Fat as Hell…

and not going to take it anymore!

The More I Know…

…the more I realize I *don’t* know.

Today was the first day that I *officially* started counting, recording and posting my calories again at the food confessional. As I said in that post, I nearly chickened out as a result of all the garbage that I put into my body today, but thanks (at least in part) to Sylvia’s comment on my last post in which she encouraged me to focus simply on getting back in the routine of managing my daily calories, (rather than doing that *and* focusing too strongly on getting them between 1300 and 1500 *and* working in exercise, etc.), I decided to take that first baby step. And, I must admit, I’ve learned a few things in the process:

First of all, I have to say thank you to Paola for editing her already fabulous table generating food diary tool such that it now includes the optional capability of calculating things like your daily intake of fiber, carbs, fat, sodium, etc. I’ve been wanting to, if nothing else, be more conscious of how the food I eat stacks up nutritionally for quite some time (rather than concentrating simply on the calories it contains), but have found the prospect to be a little daunting. But thanks to Paola now I have a really cool and easy to use tool to help me. So… thank you again, Paola, you are truly amazing.

Secondly, in some ways, looking at all of that stuff has me even more confused than ever. Given that today was something of a caloric anomaly (hopefully) I’m not going to get too freaked out about the amount of fat and sodium that I consumed (for example) but what I realized is that I don’t really know how much of these things I *should* be eating each day. Sure, I know the basics like fiber = good and sodium = bad, but beyond that, I’m pretty lost. And although this is probably a topic for another post, I have to say that this lack of information has left me feeling more than a little bit pissed off at my doctor. I have a good relationship with my doctor and, for the most part, I trust and respect him. However, what I realize now is that while he *did* issue me a huge wake up call, one that has, literally, saved my life, he didn’t provide me with any of the tools I needed to change the path of self-destruction that I was on. He told me that I needed to cut back on the salt, but he never once indicated to me how much salt is too much. Everything I’ve learned about what works for me when it comes to losing weight, I’ve either a) stumbled upon through my own research or b) mooched off of all of you. That said, I guess it’s time to do a little research. (Or… if any of you know have some insight into these things, please, enlighten me).

And finally, keeping track of all of this shit is hard work. It took me FOREVER to figure out exactly how much fiber, protein and carbohydrates were in everything I ate today and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that there were *several* times when I wanted to say “fuck this!” and eat (another) brownie. But instead, I trudged forward because I know that eventually it will get easier *and* even though it took more time than I thought it would, figuring out how much sodium is in two cups of fresh spinach was, well… illuminating. I *learned* something through the process and that always feels good.

So… perhaps tonight marks something other than just another attempt to get back in the saddle. Perhaps this is more like a new beginning — you know, a fresh start, as it were, rather than just a return to the old habits that have served me well in the past. Either way, I’m feeling really, really grateful tonight.

I’m grateful for…

  • good friends who want me to succeed so badly that they are willing to *create* tools to help me get there.
  • the knowledge that even though I still have a lot to learn that I’ve got a plethora of resources at my disposal to help me put the puzzle pieces together.
  • the kick in the ass that got me to post my deplorable food intake today.
  • the safe and accepting place that I have to share the gory details of my fucked up relationship with food.
  • the fact that even though I didn’t want to, tonight I a) counted, recorded and posted my calories (etc) AND b) managed a vigorous 2 mile walk with my husband and 2 ridiculously cute dogs (I’m grateful for them and for my husband too, by the way!).
  • And, I’m really, really, (really) grateful that tomorrow marks the beginning of a new school year for me. I’m so looking forward to getting back into the old routines that helped me lose weight to begin with. I’m longing for a regular schedule and a lack of the mental and physical exhaustion that has marked my summer. Apparently, I’m getting old and stuck in my ways, but I don’t care. I need those routines. They are precious to me. And tomorrow, I get them back. Yay! :)

And with that, I’m off to bed. I hope all of you have plenty to be grateful for too.

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August 17, 2008 Posted by | losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 78 Comments

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. :)

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