Category Archives: Weight Loss

The power of the metal monster

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t only has the power WE ascribe to it. It is a benign hunk of inert metals and plastic sitting on the bathroom floor. My scale can’t even give me a number unless I feed it with a battery! Over my lifetime I have sneered at it, revered it, loathed it and worshiped it.

I have had a very long love-hate relationship with that thing forever and a day…I still do. Every once in a while, I smile at it. I know, that is kind of crazy. It can be while I am washing the sink out or brushing my teeth. I will look over and there it will be. It is dark as no one is standing on it to make the LED reading light up. But, it knows I am speaking to “it.”

At times, it has mocked me. During my climb UP the scale, I rarely climbed ON the darn thing. But, I would still give it power even though I had no clue what it would say to me. Through most of the year 2010, the metal monster sat in the corner mocking me, daring me to climb aboard and light up the LED lights that would give me my “number” and tell me my self-worth.

Yes, I am sad to say that I allowed that hunk of plastic and metal parts to define my self-worth and my self-esteem throughout much of my adult life. Even when I was still tiny by today’s standards, I loathed getting on that thing and having it give me my “number” for the day. Even when the thing read 112 or 115!

I have alternated between daily weighing, hourly weighing and not weighing. Since joining WW, I try to do the weekly weighing but I don’t always make it. I still get weak and tend to do a “scale peek” sometime around Saturday or Sunday (weigh in day is Tuesday) and that can set the tone for the few days that follow before I climb aboard her for an official reading of those LED numbers.

The scale has haunted my dreams, much as a lover might. I have been as angry with it as I have been someone who has hurt me or upset me. I have even kicked it a few times. I definitely talk to it. I have found myself saying things to it like “You are going show some love to me this week, right.” Or, “Don’t you dare show me up cause I have been so OP all week.” It stares blankly back at me as if to say “You are going to weigh whatever you deserve to weigh.”

I have even been known to try to bribe it! I once looked down and noticed it had a little dust on the black part (my scale is white with black around the LED display area) and I “told it” that if it was nice to me tomorrow, I would give it the best cleaning ever! Ummm, ok. Thank goodness DH did not hear me or he might re-think having married me!

The scales that give me my love or my hate have changed over the years although not all that often. I tend to have my scales for a very long time. The one I use now is about 10 years old but very accurate although it does not weigh me in tenths of a pound so I never get the joy of losing .2 (or the agony) as it will not show a loss at all. It only reads in half pound increments. I know it is accurate as it is always the same as the doctor’s office or my friend’s doctor balance beam scale. I weigh myself fully clothed before leaving for the doctor and each time, it is accurate to within half a pound. So, I keep it.

I have some disdain for my friend the scale this week as a peek this morning shows me up a little bit..or a lot, depending on how you look at it. But, I am not in a panic over it yet. I will be if it stays there on Tuesday. I should NOT give it the power I do. If I am up, it is a part of this journey. Our bodies are NOT on a time table with our body weight and scientifically, there are reasons we fluctuate a few pounds each DAY, let alone in a week. But, I am human, and I am on a weight loss program, so I want it to be DOWN, not UP!

I never get to see numbers like -5.0 anymore in a weekly weigh in. I see things like -0.5, but not 5 whole pounds in a week as I did in my youth. But, as long as it shows a lower number than it did the week before, I will be smiling at my friend in the corner. If not, a few sneers won’t matter. It is used to them.

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My trip to “One-der-land” and why I have become a permanent resident!

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I am making a permanent move soon. It is a place that is filled with health and where most people look great, at least people like me who are only five feet tall. It is a destination that I have visited once over the last 10 years. I visited and stayed there for more than a whole year back in 2002-2003.

I had lived there most of my life until around 1990. For twelve years I moved to “Two-ter-ville” and then for a brief time, I visited “Threes-land” but I did not like it there at all! I moved quickly back to “Two-ter-ville and began my quest to head back to One-der-land shortly thereafter.

In December of 2002, I weighed 179 lbs for what seemed like a few minutes. I was a little bit shy of 60 pounds from my goal. I remember the day I entered One-der-land for the first time in a dozen years. I looked around and I saw clothes in stylish hues, chairs that were comfortable, no matter what type, movie theater seats that I did not have to squeeze into…but the best thing at all about One-der-land is that people seem to never stare at you like you are a circus freak when you live there.

Now I am getting ready to move there again in a few weeks. This time, I sold my house in Two-ter-ville and I will not return. I am one pound shy of 100 pounds less than my highest weight of 303 pounds. I am 5 pounds away from One-der-land. I really liked it there so this time I am making that move PERMANENT!

Moving back and forth is exhausting. I am tired of it. I am too old to play the yo-yo thing anymore. Visitng One-der-land is no longer an option. I must put down roots and no matter how hard it will be to live there, I must. I am moving to the southern tip of One-der-land where the short people congregate..we like to live south of 120th street. That is where the charts tell me I should live at five feet tall and where all the healthy short people live. I have been scouting homes there and I like what I see.

When I get there, I am going to throw a party! There will be wine and dancing and 94% fat free popcorn and a great big bowl of fruit! Can’t wait!

***This was from March when I was a few pounds away from entering Onederland! My excitement is obvious. I thought I would share it with some of you who never read this cause I think it sums up how I feel. I am now 29 lbs into that “one-derous” place and heading south. Hope you enjoy my little trip. I did when I just read it again!

The importance of self-validation in your weight loss journey!

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Often when someone is obese, they live in a world where they do not feel validated by anyone around them. Nothing they contribute to a project or to a conversation is recognized as having as much merit as those of a “normal weight”

This is borne out by statistics sadly. Perhaps you have not personally been invisible in your job or in your social circle, but the fact of the matter is that the world at large discounts much of what an obese person says and gives it less credence than if someone of the same age and gender are of regular weight and are also giving an opinion.

There was an experiment on one of those weekly shows years ago where a woman put on a “fat suit” and applied for jobs undercover. She applied for everything from entry level jobs to executive level jobs. Each time, a professional resume writer gave her credentials from heaven, an ivy league pedigree or made her a business school valedictorian from Wharton or somewhere equally as impressive. Each time, they gave lesser credentials to a slim pretty woman but they gave her resume enough to get an interview. Same degree etc., just not as many accomplishments and less experience.

You know how it ended. Every single time, the slimmer woman received the offer of employment. It did not matter for what job either. It did not matter if the
hiring manager was male or female. It happened across the board and every time.

They also had two women have a car break down in broad daylight on the side of the road. One was heavy and one was slim. Not a single person stopped to ask the heavier woman if she needed help or could they call someone. At least 6 people, both men and women, stopped to ask the slim pretty woman if she needed help.

The funny thing is that a truly beautiful woman or handsome man may not be taken as seriously once they land the job. They may be viewed as less intelligent than their more “normal” looking counterparts and a bias exists toward them too. When polled, people were asked if they would rather be considered beautiful or intelligent, that poll showed that the majority of people valued intelligence above physical beauty. Looks fade but smart is forever was bandied about quite a bit in that article.

The point of this piece is that often we are looking outside of ourselves for validation. We want people to notice that we are smart and good at the things we do. While kudos for a job well done and promotions at work for doing above and beyond are important, the most important thing we can do is to practice SELF LOVE and to give ourselves a pat on the back for a job well done.

My friend Pam pointed me to a blog article recently written by another April in this community. She wrote about recently hitting 100 pounds lost and was wondering “now what” because she was originally looking at it from a perspective of others to validate this amazing accomplishment. While some people did, others reacted to it as more of a (am paraphrasing here) “Wow, you lost that much and you are still heavy so you must have been super heavy” type of response, maybe not out loud but she saw it in their face when she told people about her 100 pound loss.

When I read Pam’s (Pmahn2009) blog last night , it reminded me that we always need to validate our own accomplishments and feelings and stop worrying so much what others think about our weight loss. She further pointed out that we have each-other to celebrate with and our loved ones who truly care.

I really found these two blogs profound. They really hit home with me (Thanks April and Pam) and made me realize that the only one who is truly important is ME when it comes to my accomplishments. No one else matters. If I am happy with my progress, even if it is 20 lbs when I need to lose 100, that is what makes all the difference.

Loving myself is the lesson I took from this. I know what I have done is amazing and very few people lose that much weight. (except around here cause there are a lot of big Losers)

I rock! So do you! Celebrate YOU!

Get your hand out of the Reese’s PB cups!

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Photo courtesy of YP Mazzulo, writer extraordinare!

Halloween is almost here. On Monday, millions upon millions of tiny little candy bars will be bestowed upon the lucky children who demand them as they Trick or Treat through the neighborhoods, attend parties throughout this weekend and in general yuck it up and have a great time. Adults will likely be attending lots of parties this weekend too although they will be long past bobbing for apples.

There will be drinks a’plenty, colored with red food coloring to mimic a vampire’s feast and spider webs and cob webs become fashionable as a decoration instead of making us gasp and grab a broom to get them down when we see them in a corner in our hallway!

Now back to those “tiny little candy bars” that I spoke of. I did some research and the average person consumes about 1/3 of a pound of those babies at Halloween time. Since 10 of those little Reese’s that are individually wrapped and popped into the mouth like kernels of popcorn contain 13PP it would be unwise to mindlessly begin to eat handfuls of these things as you wait for the children to ring your doorbell.

Since most of us do not “plan” to eat candy bars by pre-tracking, (my friend Poppy excluded here cause Mare will plan her little truffle indulgence in advance and it always amazes me that she can do this so successfully) we will have to add these confections to our tracker “after the fact” as we did not mean to pop several of them into our mouths. When you see the points you have consumed for empty calories, it might freak you out a bit so be forewarned. CANDY IS VERY POINTY!

Let’s talk about the adult habit of drinking cauldrons of alcohol at Halloween parties this weekend. It is is one of those holidays where people tend to overdo the alcohol as well as the sweets. Another “pointy” risk. Hardly anyone thinks they will have more than one “planned” drink when they are following WW. They will track in advance and allow for one or two tasty pumpkin martinis and feel they have it under control…umm, sure you do! LOL

Alcohol is one of those things that “just happens” often times. You are having fun and before you know it that one tracked drink gives you just enough of a glow to say yes to a second or a third or even a fourth (of course I know you are not driving if you are drinking, right?) and before you know it, points a ‘ plenty have been imbibed in the form of liquid fat. But, it gets worse. Alcohol lowers your willpower quotient by 100 fold.

You know darn well that when you drink, salty, fatty, doughy things seem very important to you at the moment. You may find yourself next to the platter of hot wings with a glistening chin, not realizing how many you have consumed. You will just see a pile of chicken bones in your plate and think “Did I eat all that?” If you were dipping them in the full fat blue cheese dressing, holy cow, now you have gone and done it!

No matter what your weekend plans are for Halloween weekend, please just make sure you do it safely and sanely. It is so much easier to pre-plan a couple of mini chocolate bars than to try to dig the empty wrappers out of the trash for accountability. And, do not fall into the trap of thinking that since you found yourself consuming dozens of the little critters that you do not need to track them all! YOU DO!

So, enjoy your Halloween my friends. Do not make it a weekend of “regret” in terms of your program. Since I feel that Halloween officially kicks off the Holiday season, it is a long few months so don’t start it off by going hog wild and having to dig out from under a weight gain when you were doing so well! I know you will all eat mindfully this Halloween cause you all rock!

This morning our radio show is all about our experiences with the paranormal. I have a story about my grandparents and it REALLY HAPPENED! You won’t want to miss it. Tune in at 10:00am EST to http://www.blogtalkradio.com/onthegrid

Lots of spooky happenings today. You have been so supportive of my endeavor with this. I love you all for tuning in! THANK YOU!

3 Generations finally get smart about weight loss!

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was talking to my mom last night about when she lost all of her weight. She went on a nutritionist created diet after a doctor told her if she did not lose the weight, she would likely be dead in a few years! I had NO idea this whole exchange had occurred and that she was suffering from health related issues due to her obesity. I thought she was healthy!

My mom was 61 years old and went in for a routine checkup after feeling dizzy and not well. She had been avoiding the doctor for several years (sound familiar?) due to comments she had heard when she stepped on the scale. She did not wish to suffer the humiliation and embarrassment many of us feel when doctor’s do that lecture thing. This time, she was not feeling quite right and was getting nervous about it. My mom is doctor phobic anyway and has ALWAYS avoided them as much as possible.

So, she went in for a battery of blood tests, urine tests etc. The doctor told her she was diabetic (they gave her glucophage, the pills) had high blood pressure 160/100, her cholesterol was 265 and she weighed 269 pounds on her 4’11” frame. She was a hot mess. Her triglycerides were through the roof as well although she does not remember what they were. So, the doctor made her an appointment with a nutritionist after suggesting she join WW first. My mom told him she had tried WW and was not a “joiner” as she was too tired when she got home from work to go to meetings (no online in those days) so he sent her to “Lisa.”

Lisa was a slim no nonsense young woman who was an R.D. She talked to my mom about her likes, her dislikes and they created a series of menus my mom could live with that were healthy and would allow her to lose 1-2 pounds a week. I do remember my mom had a handwritten chart on the refrigerator with her pounds lost each week at “weigh in” and that she did buy some of those sticky stars and put them next to the date she lost each ten pounds.

My mom was a “rockstar” on her program. She faithfully followed the diet and the weight began to come off and this was not easy as she has thyroid issues too so she loses slowly. (My mom will be 84 on her next birthday by the way) It took my mom almost 3 years to get to her goal weight of 122 pounds, but she did it! She is no longer a diabetic, she has excellent cholesterol levels and although her blood pressure is still a little high and she takes atenelol, she has come such a long way. She now weighs between 110-116 on any given month/year. She has maintained her loss. She did this without announcing it to anyone. My mom did not tell me when she reached 100 lbs lost or 150 for that matter.

As many of you know, my mom has “issues” with food from her childhood. She is part of the reason my relationship with food went a bit crazy as well. So, what she accomplished is amazing. Particularly the fact that she has maintained this loss for so many years. She said she remembers being winded climbing the one flight of stairs to get into our raised ranch home after work and walking to the parking lot from work was brutal. She was truly “dying” she said.

I am very proud of my mom’s dedication to eating and living healthy. She loves food and to this day will count the “calories” in any sweets she eats. Since she is not on meds except for the blood pressure, she allows herself dessert a few times a week. My grandmother also lost over 140 pounds when she was 62 and kept it off the rest of her life until she passed away at the age of almost 88.

The women in my family get smart late. But, they do it. My grandmother followed a diet she found in a magazine! I have no idea what it was but my mom said she tried to get her on board with it but my mom would not listen until the health began to deteriorate.

I am so lucky that I have none of the health issues my mom and grandmother had. It was only a matter of time until I did though. History tends to repeat itself health wise in families. I only hope I live as long as they are/did!

Thanks WW! I am ahead of the curve!

Low carbing it while exercising? May not be the wisest move

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Do you eat very few carbohydrates? I don’t mean that now you no longer eat cookies, I mean does your plate generally consist of protein and some green veggies ala Atkins or South Beach? If it does, you are not doing your body any favors if you exercise more than walking from your home to your car.

I am researching my show on obesity for November 12th and I thought I would talk about the low carb craze a little bit and how it is much more mainstream these days in terms of a lot of programs. Weight Watchers is one of the few programs that does not severely restrict this macro-nutrient.

I was reading about thermo-genesis, the way our body utilizes energy/calories when I read a really eye-opening paragraph about the way our body uses our stored energy which is derived from the foods we eat. The only thing our bodies can’t store is protein. We know it can store fat. It also can convert carbohydrates to fat if we do not exercise and utilize the carbs we eat as it converts to glycogen aka sugar in our bodies.

There is a reason that athletes practice carb-loading before a big event such as a marathon or a long bike ride. The reason is that once our bodies use all of the glycogen and fat we have stored, it begins to utilize our lean muscle mass which is made of protein.

This could lead to a serious problem. If we are using our lean muscle, that means things like our heart can’t contract properly and our muscles (of which the heart is as well) also can’t function properly. So, you might drop weight much more quickly by utilizing your stored glycogen, but, you also can over-do this and begin to break down what you are trying to gain – muscle mass.

Muscles burn calories. Everyone knows if you are in better shape and your body is toned and has good muscle mass, you burn far more calories at rest and during exercise than you would if you were out of shape. This is the same for thin people and for fat people by the way. You can be thin and still be woefully out of shape.

Our bodies are a source of heat. We generate heat in the form of burning calories. We need a certain amount to breathe and to walk and for our heart, kidneys and liver to function properly. Anything above and beyond what we use is stored as fat. This is not ideal. But, if we exercise, we create a calorie deficit (hopefully) and begin to burn those stored pockets of fat and that creates weight loss as well as builds lean muscle mass.

The larger we are, the more calories we burn at first. Our bodies expend more heat as we move about our day when we are overweight, creating larger weight loss many times when we exercise. It is also important to eat enough food to sustain our daily functions with a small deficit to allow our bodies to burn stored fat, not lean muscle mass. Our bodies use stored fat ONLY when we allow it to by decreasing our consumption of food.

When someone begins to have a good amount of lean muscle mass, the body can no longer call on the stored fat to burn thus it needs something else to allow it to run at peak efficiency without utilizing our stored protein which is 10-15% of our bodies and which allows our body to function. When not enough good carbs are consumed in the form of grains etc., the body turns to that lean muscle mass for fuel.

If you are a runner (distance) for example and you have lost a significant amount of fat, you should be eating a good balance of carbs AND protein with some healthy fat every day (thus the healthy oils) for optimum efficiency of your body during exercise. I am not a scientist or a doctor or a nutritionist and my information comes from reading articles in scientific journals and good old wikipedia. It is very technical jargon and I was confused by some of it. But, the message I did get out of all of this was that limiting GOOD carbs if you exercise is very unwise. It could lead to a very dangerous condition. If done by very thin people, it could lead to death and it has.

Balance is key.

Obesity: An epidemic

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I had written an absolutely brilliant blog for this morning. As luck would have it, my new computer which I decided to use this morning and I are not quite fast friends yet and I accidentally shut down the site and lost it all. I am presently researching obesity as a disease for an upcoming segment of our blog-talk radio show that will air on November 12th. The research has been eye-opening and very sobering to read.

So, winging it for expediency, the gist of the blog was this. Americans are digging their graves with a fork. Obesity is the leading cause of preventable death and we are allowing our children to become fatter than ever. We have the power to change this by doing just a few things. We can first and foremost, lead by example and we can make sure that they eat things and do things that will help them to stay fit and healthy.

On any given day, in any town in the USA, we could look into a child’s lunchbox and see bags of potato chips, packages of twinkies and cupcakes, filled with fat, sodium and sugar as well as soda, juice drinks (which are not juice) and other things that are making them fat and unhealthy.

We are allowing our kids to hang out in the house, watching television and playing video games as we fear the trouble they could get into after school as we are a working society, with our kids fending for themselves for a few hours each day. The cupboards are filled with junk that they of course help themselves to as they don the controller to that video game as though it is a second appendage.

They should be playing outside in the fresh air, running and jumping and riding their bicycles. They are not. They are on the computer or watching the b00b tube and eating junk. They do this day in and day out to the detriment of their bodies. We idly watch this and we are just happy that we know where they are. They are exercising little more than their fingers as they text themselves into oblivion, unaware of how good physical activity can make them feel.

This has become the typical child’s day in society. And, it is killing them slowly. There used to be a disease called Adult Onset Diabetes. It has been renamed by the medical profession and is now called Type II Diabetes because it is no longer just an adult disease. It is now affecting our kids in huge numbers because they are too fat.

If there were an epidemic that was affecting our children that had a known cure, such as a shot or a pill, we would all make sure our kids were protected. Can someone explain to me why the leading cause of preventable death is not considered important enough for us to pay attention? Why are we allowing our children to eat things constantly that could end up killing them? As we sit idly by, our children are consuming the equivalent of up to 29 teaspoons of sugar in a one liter bottle of soda! If they consume a “Big Gulp”, that can be 32 teaspoons of sugar!!

I regularly see kids swigging soda everywhere they go. How can we not see that this is a terrible thing? As we ourselves try to undo the damage we have done to ourselves by going on diets, we are clutching bottles of water and our kids are drinking soda pop right next to us. In the supermarket, we are caving to the requests for fatty sugary snacks rather than telling our children “No, we are buying bananas and cheerios, not cookies and donuts.” We have the power. We buy the food for our families. Don’t we?

I support the effort of the President to get our kids moving again. Not since President Kennedy’s Council on Physical Fitness in the 1960’s has the lack of exercise in children and adults been addressed on any level. Our schools need to make the food in the cafeterias healthy and nutritious. Soda machines need to be moved out and juice and milk should replace sugary drinks.

We must lead by example. We are killing our children. WE need to step up to the plate and show them the way. If we don’t, America will just get fatter and that is criminal. Help them to live life to its fullest.