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

The Worm Has Turned…

Although I don’t always make it, I try very hard to go for a (vigorous, heart pumping, heavy sweat inducing) walk every evening. I started doing this about a year ago because, frankly, it was the only exercise I could do comfortably, (and when I say comfortably, I mean do without passing out — and even then there were a few times that I came close to doing just that). I think I’ve blogged before about the .2 mile loop that surrounds my house and how I spent much of last fall and winter tracing that loop over and over again.

The first night I decided to go for a walk, I struggled to make it around even once… but eventually I got stronger and that one time around slowly turned into two times and two times turned into three until finally I marked my first mile. I did that mile walk many, many nights… until eventually I did two.

Now, I walk a little more than 3 miles a night. But the truth is that the distance doesn’t feel as important to me as it once did. Lately I’ve been measuring my success by other means.

These days I’m no longer walking that .2 mile loop. Now I walk a 3.2 mile loop that runs through the golf course and around a lake that is adjacent to my neighborhood. It’s a good route for a couple of reasons, first off… it’s paved. I walk the same path that the golf carts take during the day and for me that’s a plus because regardless of how fit I get, I’m not all that coordinated and am sometimes prone to falling down… especially as the light begins to dwindle in the evening. The second plus that my new route has going for it, is that it’s quite hilly. I’m constantly having to push a little harder as I negotiate these inclines and descents… and with each hill I feel my heart rate increase or the strain in my muscles as I carry my, still pretty heavy, self up or down the path. And finally, the third thing I love about my evening walk is that it’s really and truly lovely. Just about every time I go, I chastise myself for not bringing my camera. One of these days I will, but for now all I can say is that there are rolling hills and a pristine lake complete with swans. It’s not wild or untamed by any stretch of the imagination but it is very charming and makes the exertion feel a bit more worth it.

One thing that I should mention now is that I live in the American southeast which means that, even in the evening, it’s still very hot out, but what’s more, the humidity here is downright oppressive. Tonight, when I left for my walk it was still over 80 degrees and the humidity was full bore. The moment you walk out the door, the sweat starts, and believe me, it doesn’t stop… which makes for a good work out, I suppose, but also makes for a pretty stinky return.

Anyway… I’m rambling a bit, but the point I’m trying to get to is that a year ago I’d never have been able to go for the walk I went for tonight. I’d never have made it even half that distance, and certainly not in the heat of summer. And what’s more, a year ago, I wouldn’t have dared tried.

A lot of the good folks in blogland right now are engrossed in a number of challenges. Several of my favorite weight loss bloggers are either currently pursuing, or have already mastered, the Couch to 5k challenge, and many others still are currently pushing themselves towards 100 push-ups. The brutal truth is that when I read about these endeavors, whatever joy and pride I may feel for my virtual friends as they pursue and reach these goals, is always tempered with a bit of jealousy. Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally sincere when I call BikiniMe my push-up hero, or when I tell Marshmallow or Andrew that I could hardly keep myself from jumping up and down for joy when I watched the videos and read about their recent 5k success.

And yet…

That joy rarely keeps me from looking down at my own still very flabby body and wishing that I were at the point where I could do even 1 push up or run even 1k (ok, who am I kidding? I’d settle for .01k at this point). But I’m *not* at that point yet. Not yet.

Not yet.

Changing everything about the way you’ve lived for the last 37 years isn’t easy. Learning to treat your body with respect and feed it in ways that are healthy and that promote a long life is hard, hard work. Many days I fuck up… and I’m sure the days to come will contain innumerable stumbles, but when I look back at where I used to be, it’s hard not to feel a little bit proud of how far I’ve come.

True. I’m not at the point where I’m ready to join the C25K challenge or attempt to do 100 pushups, but I am, literally and figuratively, miles away from where I used to be. I’ve lost weight, yes. And I will continue to lose weight, but what seems even more important tonight is the fact that I’m not the same person I was a year ago. I’m smarter, I’m stronger and I’m better prepared for the long road ahead. And, I bet, if you think about it, you are too.

It’s so very easy to fall prey to that little voice inside my head that constantly tries to remind me that I’m still fat and that even though I’ve lost a lot of weight, I have even more weight to go. (I’m sure you know that voice… in fact, I bet my voice and your voice are pals). The thing I think we all have to do is to quiet that voice with another, stronger, one. A voice that reminds us, no matter where we are on this journey, that we’ve come a long, long way and that each step forward takes us that much further away from the people we used to be.

Whatever I do, I must keep *that* voice at the forefront of my consciousness, because that voice is not only healthier and for more productive, but that voice is also right.

June 26, 2008 Posted by | losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Good Enough

Listen to this…

Perfectionism may seem like a desirable trait, but to boost your health, aim for “just enough.” “Trying to do everything right promotes an all-or-nothing attitude,” says Martin Binks, PhD, a psychologist at the Duke Diet and Fitness Center in Durham, NC. So if you can’t do something perfectly (i.e., work out an hour a day), you don’t do anything at all (i.e., watch TV instead).

And this…

A better mindset: Believe that every little bit counts. “It’s small changes that are most effective,” Binks says. So forget perfect!

Gosh. This really hits home for me. Though I would never label myself as a perfectionist, I can definitely remember numerous instances wherein my attitude has fallen into the “all-or-nothing” category. Although it seems silly, I frequently find myself thinking things like, “well, it’s too late to exercise for a full hour, so what’s the point?” or “If I’m not going to walk my full 3 mile route, then why bother walking at all?”

I’m telling you, this kind of stuff is hard to admit, because frankly, it sounds like the rantings of a complete lunatic, but if I’m going to be completely honest then I have to tell you that I also play these kinds of games with food. Let’s say, for example, that on my way to work I inexplicably find myself at Starbucks sucking down an iced venti no whip white mocha (which happens more frequently than I care to admit)… often, later in the day, I will use that slip up as an excuse to NOT make the right choices AGAIN: “Well, I already drank about 500 calories this morning, so I might as well eat this brownie, right?” I fall into the “all-or-nothing” mentality, adopting a “what’s the point?” attitude as though one (albeit big) slip-up has ruined the entire day.

And here’s the thing, that kind of defeatism is not only unhealthy, but it’s also really, really stupid.

And what’s more, I realize it’s just an excuse, an easy way for me to bargain my way out of having to exercise or eat right at all, but man, I don’t think I really realized how much I did that until I read this article in which the authors outline what they call the Good Enough Guide to Healthy Living. In each category they identify the “gold standard,” or the things that we would all do every day in a perfect world… but then they go onto to discuss what they term “good enough” goals *and* the significant health benefits that can result from even making small changes in your life.

The exercise one was a biggie for me, but there’s something to be learned, I feel, from their suggestions in all of the categories.

That said, I think part of my problem lately has been that I started expecting way too much of myself. I had a few kick-ass months, ate right, exercised frequently and took off more weight than I ever thought possible, but it was wrong to expect that kind of performance, and thus those kinds of results, from myself all of the time. Even though I didn’t see it at the time, it’s clear to me now that I set my goals a little too high and when I found myself in a position where I couldn’t achieve them, I just threw my hands up in the air and said “why bother?”

*sigh*

You know, so many of my favorite weight-loss bloggers have been quiet lately, and I have to tell you that I’m worried that they too are adrift in a high calorie, low self-esteem sea. To that end, a long time ago, Krissie wrote a post that I’ve actually quoted several times now. In it she said…

I am a new person most of the time. And that’s good enough. I’m never going to be perfect. But I can be healthy repeatedly, and let that crowd out my mistakes.

I know she gets tired of me quoting her all of the time, but I think there’s a lot of wisdom in those words. Furthermore, I think that if we all cut ourselves a little slack now and then, we’d probably all be far better off.

So… however I go about getting back in the swing of things *this* time, I know one thing for sure. I’m going to really, really try to not allow myself to fall into the trap of “all-or-nothing.” Like Krissie, I too am a new person *most* of the time. And, I bet if you think about it, you are too. None of us are going to be perfect all of the time. But we *can* do the right thing repeatedly. And the thing I’m starting to realize is… that really *is* good enough.

June 15, 2008 Posted by | health, losing weight, motivation | , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments