Tag Archives: childhood obesity

New Blog Post – “Just like riding a bike”

I’ve been thinking about this blog a lot, and what it means to be a blogger. I decided early on that this wasn’t going to be a place for recipes or before and after photos, I thought this would keep me accountable. I assumed that with an audience present, I would stay focused on fat loss because I wouldn’t want to deal with the embarrassment of failure (which as we know is what happens with most diets). But as it turns out, I don’t need this blog to remain accountable. This task hasn’t kept me honest or prevented me from eating donuts. I EAT donuts, but I’ve also lost over 60 pounds since I joined Weight Watchers last December. I’ve done the work, with plenty of difficult, frustrating, and down right bad weeks, but I’ve done the work. So if the blog isn’t about accountability, what is it for?

I do not intend to post reviews of consumer products or other weight loss trends/fads. I’m not a doctor and can’t provide actual health recommendations. I’m just a story teller who can occasionally craft a meaningful (possibly heartfelt) narrative. I can rant and rave and share my point of view. I can yell down a well. So the truth is this blog may only be self-gratifying, a glorified journal of sorts. But it has been an important part of my journey. I’ve written and shared things that I needed to say out loud. I don’t know the responsibility of the blogger and I know there are a bazillion weight loss blogs, possibly of greater substance, but I like it here. So on with the show.

I feel compelled to share a few fears that have come to the forefront of my thoughts recently. The first is that I am afraid to ride a bike. I know HOW to ride, I’m just afraid to ride again. I learned to ride a bike when I was 7 or 8. I remember my parents got me a blue BMX for Christmas and the training wheels came off that same day as I obsessively tried again and again to hold myself upright on the bike. I most certainly lost hours of my childhood to dirt bike adventures and earned my share of scraped knees and punishments for unauthorized ventures beyond my two block riding radius. But now I think I’m just too fat and I won’t have the core strength to maintain my balance. I’m afraid to fall. I’m afraid to try. So what do you do when riding a bike isn’t “just like riding a bike”? What if I fail?

Number two fear – and this one may actually just be ridiculous – running. I am afraid to run. Again, I feel to heavy. Like what if I crush my little leg bones because of all this weight? What if my lungs burst from the burn of exertion? Or what if my heart rate just gets to high and I collapse? My rational self knows these are petty fears. I won’t crush my legs, hell they’ve been carrying me around for a long while now and didn’t cry mercy 60lbs ago, I think they are in it for the long haul. And here’s a really neat trick, if my lungs or heart or ankle or head hurts too much, I can STOP. I can go back to walking, or catch my breath, or text my mom 911.

So I’m actively trying to alleviate this fear. I have started Couch to 5k, and I’m still much closer to the couch than running a 5k, but I’m jogging is spurts and I’m not dead yet. So about this bike riding, I’m trying to imagine the worst that could reasonably happen. Say I fall from the oh so steep height of my bike (and yes I do actually own a bike), that’s only a mere 5 feet 4 inches (my wee little height). I won’t even humor the thought of auto accidents because well that wouldn’t be #winning.

So like when I was 7, what if I just committed to the task until I mastered it and then the figurative training wheels could come off. I think back to starting this blog because I thought I would fail without it, but turned out I didn’t need it for that. And for every bad day or week I’ve had trying to lose weight, I haven’t given in to the fear that I couldn’t ultimately get it done. So I’m prob not gonna drag my bike down a flight of stairs and hop on tonight, but hey I might. But certainly, very soon. The beauty in the revelation of these fears is that I have a desire to conquer them.

Thanks for reading.

I borrowed this from the mode knit blog (http://modeknit.com/2011/09/)

I borrowed this from the mode knit blog (http://modeknit.com/2011/09/)

No, I’m not Tongan, I’m just fat

So as I disclosed in my previous post, I watch a lot of NBC’s The Biggest Loser. I recently finished season 7 again and am now on season 9 again (I watched season 8 last week – my daughter and I re-watch seasons based on the contestants we like/don’t like, so we don’t watch in order). If you’ll recall, season 7 is when we were introduced to the contestants Felipe and Sione. These guys are Tongan cousins and were so concerned about the trend/tradition of obesity in their culture. In season 9 of TBL another set of Tongan cousins, Koli and Sam, shared these same concerns.

 

Ok OMLD, your point? Well here’s the thing, since I was an adolescent, I have been asked if I was Tongan or Samoan. I am *sure that part of the reason for the question has to do with my skin tone or hair or some ethnic marker. I think more than anything though, I was asked because I’m fat. I am not Tongan or Samoan, I’m just fat. I have wondered though, what it would be like to grow up in a household, or community, or even culture where I wasn’t ostracized for my size. Where I look like the women in my family. Where I am not the fat sibling. Where my plate at family functions is not policed. Of course, I know, “the grass is always greener.” I don’t presume that people in cultures where largeness is accepted have it easy, clearly Felipe, Sione, Sam, and Koli wouldn’t have appeared on TBL, but here’s the thing (and in telling you the thing, I will reveal certain identifying markers – “O brave new world…”), it sucks being different from your family. It sucks feeling like an alien in a place that you call home, where love and acceptance should abound.

 

Now to be clear, my mother (she is my natural mother) and I are the same nationality, American; we share some ethnic heritage, English, Irish, Scottish; but we are not the same race, she is white, I am black. The standard of beauty for her race is in many many ways not the standard of beauty for mine. Not to generalize, or over simplify, but certain physical attributes are more accepted in the black community. My mother didn’t grow up in the black community. She grew up with icons like Twiggy.

 

Growing up with a petite, super skinny mom was hard af (as the kids would tweet). I wanted to be like her, but by 12 was taller and much larger than she. She didn’t know how to have a fat daughter. So we fought. I want baggy clothes to hide my fat, she wanted me in the smallest size I could squeeze into (this has not changed). We fought about food, I had to carry the OG slim fast in a thermos to school, and at 14 she put my on Jenny Craig. We fought for control. Of my body. Including piercings and haircuts. Eventually I won. My prize was getting fatter.

 

Now as a *responsible adult I am actively trying to understand my triggers. My mom is el numero uno. I’m trying to understand why when my mom asks me “can you have X on your diet,” I want to eat cookie dough because I can *have whatever the hell I want. Or why when she wants to go to the gym together, do I talk my way out of it, and find myself napping half the day. I don’t have all these answers yet, but I now recognize these triggers and redirect my responses so that I am making positive choices instead of negative ones. AND of course I can’t trade my family in for a community of fat people, where I feel a sense of belonging. BUT I can create that community for myself with people who are not necessarily fat, but whose respect and acceptance create a safe space for me to be fat today and work toward being less fat tomorrow.

 

I had to say it out loud (type? it out loud?)

 

Thanks for reading.

My thoroughly dysfunctional relationship w/ The Biggest Loser

So I watch my fair share of reality TV. No Jersey Shore or Bad Girl’s Club, but reality game shows (Survivor, Amazing Race, etc) do reserve sacred space on my DVR. My favorite of these is NBC’s The Biggest Loser. I have watched EVERY season, some of them twice. In fact as I type this, I am re-watching the season 8 finale thanks to Hulu Plus.

I weep like a babe during most episodes, and am inspired by several of the contestant’s journeys. But for every inspirational moment I also take a blow to my self esteem. And the tears I shed watching have a direct correlation to the number of trips to the fridge I take during commercial breaks.

Now no one was more excited for the season 14 season premiere than me. Jillian Michaels back on the show. Dolvett and Bob still lookin fine as ever, and coming of season 13 which has been my favorite yet. This go ’round I even vowed to not eat ice cream while watching a single episode (so far so good on that front). However, for someone at home on her own “weight loss journey,” false hope sure can run high. Seeing players lose 10, 15, 28 pounds in a week can certainly be inspirational, but it can also be depressing as hell.

If you are a viewer anything like me, you sit at home thinking “man I could lose all my weight in just X weeks if I lost like that.” But instead I am on a program that promotes an average of 1/2-2 pounds per week. So it’s more I like I can lose all my weight in 2 years. Ugh.

Now this post isn’t to suggest I have a defeatist attitude, because I will for damn sure plug on with my 1/2-2 pounds a week and be very thankful. Nor am I condemning TBL for kickstarting the lives of its overweight contestants, but what PISSES me off is the contestants in their confessionals in which they bitch about a 4 pound loss. I might sell services on the black market for a 4 pound week. It’s a game, a competitive one, I get it. But let’s send the right messages to the at home fatties like me.

Now here is my even bigger beef. Last week they trapped contestants in a room full of craptastic food and sweets for 4 hours a day for a week straight. What kind of cruel and unusual BS is that. I get that it was to demonstrate to America how our sedentary lifestyle is making our kids fat. But really who is holding kids hostage with a box of twinkies in front of the xbox? It’s about CHOICES, which these contestants were not given. Now every season there are “temptation” challenges, but the contestants have a choice to participate, usually with a inciting incentive or reward like immunity or a weight advantage at the end of the week. Last week’s stunt was a punishment for poor performance in a challenge. Now every parenting handbook under the sun will tell you that food should not be used as punishment or reward. Wanna talk about childhood obesity? Let’s talk about that.

It’s a game, a competitive one, I get it. But damn it I really didn’t like that move last week.

But of course I will tune in again tonight, to see what miraculous fuckery ensues. I will leave you with a pic of #TeamPink from last season. Kim was a beast, and I loved it.

Image

             Kim Nielsen (left) and Emily Joy