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

Nutritional Habits Checklist

I ran across this article on another blog and it got me thinking about the ways in which we measure success. I don’t know about you, but recently, I’ve been living (and dying) by the scale — weighing every day and judging my success entirely on whatever number appeared that morning. Don’t get me wrong… I haven’t stopped wanting and needing to lose weight. I’m just also coming to terms with the fact that there are other ways to measure my success. To that end, I think I need to set some non-weight related goals for myself and I think I need to start being equally proud of meeting them as I am when I take off a pound or two. After all, if I’m really being honest when I say that this is about more than losing weight, that it’s about making the whole me healthy, than I need to start placing a higher value on things other than the number on the scale.Anyway, the article provides a checklist of sorts: a list of nutritional habits that help contribute to a healthy lifestyle. Here they are and my own assessment of how well I think I am doing at achieving each:

  • Don’t skip meals; plan for three meals each day: Hmmmm. I give myself a C+/B- on this. I often find it difficult not to skip breakfast and, sometimes, if I feel really guilty about the day before, I find it very tempting to fast.
  • Start reading food labels so you’ll become more aware of what you’re putting into your body: I give myself an A- in this category. I’ve become really good about reading the labels and checking the nutritional facts of restaurants before I go out so that I enter armed with info to help me make good choices. Of course, that doesn’t always mean that I make them. :)
  • Plan for healthier snack choices at work: A+ here. I don’t snack much at work, but I make sure my lunch contains healthy finger type foods so if I *want* a snack, I can take it out of my own lunch and avoid the pitfalls of the vending machine. In fact, since I started this job in August, I haven’t had a single item out of the dreaded vending machine. Go me!
  • Between lunch and dinner each day, aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables: This is a category where I definitely need more work. I adore veggies, but I have to force myself to eat fruit. I have been getting at least an apple in each day, but I’m not doing well beyond that. I give myself a C in this category.
  • Stop adding salt to foods: A+ here. I never reach for the salt shaker anymore.
  • Eat nothing after 8 p.m. A- in this category. I usually do a pretty good job of eating early. I realized a long time ago that eating late had contributed to my downfall.
  • Try a new food each week, to help you introduce more variety into your diet: I’m tempted to give myself an F in this category. I really need to branch out.
  • Eat less meat to reduce your fat and cholesterol intake: I’m working on this, but I still have a ways to go. The meat isn’t that much of a problem. I’m eating a lot more fish and poultry and very little red meat, but I still take in more fat than I’d like. However, I’m learning the difference between healthy and unhealthy fats and trying to, at least, tip the scales so that I am taking in more of the former than the latter. There’s room for improvement here, however. B-
  • Make sure that your breads, cereals, pastas, and crackers are made with whole grains: I’m working on this too, but still have a ways to go. For me, this is one of the hardest ones. Frankly, I’m not eating a lot of starches right now, but I do when I do, I am not always good about making sure that they are made of whole grains. I definitely need to work on this. Grade C here.

The further along I travel on this journey the more I am reminded that this is not just about losing weight. This is about changing my whole life. When I set out to do this, I told myself, and meant it, that I would never, ever refer to this as a diet. I am not on a diet. I am turning my life around and living in a new way. By concentrating so solely on what the scale says recently I’ve done myself a disservice. I am more than just that number and the way I measure success must be based on more too. By looking at things like this nutritional checklist, I get a more complete look at the bigger picture. This coupled with keeping track of my progress not just as an eater, but as an exerciser, a thinker, a breather, a lover, a worker, a reader, a writer, a blogger, and all the other things that I am, can only help me as I attempt to make all aspects of my life better.

January 17, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

272.3 and counting…

I had an extraordinary conversation today. It went like this:

Coworker: “J, have you lost weight??”
Me: silence
Coworker: silence
Me: “Well, I hope so.”

The thing is, I haven’t told *anyone* (except for my husband and two closest friends) that I’m trying to lose weight. The reason for my secrecy is simple. There’s no way that I could face owning up to yet another failure in this department.

The truth is, I don’t consider myself to be particularly vain. I don’t check myself out in mirrors or worry, in most cases, what people think about me. But this is different. Like most people who struggle with their weight, this isn’t my first attempt to shed the extra weight that I’m carrying around. God knows, I’ve tried so many times. You name the program… I’ve been on it. Weight Watchers, Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig… the list goes on an on. Of course, it’s been at least 10 years since I’ve been down any of those roads, and while I know some people who have been successful using those, and other, programs, for me, *if* they did work at all, it was always only a temporary solution. I’d lose a little weight (usually no more than 15-20lbs) and then balloon right back up to where I had been before, if not higher.

Right now, however, I’m very tempted to say that “this time is different” — but that’s only because this time really *feels* different. Here’s why:

  1. I’m not on a “diet” — I’ve changed my whole life. I not only eat less, but I eat *better* and I exercise regularly — something I *never* did before, on *any* program. But equally important I feel are the changes I’ve made to how I live. I get at least 8 hours of sleep each night, I only work 1 job (something that hasn’t been true in years) and that job is far less stressful than my previous career. Additionally, I do things that feed my mind as well as my body. I read constantly. I go to the theatre and even took in the symphony recently. All of these things contribute to my overall well-being which, I feel, has made it possible for me to be successful in taking off the weight which has been the symbol of my dysfunction for so long.
  2. My motivation is different this time too. Unlike my previous attempts to lose weight, this has nothing to do with looking good or pleasing other people. Sure, fitting into “normal” clothes, etc would be a nice fringe benefit. But what really concerns me this time around is my health. I’m almost 40 and up until now I’ve been on the fast track to a heart-attack and, frankly, I’m too young for that shit. Furthermore, I really don’t like the idea of having my options in life limited by my weight. I may never have children or go sky diving or run the Boston Marathon, but I want to *choose* not to do those things, not find myself unable to do them because I’m too fat.
  3. And finally, I can tell that this time is different because I’ve lost more weight this time than ever before. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’m still fat alright, but as of this morning, I’m just 3lbs shy of having lost 50lbs. It doesn’t matter what I’ve tried or how much I thought I wanted it , I’ve never lost that kind of weight before and I know it’s because this time *is* different.

At least, that’s what I keep telling myself.
Even if I’m not quite ready to tell other people yet. :)

January 4, 2008 Posted by | health, motivation | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment