Fat as Hell…

and not going to take it anymore!

Success or Failure?

I guess it entirely depends on your perspective.

One of the few things I remember from the basic level psychology class that I took in high school, is an exercise in which we (the students) conducted interviews with people who had supposedly just been involved with a traumatic event (a traffic accident, I believe). At the beginning of the assignment, we were led to believe that each participant had experienced a *different* event and, as such, we treated each recounting of that event as being independent of all the other interviews. It wasn’t until after were finished, of course, that we were told that each person we interviewed had actually witnessed the *same* event. Then we were asked to account for all the variations in the stories and to consider how we might have *heard* their accounts differently if, in our own minds, we’d linked them all together.

Even though I’m sure it’s standard fare in most low level psychology courses, this activity sticks with me, even today, as being the harbinger of some important lessons: In some ways, perception is just as important as reality and, depending on the lenses through which something is viewed, individual perspectives on a certain event can be as varied as the people themselves. And what’s more, even the same person can look at one thing differently as factors in their own life begin to change. Time, maturity and life experience can alter our view on just about everything.

I bring this up because I’m feeling entirely stoked about my ability to control my food intake today. In comparison to recent days, I had a really, really good day food wise. Here’s the proof:

Meal Food | Drink Calories
lunch tuna salad made with light mayo and lemon juice 250
celery stalks 25
4 cracker breads + 2 light laughing cow cheese wedges 150
1/3 dark chocolate bar 80
Sub-total 505
dinner grilled chicken breast (approx 4 oz) 130
raw veggies (mostly raw carrots and cauliflower 50
ranch dressing (made with light mayo and skim milk) 250
Sub-total 430
drinks non-fat/sugar free latte (x 2) 200
Sub-total 200
bad, bad snack chocolate cake (this may be a bit of an overestimate 600
but I cannot find nutrtional facts for it anywhere). :(
Sub-total 600
Total 1,735

It’s important to note that “normally” — if I were posting this over at the Food Confessional (which I plan to start doing again beginning Sunday) — I’d be fairly embarrassed by the ginormous calorie total, (particularly in the decadent chocolate cake that hypnotized and had its way with me later in the evening). Normally, I would scold myself for going over my calories (I usually attempt to stay between 1200 & 1500) and, as punishment, would stay up late into the night devising a plan of attack for the following day, to combat my obvious dietary slip up.

But tonight is different. Tonight, I’m thrilled by my 1800 calorie fest. I’m buoyed by what feels like yet another step towards being “officially” back in the saddle. In fact, I feel so good about how I did today that I decided to write about it here (and ad nauseum). In fact, here’s all the reasons why tonight this food diary entry feels like a huge success:

  • I woke up craving veggies this morning, so I cut up some celery and fixed myself some lunch before heading for work, something I haven’t done, well… pretty much all summer.
  • I chose the SUGAR FREE and NONFAT latte options instead of the full fat white chocolate mochas of day’s past. Further, I went with a smaller size. Go me!
  • I resisted the temptation to eat the *entire* chocolate bar and only nibbled on 1/3 of the total. (I think I should consider going into training to become a ninja because, clearly, I have a will of steel!)
  • My husband made some “Rice-a-Roni” (the San Francisco Treat) for dinner tonight, but as you can see, I again resisted.
  • Yes, I ate a big giant piece of cake later on (am currently rethinking the whole ninja thing) but had I *not* eaten it, I’d have totally been under my ideal caloric intake for the day. That’s right, remove one thing and I would have been under. I definitely couldn’t have said that yesterday. Or the day before. Or the day before that. <repeat>
  • None of this food was consumed in bed, under cover of darkness, or in the far stretches of a nearly empty parking lot.
  • Um… hello! I counted my calories today! I counted my calories *and* I posted them. I’m like my own hero!

It’s funny, but when you’ve spent the last few days (weeks) recovering from a fall that felt like slipping off the ledge of a very tall building, tripping over one tiny chocolate cake shaped crack in the pavement just doesn’t seem like that big of a deal.

Seriously, isn’t it amazing how a little shift in perspective can change your entire outlook on things. Believe me, there have been plenty of days in the past, and there will likely be a few more in the future, in which I would have been full of apologies and excuses when reflecting on a day like today. But tonight I celebrate it as the success it is.

So… what’s next?

Well, for starters, tomorrow I’ll do a little bit better than I did today.  I probably won’t be perfect, but I’ll be better.  In fact, I’ve already got my lunch packed. It would appear I’m on a roll. :)

Oh! And speaking of things to be proud of, I have to say that I got all choked up earlier when I saw that BikiniMe had nominated me for this “blog award.” Sadly, I don’t have a prepared acceptance speech, but that won’t stop me from thanking the academy (of one). Muchas Gracias, Chica! I think I’m supposed to nominate some more people at this point, but I’ve never been very good at following the rules, so instead I’ll just say that if any of you feel like you’d like to make someone’s day by sending them a little virtual gold medal, go right ahead. Consider yourself nominated.

As for me, well… I’ve got a lot to celebrate tonight and I think I’ll do so by getting a good night’s sleep. :)

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August 15, 2008 Posted by | losing weight, motivation | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 18 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

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.

<repeat>

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