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.

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

Making Progress (Sorta)

Over the last month or so Andrew has done a series of posts on the lessons that losing over 100lbs and exponentially increasing his fitness level has taught him. If you subscribe to the idea that the struggle to be healthy and fit never really ends, then Andrew’s journey is nowhere near over, but he’s far closer to the “maintenance” aspect of weight loss than I am. That said, however, even though I haven’t lost 100lbs (yet) or even reached the halfway mark of my total weight loss goal, I feel like I’ve still learned a few things that are as true now as they will be when I do reach these milestones in my own journey. To that end, one lesson that I find myself having to learn over and over again has to do with how difficult all of this to do when I spread myself too thin (you’ll have to pardon the pun). Indeed, exhaustion is not part of the recipe for success when it comes to weight loss. And this week, I’m exhausted.

Part of what’s beating me down this week is the job I took to supplement my income over the summer. It’s laughable, really, because it’s literally just a part-time job at a local bookstore. I’m not digging ditches, installing roofs, building houses, rustling cattle or anything else that might be considered “manual labor” and yet this job is kicking my ass. Seriously, being on my feet all day is so much harder than I remembered it. Back (in the day) when I was in college I worked lots of on-my-feet-all-day kinds of jobs, and I don’t ever remember feeling the way I do when I come home from work now. I’m telling you, being old and fat is a bitch. :)

But what’s worse is the fact that being tired all the time has totally weakened my resolve. I’m doing so-so when it comes to eating right. I’m sure I’ve gone over, in the calorie department, at least once or twice over the last few days, but I don’t think it’s been by much. The real problem is that I’ve been too tired to record everything at the end of the day (which for me, at this point along my own person road to thin, is a crucial part of my success) and too exhausted to exercise. That said, even though I didn’t post about it (I was too tired) I did weigh in on Saturday and was up .2lbs which is about the equivalent of 2-3 large strawberries, so I’m not terribly worried about that. However, I didn’t really plan on spending the summer just maintaining my current weight loss. I’ve got a lot more pounds to lose and they’re not going to come off if I don’t put some effort into to taking them off. Of course, that’s easier said than done when you’re totally and utterly pooped.

The truth is, though, that I can’t really blame all of my exhaustion on my job (even though, I swear to you, it’s killing me). Part of the problem has to do with stress of another kind. Last week, I was tentatively diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. It won’t be official until the results of the ultrasound (that I’m having done tomorrow) come back, (which may be another week or so), but my gynecologist said she’d be shocked if the ultrasound doesn’t support her conclusion. I don’t know everything there is to know about PCOS, but basically, as I understand it, my body isn’t making enough estrogen and is instead making too much androgen, which has led to a number of symptoms/problems that are too unpleasant and, at this point anyway, too personal to discuss here. Anyway, I don’t anything for sure yet, but I know that it is on my mind constantly, making it difficult to sleep (even though I am physically wiped out).

I suppose, when I think about it, it’s not all bad news, though. Some things that I know I am doing right include:

  • taking a multi-vitamin every day
  • drinking plenty of water
  • stretching before going into work (just like I would before going for a walk or doing any other kind of exercise).
  • limiting the amount of refined sugar/white flour in my diet as I know these don’t translate into prolonged/sustainable energy.
  • Not giving up or seeking comfort in food — as the old me would have done.

Some things I need to improve upon include:

  • recording my calories.
  • exercising — this really isn’t an option.
  • letting go of the stress that’s related to things that I can’t control.
  • remembering that even though I ignored my body for a long time that I am doing the right things now.

So… yes, I do work tonight, but I’m going to try to do at least one of the things on my list of “must do better” while also giving myself a gold star for trying to work through these issues rather than just throwing my hands in the air and jumping, headlong into a chocolate brownie torte with white chocolate mousse and caramelized bananas (not that I’ve given it any thought). :)

I think sometimes we all, (myself included), tend to spend a lot of time lamenting how long it takes us to come to what can seem like some pretty obvious conclusions about ourselves, our bodies, and what it takes to lose weight — when, in the end, what’s really important is that we learn these lessons at all.  Today that’s what I’m trying to focus on.

I *am* learning and it’s *not* too late.

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July 7, 2008 Posted by | losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Better Late Than Never, I Suppose.

I think I just I had an epiphany.

In response to my last (whiny) post about not having enough time/energy to complete all the administrivia that seems associated with losing weight successfully, BikiniMe wrote “…the most important thing is the doing, not the logging.”

