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

Deja Voodoo

There’s something about the phrase “in real life” (when used to describe someone’s activities in the world outside their computer) that has always bugged me. Like most people, I’ve had an online life for at least 10 years now, and if there’s one thing that I’ve learned from those experiences it’s that the people you meet online are real. You might not be able to break someone’s nose online, but you can surely break their heart. You might not be able to hold their hand, but you can surely comfort and support them. And while you may never know exactly what some of your online buddies look like (physically, anyway), in my experience, online relationships can be, in many ways, more honest than the, so called, “real” ones.

Maybe that’s why I struggle sometimes with using events in my “real life” as an excuse for neglecting my online one. I don’t like the notion of putting one aspect of my life ahead of another… though I know sometimes we don’t have a choice. Things happen and, whether we like it or not, our priorities shift as a result.

That said, as many of you know, in my real other life, I’m a public school librarian. I spend my days talking to 14 year olds about books, producing student created pod and vodcasts, teaching classes in broadcast journalism, storytelling and public speaking, thumbing through catalogs, meeting with vendors, and, on really good days, opening up boxes upon boxes of shiny new books. Seriously… it’s a good gig and I love it.

One of the major perks of being a *school* librarian, of course, is the fact that, like teachers, I get the summers off, and for me, summer officially begins Monday. *cue Alice Cooper song* I’ve been doing this for 11 years now, and let me just say that it never loses its allure. I’m just as excited about sleeping in on Monday as I was when I was 9 and that first Monday when I *should* have been getting up for school, but I actually got to sleep in, finally rolled around.

What most people don’t know, however, is that the weeks just before school gets out are hell. There’s so much to do and *never* enough time to do it. I don’t know about other people in my profession, but I *always* end up working lots of extra hours in order to get everything finalized before leaving for the summer… and even then I still end up with a lot of items NOT crossed off my to do list. You’d think, by now, I’d be used to it, but I *still* fall apart during the last few weeks of school — and this year was no exception.

The thing is, you’d also think that, after all these years, I’d have figured a few things out. You’d think that since I know that the last few weeks of school are going to be a nightmare that I’d take steps to simplify other aspects of my life. For example, maybe the last few weeks of school aren’t the best time for me to join online challenges and outline my own 10 step program for losing weight. Rather, maybe, the last few weeks of school would be a good time for me to focus on the goal of simply maintaining my already achieved weight loss rather than reaching for more. Maybe, and this will sound crazy, I know, but maybe the last few weeks of school are the wrong time for me to set any goals at all. Seriously, you’d think, after all these years, I’d have figured stuff like that out. But… you’d be wrong.

Let’s just cut to the chase, shall we?

A few weeks ago I blogged about being at the point where I needed to either give in or start over. And the truth is, I’m *still* at that point. I haven’t given in, not by a long shot, but I haven’t started over either. I’ve been in this pudgy purgatory, if you will… making the right choices, occasionally, but usually following them up with a series of wrong ones; thinking a lot about how much I *want* to be back on track, without actually taking any steps towards making that happen; and not feeling strong enough to do what I know I should, but also not being able to truly enjoy this hiatus from being healthy. It sucks, because while I haven’t, by any stretch of the imagination, done the right things over the last few weeks, I haven’t enjoyed being off my “diet” either. As a matter of fact, I’ve kind of hated not eating properly. How screwed up is that?

In my absence, Paola wrote me an open letter on her blog The Food Confessional. Here’s part of it:

Whether or not you sometimes take a few steps back, you know how to eat to lose weight. You are stuck with this knowledge. You can never unknow it. And, now, when you go to Starbucks for a whipped cream coffee and a cake, you’re gonna feel like shit, spoiling your experience, because you will know it’s doing you harm.

Is this where you are now, stuck between a rock and a hard place?

In the end, you don’t have much choice, you must get back onto your diet. The alternative is to eat cakes and jars of peanut butter, but never really enjoying them as much as you used to, and always be miserable.

Man, is she right.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from the last couple of weeks it’s that going back to simply not caring about how I eat, whether or not I exercise, or how I treat the one body I’ve got just isn’t an option. Sure… I can stuff my face full of brownies and root beer (and believe me, I have), but whatever *joy* that kind of food once brought me, is long gone. Sure, I can eat them, and they taste good, but now there’s always an aftertaste. Whether I like it or not, my mind *always* involuntarily starts adding up the calories. And there’s something about those numbers whispering in your ear that kind of ruins the whole experience, you know?

So… here I am.

Starting over.

Again.

The truth is, I don’t really have a master plan for the next few weeks. I think I need to take it slowly and start thinking about all of this through the “one pound at a time” lens that helped me lose weight in the first place. What I don’t need to do now is bite off more than I can chew. I *need* to experience some success this week and the only way I’m going to do that is if I take it slowly.

Here’s what I know for sure:

  • Counting and recording my calories is not optional. The simple truth of the matter is that when I hold myself accountable in that way, I do much, much better. I realize that food diaries are not for everyone, and as much as I’ve tried to convince myself that I could do it without recording what I eat, at this point in the game, I simply need that extra step.
  • I hate exercising, but I have to do it. Enough said.
  • Drinking calories is stupid. In the last few weeks I’ve gone from drinking 3+ liters of water a day to falling back into the habit of taking in hundreds of liquid calories a day in the form of icy coffee drinks and/or other fizzy caffeinated concoctions. No more.
  • Portion size is (still) a problem. I may blog more about this at a later time, but for now, I’ll just say that my portion sizes have been creeping back up. If I’m going to be successful, I know that this is an issue that I have to tackle.

And that’s all… for now.

I guess the bottom line is that at no point over the last few weeks did I ever think about giving up. I always knew that, sooner or later, I’d be exactly where I am now, a bit ashamed of myself for not doing the right things for so long, but knowing that it’s never too late to start doing them again. Thank you again to everyone who nudged me back sooner, rather than later. I continue to be grateful to you guys for just being so cool. To me, you guys are *real* and amazing and you constantly inspire me.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ok. At the risk of making this post even *longer* I’ve found myself in the awkward position of having been tagged (again). Here’s the thing: I suck at these things. I can never think of anything windswept and interesting to say, so I usually just decline politely and hope like hell that the tagger (me being the taggee) will continue to like me despite my inept rudeness. But… since this one is short and I simply can’t bring myself to say no to Fat Bridesmaid, I’ll do my best to play along. Apparently, I’m supposed to tell you 5 things about myself that you might not otherwise know… and then I’m supposed to tag 5 other people. So… *takes deep breath* here goes nothing:

Boring facts about me:

  1. I’ve been wearing a Make Poverty History wristband since 2005. So far, poverty hasn’t gone away… but I still wear it. Every day. I’m like Johnny Cash, only not as cool.
  2. I once won second place in a short story contest. I got $500.00 and my story was published in a small collection that I’m sure no one bought. I was driving when I got the call that I’d won second place and I nearly drove off the road. I still have the stub from the check they sent me.
  3. I drive a yellow, VW bug convertible with a black top. I call it my bumblebeetle. Which leads me to….
  4. My house was once overrun by wood boring yellow jackets (not carpenter bees). It’s a long, long (long) story, but by the time I figured out what was happening, there were (this estimate was given to me by the “bee man” who, without any protective gear, goggles or gloves, cut giant holes into my walls and removed the entire yellow jacket nest, by hand, in order to find and kill the queen bee) between 35 and 40 THOUSAND yellow jackets living in my walls. It was like something out of a B (har!) movie. At the time, as you might imagine, it was a horrifying experience, but since then, bees have sort of become my symbol.
  5. When I was in college, I worked at one of those stores where everything is a dollar. The town where I lived and worked at the time was a very touristy spot and home to a small movie studio where several major motion pictures/television shows have been filmed…. so it wasn’t uncommon to see celebrities, even in the dollar store. Anyway, one time Delta Burke came into the store and she bought 50 key chains, all of which read: “I’d slap you, but shit splatters.”

Ok. So now I’m supposed to tag some other unsuspecting bloggers, but rather than slap the yoke of internet fodder around anyone’s neck, I’ll just say that I’d love to learn 5 things about anyone who would like to play along. So… if you’re reading this and want to post a few bits of flotsam and jetsam about yourself on your blog, go for it! Consider yourself tagged. I’m sure yours will be far more interesting than mine. :)

Oooh! And thanks to Fat Bridesmaid for wanting to know more about me. Your kindness and curiosity make me blush.

June 14, 2008 Posted by | losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

To Fight Another Day…

I’ve reached that point.

You know… that point in a project where all your “plans” have gone to shit, the project itself feels like a jumbled mess, your vision for its end seems further away than ever, and you feel like you’ve really only got 2 options: quit or start over.

That’s where I am. I’ve got to quit or start over.

A couple of weeks ago now, Krissie issued the 10 Day Challenge, in which she urged people to commit to doing something healthy for themselves for 10 days. In response, I pledged that I would take my alloted 1200 – 1500 calories per day and start breaking them up into smaller, but more frequent meals. The plan was to eat at least 5 smaller meals per day in order to curb my hunger, speed up my metabolism, squelch that feeling of deprivation and stop myself from overeating in the evening. And it worked… for five whole days.

Then things started to fall apart.

First my work schedule changed, which made it impossible for me to eat several times during the day. Then my husband and I participated in a number of “social” events in the evening, all of which included food and drink and making merry.

But really, those aren’t good excuses. The truth is, I’ve been on the downward spiral since my weigh in and doctor’s appointment several weeks ago. Since that time, and the end of the pedometer challenge, I’ve really, really slacked off. Apart from the 5 days that I managed to actually adhere to my 10 day plan, I’ve eaten too much and exercised too little. And as a result, I’ve put on weight. A lot of it.

This morning I decided to face the music and weigh in. And I have to say, it’s really hard for me to post this…. but I’m up. 9.4lbs. The last time I weighed I was at 244.4. Today, I’m at 253.8.

*sigh*

Part of me thinks, ok… that can’t be right. I’m just retaining water or I ate a bit too late last night or my scale is on the the blink or someone’s playing a joke on me. But the truth is, it’s been almost a month since I weighed and since that time I’ve been, at best, inconsistent when it comes to keeping track of my calories and exercising. In fact, since the end of the pedometer challenge, I’ve pretty much stopped exercising altogether.

And the thing is, all of this just makes me wonder… am I one of those people who, however unconsciously, is prone to sabotaging her own success? Did I get so freaked out about losing 75lbs that I secretly decided to put 10lbs back on, just because being fat and helpless is more comfortable for me than being thin(ner) and empowered? I have to tell you, the idea of that being true is very, very frightening to me. I don’t want to be that kind of person.

Anyway, like I said, it’s time to quit or start over.

So… here’s my start over plan:

#1: I’m going to restart the 10 day challenge.

I’m doing this just for myself. There’s no *prize* this time around, but that’s ok because even though I only managed 5 days before, those 5 days were important. During that time, I realized a few things about my eating habits. I started to notice patterns about when I’m hungry and about the kind of poor choices I make when I’ve allowed myself to get that grumble in my tummy. Eating smaller, more frequent meals helped curb my appetite significantly *and* helped me tackle the issue of portion size, which is something I’ve been struggling with for a long, long time. Thus, I don’t want to just shrug this off as a competition I didn’t finish… I want to finish it. I *need* to finish it. And, what’s more, I want to make this a habit that I continue long after the 10 day period is over.

#2: I’m going to keep using the Food Confessional.

When I started the 10 day challenge, I also started logging my food over at the Food Confessional. It’s probably no surprise then that when I stopped playing, I stopped logging. Food diaries aren’t for everyone and I anticipate the day when my use of this tool will change, but for right now, I’ve realized that this is the kind of accountability I need, so as long as Paola will still let me, I’m planning to start tracking my daily food intake again today.

#3: I’m putting my pedometer back on.

The really GREAT thing about the pedometer challenge was the fact that it kept me motivated to move my ass on days when I didn’t want to. After the challenge was over, I took the pedometer off and pretty much stopped moving. Again, this time, it’s only for me, but I’m putting it back on *and* even though I’ve only got a few days left in May, I’m determined to earn Scale Junkie’s 5k in May badge before the month is out. Walking 5k is something I *used* do almost nightly. (I can’t believe how much I’ve slacked off as of late). Earning this badge is something I really need to do in order to prove several things to myself.

#4: Get Back on the Scale, Baby.

I think this one is self explanatory. I’m back to weekly weigh-ins.

#5: Participate in the Summer Blog Party.

As some of you may know, Scale Junkie came up with a great idea for a Summer Blog Party in which lots of her readers are going to host various challenges and offer prizes, etc., in order to get and keep people motivated this summer. My plan is to participate in this in a number of ways. I haven’t worked out the particulars yet, but once I do, I’ll post them here. Either way, however, I know that my participation will help me stay on track this summer, which is something I desperately need.

That said, speaking of Scale Junkie and badges. Although this is not a part of my “plan” I’ve decided to remove the 75lb loss badge from my blog and move myself back a few notches. It hurts me to do it, but I’d rather be honest about where I am than to keep a badge that I no longer deserve. I did lose 75lbs, but I haven’t maintained it. So… now I’ve just got to work that much harder to get that badge back.

Anyway, I’m tempted to fill up this page with several more goals, but I think that’s enough. One thing I do know about myself is that I have a tendency to overreach a little, and if nothing else, I have learned that I do better when I make more realistic goals for myself. Baby steps, right?

In the meantime, I know I have a struggle ahead.

I’ve worked hard to build some healthy habits over the last several months, and I’ve had some successes, but what I realize is that it is just too fucking easy to slip right back into the bad habits that got me into this condition in the first place. And let me tell you, that’s pretty discouraging. It makes me wonder if I’ve really got it in me to keep fighting like this for the rest of my life. It makes me wonder if this will *ever* get easier. Will eating right and exercising *ever* just become the things I do? Or will they *always* be things that I have to FORCE upon myself?

I hope that someday I’ll be in a place where every day, every meal, every bite is no longer a battle.

But for now, I’m still fighting. And I guess that’s better than nothing.

May 26, 2008 Posted by | losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments