Fat as Hell…

and not going to take it anymore!

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.

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

Finding My Happy Weight

When I was a very little girl, (I’m talking elementary/middle school age), I can remember watching Richard Simmons on TV. This was before the whole “sweating to the oldies” phenomenon of the early 90’s, back when he had his own daytime TV show where he interviewed really fat people, told them about how he used to be really chunky, fixed some kind of lo-cal recipe and then spent about 10-15 minutes doing aerobics. Like I said, I was pretty young when it was on, but I was “fat” even back then and had already learned the very hard lesson that fat girls don’t make friends at school. They don’t get asked to dances. They don’t get picked for sports teams. The don’t get invited to slumber parties. And they don’t get the starring role in the school musical unless it’s a production Hairspray, of course. (Not that I’m bitter).

So… instead of doing those fun things, I stayed home and watched Richard Simmons.

Here’s the thing, as if that wasn’t sad enough, I can very vividly remember, at about the age of say 11, telling my mother that if I worked really hard,  I would eventually make it to my “goal weight.” Again, I was 11. And I was using phrases like “goal weight.”

Seriously. That’s some scary shit.

Anyway, needless to say, I never made to my “goal weight” whatever that magic number was. And I never made it many, many, (many) times after that. I’ve set a million “goal weights” over the years and never reached any of them. For me, setting a goal weight was like the kiss of death. The minute I decided on some arbitrary number, I became so focused on that number that I found it impossible to celebrate the loss of all the pounds in between. Who cares if I just lost 2lbs, I’m still 152lbs from my “goal weight!”

It’s that kind of self-destructive behavior that has kept from setting a goal weight this time.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any amount of time then you know that, for the most part, I’ve steadfastly refused to cast my gaze any further away from me than the next pound or two or five. I’ve purposely kept my eyes OFF the prize for a couple of reasons:

First, and foremost, I don’t want to miss out on all the victories I’ll achieve between here and the “end of the road,” wherever that is. I don’t want to stop feeling like a rock star each time I lose a pound or two. I don’t want the joy of each weight loss victory to lessen in the pit of my stomach just because it’s not the victory. After all, this is war! And I want to win, damn it! And what’s more, I don’t want to be gracious about it. I want to moon walk into the in zone like the worst kind of professional sports hot dog. This way, each pound lost feels like a miracle — like the huge achievement that it is — rather than just a mediocre, albeit necessary, step towards some elusive goal in the far distant future.

And secondly, truth be told, I don’t really even know what I *should* weigh. All I know for sure is that I’ve never been there. Whatever the ideal weight is for someone of my height, I’ve never weighed it. I’ve always been fat. I honestly have no idea what I will look like when all that weight comes off, because I’ve *never* been that girl.

What I do know, however, is that most people want to weigh less than they probably should. Even skinny people. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever met a single person, skinny, fat or somewhere in between, who didn’t claim to want to lose at least a few pounds. Apparently, to some people’s way of thinking, there’s truth to the old adage that there’s no such thing as being too skinny. Really. What’s a chubby girl to do?

All that pontificating aside, though, lately it’s been harder and harder to shield my eyes from the vision of what my ideal weight might be. The more weight I lose, the closer I get to the point where I won’t need to keep losing weight anymore. In fact, just the other day my husband asked me how much weight I was planning to lose in total. “As much as it takes” I joked back at him. He smiled and stuff, but then he said, “you know, you’re going to have to think about it some time.” And he’s right, I will.

Of course, don’t get me wrong… I know that at this point in the game I’m still a looooong way from the end of the road. Believe me, I’m well aware of the fact that 319lbs – 65lbs *still* equals REALLY FAT.

But still… I’ve lost more weight than I ever have before. And therefore, the idea of actually making it to the oft hailed “goal weight” seems more possible than ever. So… sometimes, late at night, when I think no one else is looking, I’m willing to admit that I sometimes gaze longingly out the window and visualize the skinny me that I’ve never been. The healthy me who doesn’t require blood pressure or cholesterol meds. The musclebound fit girl who actually *likes* to exercise, who runs for pleasure and whose ass looks, frankly, hot as hell in whatever pants she happens to put on. And in those moments of extreme fantasy I wonder… how much does that girl weigh? 150lbs? 115lbs? Somewhere in between?

Then today, I stumbled upon this link on Irene’s blog. At first, I hesitated clicking on it… but then I read a bit more and I have to say the philosophy of it made sense to me. I mean, if I’m going to fiddle, even a tiny little bit, with setting a “goal weight” I want it to be based on something more than just my height. So, I reluctantly filled in all the blank spots, pressed enter and… viola! This number popped out:

132lbs.

*gasp*

Truth be told, I sat staring at it for long time. 132lbs. What does someone look like who weighs 132lbs. I’m pretty sure I came out of the womb weighing more than 132lbs. I’ll never make it to 132lbs.

Then I started doing the math.
That’s like… 123lbs left to go.
Then I started thinking about the weight I’ve already lost.
123lbs.
Ok… that’s like doing what I’ve already done 2 more times.
Suddenly, 123lbs never felt so achievable.
123lbs, I thought.
Yeah. I can do that.

So… is 132lbs my new goal weight?
Hell no.

If today I weight 254lbs then my goal weight is still 253lbs.
And when I get there, I’m gonna pat myself on the back and jump up and down and force my husband to come look at the scale, just like I’ve been doing because, I’ve spent much of my life feeling like losing even 1lb was impossible.

But you know what?

All those single pound losses tend to add up, my friends.
And, who knows, maybe one day they’ll add up to 123lbs.
*fingers crossed*

April 2, 2008 Posted by | losing weight, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

By Any Other Name…

It’s Valentines Day and, I have to admit that, normally I’m pretty cynical about these things. I hate the consumer mentality that causes people to blow tons of money on things that are both frivolous and extravagant. A socialist at heart, I always feel more than a little uncomfortable in any position that smells even a tad bit elitist. And yet, when these arrived at work today, I have to admit that I was terribly pleased. My husband, although always very sweet and always very good to me, has never been a ‘flowers’ kind of guy. Practical to the core, spending a lot of money on something that’s just going to die in a few days has never been his thing, so when I was called to the office this morning to “pick something up,” it honestly never occurred to me that it might be because he’d sent me flowers. In fact, when the secretary looked at me and said “these are yours,” I responded in complete sincerity, “are you sure?”

rose1.jpg

It was a lovely surprise and made me feel very special.

This week has been stressful and I’ve not been particularly strong when it comes to eating right or exercising. Well… that’s not entirely true. I’ve actually done fairly well when it comes to choosing healthy foods. I’ve just been eating far more of them than I really need to be eating and the result has been too many calories. That coupled with little to no exercise has made for a week that I fear has me headed for a weight gain.

The thing is, losing weight is hard work and hard work requires attention, dedication and will power — all of which have been in short supply this week. It doesn’t help that I haven’t been getting enough sleep and that by the time I get home each evening I’m fairly well worn out. None of these things are excuses, but they have taught me a couple of things.

First, sleep is an important component of my ability to be successful in all of this. I haven’t gotten enough sleep this week and it’s impacted my judgment, my will power and the sheer strength I need to hop on the exercise bike for even a few minutes. As much I hate to admit it, I’m not as young as I used to be and I need a full 8 hours of sleep each night if I’m going to be in top form the next day. Furthermore, I need to be in top form if I’m going to do what is necessary to continue taking weight off.

Second, when I know that I’m headed for extra stress or for a schedule that promises to be busier than usual, it is essential that I pre plan for it. I read lots of blogs in which people pre plan their weekly meals. Until recently, I thought that kind of looking ahead was well, a little loony. But no more. I doubt I’ll ever be the kind of girl who, under normal circumstances, puts together her menu a week in advance, but if I’ve learned anything from this week it is that I’m more likely to be successful during periods of high stress if I’ve already established a plan for that success. It’s a lot easier to just *follow* a plan when you’ve got a million other things going on around you than it is to have to make one *and* follow it.

And finally, I’ve learned that getting upset over a few caloric or fitness stumbles does nothing to fix the problem. I’ve eaten a few too many pieces of dark chocolate this week. I had the 8oz salmon instead of the 6oz serving. I ate 2 pieces of whole grain bread with dinner instead of just one, and yes, I put some butter on it. But all of that is over now. There’s nothing I can do to change it… and getting upset will only make future slip ups all the more likely. So… I’m letting it go. I have enough to worry about.

Anyway… this week’s been tough, and next week promises to be equally so. I’m just trying to hang on until next Thursday when a number of projects will be swept off my plate for good. In the meantime, I’m going to try to get more sleep. I’m going to do as much planning ahead as possible and I’m not going to freak out when I veer a little too far away from those plans.

And I’m going to take time to “smell the roses.” Such treats don’t come around that often… I’m going to enjoy them.

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