She’s right, of course, and that has been part of my ongoing frustration.

However, as someone who’s natural instinct it is to archive, document and analyze (I’m a librarian for goodness sake) another good chunk of my frustration lately has stemmed from just how little I seem to have learned from all this “busy work.” Honestly, I don’t mind archiving the details of this journey… in fact, I *want* to do it. Believe me, if I could figure out a way incorporate the dewey decimal system, I probably would. :) But what’s more, I just *really* want to learn something from the whole process otherwise, well.. it all seems more than a little pointless. Even if it does result in shed pounds, if I don’t LEARN something about myself and how I eat and what’s wrong with the way I eat then what’s to stop me from gaining all that weight back??

Then tonight, as I was posting my food diary, I noticed something.
A trend, if you will.

If you look at my daily food intake it’s easy to see that I eat the vast majority of my calories at dinner. I sometimes eat no breakfast at all, and when I do, it tends to be small — a piece of fruit, etc. Then a relatively small lunch and then nothing again until dinner, which is usually massive (compared to the day’s other meals anyway) and almost always accounts for over half of my day’s calories. Then I started thinking about the times (of day) that I eat.

Breakfast: between 6:00 – 7:00am (if at all)
Lunch: between 12:15 – 12:40
Dinner: between 6:00 – 7:00pm

And then it happened.

At first I thought the skies were parting above me and that beams of heavenly light were actually shining down as if from some divine spotlight… but then I realized it was just the light bulb going on over my head.

I need to eat more frequently.
I need to eat smaller meals.

*cue hallelujah chorus*

I need to eat smaller, more frequent meals.

Um… duh.

Here’s the thing… this ain’t rocket science, folks. I mean, eating smaller more frequent meals is a highly recommended approach to weight loss. In fact, even though I am loath to call this new way of living a “diet,” the truth is that most “diet” programs recommend a similar approach to eating… and a lot of people who have been successful and taking and keeping off large amounts of weight list smaller and more frequent meals as a key component in what finally worked for them… and yet, I just couldn’t see it. It took forcing myself to write it all down, day after day, for months and months and months (with admitted breaks here and there) before I finally *learned* something. I swear. Sometimes, I feel like I should be wearing the weight loss dunce cap, or something.

That’s not to say that eating smaller, more frequent meals is the right approach for everyone or even if it’s the right approach for me. However, given the data I’ve collected from months and months of logging my food choices, it does seem like it just *might* work. so… here’s what I’m going do:

Even though, officially, it’s too late for me to join Krissie’s 10 day challenge to “win” — I’m still going to participate. Starting tomorrow, and for 10 days, I’m going try to split up my eating into smaller, bite sized (har!) chunks. Instead of eating the traditional breakfast lunch and dinner, I’m going to aim for at least 5 mini meals per day. I’m still going to shoot for less than 1500 calories per day (and preferably more like 1200 – 1300), but I’m going to see if eating more frequently helps curb the afternoon/evening hunger that causes me to overeat at dinner time.

I figure, after 10 days I’ll have an idea about whether or not this is really a viable approach… plus, c’mon, I can commit to just about anything for 10 days, right?

And in the meantime I get to ride the wave of having actually discovered something about myself… in the hopes that, in the end, all this self-reflection will make me a stronger, better and *fingers crossed* thinner person. Besides, who knows what I might *learn* next! :)

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Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket PS: I’ve mapped out my route for ScaleJunkie’s 5k In May challenge. Of course, I won’t add the badge to my sidebar until I’ve actually done it, but here’s a sneak peak at my route. If When I do finally walk this course it will be more than just a distance victory for me… but I’ll wait to talk about that when I finally do it. In the meantime, I’m excited because, c’mon… check out that badge! Plus, even though I’m so proud of my blogging buddies who’ve gotten up the gumption to actually run one (or more) 5k’s, (yes, Andrew and Marshmallow, I’m talking to you, among others) I’m always just a little bit jealous of those accomplishments. I look forward to the day when I’m no longer *just* cheering them on, but am also donning my own pair of running shoes, you know? But in the meantime, walking a 5k is a good start. And I’m excited about logging these steps and earning this cool new badge for my sidebar. Anyway, the walk is one I’ve done before minus the overlapping inset that pushes it over the 5k mark.

Anyway… Go me!

May 15, 2008 Posted by | 10 day challenge, losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments