Tag Archives: Obesity

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!

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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.

Eyes Wide Shut

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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?

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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!

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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.

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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

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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!