Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Oh I Did MUCH Better Today!

I think I ate my weight in food today. I started at breakfast and just kept right on going throughout the day. Ironically, I still ended up below my calorie limit in every category except straight carbohydrates. I refuse to eat any more today. I quit. 


I went out to swim today and said hello to a few lizards on the way to the pool. One of them appeared to have quite a large mouthful. On closer inspection I realized it was a baby lizard! I felt so betrayed. We had words, the lizard and I... I'm pretty sure that lizard is now aware of my displeasure. I still wonder what the neighbors thought about the shouting... "NO! Don't eat the BABIES!!"


I am thinking about telling my sister about my weight loss endeavors. I feel funny keeping it a secret from her. My brothers can wait to find out, but my sister? I think she'll be sorry to have missed it. Opinions? Advice? Votes for or against?

 I live in Florida, but I have many friends along the eastern seaboard of the United States and Canada. I do hope Hurricane Earl leaves them all alone. We're well used to hurricanes, although we don't like them at all! Some of these other folks are not as prepared for them. This has been a hard year all around. No one needs more catastrophe. Stay out at sea with the fishes, Earl. And you, too, Fiona.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Hectic Days Are Hell On Diets!

I had a hectic day. I managed to start my day with my usual good, healthy breakfast. After that, the pace of my day picked up a bit. A busy morning followed by a last minute dash for work left me with only a handful of pecans, some dried cranberries, and a single Ghirardelli chocolate square for lunch. I also threw a K2O drink mix tube into my bag along with a Fiber One bar. I can snack at my desk if necessary... what a great place to work! All I had to do was make it through until my dinner break. One of the reasons for the last minute dash was my dinner salad. I knew I would be hungry by dinner time, so I also tossed in a yogurt and a plum. None of this sounds particularly bad, does it?

I broke up the chocolate square and tossed it into the bag of pecans and cranberries to make a nice trail mix. I mixed and drank the K2O water a couple of hours later. I forgot about the Fiber One bar. 

Dinner time arrived, and I went to the break room and dutifully ate my salad and my plum. I forgot about the yogurt. I went back to my desk and worked the rest of my shift. 

When I got home I had a few things to take care of and a phone call to return. In spite of a building headache, I did all my chores before thinking about what kind of snack I would have. Again, I checked MyPlate to see what would fit in the best. I read through what I'd eaten for the day.

Holy Moly! On the days that I work I usually log in all my meals at the same time, early in the day. Today was no different. Today, however, I didn't eat everything I had logged. Even if I had, I would have made it to only 950 calories. It's no wonder I had a headache. During the entire day I had only managed to consume 711 calories. That's less than half of what I am supposed to eat!

Sometimes I worry about my reluctance to eat. When we begin to diet, we are told to ignore our hunger, to learn to live with hunger. I got very good at ignoring my hunger and denying myself food. Sometimes I think I have gotten too good. The new joke is that I am the fattest anorexic person in the world. (No, I know anorexia isn't funny, and I didn't mean to treat it as such.) But even as big as I still am, I have become a chronic under eater. In response to some feedback that I was not eating enough (1200 calories a day) I recently increased my calorie goal to 1500 cal/day. That is the amount of food I need according to the Harris-Benedict formula. I am struggling to meet this goal. Saturday, I did not. Sunday, I came within 50 calories. Score! Today? Oh, my, no. Without a trip to a fast food place, which are all at least 15 miles away, there is no way I can meet my goal. I will try. I will eat something tonight. I know I need to eat. If I stop and reflect, I do feel hungry. For some reason, the hunger is muted. It speaks to me in a very quiet voice. Tomorrow I will try again to learn how to listen more closely.

So, I'm sitting here eating a bowl of Kashi Go Lean cereal with unsweetened vanilla almond milk. That brings me to just under 900 calories. I wish we had a chat room so I could ask you all for ideas of what to eat next. It is now 9:45 pm and the kitchen is officially open.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Winning the Weight Loss Lottery

You know what is truly incredible? Being a human being. It's fantastic!! Think about it. What other creature has the ability to look at itself with a critical eye and then decide to transform itself to meet a new vision. All the time I listen to people saying "I cannot do that. I cannot lose weight," or "there is no way I could accomplish that." To them I say "bull pucky!" Of course you can do it. As a sentient creature, you certainly do have the ability to do whatever you set your mind to doing. The big question is not whether you CAN do it, but whether you are willing to make whatever sacrifices might be necessary. Therein lies the rub. Some people have managed to convince themselves that they are incapable of self-sacrifice. I still maintain that is a big fat barrel of bull pucky. In truth, I wonder if I simply have a greater advantage.

"How is that possible?" you ask. Well, sit right back and you'll hear a tale... I come from a long line of Puritan self-deniers. For hundreds of years, people in my family have said to themselves, "self, you do not NEED that, so learn to live without it." Now, I do not want you to think this meant that none of my ancestors accomplished anything significant. The opposite is true; my family blood line spawned more than its fair share of over achievers. Sadly, I am not one of them. But, I didn't come up completely empty in the genetic lottery. Besides the family gene for a wide butt and fat thighs, I also received the "satisfied with less than everything" gene.* That tiny bit of chromosomal magic is responsible for my unfailing dedication to the weight loss journey. I do not mind giving up goodies. I do not mind forcing myself to exercise. In my heart of hearts, I feel some sort of strange pride for doing without things that I want and for badgering myself into doing things I'm not always thrilled to do. Truly, it must be a vestige of great granny sixteen times removed. I can almost hear her telling me it's my family duty.

The bottom line?  While I am still a bit cranky about being genetically coded for the fat rear end, I'm glad I also glad that I was given the ability to get rid of it. And that is what I'm doing here on Highway 150. I'm getting rid of my blobby butt, losing my bulging belly, shrinking my fatty flappy bat wings, and tightening up my thunder thighs. I am a human, I have knowledge, and I am using that knowledge to shrink. Can it get any better than this?


* I also got some other cool genes like intelligence, great sense of humor, curly hair, empathy, and the ability to see through BS and concrete walls. I'm really not bitter about the fat ass gene. Really not. At all. Ever.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Note to self...

I am still thinking about becoming a paramedic again. There are so many things I miss about that life. The hours were terrible, but the rewards were fantastic. One of the biggest things I miss is the feeling of strength I used to have. Every day I travel down this road, down Highway 150, I am headed for that goal. I will be strong again.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Busy Days and Super Heroes

I had a very busy day today. After setting two alarms and managing to get up before the second one started jangling, I was off and running. Literally! I managed to run in the pool for a whole 45 minutes before I had to leave for work. Work went by in a bit of a blur. Then I spent a fun evening with a friend. I hadn't seen this person in some time and decided to tell her all about my weight loss adventure. She told me she wanted to have me around for as long as possible and my being healthy made that more likely. Why do so many people think I'm one step away from the big box? I tell you... it ticks me off. The bottom line, though, is that my friend's heart was in the right place, and that's what truly matters.

One final thought before I call it a day... It occurred to me at one point during my running in the pool this morning... Perhaps I could use my fat pants to make a super hero cape.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Quel tragique!

I can no longer wear my everyday t-shirts.* They are more like mini-dresses than shirts now, with hems that hang down to my knees and sleeves that drape halfway to my wrists.  I shall have to dig through boxes to see if I have any others that fit. I sadly fear I gave too many away in a fit of pique one day last year. At the time, I was thoroughly convinced that I would never lose weight. Even if I did, I rationalized, fashions would be so vastly different that I would need new clothes anyway. I am not sure where that reasoning originated; I am certainly no slave to fashion! 

I refuse to buy "in between" clothes. I do not want to afford "in between" clothes, and there is no way I'm going to buy any clothes now if I can possibly avoid it. I will barely have time to wash them before I have to trade down again. And it's not just the shirts that are causing me fits. My pants are starting to slide down off my butt. The only thing holding them up at this point is a slight bit of stretch in the elastic and the bumps of fat on my hips. Their saving grace is that they are hideous elastic waist pants and will be easy to alter. Lest any of you fear for my fashion faux pas, they are not polyester pull-ons. They are actually quite comfortable crinkle cotton capris. Work attire is very casual at my job! The only real problem with them is that they are big enough to house a rather large family of badgers.

I really love poking through boxes of clothes. It gives me something to do, yes, but it's also a trip through the past, a bit of an archeological exploration. I can look at an article of clothing and remember what I was doing when I was "that size."  Sometimes, though, the memories are more faded. I found myself poring over older photos looking for a certain pair of pants. I almost called my sister to ask her if she remembered them. My sister, as the youngest, has caretaker responsibilities for the familial memory treasury. She is still young enough that her gray cells have not yet begun to atrophy like the rest of ours have. Fortunately, I found a photo and did not have to make the call. I was glad for that, because I still have not told her of my weight loss journey. I did drop a teaser into an email. What can I say? I am an older sister. It's my job to tease. I want to postpone my big reveal for as long as possible!

*Isn't it awful? The things we losers have to contend with and confront! 


My wish for you today is that all of you will find both happiness and the rejuvenation of your souls in the your journeys toward health, weight loss, wellness and fitness.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

All Losers Challenge

There's a fat smackdown going on in blogland. The Anti-Jared has challenged Jack Sh*t to a duel. Of course, being joiners, a lot of other bloggers and blog-readers have responded to the challenge. After the uber-failure of my memory concerning the last challenge I joined, I am posting this one so I'll have a permanent record of my commitment. This is for me as much as it is for you!

Read about the two individuals at the heart of the challenge here:

My personal goals for this challenge are to be, by New Year's Eve 2010:
  • weight training 3x a week
  • doing cardio six days a week (one hour on days I don't have weight training, 1/2 hour on days I do)
  • weighing in at 260lbs
I think this makes five challenges for me all at once. I am slightly confused and am considering making up a spreadsheet to deal with them. 
Good luck and I hope you all join in with goals you would like to achieve by the end of the year. If you want to participate, simply write down your goals and go for them. Feel free to share them with any blogger in the challenge, with friends, with neighbors, with the milk man or the letter carrier. The more the merrier!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

the Future Former Fatties Federation

Welcome to the first newsletter of the Future Former Fatties Federation! 

Together we shall fight the battle of the bulge! 
We shall join hands and clobber the evil enemy known as blubber!
We shall sit on anyone who tries to sabotage our progress!


First order of business is an announcement:

Attention everyone! I am so totally, completely, undeniably LAME. I signed up for a weight loss challenge on someone's blog, and I cannot for the life of me remember whose it was. Sigh. I have been scanning posts for a hour now and still can not find it. I don't know what to blame this on... too much sodium? not eating enough? fibro fog? If anyone knows, (about the challenge not about what has messed up my memory), please tell me! I have been doing really well on the scale lately and want to show off :-D


Next order of business is another announcement:

Attention all grocery shoppers! There is nothing you can buy in the sauce and salad dressing aisle that is someone hasn't packed full of sodium. I am on a witch hunt (pardon the expression) for sodium. I am ruthlessly attempting to exorcise sodium from my diet. Due to the lack of understanding of nearly EVERY food manufacturer, I have been forced to collect and develop recipes for everything from bleu cheese dressing to hot sauce. I may have to publish this collection at some point. I will give each of you a free copy.

Final order of business is, you guessed it, another announcement:
Attention all people who have watched the scale stop, then suddenly speed up again! I learned about something this week that has revolutionized the way I think about weight loss. If you have ever heard of the "female fat whoosh" phenomenon, feel free to skip ahead. For the rest of you... wait until you hear this. There is some theory, albeit untested, that when women lose weight the fat cells give up water as they shrink in size. This water gets displaced in the body until it is suddenly released. That's right, folks, while that scale is sitting steady the fat cells are shrinking and letting off water. After a few days of waiting, the body then "releases" the water (also referred to as "peeing like a race horse.)  Some people have reported feeling that their fat is, and I quote, "more jiggly" right before a release. Apparently, that is caused by the shrunken fat cells jostling around next to each other as they settle.
I am completely fascinated with this theory. The miraculous shedding of pounds after a short plateau is a great explanation for my own weight loss cycles. I do not know if it is fact or myth or woo woo magic. (Please see the General Disclaimer to the right.) What I do know is that I shall no longer panic when I see the scale level off for a few days or longer. Knowing that I can look forward to a sudden "whoosh" is enough to keep me going. 

This concludes the first newsletter of the FFFF. Now, we shall all go forth and make progress in our health and weight loss goals. Each one of us has the power to change our lives and to reclaim our health.
Never give up.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Whose Idea Was This Anyway?

Today's rant is about fat clothes. I touched on this issue once before, in the form of cap-sleeve shirts, but I have MUCH more to say on this matter. I have a veritable list of complaints. 


Dear Purveyor of clothes for fat women:

I have many issues, that's true, but my main issue today is your catalog. I hope you're sitting in a comfortable chair, because I have a number of suggestions for you. Be quiet and listen.

First of all, if you plan to offer clothing for "plus size women," please do us the courtesy of finding models who are larger than size six or eight. If the model isn't at least a size sixteen, I don't want to see her in the catalog. I would prefer someone who is a size twenty. Better yet, have two or three models in varying sizes from twenty to thirty. It is bad enough that I have to buy clothes from a catalog instead of from a store. I want to see what your clothes look like on real people before I buy them. Seeing them on a tall skinny woman does not help me at all. I need to see where the lumps are going to show. Learn from this.

Second, who in the world is designing the clothes you are marketing to large women? Where do you FIND these people? When was the last time you had a request for a shirt with puffed sleeves in size 32? Are you kidding me? Seriously? The shirt looks stupid enough on the size eight model. Imagine stretching it over a size 28 ham hock arm. Shut up right now. I know what you're thinking.

Third, please tell me why, in your infinite wisdom, you think that lumpy plumpy women, such as myself, who wear "extended sizes" would want to wear hideously garish prints. The last time I went to the eye doctor I was cleared of cataracts, glaucoma, color blindness, macular degeneration and all other limitations on my sight. Well, I do have an astigmatism and I am getting closer to needing bifocals, but that's irrelevant. I can see perfectly fine, and I am amazed that you thought you could trick me into buying a shirt covered in a print that is straight out of a 1980s horror movie. What is wrong with you? We are already fat; there is no need for you to call attention to us by dressing us in cast-off upholstery patterns. Believe it or not, some of us are trying to blend into the crowd, not stand apart like fluorescent beacons of largess.

Finally, please oh please, tell me why you never make the shirt sleeves large enough. I can buy a shirt that wraps halfway again around my midsection but still doesn't have room in the sleeves for my ham arms. I am FAT. I know it, you know it, everyone knows it. Please do not keep reminding me by having me walk around with sausage-stuffed sleeves sticking out from a veritable tent of a shirt. You need to acknowledge, once and for all, that women with fat stomachs very often have fat arms. This is not rocket science. Deal with it.

Thank you for listening to my concerns. I eagerly await your next catalog with its new product lines, styles and fabrics. It is good of you to be so responsive to such a large constituency of buyers. I am glad that I have helped you realize exactly how much buying power "women of size" have. We are large and we have credit cards. Make something we actually want to buy.

Destined For 150

Friday, August 20, 2010

Pacing the Page

Homage to Bruce Cockburn... Pacing the Cage is a great song.

Anyway, some days I sit here and stare at the blank page. I go off and wander the Internet, then return to stare some more. I feel like I'm pacing back and forth in a cage when I'm really just at a loss for words. Crazy, I know. I think I used them all up posting on my various forums. 

My lesson for the day is... I do not need to have a "free meal." I don't need it, I don't want it, and I'm not going to do it again. The past two Friday lunches have been a sort of social experiment in which I eat whatever I want (within reason-I mean I wouldn't eat a side of beef or something totally obscene.) I started doing it because everyone else seemed to be doing it. Cheat meal, cheat day.. I have decided that it's all a load of bull pucky. The foods I eat satisfy my hunger and my taste buds. There is no reason for me to change that routine just to satisfy some overwrought need to be like all the other kids. Ironically, I get more praise at from my coworkers for eating healthy food all the time than for taking a meal off for bad behavior. Why fight it?

p.s. It's nice when the page is not longer blank, and I am no longer pacing.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Losing Weight and Finding Health

Losing weight is not all fun and jellybeans. Although there is fun to be had, there are no jellybeans. There will never be any jellybeans. Today someone asked me if I ever felt bitter about being denied certain foods, having to always be vigilant about what I eat, forcing myself to exercise even when I don't really want to, and just generally having to fight my way through each day. My answer was "no".  I think that answer surprised her much more than it did me.

There was a time in my life when my answer would have been a resounding "yes!" All of my previous attempts to lose weight felt like punishments. I told myself I was a bad eater, a lazy sloth, a hedonistic pleasure-seeker oblivious to all the rules and conventions of thin society. I told myself I deserved punishment for that overindulgence. As you can imagine, none of those efforts were ever particularly successful over the long term. This time, things are different.

I have been reading a number of other "weight loss" blogs and have noticed a common theme. The most successful individuals have all written about the difference in their commitment "this time around." My conclusion is that we just know when the time is right to make the change. What makes this occasion different from all the others is that we are no longer setting out to deny ourselves precious comforts and pleasures. This time, we are actively seeking new pleasures and new experiences that will redefine us.  We are not simply losing weight, we are finding health

Every person who takes on the challenge of losing weight and finding health is to be commended. Those who are successful should be lauded and feted and celebrated as heroes. But there are a certain number of individuals who impress me and inspire me in ways I will never be able to fully express. These people began their journeys as morbidly ohbeast individuals, but have left so many hundreds of pounds behind them they are able to complete marathons and triathlons. They not only found their health, they were able to achieve things profoundly above and beyond their weight loss goals. I am humbled. I am intrigued. I am envious. I am deeply grateful. Thank you for showing me that such things are possible. I accept the challenge.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Today's Menu: Friends and Kibble

Today was a good day. I spent quite a bit of it online, chatting with a friend who is into her third week of quitting smoking. I am proud of her. She has a lot of other things going on at the same time. It's pretty remarkable that she has taken on this challenge as well. She says she gains strength from the way I have approached my weight loss challenge. What an awesome thing to hear.

I have another friend who has begun to quietly watch what she eats and to exercise. When I talk to her, I am not allowed to mention the "D" word. For her, "diet" is a four letter word that carries way too many expectations and pressures. Her method is a bit more understated than mine! We have fun though. I try not to preach and lecture, she doesn't seem to mind my enthusiasm, and we look at d**t and weight loss tips together online. (There is a lot of great advice out there, but also some very strange recommendations.) My friend and I have been through many of life's ups and downs and changes together, and I wish her all the success in the world! 


When I stepped on the scale this morning, I realized I had just slipped down past the forty pounds mark. I was so excited. That was an amazing feeling. Forty pounds is one of those big bags of dry dog food. I lost a bag of kibble! That forty pounds is twenty percent of my weight loss goal. (Despite my hatred of math, I actually do pretty well with percentages.) I also like the image of trailing kibble behind me. Losing weight, one kiblet at a time... I think bread crumbs smell better, but still...  I now have four more bags of kibble to go. If I bring it back to bags of flour, I've lost eight so far and have thirty two more to go. Four sounds better than thirty two. Maybe I'll stick with kibble for now. 


Baa baa, fat girl, have you any kibble? 
Yes sir, yes sir, four bags full. 

Monday, August 16, 2010

Pool-Free Day

Monday is my pool-free day. It is the only day of the week that I don't run in the water for any length of time. By the time the breeze picks up enough to get out into the pool, it is time for me to leave for work. There's just no time for the pool on Mondays.

At first, I enjoyed this respite from exercising. I exercise strenuously the other six days and thought I would enjoy a day off. I did, up until this week. Today I looked out at the water and felt a desperate longing to run for my hour instead of heading off to work. I am sure the glittering blue water had more to do with my pool envy than any altruistic need for exercise. But the result was the same. I wanted to exercise.


I tried on a pair of shorts today. The last time I remember wearing them was at least five years ago. A month ago I tried them and could only get the button and the buttonhole within 2-3 inches of each other. Today... they buttoned. They were inappropriately tight, but they were buttoned! One more week or so and I'll be able to wear them in public. Victory is sweet, and it is mine.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Hiding in Plain Sight

I have several siblings. I am neither the oldest nor the youngest, but am one of the middles.  None of my siblings knows that I have embarked upon this journey down Highway 150. My parents know, but that is mostly because I live very close to them. My mother has been sworn to secrecy. All of this intrigue amuses me even as it makes life a bit complicated. 

Initially, I wanted to focus on my weight loss without feeling like I was under a familial microscope. Now, my secrecy has taken on a life of its own. Because I live in the south, the families all tend to visit in the spring when the north is beleaguered by winter's wrath. My siblings migrate down here in stages beginning in February. 

One of the motivators that keeps me striving toward my goal is anticipating the reactions when my siblings see me again. I have a big grin on my face right now just thinking about it. By the time any of them sees me again, my journey will have been underway for nine months. I can't wait to see the double takes, the dropped jaws, the yells of surprise, the slaps on the back and the tears. I will revel in them all.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Another Day on the Highway

Today is another day on Highway 150. I have found myself stumbling a bit lately. For some reason, I have become a bit complacent in recent days. I think it is a combination of repetitive exercise, allowing myself more leeway in what I eat, and eating more overall.  Mostly, though, I think it stems from having the scale act so fickle for so long.  In the past two weeks I have lost a total of four pounds-that includes a gain and loss of an additional four pounds. After losing steadily for two months, this roller coaster was somewhat disheartening. The bottom line, however, is that I am glad to have lost those four pounds. Those are four pounds I no longer carry with me: four boxes of pasta; eighty dollars in quarters; eight glasses of water. My total loss is now 39 pounds! Holy cow, that's just one pound away from 40. Forty pounds is a bag of dog food!

In honor of this momentous occasion, I am going to begin to take weekly measurements. Looking back to the day I began this journey, I wish I had taken an initial set of measurements. I was too horrified, too ashamed, too embarrassed by how large I had gotten to memorialize the situation with anything other than a total weight. I will never know how large I really was, but that isn't really the important thing to keep in mind. The real prize is how small I will get on this journey. I am hoping that measuring inches as well as pounds will help keep me from veering too far off the road.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Fibromyalgia Shout Out

This post is dedicated to a few of my readers with fibromyalgia who are struggling to deal with their condition and a medical establishment that makes life even harder to bear. To them I want to say, "Do not give up, do not give up hope. Science and public opinion are changing all the time. This will get better. I empathize, and I understand."

Although I don't talk about it much, fibromyalgia is a big part of my life. Regular exercise has made a huge difference in my daily quality of life, but I still have flare ups. Some days it feels like someone has taken a mallet to my ribs and fingers. If I were to look in the mirror, I would expect to see bruises. But the pain of FM is invisible. My close friends and family are aware of it, but no one at work knows I have it. When I sit, hunched over at my desk, waiting for the pain medication to kick in, people simply assume that I have poor posture. I do nothing to change their minds. If more people understood how insidious and debilitating FM can be, then perhaps those of us who suffer with it would be willing to talk about it.

I am not looking for any sort of sympathy here! I'm just trying to raise a little awareness and maybe vent a little bit. Some days it's hard enough to get up and exercise when my knees are creaky and my muscles are tired. On top of those regular aches and pains of age and fattyness, I also have to ignore the "imaginary" pain of FM and get moving. Some days, like today, it takes me until after noon to really get going. My day off, and I've lost half of it to the FM monkey on my back. 

This is my lot in life, and I bear it willingly. It definitely beats the alternative! I have a good pain cocktail that I will share with anyone who needs the information. Other than that, I try to get good sleep, eat well, and exercise. This is just another battle that I'm trying to win.

 On a positive note, my scale finally budged this morning!! I've never been so excited to lose a pound in my life. It wasn't really just a pound, though. In the past ten days I have gained four pounds, then lost those four pounds plus the one extra, for a net loss of one pound. And I ate more to do it. Now THAT makes me proud.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fat Me in the Eyes of a Thin Friend

I have a very thin friend who just does not understand my struggle.  By the end of my journey down Highway 150, I will have lost at least one and a half times her body weight. She cannot comprehend that. When I told her I had lost 35 pounds, she asked me if that was really possible.  She has no frame of reference for the idea of being fat.  She eats what she wants, when she wants, and often has to struggle to maintain her weight without losing. 

My friend knows that I am blogging about my journey, but no matter how often she asks I will not tell her how to find this blog. She is a writer, and she wants to read what I write. But she cannot understand what I write. She might read what I write with curiosity or fascination or horror, but she will never be able to understand. She has no way to even imagine losing 50, 100, 150 pounds. I get irritated by her failure to understand, but I do not want to be the person who tells her what it is like to be fat.

My friend is one of the few people I know who truly sees me as a fat person. I am uncomfortable with her perceptions of me. One of the things that bothers me the most is her assumption that I have limitations because of my weight. I do, of course, but I have always believed that I was the one who should place them, not allow others to do it for me. This is not a new condition; I have been fat for a long time. I know what I can and cannot do. I do not want anyone to tell me that I am not able.

My friend told me one day that she feared I would have a massive heart attack. Not at some indefinable point in the future, but right then, right in front of her. We were walking down a path from the beach, and I had stopped to readjust my hold on the things I carried. She assumed that I stopped because the walk was too strenuous, that I was about to keel over. Embarrassment, shame, ridicule... I felt all those things. But the sharpest emotion I felt was anger. I know that my friend felt concern for me, but it was concern tainted by her thinness. 

We are still friends and have grown close again after I allowed a great distance to come between us. My friend is still thin and I am still fat, but I am changing. The truth, as much as I hated it, was that I could not do many things because of my size. I am changing that. Every day I am changing, transforming, remaking and reshaping myself into the person thin people think I should be. I am becoming the person I think I should be. On my journey I will meet many people. I hope that I will not make judgments about their abilities based on their size or shape. 

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Trying Something New

I'm trying something new today. Tae Bo. If Billy Blanks can't make me burn off some fat, no one can!
I wrote that before I actually tried to follow along with the Tae Bo video. Holy moly, I'm out of shape!  I couldn't believe how stiff and creaky I was. I felt very much like a fish out of water.  Literally!  My comfort zone is in the water. I can work to my level of ability there. The water is sturdily supportive of me. It buffets me and makes me work just the right amount to keep my balance.

The pool is a beautiful place. It is surrounded by lush tropical foliage and is the loveliest place I have ever exercised. There are little creatures that keep me company, too. They are bearing witness to my transformation.  In exchange for their support, I flick tiny flying bugs to them. I know they are grateful for the free meals.
I am definitely not ready for something as complicated as a land-based aerobic exercise like Tae Bo!  I barely made it through the stretching section. Actually, I'm not sure I did make it that far. It did get pretty complicated. I'm keeping it in mind for the future, though. Tae Bo is a great workout.  

The best thing I got out of the Tae Bo episode was the realization that I need to do more than run in the water. So, this is the week I begin to cross-train. By that I mean I will start walking... shake things up a little. Maybe walking will help break me out of this plateau-ish rut that I am in.

Until next time... Keep fighting!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Eating More, Feeling Better - My New Attitude Toward Food

I am eating more food now than I have in months.  It still feels odd.  After crunching all the numbers, I realized that I really wasn't getting enough nutrition for someone my size.  I hated to admit it, but I am not a normal-sized person.  At the beginning of this journey, I began eating the number of calories a 150 pound person should eat.  Like many of us, I subscribed to the "act like the person you want to be" theory.  Apparently, that's a fine and dandy idea if your current weight and goal weight are not terribly far apart.  But I still have over one hundred and fifty pounds to lose. (Okay, just saying that made me feel ashamed.  I'm working on that next.  That's a tough one.)  Someone as big as I am needs to have intermediate goals.  I need to achieve my weight loss in smaller steps.

Instead of eating like a person less than half my size, I need to make a few stops along the way.  My first step should be to eat like a person who weighs, say, 250 pounds.  If I eat to the basal metabolic rate (BMR) of a 250 pound person, I will still be eating enough to sustain a person my size.  The weight will come off, and I will still have energy and proper body functioning.  Then, when I get closer to that first goal, I can readjust my caloric intake downward.

What I find a bit unnerving is getting used to eating so much food and then having to trim it back once again when I reach my next goal weight.  But, I can do that.  My main goal is to be healthy, and if this is what I have to do to achieve my goal, I'll do it.  I will just be more aware and more flexible with what I eat.  I refuse to eat junk, so I am adding the extra calories by having extra fruit, protein, healthy fats and complex carbs.  An extra piece of fruit or two, some nuts, a little extra protein... It all adds up.  

Right now I am supposed to be eating around 2200 calories a day and eating back the calories I burn off.  According to all the experts, that is the right amount of food intake to support my current health as well as achieve goal of reaching 250 pounds.  How am I doing?  I am definitely not eating 2200 calories a day.  I do well to get to 1600.  Consider it a work in progress.  Instead of waiting until I hit 250 pounds to reassess, I will most likely reassess my BMR more often... every 20 pounds maybe.  That will allow me to keep shifting it downward in smaller increments instead of waiting.  The closer my actual BMR gets to 1600 the happier I will be!  Of course, I could get used to eating large quantities of food again.  Just kidding!

Who knew losing weight would be so difficult?  Exercising seems to be the easy part!

For those of you who are interested, I have set up a page of links to different nutritional calculators.  You'll find this page on the right hand side of the blog.  I do suggest you try several of them to see how they compare.  I ended up using the ones from Fat 2 Fit.

Update... I finally decided to use the actual formula for basal metabolic rate from Shapefit.com... And yes, I did the math myself.  I came up with a BMR based on my stats and calculated to lose 3 pounds per week. The number?  1450 calories per day.  This is the number I'm going to use for the next 25 pounds or so and then I will reassess.  I think I simply trusted my math more than any one calculator.  I am obsessed!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ten Rules for Exercising in Outdoor Pools

1.  If you swim in an outdoor pool, remember to check behind you periodically. Spiders can skitter across the surface of the water and skedaddle up your back to nest in your hair before you ever see them coming. Some of us are lucky enough to have a sixth sense about these things.

2.  If you swim in the late evening in the summer, remember that frogs can jump a long, long way. They might mistake you for a lily pad.  Shrieking can alarm the neighbors.

3.  When rescuing tiny lizards from the pool, remember to gently place them in potted plants or other safe havens. If you put a baby lizard on the pool deck it may decide to seek shelter by running in through one of the holes in your Crocs. Do NOT leap into the air. Gently pulling your foot out of the Croc should reveal a baby lizard clinging to your big toe. Transfer said lizard to a plant this time.

4.  If you decide to eat a bowl of cabbage, broccoli, and brown rice for lunch, make sure you wait an appropriate amount of time before beginning a pool workout. Having to jump out of the pool, run inside, and figure out how to navigate your way to the rest room without dripping on the hardwood floor is, to say the least, challenging.

5.  Regarding Rule #4:  pooping in the woods is not an option, even if it isn't your yard... especially if it isn't your yard. Don't do that, it's gross.

6.  Do not leave your bathing suit hanging over the pool railing overnight. Frogs like to hide. Need I say more?  Remember that neighbors do not appreciate shrieking at 7 am.

7.  Never exercise nakies. You might have a private and secluded back yard, but people from the power company don't always call first. Also, there are satellites up there. No one at NASA wants to see nakie aqua Zumba. Really. They don't.

8.  Make every effort to exercise when you have the pool to yourself. If done properly, water aerobics can generate small tsunamis. You don't want to have to stop in the middle of your routine to resuscitate a bystander who got swamped by a round-the-world, uptown-downtown spin and kick.

9.  Unless you're exercising at a posh resort, asking the pool guy to bring you a Mai Tai isn't really proper etiquette. The same rule applies to asking the neighbors, the letter carrier, and the meter reader. Besides, do you know how many calories there are in a Mai Tai?? 

10.  A vigorous water exercise session is NOT the time to try out your new tankini. When you jump up, tankini top goes down. When you land, tankini top gets shoved up to your armpits and you expose your yet-to-be-depleted, haven't-quite-gotten-the-washboard-abs, most-likely-white-whale belly to all who pass by. Remember Rule # 7.

The most important rule? Get out there and start to move!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Donut Debacle

I ate a donut today.  I also ate french fries.  This behavior was as much a shock to me as it should be to you.  I don't eat donuts.  I don't eat french fries.  I'm still not exactly sure why I did.  What I do know is that I ate these things with my eyes wide open.  Even though I knew I shouldn't, I ate them anyway.  And I enjoyed them.  That donut was awesome.  It was the most sugary thing I've eaten in months!  Every bite was delicious.  

But, as I've said before, there are no free passes.  I had to get rid of the evidence before the day ended.  No carryovers, no "cheat meal deals", no "oh, I deserved it just this once", no eating without accountability.

So, I was in the pool within minutes after getting home from work.  An hour and a half of shallow water running and goofy looking pseudo aqua Zumba later, I felt as if I had put enough calories in the food bank to pay for my transgressions.  I hope no humans could see me!  I'm sure I looked like an idiot dancing around like a maniac.  I had fun though... I think Zumba has some serious potential for me.  I can't dance worth a lick, so it will be good for comic relief as well.  Craziness!  

To top it all off, I ate sauteed cabbage for dinner.  I cooked it up with chopped onions and a bit of chicken broth, tossed in a couple dollops of chipotles in adobo, and then topped it off with some feta and LF mozzarella.  I think of cabbage as "South Beach pasta."  This works well for me.  Calorie count for two cups of cabbage? About 50 calories.  Bonus!

I will sleep well tonight.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

No One Told Me There Would Be MATH

Okay, when I got started on this weight loss journey, I thought it would be relatively simple.  I would eat between 1000 and 1200 calories a day--high fiber, moderate protein and fat, low glycemic index, low sodium--and I would exercise.  The weight would magically disappear.  NOW, I hear that I'm not eating enough to sustain my life and that my body is going to hold onto fat tighter than a fat girl grips a danish.  Back up the ice cream truck.  I'm not eating enough food?? Where did that bizarre notion come from?? 

One of my new online support friends told me.  Don't get me wrong.  I'm very glad she told me.  But, boy did it ever burst my bubble.  This is what she pointed out to me... Instead of following some generic calorie rules, I am supposed to actually calculate how many calories I need to sustain my metabolism.  Okay, that part made sense, and the math wasn't terribly difficult*.  Then she told me I had to figure out how many calories I needed to NOT eat in order to lose a certain number of pounds a week.  That was starting to get complicated, but I could still manage it.  But it got worse.  This is the part that gets me every time. Apparently, if I do any sort of vigorous exercise, ie: water jogging, I need to calculate the calories I burn... and... I may cry here... EAT THEM BACK.  As my friend understated, "it's very counter-intuitive."  I couldn't agree more.  When I told another friend about this conundrum she scoffed and argued that I'd lost my mind and that it made no sense.  I am exercising to lose weight, so I need to eat back all the calories I burn?  Wait, what?? That sounds like malarkey. 

Right before my head started to spin a la "The Exorcist" I had an epiphany.  It all made total sense.  The human body needs a certain amount of nutrition to maintain its metabolism.  In order to lose weight, one needs to eat fewer calories.  And if that person also wants to exercise in order to gain muscle mass and cardio benefit, she needs to boost her caloric intake to meet that minimum.  AHA!!  My body needs fuel!  Because it is a very large body, it needs extra fuel... more fuel than a 150 pound body.  (My "duh" moment.)  And, if I make that large body work hard, it's going to need more calories to function.  Makes sense.  It does.  Really.

I went online and found a calorie calculator at the Mayo Clinic website.  I was using one at Livestrong.com, but I think it is set too high.  The LS calculator wanted me to eat something like 1866 calories a day plus eat back almost 600 calories for exercising.  That's almost 2500 calories a day!  A thousand calories more than I eat now? Crazy.  I think not.  Not going to happen.  Anyway, the Mayo Clinic is well-respected and I trust it.  I plugged in my age, height, weight, gender, and selected "lose weight" and it told me how much to eat.  Problem solved!  No!  Dang it all. 

The calorie calculator told me to eat sixteen hundred calories per day and exercise 30 - 60 minutes per day.  Huh?  Why are these two calculations so wildly different?  Which one do I follow?  I am going to follow the Mayo Clinic recommendation... but unless I hear someone actually tell me to eat 1600 cal/day I am going to shave a few hundred calories off it just to be on the safe side.  I will aim for 1400 calories per day, but if I only eat 1200 I am not ging to stress over it.  Not only does eating so much scare me, I don't know if I can choke down that much food. 

Does anyone have any information on this subject?  Any thoughts they'd like to share?  Is 1200 calories a day really not enough food for me at this weight and exercise level?  I seek answers.

*I took math all the way through calculus...a LONG time ago.  It's gone.  Kaput.  Nowadays I need a map, a calculator, a GPS, and a 12 year old to figure out long division.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Yet Another Reason for Traveling Down Highway 150

I started down this road because I wanted to be a paramedic again.  That goal was cemented firmly in the front of my mind.  But I've found that the farther I travel, the more reasons I find for continuing.  I have never been the sort of person to live a certain way or do a particular thing just because someone else wanted it.  Marching to my own drummer pretty much sums up my style.  Recently, though, I realized that this journey is not just for me.  Much to my own surprise, I want to become a normal-sized person for my parents.  They're getting older, just as I am, and I want to complete my transformation in time for them to enjoy it.  They worry about me.

I have not led the life my parents would have chosen for me.  There has been no wedding, no marriage; I have no children.  It wasn't until this year that I really felt bad that I had not produced any babies for my mother to enjoy.  Thank goodness my brothers did!  Still, it would have been nice for her to have grandbabies from a daughter.  She will never have that.  It is simply too late. The one important thing that I can give her, however, is my transformation into a healthy, well-proportioned individual.  I can achieve this goal, and it will make her happy.  Besides, I'm already 18% of the way there!

I think it would please my parents in a soul-deep way to see me happy and healthy.  They will feel that my future is more secure.  Most of all, my mother will be absolutely delighted to take me shopping.  Now, you must understand that I have a deep-seated hatred for clothes shopping.  My mother, on the other hand, just loves it.  Being able to go shopping with her, and have her pick out different outfits for me to try on, will make her incredibly happy.  And so, I travel this road for her as much as for myself.  She deserves it.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

No Free Passes

I get tired of dieting.  Sometimes I just want to return to the way I used to eat.  It was easier.  Open a frozen pizza, throw it in the oven, eat it while it's hot.  Now, I have to make so many decisions before I can eat.  What kind of vegetables, what kind of protein, how will I cook it?  Some days the dinner choices seem endless.  I try to stay strong.  I make good decisions.  I eat well.

I am house sitting right now.  This house is full of culinary land mines.  The refrigerator is only mildly threatening.  The freezer is a repository of all sorts of vegetables, meats, fruits, and one tub of ice cream.  Low fat vanilla ice cream.  I ate some today.  I only ate a half a cup.  It fit into my meal plan for the day, so I feel no guilt.  The part of the house that scares me the most is the pantry.  The pantry is an Aladdin's cave of foodie delights.  Crackers, multigrain corn chips, snack bars, pasta, cookie and cake mixes... I am mightily tempted, but I resist.  I may have to padlock the pantry door soon, but still I will resist. 

I cannot, I will not, sabotage my progress.  I find it a bit irritating that the people who own this house left me in the care of so many delicious treats.  They know I am struggling to lose weight.  They know I am making good progress toward my goal.  I'm sure they did not consciously decide to taunt me with their chips and crackers.  I am also sure they never realized these items would call to me in the night.  Even though the chips call to me with their salty siren song, I will prevail.

I read many posts on various sites--posts written by people who have slipped, fallen, tripped and strayed from their weight loss goals.  Each one promises to start anew, stick to the plan, stay with the program, get back on the wagon.  I do not judge.  I have been in that position more times than I can count.  I have commited to changing my life, vowing this time would be the time I'd make it work.  Then, predictably, life would get stressful or complicated and I would get off track.  It would usually start small, one minor event.  Pizza, or ice cream, or chips... Then, knowing that I'd already tasted the forbidden fruit, I would give myself permission to keep sliding down the slippery slope of unhealthy nutrition.  Soon enough, the damage would seem insurmountable and I would give up entirely.  Losing weight was too hard, I couldn't make all those sacrifices, I would never succeed.  It was okay to fail.

I am amazed at the BS I used to tell myself!  Truthfully, there is no excuse for failure... not for me.  There are no more excuses.  If I eat something I know I shouldn't, I make allowances for it that day.  I can no longer afford to put off repaying a nutritional debt.  If I eat pizza, or chips, or a cookie, I try to make sure that my daily calorie and activity load can withstand the pressure.  Now, while I am still very large, I can get away with eating these things.  It is relatively easy for me to burn more calories than I consume.  Soon, I hope, that balance will shift.  As I shrink, I will have to be more and more strict with my caloric intake.  This is my time to practice, to get used to doing without treats and substituting healthier options.  If I refuse to make excuses now, I will have a better chance to succeed in the future.  The habits I establish now will make easier for me to complete this journey.  

There are no free passes on Highway 150.

Monday, August 2, 2010

August... The Summer Doldrums

dol·drums [dohl-druhmz, dol-, dawl-] –noun ( used with a plural verb

 The doldrums are defined as a several different things:

  1. a state of inactivity or stagnation, as in business or art: August is a time of doldrums for many enterprises. 
  2. a belt of calms and light baffling winds north of the equator between the northern and southern trade winds in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. 
  3. the weather prevailing in this area 
  4. a dull, listless, depressed mood; low spirits.
 I live in the south.  It is blazingly hot and humid here in the summer.  Up until the end of July, we have delightful sea breezes that keep shaded areas comfortable enough for us to enjoy our screened porches.  In August, however, the doldrums settle upon us and the breezes come to a virtual standstill.  Unless a big thunderstorm is rolling through, the air is as still and heavy as a wet wool blanket.  I know that image is a cliche, but it's a cliche for a reason.  Our mornings are thick and wet and the air nearly drips with moisture.  When the sun comes up over the trees, it heats the dampness and the air seems to become even more heavily laden.  Breathing is a chore.  Some days, when the temperatures are especially high, the air holds so much moisture I think I must begin to develop gills. 

Exercise is essential.  Some feel that it's a necessary evil and dread each hour dedicated to feeling the burn.  I used to feel that way.  You all know that I have grown to enjoy exercising.  It is the principle method of my transformation.  I look forward to getting in the pool and running off my troubles and my fat.  Today, however, I looked at the pool with dread.  I felt the water this morning.  It was warm enough for me to break into a sweat just leaning over and dipping my hand beneath the surface.  If it weren't for truth of scientific impossibility, I could have sworn the water was simmering just below a boil.  I stared at the water, and I turned away.

I explained to the denizens of the pool area-the lizards and frogs, the wasps and one small snake-that I would not be swimming today.  I could not bear to immerse myself in that steaming cauldron of chlorine broth.  I would have emerged parboiled.  At my size, parboiling would be extremely unattractive.  Surely it would have caused a ruckus at work if my flesh began to peel from my bones like so much pulled pork.  Okay.. that was just a bit too far, right?  

Seriously, I nearly panicked this morning.  What will I do if I can no longer swim?  The weather will not change for another two and a half months.  I wanted to whine and carry on.  I have a friend who would sternly advise me to "keep calm and carry on."  And so I shall.  I need a new exercise for the days when it's too hot for the pool.  The gym will suffice for two or three days a week, max.  I am house sitting, and it's too far to drive there every day.  Stepping?  I can't step for an hour!  Not yet anyway.  Tae Bo?  I have a video somewhere.  Decisions, decisions.  I'll let you know what I decide.  The only thing I know for sure is that I will exercise.  I've come too far to stop now.

If you aren't exercising regularly, pick something and start doing it.  You'll find it's worth it  in the long run.  If you're lucky, you will even learn to enjoy it.  Get up and move!