Fat as Hell…

and not going to take it anymore!

Everybody’s A Critic

I work in the public schools as a school librarian. On most days, I think it’s the most awesome job in the world because a lot of what I do involves talking to kids about books and about how great reading is, without there ever being the monkey of an assignment or a test on anyone’s back. It really is great and, in a lot of ways, terribly rewarding.

Anyway, in my library I keep a “suggestion box” where kids can write down the titles of books or magazines that they would like to see in the library and, a few times a year, I go through the box, pull out the suggestions and make purchases based on what they want. Yesterday was one of those days, so I opened up the old wooden box, pulled out the 200 or so slips of paper and started going through them. There were lots of great suggestions in there. Several kids wanted Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Roderick Rules by Jeff Kinney, while others asked for Jeremy Fink and Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass — both of which I will definitely buy for the library.

But then I came across a suggestion that I wasn’t expecting.

There, tucked within the large stack of awkwardly folded slips of paper, containing the literary wishlist of over 900 middle schoolers, was one that simply said: “lose weight.”

Hmmm.

Here’s the thing: I don’t think I have to go on and on here about what it’s like to be a fat child and adolescent or how the scars inflicted upon you as kid, when other kids call you cruel names or refuse to include you because you’re fat, never, ever really heal. I have a feeling that most of the people reading these words have a pretty good idea what that’s like. And it’s funny, you know, no matter how old and hard and crusty we all get, there’s still a part of us that will *always* be the fat kid on the playground wishing they had a friend. So… it’s really no wonder that, even as adults, when someone stabs at our chubby hearts with a comment about being fat, no matter how many sarcastic comebacks we have at the ready, it still hurts us. And I am the first to admit that there was a time when finding a slip of paper in my suggestion box reminding me that I need to lose weight would have devastated me. I seriously would have fallen into a depression, followed by a lengthy period of self-loathing until finally I’d have sought the solace and counsel of my good friends at Burger King.

But yesterday was different.

As I held the paper in my hand, my eyes didn’t well up with tears. My hands didn’t shake. My stomach didn’t turn. And I didn’t suddenly crave a whopper with cheese. Instead, I found myself smiling and thinking “listen, kid… I’m working on it.” Then I tossed the paper dagger in the trash.

Later, at dinner, I told my husband about the incident as I nibbled on a spinach salad and my half of the quiche we’d decided to split for dinner last night at Ruby Tuesday. As he listened, I could tell that he was silently gauging the situation, readying himself to go into damage control mode should I break down right there in the restaurant. But in the end, he just smiled and said he was proud of me for not losing sight of all the weight I’ve already lost and for not letting a snide comment undo the all the good that’s come from changing the way I live.

And you know what? I’m proud of me too.

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January 31, 2008 Posted by | losing weight, motivation | , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Is It Weird To Think of People You’ve Never Met as “Friends?”

Blogging is a strange business.

Through it we find ourselves connecting with people who, in real life, we’d likely never bump into. From the comfort of our jammies, our kitchen counters or our favorite chairs, we reach out and touch people who share our interests or who simply find that what *we* have to say provides them, in turn, with something to say as well. And all of this we do without ever *really* connecting at all. I’ll tell you, for someone who wasn’t born in the digital age and who still remembers rotary phones, typewriters and buying her first 33 1/3 record, all of this cyber roaming continues to represent a very particular and powerful magic.

Lately, I’ve been reading the blogs of people who I’ve grown to care about. (In a totally healthy, non-stalker kind of way, of course). :) Bloggers upon bloggers who have spent the last week or so eating right, counting their calories/points to the very last decimal and exercising enough to make Richard Simmons beg for mercy. And yet… weigh in day arrived and so did all of the weight they’d brought with them *last* week. Amount lost? None. Zip. Zero. Needless to say, frustration followed.

Here’s the thing. I haven’t been blogging very long. What I know about these women or, indeed, about any of the people behind the blogs that I follow on a daily basis, is, admittedly, pretty limited. And yet I’m saddened by their disappointment. I’m pissed off by the fact that they’ve worked so hard without seeing the results they deserve. I’m anxious because I don’t want this week’s frustration to cause them to give up on themselves. And I desperately wish I knew a few magic words that could help make it all better.

All of this emotion channeled towards people who don’t even know my first name. (It’s Jennifer, by the way).

