Fat as Hell…

and not going to take it anymore!

Another Notch

I think perhaps I’ve stumbled upon something important.

Over the last week or so I’ve spiraled pretty far out of control. In a series of events that would make Mr. Freud waggle his finger at me and say (in German of course) “I told you so,” the emotional trauma of the last few days has triggered a pretty significant regression on my part. Though I’m no psychotherapist, even I recognize that I’ve exhibited some fairly infantile behavior and, despite all my tough talk about personal accountability, in this instance I’m pretty dead set on blaming everything that’s wrong with me entirely on my mother. :)

That said, however, despite having lost at least one battle in the war this week, I’m feeling more and more tonight as though it hasn’t all been for naught. Let me explain. Normally, in these situations, my major weight loss stumbles tend to come in sets of two. First, I fall off the wagon as a result of the obstacle du jour — that is to say, the actual real or perceived wound that I feel the need to treat with a box of Krispy Kremes. Then, as if the first trip down mega calorie lane wasn’t enough, I then beat myself up for having strayed from the skinny path in the first place only to, ironically, seek out solace in food, yet again.

I know. I know.
Not too bright.

But this time has been a little different.

First off, I’m the first to admit that the wound was a bit deeper this time, and thus the fall was a bit longer, but… and here’s the important bit… I only fell once. There was none of the usual post-postmortem kicking of my own ass to contend with. Rather, I seem to have recognized something important this time:

Just as weight loss, in general, is a process, so too is recovering from the personal calamities that seem to so easily deflate even the most successful weight loss endeavors. It’s not as simple as falling off the horse and just getting back on. Rather, it’s about reaching the bottom of whatever hole you’ve fallen into (recognizing that some holes are much deeper than others, of course) and then climbing your way back up… one agonizing step at a time. Not only is it not fair to expect a one step recovery of yourself, but it’s totally unrealistic too. Sure, we’ve all heard the cliches about getting right back in the saddle after having fallen off, but anyone who’s ever been thrown from a horse knows that the reality of such a thing is much different. Recovery of any kind is a process… and this is no exception.

So here I am, climbing my way back.

I’m not “back” yet, but that’s ok. The important thing is that I’ve fallen as far as I intend to and now I’ve begun the climb out of this particular hole.

Baby steps, right?

All of that said, I’m happy to report that over the last few days I’ve managed to spend more time out of bed than I have in. With each day, I’ve gotten better at saying no to food that I don’t need to be eating. And tonight, I even went for a walk. Not a super calorie burning power walk of days past… but a walk nonetheless.

After dinner my husband and I took the dogs for a walk around our neighborhood. It was warm, but not hot. There was a light breeze and the dogs, for whom summer walks are just a little too close to cruel and unusual punishment, seemed so happy to be out in the world. We managed to get in about a mile and a half at a pace that was leisurely enough to allow conversation, but brisk enough to put a little sweat on my brow.

Afterwards, despite my normal aversion to everything exercise related, I felt, if not great, than at least very, very good. I felt a bit stronger, a bit more empowered and a bit further out of the hole.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. :)

Oh. And one more thing…

In the 8 months since I started it, this blog has turned into something different than what I first imagined it would be.

At that time, I thought of it only as a place for me to chronicle my weight loss journey. And it has been that. But it’s been something more too.

When I first started, I never imagined sharing the kind of personal details about myself that I have. The notion that I’d one day write about my life and my family here just never occurred to me. Similarly, I truly never expected anyone to read what I wrote, especially not with any regularity. And I certainly never imagined that those who did would end up meaning so much to me.

In short, I never dreamt that I’d paint these walls with the kind of broad brush strokes that I have.

Needless to say, it’s been a pleasant surprise. But more than that, it’s been an absolutely necessary one. I can’t imagine what I would have done this summer without this spot and without all the people who choose to spend a little time sitting here with me. Whatever failures I’ve racked up in the last few months, I know they’d be so much worse without the support and guidance afforded to me by this blog and the little community that I’ve managed to become a part of.

I have to say, “thank you” just doesn’t seem like enough. But it’s all I’ve got.

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August 14, 2008 Posted by | losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 24 Comments

Trigger (un)Happy

Lately, I’ve been trying to pay attention to the patterns in my eating, or more specifically, my overeating. It seems like my ability to stay on track, to eat sensibly and to stick to my exercise routine is easily undermined by certain conditions. For lack of a better way to put it, I guess I’ve been looking for the things that “trigger” my tendency to overeat, in the hopes that recognizing these triggers will help me avoid them. I find that being aware of my behavior can sometimes help me curb the negative aspects of it.

Anyway, although I’m sure there are others, this is the list I’ve come up with so far.

Trigger

Description

Me?

Boredom This is pretty self explanatory. You’re bored, so you eat. I see this as being true for me occasionally, but I’m usually able to recognize and prevent this kind of overeating.
Self Loathing You hate the fat on your body, so you look for comfort, ironically, in more food. I definitely see this as being a problem for me. When I’m feeling bad about myself, it’s especially easy to drown myself in food. Without a doubt, I am a glass half full kind of girl which, sadly, often leads to a too full plate kind of meal.
Stress Again, self explanatory. When the going gets tough, the fat go eating. This can be true for me. But I don’t stress *alone* as being a terribly dangerous trigger for me personally. Rather, I think stress in combination with other triggers is truly a recipe for disaster.
Lack of Willpower You just don’t have the mental fortitude to stick to your eating plan. When it comes right down to it, I’m essentially lazy, so yeah… will power, or lack thereof, can definitely be a problem for me.
Fatigue Zzzzzz. Absolutely. Losing weight takes energy, effort and a lot of work. When I’m pooped, it feels nearly impossible to do.
Habit Your lifestyle is arranged such that overeating is a part of your routine. Recently, I’ve realized that this is more of an issue for me than I would have thought. I need a *routine* filled with healthy habits in order to survive. When my routine is disruptive, I revert to the unhealthy habits of old.
Emotional Association You find yourself in situations that feel like a time when you turned to food, so you turn to food again. Yeah. This happens more often than I would like to admit.

It’s funny, but when I look at this list, all laid out before me, it does feel a little overwhelming — as though there’s an awful lot of forces out there, conspiring against me. I mean, with traps like these lying in wait around every corner, it’s no wonder that I fuck up from time to time. However, as with all things, I’m learning that identifying, accepting and facing the problem are essential first steps in conquering them. I’ll never learn to *not* overeat in the face of these triggers, if I refuse to acknowledge their existence and the power that they have over me.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from this whole blogging thing it’s that while all of us share a few things in common… we all struggle, we all hate what being fat has done to us and we all want to do better… for every way that we’re similar, there’s at least one other way in which our stories are varied. We’re all different people, with different personality ticks, different backgrounds, different relationships with foods and, I’d be willing to guess, different things that trigger our unhealthy behaviors. Just as each of us have to learn to recognize our own individual recipes for disaster, so too do we have to identify our own unique plan for success.

That said, this blogging thing really does help, doesn’t it?

Each time I stay away for awhile, I’m reminded of all the reasons why I need this. I need the support, the tokens of kindness and the wisdom that each of you so generously shares with me. But most of all, I need the camaraderie. It’s so helpful to know that I’m not alone.

August 10, 2008 Posted by | losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 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