Fat as Hell…

and not going to take it anymore!

Why I’m Doing This (A Little Reminder…)

First off, thanks to everyone who, either here or via email, sent me encouraging words or information re: PCOS. I’ve had very little time online this week, but that limited amount has been spent clicking links. Again, thank you. It makes me wonder what people did prior to the internet. Now, don’t get me wrong, *I* spent much of my life doing plenty of things *before* the internet, but it’s amazing how much more empowered I feel regarding my own health when I can go to the doctor armed with information. Even my doctor admitted that having better informed patients makes her job much, much easier. It makes me feel lucky that I live during this time in history. I’m sure I’d be much more frightened were I merely fumbling through all of this in the dark.

Anyway, the good news (or bad news, depending on how you look at it) is that the results of my recent ultrasound revealed no ovarian cysts or, as my doctor had feared, a thickened uterine wall. Obviously, this is good. A lack of these problems is better for my overall health than the alternative of having them. However, it also means that PCOS might not be what ails me after all. Oddly, it turns out that one doesn’t necessarily have to have ovarian cysts in order to have poly cystic ovary syndrome. Go figure. So… that means pcos has not been ruled out altogether at this point and more tests are needed in order to find out what’s wrong. That said, the day after I learned that the results of my ultrasound were “unremarkable,” I went back to the doctor and had bunches of blood drawn. Currently, I’m just waiting for the results of this lab work, in the hopes that it will shed some light onto what’s happening with my body.

In the meantime… I’ve been working A LOT. And, sadly, I feel like I’ve been eating a lot too. It’s really strange because I’m not working more than 40 hours per week, but the lack of a regular (fixed) work schedule has thrown my eating patterns for a loop. Similarly, even though recent diet news has only confirmed what I already know to be true about keeping a food diary, I’ve literally found it impossible to keep up with my own efforts in this regard.

I’m reminded of what things were like for me *before* I made the commitment to myself to change my life. In those days, as I’ve mentioned here before, I worked two full-time jobs, (I did that for nearly 10 years), bought and remodeled several homes and was (for part of the time anyway) in grad school. Even back then, I wanted to lose weight, but it wasn’t a priority. I made my jobs/making money/and my education the priority and as a result my health suffered. Even now, one year and 70+ lbs later, I’m still paying the price. These days, I’m not working nearly as much as I used to and I’m not juggling the demands of multiple jobs + school, etc … and yet I can feel myself falling back into some of those old patterns: eating late at night, including caffeine in my daily diet and making food choices based on convenience rather than health. I want to blame this on simply being tired, but in the end, I know it’s all about choices. And I’m not talking about simply good choices vs. bad choices, I’m talking about choosing food over all the reasons why I’m doing this in the first place.

And maybe that’s part of the problem. It’s not that I’ve forgotten why I need to lose weight, but perhaps I need a little reminding of why I WANT to. Back in January, in response to this same question, I listed the following as reasons why I wanted to lose weight:

  • I want to reduce or eliminate the need for blood pressure/cholesterol medicines in my life.
  • As I near 40, I want having (or not having) children to be my choice rather than one made by my weight.
  • I want to be in control of my decisions and actions, including what I put in my mouth.
  • I want to qualify for reasonably priced life insurance
  • I want to feel better about myself.
  • I want to have more energy and to do more outdoor activities like hiking, biking, jogging etc.
  • I want to learn to play tennis.
  • I want to be able to shop in stores that don’t solely cater to giant people.
  • If people are going to judge me, I’d like it to be for some reason other than the fact that I am fat.
  • I want to travel and explore new areas on foot or by bike.
  • I want to live like a normal person where food isn’t my enemy.
  • I want to make my husband proud.
  • I want to be cute for a fat girl.
  • This is my Everest. I want, no I need, to be able to say that I conquered it.

I still want all of those things. And now I also have to add to the list…

  • I want to, if possible, reverse (or at least lessen) the symptoms of PCOS (or whatever else is wrong with me). But just wanting all of this is not enough… which brings me back to choices.
  • I want to go home (Seattle) to visit my family *and* go on a vacation with my husband. (I haven’t flown in many years because a) the seats have, for a long time, been too small for me and b) I’ve not been able to fit a standard airplane seatbelt).
  • I want to be around to grow old and gray with my husband. Who will take care of him if I’m no longer around to do it?
  • I want to know what it feels like to feel sexy. I’ve never looked in the mirror and thought I was hot… I’d love to know what that feels like.

Each time I choose to overeat… each time I choose not to count and record my calories… each time I choose not to exercise… I’m doing more than just making the proverbial “bad choice.” Rather, I am also choosing food over the things I’ve listed above. I’m choosing a cookie over the ability to live without blood pressure/cholesterol medication. I’m choosing a fried egg sandwich over making my husband proud. I’m choosing Starbucks over feeling good about myself. And you know, when I put that way, there’s absolutely nothing I can say to justify it.

As most of you know, I’m not very good at games of internet tag, so I won’t name anyone specific, but tonight I’m challenging each of you to do the following: Even if you don’t do it publicly (as in on your blog or here in the comments), WRITE DOWN all the reasons why you want to lose weight. Don’t just think about them… write them down. Even if they seem silly; Even if they are embarrassing or painfully obvious; Even if you’ve never, ever shared them with another living soul. Write them down. I’m telling you, there’s something about the creation of that list that’s very powerful. The strength of all those wishes and desires, when stacked together like that, is absolutely remarkable.

And then, (and of course this is the hard bit), in the days to come, when you’re faced with a choice and you find yourself reaching for something you shouldn’t eat, try to remember that you’re not just choosing chocolate over celery, you’re choosing chocolate over all the things on your list… and let me tell you, chocolate’s good, but it’s not *that* good.

Someone once said that “destiny is not a matter of chance, but a matter of choice.” This week, I’m going to try very hard to look at my list as my destiny and then to do everything in my power to choose it. I hope you will too.

July 11, 2008 Posted by | losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Up and Onward

Well… tomorrow is weigh in day and I’m headed for a gain.

I know it.
I can feel it.

Not to mention the fact that I went over my calories just about every day this week and only worked out 3 times the whole week, (and even that, until this weekend anyway, was pretty half-hearted.)

But… the truth is, I’m already over it. It’s not that I *like* gaining weight, of course. But, tomorrow, no matter what the scale says, I’ve already moved beyond it. I still have a very big and busy week ahead, but I know that if I can just make it to Thursday, things will ease up a great deal. I also know that part of my problem this week was that I didn’t sufficiently plan for the exhaustion that would come from an increasingly busy schedule and the strain over several simultaneous and stressful projects. I mean… I *thought* I was planning for it. I looked ahead into the week to come, and I thought, ok… I’ll just do a, b and c. But that’s not planning. That’s just thinking. And when the week got tough, thinking about it just wasn’t enough.

This week, however, I’ve done some planning. Some *real* planning. I’ve already worked out my meals for the week and even spent much of the afternoon steaming and prepacking veggies for lunches and dinners. I stopped at my local food co-op on Saturday and bought all my fruits and veggies for the week, and they’ve been scrubbed and dried and made ready to grab when I need them. I’ve got everything worked out and I’m hoping that with the map already laid out ahead of me, I won’t be so apt to take a wrong turn during those moments when I simply find myself too tired to think about what I should do.

Truth is, I doubt the work out situation will be much better this week. With several evening work-related functions in the days to come, I don’t see myself coming home and working out after a 12 hour day. I’m just banking on the fact that this will be offset by a return to healthier eating and a reduction in caloric intake.

*fingers crossed*

No matter what happens though, I won’t beat myself up. This week has been hard, and there have been moments when I’ve felt pretty disgusted with and by myself. But, when I take a moment and look at my calendar, and all those sticker laden days, I can see that, on the whole, I’m not doing so bad.

I don’t want to continue eating like I did last week.
Nor do I want to go so long without exercising.

But even my worst day last week was far better than my best day a year ago.

I’ve made changes in who I am and in how I live.
I no longer look at food in the same ways I did a year ago.
I no longer treat my body the way I did.

My life has changed.
I have changed.

And one week of imperfection can’t change that.

So… to the scale I say: bring it on! Whatever number it gives me tomorrow, it won’t be the end of the world. Nor will it undo or change all that I’ve accomplished. *Next* Sunday all of this will all be just a memory and I’ll have an all new batch of neuroses to ramble on about! Now that’s something to look forward to! :)

February 17, 2008 Posted by | exercise, health, losing weight, motivation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

“SO how are you doing now?” — Sally Parrott Ashbrook

*smile*

I’m doing great!

This week has been so busy. Work is currently kicking my butt. I’m the middle of writing a large grant proposal, scheduling a major public event for my library and trying to complete a massive video production project that my principal dumped on me last week. All of these projects happen to collide on the 21st of this month, so I’ve been working a lot of long hours in the meantime trying to get everything done.

Good things are happening, though. And even though I have no idea how much I currently weigh at the moment (gonna wait until Monday to find out) I can *feel* my success in so many other ways.

Here’s the thing: as I’ve mentioned here before, this is not *just* about losing weight for me. Sure, that is a *huge* part of it, but it’s not all of it — not by a long shot. I’m thoroughly convinced that the only reason I am losing weight right now is because I’ve changed my whole life. I’m sure I sound like a broken record at this point, but some things just bear repeating, so I’ll say it again: I’m not on a diet. I’m changing my life. I’m changing my habits. And by doing so, I will lose weight. That said, I think you really have to understand what my old life was like in order to truly appreciate what a great week this one has been for me. This is what my old schedule used to be like.

Typical Day/Eating Habits:
5:15am — wake up and get ready for work.
6:00am — leave for job #1

  • stop at convenience store to get 2 – 20oz full calorie sodas (Mello Yello was my drug of choice)
  • stop at fast food restaurant for breakfast of some kind (usually a biscuit with meat but no egg)

6:45am — report to work
3:00pm — leave for job #2

  • having had no lunch, I would stop again at convenience store for 2 more 20oz full calorie sodas + at a fast food restaurant for dinner #1

4:30pm — report to job #2

  • during the course of my shift I would make at least one trip to the vending machine for “something sweet.”

10:00pm — leave job #2

  • call husband who would be hungry and ask me to pick up something on the way home.
  • pick up fast food or pizza or chinese take out or something of that nature for dinner #2 and head home.

11:00pm — arrive at home, eat (again) with husband and then grade papers (one of my jobs was being an English teacher) until I simply couldn’t stay awake any longer… then I would sleep until 5:15am came around again.

I can assure you that this is no exaggeration. This was my life 5 days a week, every week, for 10 years. And it nearly killed me. (The weekends weren’t much better, especially during the last year or so when I added graduate school to the mix).

Looking back at it now, literally, puts a knot in my stomach. I can’t imagine how I allowed myself to get into that situation. I can’t believe that I thought, for awhile anyway, that living like that was going to make me happy. It’s embarrassing and, frankly, it saddens me to think about how much of my life I wasted and how close I came to losing it all. I’m just so thankful that I lived to finally see the light.

Anyway, this week, while not nearly as stressful as weeks past, presented some challenges. And I have to admit that as the stress began to pile up, I was worried that I would slip into some old eating habits. Even more frightening to me was the very real possibility that when faced with working overtime, I’d also revert to the old days of eating what was convenient rather than what is healthy and good for me.

But that hasn’t happened. In fact, I’m amazed to report that I haven’t gone over my calories even once. And… the really amazing thing is that I haven’t even been tempted to. I’ve been bringing the kind of lunches to work each day that I can break up and eat throughout the day. I’ve been eating at my normal lunch time, but saving an orange and some cheese, or something, until later in the day… something to tide me over until dinner which, out of necessity, has been later than usual, but hasn’t been horrifying.

That’s not to say, of course, that I’ve been perfect. I’ve skipped breakfast twice — something I know that I shouldn’t do. My meal choices at dinner have been pretty good, but I have to admit that even though it did keep me within my alloted calorie range, last night’s dinner wasn’t the healthiest choice and contained more sodium than I should be eating. True too is that while I managed to exercise on most days, I took the last two days off. (Something that I plan to correct today). And finally, my water intake is down a tad — although still within good levels — not as much as I have been drinking. (Water is a big part of my success, I believe. I literally drink 3+ liters of water a day).

All of that said, when I think about the way I used to live, this week feels like a complete and utter triumph.

The really big thing for me is that *not* reverting back to old habits, in my mind, speaks to the fact that new habits are taking hold in my life. The reality is that if I’m ever going to reach a healthy weight, then the way I eat and take care of myself has to change forever. If I want my weight loss to be permanent, then so too must be the lifestyle changes that precipitate it. The fact that stress or long hours at work didn’t change (by much) they way I live and eat, seems like strong evidence to me that I *can* do this for the long haul. For awhile now, I’ve felt like these changes were becoming a part of my routine, but I believe, this week really proves it. And, for me anyway, that is truly amazing.

Of course, I can’t pinpoint one specific thing that has kept me on track. As with most thing in life, a variety of factors have converged to help me a long. My new calendar challenge has definitely been a part of it though. I mean, seriously, who knew that stickers could be so motivating?? Even though I haven’t been blogging this week, I have been keeping up my food and exercise diaries, as well as updating my calendar and the new spreadsheet I started this month to help me collect and understand the way my body is changing. All of those things are important and they *have* helped keep me motivated. It’s ridiculous, I know, but the idea of *not* putting a sticker in the spot that indicates that I stayed within my calories is just NOT acceptable. :) I’m already devastated by the lack of exercise stickers over the last two days, but I’m planning to change that this weekend. Plus, and I really can’t over state the importance of this, knowing that if I allowed this week to get the better of me, I’d have to come here and confess myself, also helped me keep my butt on the right track. Believe me, when Sally asked how I was doing, I was so relieved to be able to say, and mean it, that I’m doing great!

So… the next couple of weeks are going to continue to be stressful, but I’m putting one foot forward and heading into the storm with confidence. Of course, that may mean that I won’t be blogging quite as much. But, I continue to read all of your blogs every day (I did this week too!) and continue to be inspired by and learn from all of your strength, courage and success. So… keep the faith, girls (and guys!) We can do it!

February 9, 2008 Posted by | losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments