Tag 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.

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!

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.

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!