Tag Archives: food

French Fries are the Devil’s work

Ok. I know I’m behind on posting. My bad. So I am crawling toward a 40lb weight loss total. I want it so bad. Intellectually. There is some emotional barrier however that has me dancing w/ old habits. I’m a social eater. While everyone else is boozing it up, I’m ordering wings & things. Today it was French fries (which could have only been invented by a sadist). Last week FroYo and home baked cookies. But here’s the thing, for 3 months I did fine. I said no, or ordered water, or perhaps a salad. So the issue isn’t my will power or even determination. It’s fear.

I’m afraid to have the thing I want most. In large part it’s because I don’t believe I’ll ever be thin. I never have been. Don’t even know if its possible. What if I really am a rare breed – the last big boned girl around? So, if I stop in the middle of the road I don’t have to face the disappointment of getting to the other side and not liking what’s (who’s) there. I know how to be fat. I know how to dress fat, shop fat, eat fat, make jokes fat, be single fat, be career driven fat. I know who I am fat, how to behave in social settings, what others expect of me, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, I know that being fat renders me invisible in the most ironic of ways. And when invisible the stakes are low.

So the more people say to me “wow 40lbs,” the more I stand in the road. The more they see me, the more I am afraid. Afraid that once my amour (read fat) is gone, I still won’t be good enough, pretty enough, smart enough, or talented enough. I also won’t have my golden ticket (read excuse) to ride the this is why my life sucks bus. So I’ve been stalled in the middle of the road. The thing is, the road isn’t a safe place to hang out, and I don’t want to be on fat street anymore. So I’m crossing, but it’s some scary shit. I don’t know if I’ll find myself on skinny street or if I’ll barely get out of the medically morbidly obese woods, but I imagine it’d be a joy to sit in a chair with my legs crossed. I figure my friends will appreciate that we can just go to the bar not need to search for the last open kitchen on earth on one of our after hour adventures. And if the truth is that I’m not something or the other enough, then it’s time I got to work on that narrative.

Thanks for reading

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The story of last Saturday night

Saturday night was the worst night of this “weight loss journey” so far. It’s had been 50 days of relative ease. Not easy, but I’m focused & determined so I brooked no compromise. Then Saturday night happened and I belly flopped right in to a land mind of triggers.

This one might be a buzz kill so I’ll try to keep it witty!  I also will disclose that I’m doing weight watchers which operates on a point system.

On Friday night I went out on the town with friends. We had a fabulous dinner and an evening of theatre. I planned for this and indulged just a tad but didn’t really go “off program” in a points/calories allowance sort of way. What I did do was wake up Saturday with the attitude that I was in the red. So even though according to the points, I started the day fresh with plenty still chillin in the weekly reserve, I back stepped into my attitude of lack which is what started this whole hoard food in the body problem umpteen years ago. So that was my first mistake.

Onward with my tale. I ate fine all day, even had my daily hot chocolate (something I imagine will be too point rich down the line but for now I can afford it). Then late evening rolled around and Shakespeare triggered me. Now Shakespeare has always been a force for good in my life. Soothing, like a baby’s pacifier or like the calm of rushing water to others. As I watched the MARVELLOUS PBS special Shakespeare Uncovered I, obviously, started to focus on my career momentum or lack (oooh there’s that word again) thereof. And so the self ambush began. And we all know what happens then…I wanted a hit. I wanted to stuff myself full. I wanted cheese melted on anything, a pizza, or grilled cheese, or cheesy baked potato. You get the idea. Feeling behind career wise, I also felt empty, inadequate, and frustrated cause there’s certainly nothing I can do about it at 8 on a Saturday night.

Here’s the thing though. I didn’t eat. I was done for the day, I wasn’t hungry. So I yelled at twitter, adopted a passive aggressive vague-book approach and got over myself. It was hard, but clear that I’d avoided dealing with my shit like fear and doubt and insecurity and boredom by shoveling food in. And I’d keep doing it til that pleasure sensor was triggered and the euphoria of the food high set in. I don’t wanna be that person. I don’t want to live in denial. I want Shakespeare to be my high, not pizza.

I want to confront what I’m feeling, give myself permission to have those feelings and then move on. I hope the next time is easier but even if it isn’t, I know it’s possible. That’s really the best part – the possibility of it all. Shakespeare said that first right…or something like it…

Thanks for reading.

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

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.

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.