I do? I go all day on two bananas and a black tea so when 5pm rolls around I of course believe I am starving to death (I’ll remind you I weigh 298 at last count – I won’t be starving for sometime). So all the fast food lights are tempting me, calling my name, and like the addict I am I can’t resist. BUT my intentions were soooooo good. I was going to go to Taco Bell, make a healthy choice, like one of their new Cantina Bowls (w/o dressing), and continue feeling good about my lifestyle changes. I order the XXL Nachos. It just came out of my mouth, it wasn’t even what I wanted. The food came, and I was miserably disappointed. With myself, with the presentation of my food, with the taste. So I picked at it, feeling the guilt and shame of eating a 1200 calorie nacho platter intended for at least 2 people. I couldn’t finish it. I threw it out, then order the Cantina Bowl I came for in the first place. Problem is, I don’t know how to add up the calories for a partially eaten nacho tray. I don’t know how many chips went in my mouth or in the trash. So now I just feel like I’m eating two meals, the nachos and the bowl. I wanted an immediate do-over but the nachos calories were in, couldn’t reset the counter, but I was convinced “I’d still be hungry” cause I had thrown a fair portion of the meal out.

I am glad for the experience of Friday and Saturday nights because my food anxiety is coming to light. More than insatiable hunger (which is what I’ve convinced myself and others to believe for so long), it’s an OCD type behavior. I’ve known I was this way with beverages for years (that is for another – perhaps shorter blog post), I thought food was different, but now I see the behavior pattern is remarkable similar.

Today I’ll try to eat only to satisfy the hunger/needs of the moment and know that the next meal will come.

Thank you for reading.

the day you never think will come

Many years ago I recall telling a friend, “If I ever hit 300lbs, I’ll kill myself.” This morning I step on the scale to find I weigh 298.2.

1.8 lbs away from the day I never thought would come. I love my life, I love my friends, my family. I have a career that I am passionate about and a bright and talented daughter who means the entire world to me. I couldn’t imagine leaving her without a mother, I couldn’t imagine taking my own life because I have reached an arbitrary number on the scale.

But the truth is, every day I climb closer and closer to 300lbs, I am taking my own life. Not because 300 is some magic or tragic number, but because I feel more joint pain in my knees, experience more back spasms, because my mobility decreases with each pound that I add to my body. The heart palpitations, shortness of breath, and the convincing feeling that I have probably already suffered a mini-stroke.

Now I feel like I have been on one never ending diet since I was 12. I remember taking slim-fast to school in a thermos along with carrot sticks when I was in 7th grade. I don’t want to be on a diet anymore. I don’t want to feel somehow different because I can’t eat like a “normal” person. But I don’t want to gain another 1.8lbs either.

It is not a new year’s resolution, or a competition or challenge. I want to live. So if I wake up on morning and the scale has reached or tipped 300lbs, I won’t kill myself, but I am going to stop killing myself today. I love my life and choose to live it and maximize its potential by making better choices.

Being honest about the my problem is hopeful the first step.