Perhaps it’s because here we all are, slicing through the black, and letting the light shine on what is, likely, the most vulnerable part of ourselves. I mean, I don’t know about you, but I would *never* be brave enough to tell the people in my daily life, the people who I actually see every day, the truth about what I weigh. Sure… they know I’m fat. They have eyes, right? But, I’d never be able to say that number out loud to them. I’d never be able to talk about how being fat makes me feel. I’d never, ever consider exposing the still very raw wounds that being overweight has left on me. And I’d never feel comfortable talking about how hard I work every single day just in the hopes that I’ll be able to squeeze off one single pound of myself by the end of the week. And yet, here I am, and here we all are, doing all that, and so much more.

How could I not have a soft spot in my heart for people who show that much courage — even if I never actually get to shake their hands?

Anyway… we all know what it’s like to spend a week or a month or (heaven forbid) more struggling to do the right thing, fighting our natural instincts and pushing ourselves and our bodies to do things that we never dreamed we could do, only to be disappointed by the results. Deep down, of course, we all know that this is just a part of the process. We know that there’s few steadfast rules to this funny old game and that, in the end, the way our bodies work is far more complicated than some simple formula of calories eaten and calories burned. But it’s not much consolation when the scale gives us the middle finger, is it?

Honestly, I don’t really know where I’m going with all of this except to say that I’ve gotten so much from everyone who has stopped by here and offered me their support, kindness, and for lack of a better term, friendship. Losing weight is so hard. But doing it entirely on your own, with no one to bounce ideas off of, with no one to share you successes, failures and yes, frustrating moments of stagnation, is nearly impossible. Luckily, we don’t have to.

So… keep up the good fight, girls (and guys!)
Not one of us is in this alone.

January 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Goodbye Plateau

268.2 – 265.4 = -2.8lbs

I’ll take it!

2.8lbs may not seem like a whole lot in a week, but for me it really is — especially when I consider the fact that I was pretty much 275lbs for the entire month of December and most of January. But I’ve lost 8.4lbs over the last two weeks and, for me, that is HUGE.

The truth is, I really haven’t taken off this much weight in such a short period of time since the very beginning when all that initial water weight comes off, but I’m not questioning it. :) Nor am I going to get used to it. I’m sure I will taper back down to the 1-2lbs per week that I had been losing before my December/partofJanuary plateau, and that will be fine. But until then, I’ll definitely take 2.8lbs.

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In the meantime, I thought I’d post the recipe for dinner last night — a lovely roast pork and pepper stew. I actually modified the recipe from one that Jamie Oliver made on his new show on the Food Network. His version was lovely, but relied a great deal on a fatty cut of meat. I decided to cut out the fat AND the sour cream that he added at the end. I have to say, it turned out very, very well — tasty *and* healthy – clocking in at only about 400 calories per serving. The key to it really was the ground carraway seeds — an ingredient that I was a bit skeptical about upon first reading the recipe but that actually turned out to add an extraordinarily good flavor. Anyway, here’s my version:

Ingredients:
4lb pork loin roast — lean cut, fat trimmed.
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil
2 red onions, peeled and finely sliced
2 fresh red chilies, seeded and finely chopped
2 tbls sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground caraway seeds
Small bunch marjoram and/or oregano leaves (I used both)
5 bell peppers (use a mixture of colors), sliced
1 (10-ounce) jar grilled peppers in water
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
4 tablespoons red wine vinegar

Do it!
First, preheat your oven to 350′

Then, using as little olive oil as you can get away with, begin cooking onions, on the stove, in an oven proof pot that has a lid. Add chillies, paprika, caraway seeds, marjoram and/or oregano plus some salt and pepper. Turn the heat down and gently cook the onions for about 10 minutes, then add the sliced peppers, the grilled peppers and the tomatoes.

Salt and pepper your roast and then put it into the pot, shaking the whole mixture until the pork settles in nicely. Then add just enough water to *just* cover the pork. Be careful — not too much water! The bigger the pot you have the more careful you need to be about how much water you put in. Then add the vinegar and bring everything to a boil.

Once you’re all bubbly, put the whole thing in a preheated oven for about 3 hours. The hardest part is waiting the 3 hours as your house starts to smell like this awesome comfort dish. You’ll want to check it every 5 minutes, but don’t. You’ll know it’s ready when the meat falls apart with a fork.

I served mine over wild rice. It was so good, I thought for sure I’d want seconds, but it was also very filling. The great thing about it too is that you end up with a big bowl of left overs. We’ll be having pulled pork sandwiches, etc, all week. :)

Enjoy!

January 28, 2008 Posted by | health, losing weight, recipes | , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments