Fat as Hell…

and not going to take it anymore!

Big Girls Don’t Cry

I haven’t seen my mother in over 12 years.

I’ll be honest. Even if I wanted to outline all of the reasons for this here, I don’t think there’s enough space on my screen or characters on my keyboard to capture it all. Like all relationships, the one I share with my mother is complicated and messy. And, certainly, the fact that she lives nearly 3,000 miles away has played a role in our long separation. But the hard truth is that if we wanted to see each other, we would, and most of the reasons why we haven’t made that effort are personal, emotional and too painful for me to share publicly.

I will say this, however…

I left home when I was 16 years old. I left Washington State for my husband, college and North Carolina when I was 19 and I’ve been here for a little over 18 years now. In all of that time, she’s never been here to see me. She wasn’t there when I graduated from college. She wasn’t there when I got married. She wasn’t there when I earned my master’s degree. You name the event. She wasn’t there. For the first few years after moving here, I went home every year. I headed back during the summer and at Christmas… but then, over time, I stopped making the trek out there too. And before I knew it 12 years had past.

And then… about a month ago, she called and said that she’d bought a ticket and that she was coming to see me. In typical fashion, she didn’t ask if it was ok. She didn’t ask if it was a good time. She just said she’d bought a ticket and was coming.

So… for the last month I’ve been both looking forward to and dreading this “reunion.” Of course, there’s a part of me that has desperately wanted to see her, to show her my life, what I’ve built for myself and that I’m ok. But then there’s the other part that’s been equally afraid of all that could go wrong… and believe me, a lot could. So, for a month I’ve tried not to dwell on it. I’ve tried not to think about it at all.  I’ve tried not to worry. And, most of all, I’ve tried not to get my hopes up.

Anyway, she was supposed to arrive on Sunday evening, but the long and the short of it is that she never showed up. I’d gotten a call the night before about how excited she was, but then her arrival time came and went and she wasn’t on the plane.

One consequence of 911 is that now airlines will provide you with absolutely no information about their passenger lists, so I was left helplessly not knowing what had happened to my mother and no one at the airport was able/willing to tell me whether or not she’d ever even boarded a plane that day. It wasn’t until around 3am, and a million phone calls later that, I learned that she had decided not to come. She claimed that she’d attempted to but that flight delays and poor service on the part of the airlines made it seem like “too much trouble.” I guess it was “too much trouble” to call and let me know too.

So… that was Sunday night.  And since then, I’ve done little besides eat and cry. I’ve spent the last two days almost entirely in bed, getting up just to forage for food. I can’t recall everything I’ve eaten, but there was a point when I literally felt so full, I thought about purging — something I’ve never done before. In short, it’s been a miserable couple of days.

I guess the thing that bothers me the most about it all, is that this is the kind of thing she has pulled my entire life. In fact, since she called with the news that she was coming to visit, both my husband and I joked that she probably wouldn’t even show. And yet, when she didn’t, I was completely broadsided. And as a result, I’ve spiraled, again, into a dangerous pattern of overeating to feel better.

I’ve been eating and eating and eating, but I *don’t* feel better.
Rather, I feel worse.

And yet, I’ve got to be honest, I don’t know if I’ll be able to stop yet. Even now, as I type all of this out, I’m fighting the urge to scrap it and just head into the kitchen. I’m not hungry… but there’s a hole in me that needs filling.

And here’s the thing…

I don’t want to be the kind of person who fills those holes with food.
I don’t want to spend the rest of my life letting other people control me.
I don’t want to feel like it’s ok to blame her, or anyone else, for undoing what little I’ve been able to accomplish so far.

As I said in a recent post, I feel like I’m in a strange and unfamiliar place. I’ve attempted to lose weight before, but I’ve never lost as much as I have *this* time. I feel like I’m nowhere near the end of my “journey,” so if there is light at the end of this tunnel, I can’t see it yet. But, on the other hand, for the first time ever, I also feel like I’ve gone too far to turn back.

I don’t want to give up.

Tonight, my husband pulled me out of the bed and made me shower and put on some clean clothes. Then he took me for a drive to the beach with the top down. It was a nearly perfect night… much cooler than most summer nights here and to top it off, after a week filled with thunderstorms, tonight there was a cloudless, star filled sky. As we sat on the cool sand, watching the dark ocean come in, I commented on how beautiful the night was and how my mother was really missing out on something special. As if on cue, David said I was right, but that *I* was the thing she missing out on.

I want so much to believe him.
And I know I have to if I’m going to ever get back on track.

I think a lot of times, people who are overweight struggle with feeling as though they don’t deserve to be thin or healthy or even happy. Self-loathing so often goes along with the obesity package and, as a result, it’s sometimes hard to put ourselves first or to put what *we* need at the top of any list.  Even if doing so means changing or even saving our lives.  We simply don’t believe that we’re worth it.

But we are.  We so are.

And that’s the thing I’m trying to cling to tonight.  I’m trying to remind myself that I am worth treating well.  I am worth all the hard work that goes into losing weight.  My body deserves to be treated with respect.  I deserve to be thin.  I deserve to be healthy.   I deserve to be happy.

Even if my own mother doesn’t think so.

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August 12, 2008 Posted by | losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

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

Good Enough

Listen to this…

Perfectionism may seem like a desirable trait, but to boost your health, aim for “just enough.” “Trying to do everything right promotes an all-or-nothing attitude,” says Martin Binks, PhD, a psychologist at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, NC. So if you can’t do something perfectly (i.e., work out an hour a day), you don’t do anything at all (i.e., watch TV instead).

And this…

A better mindset: Believe that every little bit counts. “It’s small changes that are most effective,” Binks says. So forget perfect!

Gosh. This really hits home for me. Though I would never label myself as a perfectionist, I can definitely remember numerous instances wherein my attitude has fallen into the “all-or-nothing” category. Although it seems silly, I frequently find myself thinking things like, “well, it’s too late to exercise for a full hour, so what’s the point?” or “If I’m not going to walk my full 3 mile route, then why bother walking at all?”

I’m telling you, this kind of stuff is hard to admit, because frankly, it sounds like the rantings of a complete lunatic, but if I’m going to be completely honest then I have to tell you that I also play these kinds of games with food. Let’s say, for example, that on my way to work I inexplicably find myself at Starbucks sucking down an iced venti no whip white mocha (which happens more frequently than I care to admit)… often, later in the day, I will use that slip up as an excuse to NOT make the right choices AGAIN: “Well, I already drank about 500 calories this morning, so I might as well eat this brownie, right?” I fall into the “all-or-nothing” mentality, adopting a “what’s the point?” attitude as though one (albeit big) slip-up has ruined the entire day.

And here’s the thing, that kind of defeatism is not only unhealthy, but it’s also really, really stupid.

And what’s more, I realize it’s just an excuse, an easy way for me to bargain my way out of having to exercise or eat right at all, but man, I don’t think I really realized how much I did that until I read this article in which the authors outline what they call the Good Enough Guide to Healthy Living. In each category they identify the “gold standard,” or the things that we would all do every day in a perfect world… but then they go onto to discuss what they term “good enough” goals *and* the significant health benefits that can result from even making small changes in your life.

The exercise one was a biggie for me, but there’s something to be learned, I feel, from their suggestions in all of the categories.

That said, I think part of my problem lately has been that I started expecting way too much of myself. I had a few kick-ass months, ate right, exercised frequently and took off more weight than I ever thought possible, but it was wrong to expect that kind of performance, and thus those kinds of results, from myself all of the time. Even though I didn’t see it at the time, it’s clear to me now that I set my goals a little too high and when I found myself in a position where I couldn’t achieve them, I just threw my hands up in the air and said “why bother?”

*sigh*

You know, so many of my favorite weight-loss bloggers have been quiet lately, and I have to tell you that I’m worried that they too are adrift in a high calorie, low self-esteem sea. To that end, a long time ago, Krissie wrote a post that I’ve actually quoted several times now. In it she said…

I am a new person most of the time. And that’s good enough. I’m never going to be perfect. But I can be healthy repeatedly, and let that crowd out my mistakes.

I know she gets tired of me quoting her all of the time, but I think there’s a lot of wisdom in those words. Furthermore, I think that if we all cut ourselves a little slack now and then, we’d probably all be far better off.

So… however I go about getting back in the swing of things *this* time, I know one thing for sure. I’m going to really, really try to not allow myself to fall into the trap of “all-or-nothing.” Like Krissie, I too am a new person *most* of the time. And, I bet if you think about it, you are too. None of us are going to be perfect all of the time. But we *can* do the right thing repeatedly. And the thing I’m starting to realize is… that really *is* good enough.

June 15, 2008 Posted by | health, losing weight, motivation | , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments