3 Generations finally get smart about weight loss!

Standard

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

Standard

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

Standard

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.

Sara Kruzan – A gross miscarriage of justice!

Standard

If you were 11 years old and never had anyone in your life that you could truly count on, no one who could be there for you when you needed a shoulder to cry on or someone to compliment you, what do you think would happen if that person suddenly came into your life? You would eat it up like a cat licks the cream from a saucer, now wouldn’t you.

That is what happened to Sara Kruzan. She had no one. Her mother had “issues” with drugs, her father was in and out of jail and not in her life. Along comes G.G. a 30+ year old man with money to burn and a tongue like silk. Compliments flowed, gifts were constantly bestowed upon this poor child with no one monitoring the fact that a grown man was “courting” this little girl.

Eventually, G.G became Sara’s pimp. He told her she should never give it away and that men should pay her for her body. He also sexually abused her repeatedly and physically abused her as well. She had no where to turn. So, one fateful day in 1994 when Sara was just 16 years old, she had had enough. She shot and killed G.G.

The fact that she shot this scum bag is not that surprising to me although I don’t condone murder. What is truly shocking to me is that Sara was tried as an adult by the court system and sentenced to Life Without the possibility of parole. No mitigating circumstances. No look at what CPA said about her being very amenable to treatment and the fact that they felt she should be tried as a juvenile. Nothing. Sara was a victim not once, but twice.

Everyone failed this girl. Over and over again. Now she sits in prison still, at the age of 33. Her sentence was commuted to 25 years to life by the previous Governor of California (Arnie the Terminator dude) but to me that is still not enough! This girl should be released today, right now, with time served! She has spent half of her entire life behind bars just because she was looking for someone, anyone to love her.

She does have a wonderful Auntie who tried. But, Anne lived several hours away from Sara and did not know what was going on before it was too late. Won’t you please help this girl? There are two movements going on right now to help her. First, there is a petition to Governor Brown through www.freesarakruzan.org and there is a photo petition to Governor Brown as well and the address for that is www.sarakruzan.com
Age 15
Please help this girl! She deserves better and she has spent enough time behind bars for this crime! Thanks for your support!!

Eyes Wide Shut

Standard

The name of our show yesterday on Human Trafficking in the United States was entitled “Eyes Wide Shut” and it got me to thinking about that. I am not going to get into the show here as I do not wish this to be one long commercial for what I am doing in my spare time (an oxymoron if ever there was one folks) as you have already indulged me. I will from time to time remind you of what is going on with that and tell you what is coming up in case you wish to give a listen (and many of you have I am happy to say and I am thrilled with the support I have received from this community for my show!) Today, I wish to talk about the title we chose for the first two shows and why I think it applies in many areas of our life.

When I was my heaviest, I would look in the mirror and see a very large woman staring back at me. I was able to separate “me” from “her” if you get my drift. That person in the mirror who weighed over 300 pounds was someone I did not know. She was very sad looking and she looked unhealthy. In short, I really did not see myself as I was. That is until someone finally got me in a photo. I avoided them at all costs. Then I could see what I had done to myself. It was not a pretty sight and I was in shock.

Many people have said that they have been shocked by seeing themselves in a photograph. Yet, we all look in the mirror everyday and see the same person that is in the photo, don’t we? I think what happens is a disconnect between who we are and what we have become. Somehow, it does not compute in the mirror that the image we see is us. Yet, a photo can shock us into reality and cause us to take stock of what has happened. It can really be an eye opener to see some person in a photo who bears no resemblance to what you think you look like and then realize that it is YOU.

Denial about what is happening to us as we make the climb up that scale is pretty across the board I would say. Some people are aware of every pound they gain but those of us who gain over a hundred extra pounds rarely if ever see it happening in a manner that is alarming enough to stop. We just seem to wake up one day and see a fat person in a photo or in the mirror and it dawns on us that we are that person. The person in the photo is not some other fat person. It is me. It is you.

Sticking our head in the sand or trying to hide from photos or the mirror can work for a while. In some cases it can work for years. But, sooner or later we have to SEE the results of the binges and the total disregard for what we put into our bodies. We might become aware when we suffer a health crisis such as a diagnosis of high blood pressure or diabetes. We always think we can escape the consequences of our actions and that it will be someone else it happens to. That is how I always thought anyway. I did not SEE myself for what I had become.

I knew I was fat. There was no denying that, especially when I bent a lawn chair to the ground as I sat in it or had to move from booths in restaurants because I no longer fit. I rationalized those things with “shoddy chair” and “smaller than normal booths” or some such nonsense. I found ways to shut my eyes to who and what I had become. A truly obese person who was going to sooner or later suffer those health issues if I did not do something about it. I was blessed in terms of never having high blood pressure or diabetes. So very lucky. My knees are shot though so I did not totally escape.

The ills that America is suffering is another place people tend to shut their eyes and pretend that it is not happening. If you and your significant other are lucky enough to both have your jobs, then you are not seeing the suffering first hand that this economy has wrought. That is why we named the show what we did. Americans only see what they want to see most of the time. As a fat person, I am no different. I did not wish to see my 300+ pound body. So, I didn’t. It was a fantasy because she was there.

My eyes are now open. Are yours?

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!!