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

Big Girls Don’t Cry

I haven’t seen my mother in over 12 years.

I’ll be honest. Even if I wanted to outline all of the reasons for this here, I don’t think there’s enough space on my screen or characters on my keyboard to capture it all. Like all relationships, the one I share with my mother is complicated and messy. And, certainly, the fact that she lives nearly 3,000 miles away has played a role in our long separation. But the hard truth is that if we wanted to see each other, we would, and most of the reasons why we haven’t made that effort are personal, emotional and too painful for me to share publicly.

I will say this, however…

I left home when I was 16 years old. I left Washington State for my husband, college and North Carolina when I was 19 and I’ve been here for a little over 18 years now. In all of that time, she’s never been here to see me. She wasn’t there when I graduated from college. She wasn’t there when I got married. She wasn’t there when I earned my master’s degree. You name the event. She wasn’t there. For the first few years after moving here, I went home every year. I headed back during the summer and at Christmas… but then, over time, I stopped making the trek out there too. And before I knew it 12 years had past.

And then… about a month ago, she called and said that she’d bought a ticket and that she was coming to see me. In typical fashion, she didn’t ask if it was ok. She didn’t ask if it was a good time. She just said she’d bought a ticket and was coming.

So… for the last month I’ve been both looking forward to and dreading this “reunion.” Of course, there’s a part of me that has desperately wanted to see her, to show her my life, what I’ve built for myself and that I’m ok. But then there’s the other part that’s been equally afraid of all that could go wrong… and believe me, a lot could. So, for a month I’ve tried not to dwell on it. I’ve tried not to think about it at all.  I’ve tried not to worry. And, most of all, I’ve tried not to get my hopes up.

Anyway, she was supposed to arrive on Sunday evening, but the long and the short of it is that she never showed up. I’d gotten a call the night before about how excited she was, but then her arrival time came and went and she wasn’t on the plane.

One consequence of 911 is that now airlines will provide you with absolutely no information about their passenger lists, so I was left helplessly not knowing what had happened to my mother and no one at the airport was able/willing to tell me whether or not she’d ever even boarded a plane that day. It wasn’t until around 3am, and a million phone calls later that, I learned that she had decided not to come. She claimed that she’d attempted to but that flight delays and poor service on the part of the airlines made it seem like “too much trouble.” I guess it was “too much trouble” to call and let me know too.

So… that was Sunday night.  And since then, I’ve done little besides eat and cry. I’ve spent the last two days almost entirely in bed, getting up just to forage for food. I can’t recall everything I’ve eaten, but there was a point when I literally felt so full, I thought about purging — something I’ve never done before. In short, it’s been a miserable couple of days.

I guess the thing that bothers me the most about it all, is that this is the kind of thing she has pulled my entire life. In fact, since she called with the news that she was coming to visit, both my husband and I joked that she probably wouldn’t even show. And yet, when she didn’t, I was completely broadsided. And as a result, I’ve spiraled, again, into a dangerous pattern of overeating to feel better.

I’ve been eating and eating and eating, but I *don’t* feel better.
Rather, I feel worse.

And yet, I’ve got to be honest, I don’t know if I’ll be able to stop yet. Even now, as I type all of this out, I’m fighting the urge to scrap it and just head into the kitchen. I’m not hungry… but there’s a hole in me that needs filling.

And here’s the thing…

I don’t want to be the kind of person who fills those holes with food.
I don’t want to spend the rest of my life letting other people control me.
I don’t want to feel like it’s ok to blame her, or anyone else, for undoing what little I’ve been able to accomplish so far.

As I said in a recent post, I feel like I’m in a strange and unfamiliar place. I’ve attempted to lose weight before, but I’ve never lost as much as I have *this* time. I feel like I’m nowhere near the end of my “journey,” so if there is light at the end of this tunnel, I can’t see it yet. But, on the other hand, for the first time ever, I also feel like I’ve gone too far to turn back.

I don’t want to give up.

Tonight, my husband pulled me out of the bed and made me shower and put on some clean clothes. Then he took me for a drive to the beach with the top down. It was a nearly perfect night… much cooler than most summer nights here and to top it off, after a week filled with thunderstorms, tonight there was a cloudless, star filled sky. As we sat on the cool sand, watching the dark ocean come in, I commented on how beautiful the night was and how my mother was really missing out on something special. As if on cue, David said I was right, but that *I* was the thing she missing out on.

I want so much to believe him.
And I know I have to if I’m going to ever get back on track.

I think a lot of times, people who are overweight struggle with feeling as though they don’t deserve to be thin or healthy or even happy. Self-loathing so often goes along with the obesity package and, as a result, it’s sometimes hard to put ourselves first or to put what *we* need at the top of any list.  Even if doing so means changing or even saving our lives.  We simply don’t believe that we’re worth it.

But we are.  We so are.

And that’s the thing I’m trying to cling to tonight.  I’m trying to remind myself that I am worth treating well.  I am worth all the hard work that goes into losing weight.  My body deserves to be treated with respect.  I deserve to be thin.  I deserve to be healthy.   I deserve to be happy.

Even if my own mother doesn’t think so.

August 12, 2008 Posted by | losing weight | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Pedometer Challenge: Week 1 Wrap Up

I don’t know how other people are doing this, but here are my week 1 numbers in FBM’s Pedometer Challenge:

Let’s start out with Saturday and Sunday’s numbers (respectively):

SaturdaySunday

So… that makes my averages look something like this:

Weekly total (I’m not including today in the weekly total): 80,996 steps
Bonus steps (FBM let us include any steps we took prior to the official start): 12,966
Total including bonus steps: 93,962
Daily Average (not including bonus steps): 11,570 steps

Gosh… I have to admit, that’s a lot more steps than I would have guessed that I was capable of when all of this began. And I know it’s a bit cliche to say, but I truly feel as though I’ve already won, even if everyone else in the challenge is outstepping me. Right now, I feel like a rock star.

That said, I realize too that I’m starting week 2 a bit on the low side, (this is the first day that I have *not* topped 10k steps), but I don’t feel terribly guilty about it because despite the lack of actual steps taken today, this was a very busy day for me. In addition to the mountain of housework that I got done this afternoon, my husband and I also stood in line for about 2 hours to see Hillary Clinton speak tonight. Additionally, once we were “in” we then stood for another hour waiting for her to take the stage and then for the entirety of her nearly 3 hour long speech.

I mention this only because I can remember, as a kid, before this crazy internet thing, standing in line for hours and hours and hours on end to get concert tickets… and then standing in line again on the night of the show in order to get the best seat, not to mention the long hours standing up while the band performed. Furthermore, I can also remember leaving those events *not* feeling as though my hips were about the crack in half. Alas, those days might be close to being over, though. I mean… seriously, standing for that long tonight really wore me out. I was *so* glad to walk the 15 or so blocks back to our car tonight, just to get some blood pumping in my tired little legs.

On the drive home I asked my husband when I’d gotten this old.
He didn’t seem to know.

He did, however, challenge me to imagine how standing for that long would have felt eight months ago when I was carrying around an additional 65lbs.

Honestly, it’s tough to imagine, and frankly, that’s a little scary to me. I mean, I really, really don’t want to forget what it was like to be that girl. I want to remember her because I’m pretty sure that forgetting about her would be a mistake for a couple of reasons. First of all, forgetting how it felt to be that fat would probably only make it that much easier to become that fat again. And secondly, how am I supposed to fully appreciate being healthy (and relatively thin) if I can’t remember what it was like to be, well… not.

I think part of the reason why it’s difficult for me to remember being 65lbs heavier is because when I look in the mirror each day, I don’t really see much of a difference. I mean… I *know* that I’m losing weight because my clothes fit differently, people tell me that *they* notice and, oh yeah… there’s the scale too. But, mostly, when I look at my face and my body, I just see the same girl I’ve always been… and on many days, I do wonder when the new girl is going to emerge.

Anyway, this coupled with the conversation I had with my husband tonight made me want to look for a picture or two of me 65lbs ago in the hopes that seeing *that* girl would help me appreciate the new one a bit more… so I started going through some photo albums and files on the computer in search of some photographic evidence of my fatness.

And here’s the scary thing: I couldn’t find any. (Well, that’s not *exactly* true… eventually, I did find one, but it seriously took hours to locate. I’ll show it at the end).

Like most families, my husband and I take pictures during key moments of our lives. Holidays, family get togethers, trips, etc. And while we *do* have pictures chronicling those events, it would appear that I’m not in any of them. At first, I found this pretty shocking. I mean… I’m not *always* the photographer during these moments and even though I’m pretty loathe to have my picture taken, I didn’t think I’d managed to successfully dodge every photo opportunity that has ever come my way. Then, while I was sitting here scratching my head in disbelief, I remembered something.

A couple of Christmases ago, I can remember standing around the tree/fireplace at my mother in law’s house while the obligatory family photos were taken. Her camera was not working, so she asked if we could just use ours and then share the pictures among all the family members. We quickly obliged and soon we were all striking poses and putting on our best fake smiles.

This next bit is really hard for me to admit.

Later in the evening as things began to settle down my husband and I grabbed the camera and started looking through the shots. Gosh, even now, I can remember how hot and red my cheeks felt looking at the pictures in which I was included. I’m not sure I’ve ever felt so bad about myself. Not only was I fat, but I looked unhappy and ugly. I was mortified and literally had to turn away. But the worst part is that after he set the camera down and went to join the rest of the family, I actually sat there and deleted every picture that *I* was in. In essence, I erased myself from that Christmas.

I wonder how many other family milestones I successfully removed myself from, either by throwing away the pictures or deleting them or by simply refusing to have my picture taken?

I know we’ve all spent time thumbing through old photo albums, reliving memories and revisiting the people and places who are no longer with us. In that way, photographs are not only a documentation of a particular moment in history, but they’re also a physical reminder of the people who come into our lives and help shape who we are. Many of the people in my life don’t have that kind of reminder of me… and it makes me sad and ashamed to think about. But also, it makes me wonder, how much do you have to hate yourself to feel like it’s ok to deprive your own family members, the people who love you no matter how much you weigh, of images of you?

Denying the people that you love, and who love you, pictures of yourself is not only selfish, but it’s also very sad. I know that when I chose to delete my own pictures, it wasn’t because I didn’t care about the people who might want them, it’s because I was so ashamed of who I was, because I couldn’t possibly imagine anyone loving me enough to want those pictures.

Now… 65lbs later, I still don’t like the way I look in pictures, but there’s been a huge shift in my thinking. Not only do I see how wrong it is to remove myself from the photographic story of my family’s life, but I also love myself enough to feel as though I deserve to be included in it.

Anyway… without further ado: Before & During.

If there’s nothing else to notice… I think I look a lot happier now.
And that’s because I am. :)

April 27, 2008 Posted by | losing weight, pedometer challenge | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments