Monthly Archives: September 2011

Dissapointment – Do you quit when a little rain falls?

Standard

How do you handle anything that is disappointing? Do you run for the refrigerator? Do you sleep a lot? Do you buy a bottle of wine and have a pity party while listening to sad music or watching a sad movie?

The reason I ask is that the little town next to where I live has a fair that draws about half a million people each year. It is a true agricultural fair complete with contests sponsored by the 4H club and prize steer and tractor pulls. It is held every single year and has been for over 90+ years. It used to be a small affair but then they started to grow. And grow. And grow!

Now, the streets surrounding the fair grounds are lined with signs that say “Fair Parking – $10.00 as people who own homes in the area become entrepreneurs for the weekend from the time the fair opens on Thursday until it closes. Since I live fairly close to the town line, this impacts me greatly as if I am driving anywhere in that direction, the traffic and congestion clog the roads and there are detours all over the place.

As I was trying to figure out what I wanted to write about today, I was walking on my treadmill as I usually do and gazing out the window at the cloudy sky and I thought about the Fair and its organizers. The moment the fair ends (which will be today at around 5:00PM) the all volunteer army of people begin planning for next year.

These wonderful and giving souls work VERY hard organizing this monster event. They plan everything from the food to the entertainment to the transportation (school buses that shuttle people from lots a mile or two away from the fair grounds for free) to the port-a-potties. No easy feat when you are talking about this many people converging on a little town of around 7,000 people. The population grows to as large as one of the biggest cities in the state on fair days!

This year, the featured band was K.C and the Sunshine Band, a disco band from the 1970’s that you might remember if you are as old as I am. They pay these acts a lot of money to play the main stage (a lot of money by fair standards that is as I read it is around 15-20K for a two hour show) and as such, they depend on a good gate to help defray these costs.

Alas, it has POURED RAIN all weekend long, from the time the doors opened on Thursday evening and every day so far. The skies still look ominous on this, the final day. If the weather does not cooperate, I suspect that this year the little fair will be in the red. Add the economy into the mix where people are spending less anyway, and this could be disastrous for the event planners. But, next year, despite the take at the gate, the fair will be there as always in the last weekend of Sept., just like it has been for over 92 years as of this year.

I am hoping they get clear skies later on in the day to at least save some of the soggy fair attendees from the mud. It is kind of hard to enjoy a rodeo or a good tractor-pull under an umbrella sitting on bleachers.

The point of this post is that despite the terrible weather, the fair keeps on being held. Even if it loses money, it will be held next year just like it always has. The children will beg mommy for cotton candy and they will ride the ferris wheel next year, just as their parents did and their grandparents before them. I suspect the children who go today will bring their children to the fair someday as well.

When you are disappointed with your progress or your program, how do you handle it? Do you still plan for the next day or the next meal? Or, do you throw in the towel and shut down your ferris wheel?

Disappointments will happen on this journey. You might gain weight or you might blow it with a double cheeseburger and onion rings. But, you should plan to get right back to it, the minute the disappointment is over with. Otherwise, next year, there will be no “new and improved you” or no new wardrobe in a smaller size. There will just be more of the same of “wishing you had stuck with it and made goal”

Don’t Quit! You are worth the admission!

Potent Weapons -This is war!

Standard

I was thinking about war the other day and how we have been fighting one of those somewhere for most of my entire life. Korea had just ended when I was born in 1955. Shortly after that our involvement in the “Vietnam Conflict” as it was known for a while began and raged through many of my early years. That was a particularly long and sad time in my life as I lost friends to that war.

All was quiet for a while with a skirmish here and there like the “Falkland Islands” etc. The USA was concentrating its efforts in the war on drugs which they have still not made a dent in. Since then, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan and several other smaller “missions” like Bosnia have ensued.

Why would I write about war on a WW blog? Because that is what I liken my battle of the bulge to. Since I am a pacifist by nature I do not believe in war although our country has to do what it has to do. And, I honor our men and women in uniform that put themselves in harm’s way so that I could write about how I feel without fear that I will be arrested.

My nature is such that I would rather be laid back and that peace be the order of the day whenever humanly possible. I am an old “hippie” from back in the day and I still carry the sensibilities of that time with me inside of my soul.

I feel the most potent weapon that anyone can use in any war is between our ears. It is our mind! The game of chess was actually invented by a King many years ago because he hated wars and wanted a more peaceful solution to the land disputes that came about during the early days of countries being established in Europe.

I have been trying too hard to blow up my enemy, fat, in my fight to lose this weight for so many years. Fat does not respond to an all out attack. It will be driven back initially and retreat for a while. I will win a battle or two. Then it will sneak back up on you and before you know it, it is once again winning the war. You can’t rest in this fight. If you do, you will always lose ground to the enemy. This is what I have discovered over the years.

My most potent weapon in this battle is my MIND, not the many diets and programs I have tried over the years. They blow up in my face more times than not and I am back to square one and must begin anew. The enemy sends MORE pounds to slow me down too.

This time I am fighting this war of mine in a much smarter manner. A great general many years ago figured out the formula of how to win a war against fat every single time. You eat less and better food AND you move your body more. That is it. That is all I need to win every battle and in the end, the war itself.

This weekend, there was a sneak attack by the other side that proved formidable. It came in the form of a “french-fry bomb” and then the big guns – “a cheesecake bomb!!” I was ready though. I let the enemy in and entertained a few of the french fry troops and a good sized forkful of the cheesecake bomb found its way inside my bunker. But, I drove them back with sheer force and determination. I used my BRAIN which told me that a small taste was enough and that I should STOP and re-group. So, I did.

General “Common Sense” was there for this soldier. I owe her. She served the troops well and I will honor her by obeying her commands as I know that in the end, she knows how to conquer the enemy. She is my WW program and she is the best General I have ever served under in any war I have waged against this enemy.

Sometimes I may lose a battle here and there. But, in the end, I will WIN THE WAR! You can count on that. I will not be a statistic. I will come home and receive my lifetime medal of honor in the form of good health and fitness and I will look awesome in my uniform too! ☺

Join me and you too can win. It is a proven fact that there is strength in numbers!!

One pound at a time.

Standard

Sept. 7, 2011

I have now lost 47.5 pounds since I joined WW on Tuesday, January 18th. I am averaging a little over 1.4 pounds a week as I have been at this now for 33 weeks. Did you hear me? Is this thing on? Bueller? Anyone? I have been ON A PROGRAM for 33 weeks, without missing one single day of tracking!

I could count the times on ONE HAND that I did not get in all of those GHG’s which I believe are the key to success. Those power foods are also very important. When I see a little green triangle next to my food choices, I know I am having a good day. I try to make choices from the list whenever possible. At the very least, those Good Health Guidelines are checked off each and every day. I drink milk, eat string cheese and other cheese and eat the occasional yogurt to get that dairy. Although I am over 50, I do not use 3 of them but I make sure to get two. I take Vitamin D with calcium supplements twice a day per my doctor so I don’t need the extra dairy she said. But, I get all of the rest in.

The two spoons of oil generally are in my homemade salad dressing as I eat a big salad every night with my meal whenever possible. I always love veggies so that is an easy one! I eat two to three servings of fruit a day. No more, no less as I find when I eat too much, my weight loss stalls. I also have upped my fiber quite a bit and eat very few if any processed foods. My bread is multigrain, my rice is brown, my pasta a high fiber choice or whole wheat. My protein, which I eat daily in at least two if not all three meals is lean only!

I exercise every single day of the week without fail I do NOT earn a lot of AP’s. Last week was a great week for me and I earned 28 of them. I usually earn anywhere from 15-20 and that is up from 10-12 I was earning in the beginning.

Am I losing fast? NO. I am losing the slowest I ever have on any program. From all that I have read and that is considerable as I am the type that researches everything ad nauseum, the slower I do this, the more likely I am to keep it off for good. I lost quickly many other times and always gained it back and then some. So, FOR ME, slow and steady is the way to go. In 33 weeks I have had two maintains and one small gain and the rest have all been losses, mostly one pound a week, some weeks 1.5 and a few weeks more. A couple of times I had only lost half a pound too.

As I approach my 50 pound milestone (FIFTY!!!!!) I am very excited. That is a huge amount of weight and I feel very proud of myself. I made a small promise to myself that I would be 50 pounds lighter by our wedding anniversary which is October 6th! That gives me almost a month to lose 2.5 lbs and I have made all of my goals so far. I am also hoping for my 75 lb star by my one year anniversary which is January 18th. By next July 4th, I want to see goal. If it takes me two years, I will be here. If it takes me five years, I will still be here. I just know I have not felt this good in years!

Since I generally average about a pound a week (as some larger weeks make it 1.4) I know that I will be at my goal unless I stall out. I will not let that happen! I will shake it up, exercise more, or do something until the scale moves again. I have been blessed to lose every one of my 33 weeks OP except for 3 times.

What I have discovered is that it does not matter how fast I lose. All that matters is that I do. My impatience to see goal is gone. I have decided to enjoy the journey along with the success. I have stopped trying to push myself. I just want to eat the way I will eat FOREVER and by doing that, retrain my palate and my appetite. That is happening already as when I eat rich food, I do not feel well afterward. I do not like the feeling of being overly full anymore. My appetite control button has improved tremendously! I thought I had broken it for good. It can be repaired!

Thank you WW community for being there for me and for listening to all of my thoughts and commenting and sending me tokens to cheer me on or cheer me up!

SNAP – Food Stamp Controversy

Standard

Yesterday there was a big debate thread on the 100+ board about the news that fast-food chains such as KFC, McDonalds et. al. are petitioning the federal government to allow families who are enrolled in the SNAP program (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program aka Food Stamps) to be able to use them to purchase convenience foods or meals through their restaurants.

The debate went on for two pages on this thread, as this is a hot button for many people who are struggling and NOT using food stamps for their family and do not have the money to purchase food like this and so they cut it out of their own budgets. They were pretty incensed to think that tax dollars would be used to be able to purchase these convenience foods.

Since food stamps were conceived to be able to feed families HEALTHY choices, this was a big part of the debate. There were also some people who felt that just because someone is poor, they should not be treated differently than anyone else. They should be treated with the same respect and dignity and be given the same choices as how to spend their money or their food stamps as those that do not have to count their pennies.

Since I work and have worked in social services, many of those years with the TANF population (aka welfare) I have very mixed feelings about this. On the one hand, I feel very bad that they have to deny their children an occasional meal at a fast food chain when all of their friends are eating there and always talking about it. Families struggle. It is a fact. It does not mean that they should not be able to save for the occasional treat for their kids.

As a matter of fact, I have one client who regularly saved some of her food stamps for one special meal each month. She would get ONE small steak for her teenage son who loved it or some shrimp or on his birthday, a lobster for around 6 bucks. She was actually harassed in line at the grocery store when a woman behind her saw her pay for that lobster with the food stamp card! She was in tears about that. The rest of the month she bought large bags of chicken legs etc and cooked nutritious but inexpensive meals. Why would someone care what she ate? Because in their eyes, they were paying for that lobster and they did not buy it because they felt it cost too much so why should SHE buy it.

Allowing dignity for those less fortunate is hard for many people to do. They say things like “Why don’t they get a job instead of going on the dole?” The odds against them finding work with low education levels, lack of affordable child care, lack of transportation in my state (our public transportation is very limited) and other barriers is very daunting. My own HUSBAND who has a stellar work history AND a degree in Mechanical Engineering can’t get a job and he has applied for EVERYTHING and ANYTHING! He is struggling so can you imagine what that population goes through?

I do not advocate for a full on allowance to use food stamps in fast food or any restaurants because it would be too easy to give in to a whiny kid more than once a month and this would likely mean running out of food stamps much earlier than they should as fast food can be expensive. But, they could put a limit of say 25.00 of the money to be spent on convenience foods or allow target populations who do not have access to kitchens to cook to use them there. (elderly, homeless living in a motel room etc)

Obviously, the fast food chains would benefit greatly from this allowance so they are lobbying congress for it. But allowing families to have freedom to use ALL of their food stamps this way would be unwise from where I sit. But, allowing them to have one night where they felt the same as everyone else and are able to buy their child a Happy Meal, would be the right thing to do. Limit it. That is the solution in my opinion.

It just makes me nuts that those who live in poverty are so misunderstood and urban myths about scamming the system persist. Not all of them do.

Off of my soap box!

Finding me – self confidence and weight loss

Standard

Lately I have been trying very hard to find myself. I have been hiding so very long that I have forgotten what it is like to be out there, front and center. Lately, I have been seeing glimpses of the old more assertive me and I like it!

For a very long time, I have been really working very hard to stay under the radar in most places in my life. As I lose pounds, I gain confidence. It has always been that way and this time is no exception. It is as though I flipped a switch. I socialize more often, I laugh more often and I do not shrink from whatever is thrown my way.

In May, I went to VA Beach to the NAWDP conference as some of you may recall. I was down about 32 pounds at that point. I was under 200 and that HUGE psychological boost allowed me to say yes when asked if I wanted to attend. I probably would not have said yes had I been going in the opposite direction on the scale. I would not have wanted the humiliation of not fitting in the seat on the plane or needing a seat belt extender.

I have turned down numerous requests to do things due to being fat. I am not proud of it, but it is the truth. I am an assertive person and I have never been shy, but when I am not feeling good about myself, I shrink. The larger I am, the smaller I become if that makes any sense to you.

As my confidence builds, I actually seek out things that previously made me uncomfortable. I call on my inner strength and off I go. On October 1st, I will begin a brand new venture with two women that I met in an online forum a couple of years ago. We hit it off even though we have never met in person and we formed an alliance based on our differences.

We are polar opposites in our political views and how we view things, yet we respect one another immensely and will argue respectfully. So, what do three women with opposing views on everything do with that? We start a blog talk radio show.

I am not going to get into it here today, but as the time grows closer, I will give you the information in case any of you want to tune in or call in. Those of you who are my friends on FB may already know about this as I have been sneaking hints about it there and posting the information for the first show.

The point of this blog is not that I am doing this show. It is that I chose to do it at all as the old me would not have even considered it, even though radio is not visual.

I also volunteered to do a show in November that I will take the lead on about morbid obesity and what it does to mind body and soul. I would never exploit this subject matter. I want to inform and to enlighten as so many men and women suffer in silence. They are invisible and feel they have no voice and worse than that, no hope. I am living proof as are many of you that there IS hope and that we can come out of the shadows and live our lives as a healthy participating person.

Not all obese people are shrinking violets, that is not what I mean. But, from what I have found in this community, there are enough of you to make this show relevant. I never considered myself a shy person. As I began to gain weight in my life, it DID affect my personality in subtle and not so subtle ways. I never felt I looked good enough. Clothes were a huge issue at 300 lbs. I could not buy what looked good, I just bought what fit. At 5 feet tall and 5 feet wide, it was tough to find things that fit me. The 5 feet wide is no joke. I had a 59 inch waist at my heaviest. Since 60 inches = five feet, well, there you have it.

I am enjoying my life these days. The compliments are nice, but that is not it. I don’t feel as though I am being judged all of the time when I speak to groups. This Thursday, I am doing an outreach for a town Social Services Dept. I am the guest speaker and it has been heavily publicized in local newspapers and in their newsletter. The old me would possibly have been looking for a way to back out and I would have lined up a replacement “in case.” This me is looking forward to it.

I have come out of the shadows

Help Wanted: Fat people need not apply

Standard

What do I mean by that? Well, as an “Employment Specialist” in my real day to day life, I work with people who are unemployed and under-employed all day long. The program I work with is FEDERAL, and as such has very stringent guidelines regarding who gets services through the program.

One of the documents people get at intake is the “non-discrimination” disclosure. It simply states that a person can not be discriminated for services for the following reasons:

Race
Creed
Color
Religion
Gender
Age
Country of National Origin
Sexual Orientation
Political Persuasion

One thing missing from this document and I suspect it always will be is “Size.” Yet, this is one of the biggest areas of discrimination that exists. Unless you work for a company where the hiring decisions are truly made without bias as to weight, this is taken into consideration whenever you go on an interview.

There are many reasons that the obese are discriminated against on a regular basis, but the number one reason cited in HR Polls is “insurance risk.” The same holds true for smokers as if an interviewer gets a whiff of cigarette smoke on a potential candidate, that is a red flag and they will likely pass you over in favor of a thinner, non-smoking candidate.

Obese people are often very healthy, but if you poll hiring managers, they view them as likely to miss more work and have more catastrophic events such as heart-attack and stroke which would cause them to miss work. Also, even if it is unconscious, they view heavy people as lazy and less likely to have energy. It often has been cited by people as a reason they do not receive raises or promotions. If the position that you are applying for as a heavy person is “high profile” then your chances go down even more if you are fat.

One of my clients told me that he was not hired in his profession as a Pharmacist as he was told that due to his “weight” they had doubts that he could stand on his feet for the requisite twelve hour days. He had put on about 75 lbs during a period of unemployment coupled with a back injury that saw him unable to exercise as he used to and he also confessed to eating gallons of ice cream in his depressive state.

Women are more likely to be discriminated against due to being overweight than men are. It is fact. No matter how “groomed” you are when you arrive for your interview, you already have two strikes against you. One of my clients is a rather large woman. She stands about 6 feet tall and weighs about 350 lbs. She always looks pulled together and I can’t believe the amazing clothes she wears. She spends a lot of money on her wardrobe and has a resume that shows an amazing education (ivy league schools) and experience in her past.

She took some time off to care for her ailing parents and now needs to get back to work. She gained about 100 lbs in that three year period. She states that the moment she walks in to the interview and the hiring person sees her, the interview is over before it starts. She finds herself praying that the interviewer will be heavy as she feels she is on more equal footing if that is the case.

I suggested that perhaps it is her “gap” in her employment history that is hurting her the most. She said that it never even gets that far in the interview. No one ever gets to the point of asking her about the long term of unemployment. They go through the motions of a perfunctory interview, asking her a few questions and then it is over.

She finally begged one of the head hunters she was working with to tell her why this is happening. “Is it my resume? Is it my three year hiatus?” His answer was curt and to the point. He told her that she was not being considered because the companies do not like hiring overweight people due to their insurance costing them more money to insure candidates who are obese. He was honest with her because she begged him to be. He wanted to help her. She was crushed by this admission.

Losing weight = money. Does that speak to you? If not, it should.

Tunnel Vision or why I never half-ass anything I embrace

Standard

I am such an all or nothing type of person. I know that sometimes I must learn moderation and how to look at the big picture, yada, yada, yada. It all started when I was a kid. I always wanted to be the best at anything I set out to do that caught my attention at the time.

For a while, I was into running fast. I broke the 50-yard dash record in junior high school for 7th graders. It had been the record for about 15 years. I broke it by 2/10 of a second. I was determined! Since then, it has been broken numerous times as kids have become bigger and stronger over the years. I also set the record for most sit-ups done by a 7th grader. I did over 450 of them in gym class! This record has not only been broken, but shattered as since then a girl did over 900 of them!

Why did I not remain focused on fitness since I was such a super active kid who loved sports? I played baseball, kickball and all sports, even basketball and although I am short, I could hit my free-throws with my eagle eye and great aim. My ex-husband took me to shoot the bow and arrow once. I hit the bullseye on the first try! He could not believe it. I also shot clay birds out of the air but I hate guns so… But, the video game duck hunt? I owned that baby, rarely if ever missing. For awhile I became obsessed with that game, playing for hours by myself.

As an adult, the good habits of childhood began to fade in terms of exercise. I hated it…and still do really. It may be because it hurts so much after wrecking my knees with all the excess weight I have been carrying around. So, instead, I focused on getting an education and being as good as I could be about that. When I decided to return to college at the age of 40, I was working full time but signed up for 4 classes.

Everyone said I was nuts and that I would soon be dropping at least two of those, especially not having seen a classroom for over 20 years. That only made me more determined! I had a perfect 4.0 that sememster and almost every one after that as well, graduating magna cumm (they won’t let me spell that properly with the dirty minds in the front office!) laude in 4.5 years, number 18 out of my class of 1244, all while working my full time job, raising a family and even keeping my house relatively clean! On to grad school where I maintained a perfect 4.0 GPA. But, I ran out of money during my divorce and did not finish and that killed me! I may still return someday if money allows.

Now it is WW I have embraced. I have fully committed to this program, body, mind and spirit! The one thing I hope for is that I don’t move on to something else that catches my attention. I need this one for life! I need to stay passionate about the healthy eating and measuring and weighing and as much activity as this old body will allow. I need this one to be forever! So, my all or nothing will not fail me, I am obsessed at the time of doing something I want to accomplish. Right now that is this program. Sure beats being obsessed with laying on the couch with a bag of cookies! I went that route for a while too 🙂

So, here I go again, making my obsession my number one priority. While I am not looking to break any records, I sure do want to reach that finish line…and so far, I am looking like I will!