Friday, December 17, 2004

The tale of the tape

I've only lost 5 pounds over the last 4 weeks. The last few weigh ins have been consistent 1 pound losses and I've been cursing every last nut and bolt that makes up that blasted thing they call a scale. I was getting less and less motivated do to the realization that this journey truly WAS going to take forever at that rate. I was beginning to think that I might make goal just in time to go teets up and never be able to enjoy it. All week I'd been partaking in the holiday goodies that are around every last corner of my office and was taken to lunch at the Olive Garden yesterday where I spent a lot of quality time with some bread sticks. After lunch the devil himself came to my office and he carried in his hand an obscenely huge 4 pound box of See's Candy. Needless to say, I was expecting bad things when I got on the scale this morning.

I took my sweet time going about the weigh in this morning because I didn't have to be to work until later. I finally worked up the nerve and climbed aboard. I closed my eyes and did my usual bout of praying. I opened one eye and peaked down at the number. My eyes bulged. Tis the season for miracles my friends...another pound down and this time I was thanking God as I stepped off that scale because at this point...a pound I would take.

While taking my shower I realized that it was measuring day. I try to take my measurements every 4 weeks to keep track of the progress. Between October 22nd and November 19th I had lost 6 1/2 inches in various places. When I measured today it was 7 3/4 more...that's 14 1/4 people. What really floored me is the fact that over the last 4 weeks I've really only lost about 5 pounds and I still managed to lose that many inches. 2.5 off my chest and 2.5 off my waist. An inch here and another there. This is crazy. I was losing so much motivation by the lack of results the scale was showing and in one day a $.99 measuring tape throws me spiraling back into the zone.

That measuring tape showed me that I have GOT to stop only focusing on the number on the scale. That measuring tape showed me that 26 pounds IS a huge accomplishment. That measuring tape showed me that there's no way I'm just losing water weight...I'm losing honest to God FAT now. I filled up a back pack with miscellaneous things until it weighed 26 pounds and then I walked around the house with it. You don't realize just how much it is until you do something like that and I carried that extra weight around every single day just 3 months ago. No wonder my knees are giving out.

I have come so far. Yes, it is just a drop in the bucket compared to how far I have to go but when I started this blog I had 200 pounds to lose and now I only have 174 to lose. 174 seems a lot more doable than 200 and do it I will. It's ok that I won't be making my 10% weight loss by Christmas because I did make 25 pounds by Christmas. I'll just set another goal and work on reaching it. Months from now I'll be remembering when I reached that 10% goal and I'll be heading on to 50 and 75. One day Operation Drop 200 will be behind me and Mission Maintenance is all I'll have to worry about. I will do this, even if it takes years, because no one's going to do it for me and going teets up isn't anything I want to happen anytime soon.

Friday, December 10, 2004

What a wondrous thing

the human body is. I've been trying to pay special attention to the changes in my body as I lose the weight and even though I've only lost 25 pounds I've still noticed quite a few changes. I've learned that these things are called NSV's...non-scale victories. Who would have thought there was a term.

I have these pants, 3 pairs of them actually, and they zip on the side. I've never been able to zip them while they're pulled up, still can't. I can't reach around my belly plus I'm left handed and it all just goes terribly wrong. But I bought them anyway figuring, like most women, I will devise a plan of attack and they WILL work (don't even pretend that you've never laid on a bed to get pants zipped up people). So, every time I wear these pants, which is often, I zip them BEFORE I pull them up. Now, 25 pounds ago that was quite a chore. My hips and my tummy played tug-o-war every single time causing me to wiggle ever so gracefully into them. Well, wiggle no more my friends. I can just pull em up with very little effort.

I have a fairly new car. This new car has a gas door opener that I've never been able to reach without taking my seatbelt off, or the trunk for that matter. When I started losing this weight I told my sister "Some day, oh yes, some day...I will reach that gas door opener." Ya'll that day was last Friday. I decided to give it a go and praise be to Jesus I reached it. I instantly called my sister and whispered into my phone so as not to let the guy pumping my gas hear and we had mini fiesta right there at gas pump 4. After Christmas shopping with her she asked me to pop my trunk and I reached for my seatbelt (as was custom). I stopped and said, "Shall we go 2 for 2?" I pulled the lever, opened the trunk and screamed "Woo ha, I can reach that too biaaaatch." It's the little things.

Then there are the moments of desperation where 25 pounds down could not have come in any more handy. Just today I raced into the bathroom and could NOT for the life of me get the zipper on my JEANS down. In a moment of desperation I just grabbed the waistband, EASILY pulled my buttoned AND zipped jeans down, and then back up just as easily. JEANS people, JEANS!! It was that moment that I became extremely thankful that I've been losing weight.

There are weird things you notice about your body too. I try to assess the losses by looking in a full length mirror every so often (this is not for the faint of heart, trust me) and to my wonder and amazement, just because something has gotten smaller on the right side of your body, doesn't mean the left side is taggin along. I have a small roll on my back where your bra hits (hard to find amongst the other rolls so I'm trying to draw you a map as we speak) I looked at my right profile in the mirror one day and rejoiced when I noticed that the roll was gone. I turned to assess the left side and it was there. Right side, gone. Left side, there. Right side???? Left side??? What the???? I'm lopsided!!! It's a cruel cruel world.

Non-scale victories are crucial...especially when you haven't been having many victories ON the scale. I weighed myself this morning and I had only lost 1 pound, as did I last week. I reached my 25 pound milestone and here I am beating myself up because it looks like I probably won't reach my goal of losing 10% by Christmas. I do realize that I'm losing the weight at a healthy rate but it doesn't seem to matter. I do realize that I have lost TWENTY FIVE pounds and I should be so proud of myself but, curses, all I see is the fact that I'm not accomplishing what I had set out to do by Christmas. Do I keep my eye on the prize and just try really REALLY hard the next two weeks? Possibly, but I know that losing 10.5 pounds in two weeks isn't very realistic so why set myself up for another failure. I just need to find my focus again. I need to remember how I felt and looked 3 months ago and 25 pounds ago. I need to remember that as little as 3 weeks ago I couldn't pop the door to my gas tank without taking my seatbelt off. I need to remember that I can do this...because I am fierce.

Wednesday, December 8, 2004

TV time out!

Can we just assess what we've been watching people? And I don't mean just "watching" but we are sucked into these things as if it were some sort of violent freeway accident. You don't want to watch but you just can't help yourself. Like lemmings to a cliff, that of the overweight tune in weekly to get a glimpse of what the other side might be like. I'm right there with you, I must confess, and as if I weren't disgusted with myself enough for simply that I've figured out their ulterior motive I'm just plain livid with myself.

You've got The Swan on Monday, The Biggest Loser on Tuesday, and don't correct me if I'm have Extreme Makeover on Thursday. Now, in a nutshell, they've gone from simply feeding you images of size 0, annorexic, waifs making you think this is what a REAL woman should look like to what I'd say is much worse. Between these three shows you are pretty much forced into believing one or all of the following:

1.) The only way to lose weight is to starve yourself and workout until you puke at which time you will be cast out because you haven't lost ENOUGH!

2.) The only way to find self-worth and confidence is to have your nose broken just to straighten it, the fat sucked from your body with a straw attached to a high power vacuum, severe ta-ta realignment defying all the laws of gravity, and then have some of the aforementioned fat "redistributed" to your lips.

3.) The only way to feel truly beautiful is to not look in a mirror for 3 months and then, in front of millions, reveal the new you at which time you exclaim "I look nothing like me. I'm beautiful." (and then they tell you that you just don't qualify for the pageant because you aren't quite pretty ENOUGH).

HELLO??? Am I the only one that finds this fundamentally WRONG? Please tell me this is not really the only way. If so, what the hell am I working so hard for? Now, I feel I need to make one thing clear. If at any time after my weight loss journey Extreme Makeover should come calling on ME, I will be in that overwhelmingly unattractive paper robe in a hot second BUT hell if it's going to determine THIS girl's self-worth. The hard work I put into losing the weight IN A HEALTHY MANOR will determine just how strong I really am. Going to the gym almost every day will help find MY inner self. There is no secret pill or voodoo spell. It's hard work and determination (more than most people have) and it's quite simply...ME! No one but me can make the necessary decisions I need to make to lose the weight. No one is force feeding me Ben & Jerry's...though that doesn't sound half bad in a sick sort of way. If I get upset and eat myself straight into a coma...yep, still all me. SLIPPING off program is far from FALLING off program. Every time I slip I'm ok as long as I get right back on program as soon as possible. I am not a failure if I eat badly one day or even one week. I am a failure if I GIVE UP and THIS girl ain't givin' up.

I am now down 24 pounds. I've said goodbye to the 350's, the 340's and almost the 330's in about 2 1/2 months. I have conquered one major holiday and I am on to the next. I have lost a combined 7 inches in various places on my body and NONE of it was sucked out by a high powered vacuum. Maybe I was wrong when I said that one day I would be fierce...maybe I already am!

Friday, November 26, 2004

Please pass the gravy!

Thanksgiving...the word in and of itself seems fairly harmless. We were raised to believe that this is a day to give thanks. Thanks for your health, your family, and the roof over your head. It's a day to come together and spend time with family and friends some of which you really only see during the holidays. It's a day of parades and football. It's a sign that Christmas is near and people begin to sport some of that holiday cheer.

OH PLEASE!! That may have worked when I was about 8 but I'm on to you now. I started becoming one with my contempt for this holiday when, in my twenties, I was still sitting at the kid's table getting gravy slathered on my new outfit by 4 year olds. Don't get me wrong, it's nice to see all the family again, but come on don't give me that "Day to be Thankful" crap. I'm thankful for the above mentioned things all year long but ya know dang well THIS day is strictly an excuse to come together and eat like it is the last meal you will EVER digest. It's a competition to see who can claim bragging rights as Most Likely To Utter "OOooooh I ate too much." People specifically plan to wear elastic waistbands on this day so that there is NOTHING holding them back from pure gluttony. And don't get me started on all the men that run to watch football while all the women clean up.

You want me to be thankful? Ok, I got some thanks for ya...

Thanks to the gravy that is clogging my arteries.

Thanks to the pumpkin pie ever so efficiently raising my blood sugar.

Thanks to the Turkey causing a nice Tryptophan coma.

Thanks to the Mashed Potatoes & Stuffing sitting in my stomach like a brick.

And last but not least,

Thanks to the Green Bean Casserole that will soon find a nice home on my thighs.

Every year I am freaked out the entire week before T day by the amount of food I will be confronted with and making the "right" choices. Then the day comes and voila...every plan of attack is derailed by every sight, every smell, every offer of food. So how did I do THIS year? Well, the Monday before I was cornered by a fairly vicious dessert. I'm pretty sure I saw it picking it's teeth with the remains of the last overweight person caught in it's path but I looked that pumpkin pie in the eye and I said "You are a visitor here. You are merely passing through. You will NOT find comfort in the recesses of my fat cells." As for the day itself...I reigned supreme over all things previously found intimidating. I filled up on a veggie tray before I even dished up the dangerous stuff and though my plate was pretty full after taking a little of this and a little of that...I couldn't even eat half of it. Praise the Lord my stomach has shrunk. The really bad things I took only a couple bites of and instead of another pumpkin pie fiasco I brought a low point dessert for everyone to eat. Afterall, I had to hold myself accountable again this morning when I weighed in and I'd rather take credit for a success than a failure. And this WAS a success. Another 2 pounds down.

So what if I missed out on lots of the things I would have eaten in the past. I am not the girl I used to be. I am 23 pounds lighter than the girl I used to be and I didn't get there eating the way I used to eat. There's a saying that goes "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels." I can't say I know what being thin feels like but I can say that there was nothing on that table worth gaining for. Going backwards means I wasted not just one week but two because the next week will be spent trying to lose what I gained the week before instead of continuously moving forward to my goal. So I stick my tongue out to this piddly little thing we call Thanksgiving and say "Bring it on, Christmas".

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Emotional eating

It starts out innocent enough. You eat the leftover Thai food from the night before, which was probably 3 servings worth, but you didn't realize just how much was in there because you ate it straight from the container instead of putting it on a plate. Any other day you'd have measured every single bite and counted every last point but not today. Why? Because you're upset. It can be a bad day at work or an argument with a loved one. It doesn't matter how big or small the emotional pain or how good you've BEEN doing on your fight to lose your extra weight because right now you feel, even subconsciously, that the only thing that will make you feel better is eating...and so you do.

Now you run out to the store to get something and grab a pint of ice cream barely pausing to think about the fact that you don't really eat that stuff anymore because it is your biggest trigger food. It's the food you tend to eat the most of. You get home, grab a spoon, and belly up to that little Ben & Jerry's carton of heaven and start watching a movie. Like a well oiled machine you take mouthful after mouthful barely even aware of the fact that you're eating something. Now, it's been proven (by some evil scientists) that after the first few bites of ice cream you can't really even taste it anymore because your taste buds are pretty much frozen. Well, you're no quitter. Eat on you say!! Wasn't it your parents that always said that if you're going to start something then finish it? Well, by God, finish it you will...and finish it you did. An entire pint of Ben & Jerry's in one sitting. You look down at the empty carton of doom and say to yourself, "What did I just do?" This is when you flash back to the carton of Thai you ate an hour ago and start to panic. You run to your room, throw off your clothes & jump on the scale. Then the praying begins "Please God, Please God, Please NOT let it be up too much." You look down, and as if someone were pushing down on your shoulders, you have magically gained 9 pounds in the matter of one day. After verbally berating yourself you cry yourself to sleep.

The next day you get up and hop on that scale again after, of course, going to the bathroom. The praying starts again, much the same as the night before, and when you look down it's a gain of 7 pounds. It took you 3 weeks to lose those 7 pounds and now you've gained it back in ONE DAY! You stomp into the kitchen and make a batch of Almond Poppyseed Muffins. You eat half the batch figuring, "Why not, you've already completely screwed up this week." Then you sit on the couch for 6 hours straight wallowing in your self-pity. You lament over what a complete failure you are. You cry, you berate yourself just a little more and it takes you an entire week to fully get back on track again because you're so upset over what you've done.

You've just experienced a day (or more) in the life of an emotional eater. A day I've had more times than I can count. A day I had last weekend. No, I didn't eat ice cream (thank God) but I have many times, and my Thai food was actually a run to Taco Bell, but the Poppyseed aspect was right on. Why'd I cave? I was upset about an argument I'd had with someone, it's as simple as that. Just when I thought I'd gained my composure, my doctor tells me I have pre-diabetes and I spiraled into a major case of depression, which I'm still in. It's a life of meds and blood testing for me because my doctor treats pre-diabetes as aggressively as diabetes (especially for someone with diabetes in the family). All I want to do is eat everything in site and it's taking all my strength not to. The only bright side I can find is that I'm not emotionally eating as badly as I would have before I got back in the zone. Inevitably, I will gain when I get on the scale tomorrow for my weekly weigh in and that too I will have to deal with. Will it make me even more depressed so that I do give in and eat anything and everything I can? Only time will tell. But I will get on the scale, do my praying for mercy, and then hold myself accountable for every last pound gained.

(Update: I didn't gain...or lose. I stayed exactly the same.)

Thursday, November 4, 2004

It happened!

So there I was, minding my own business, blabbing away in my journal a few nights ago about nothing and everything all at once when it happened! It FINALLY happened! I never thought it would. I'd heard about it, this rumored sense of empowerment, but it was so foreign a concept to me that I thought it was a revelation that would never come my way. Out of my pen came the words I CAN DO THIS! I stared at it for a minute wondering why writing it this time seemed so different. Then I realized, like most everyone I'm sure, that I usually only utter those 4 small words because I feel that it should be the dieter's mantra. It's what they've told us we have to believe. They (not sure who "they" are exactly) tell us to think positively. They tell us to look in the mirror screaming "I AM BEAUTIFUL AND I AM WORTHY." and all the other psychological mumbo jumbo they've been feeding us for so long because one day we WILL believe it. Quite frankly, that's exactly what I considered it all this time...just some silly psychological mumbo jumbo. I HATE when I'm wrong. Holy crap I CAN do this. Who'da thunk it? Those itty bitty formerly pointless words suddenly became very meaningful. It made what seems like an impossible journey...attainable.

I CAN DO THIS! I can make the necessary choices to reach my goal weight. If it takes hours to talk myself out of a full fledged threesome with Ben & Jerry then hours I will spend, dang it! So what if I have 28 years worth of bad habits to replace with better/healthier/new habits...sure beats being dead at 40. I even went to the gym last night for the first time in, jeeze, close to a year?? I walked in there like I owned the joint, head held high. I got on that treadmill and I did my thang (slowly, but did it nonetheless) right next to the skinny girls I despise. Granted, I WAS secretly hoping they'd take a mis-step and fall right off the back of that thing but come on people, Rome was NOT built in a day!

The day WILL come that I slide on a pair of jeans that haven't fit in years and to my wonder and amazement they will be TOO BIG. The day WILL come that I'm walking down the street and pass a window and catch a glimpse of my reflection and have to stop...and look...and wonder...just who that girl in the window is. The day WILL come when other girls hate ME TOO simply because I've got the body they've always wanted...oh what a day that will be. Some day I will be a runner, I will be strong, I will be FIERCE! Some day I will!!

Monday, November 1, 2004

I am trapped...

Not in a prison of bars and wardens, but one of my own making. Blame could be placed in many places, but inevitably it was my own doing. I take accountability for the life I've been leading so far and for the damage I've done to myself not only physically, but emotionally. That is why I also take credit from here on out for every day, every THING I do to break free. I am a prisoner in my own body.

Born 10 pounds and 5 ounces, I'm a girl that has never known anything other than being overweight. For 28 years I've been on just shy of a bazillion diets and if you take all the weight I've lost and regained in my lifetime you would have that of an NFL Linebacker. I know more than any one uneducated person should about nutrition and the "right way" to just can't tell by looking at me. I'm a very mobile big girl, but at 28 my knees are going quickly from the excess weight and it's only a matter of time before I can barely get around at all.

I know what compels me to take this journey, but a lot of people will wonder just how hard I was hit in the head to have me publish a blog about my weight and the struggles of losing it. The only people that will understand are those trying to take the same journey. A size 2 wearing, Janet ab having, eat whatever they want and don't gain weight kind of person won't get it. To all those who know what it's like to go to a restaurant and be scared you won't fit in the booth...this Blogs for you! To all those afraid to fly not because you'll crash but because you will need a seatbelt extension and be mortified when even THAT doesn't work as the person next to you is disgusted by your mere presence...this Blogs for you! To all those who go into their local hip clothing stores knowing the skinny girl rushing to see who just came in isn't thinking "How can I help you?" but "What on EARTH are YOU doing HERE?"...this Blogs for you! Maybe what I say about how I'm feeling week to week will strike a chord with someone else. Maybe if someone else in my position sees my struggle they too will get through another plateau, through one more family gathering based around food, through a binge brought on by emotional eating, and through a day where all they want to do is give up and continue hiding in their bodies.

The fact of the matter is, I don't know what I look like underneath all this. I don't know what the thin version of me is like, I've never met her. I only know the life of a fat girl. A girl ACHING to break free and find herself, her thin self, for the very first time. I joined one month ago today (again) and I'm doing it. Every second of every minute of every day is devoted to finding myself…body and soul.

One month ago I weighed in at 355 pounds. Today I'm down 16 pounds. Sixteen when you have to lose 200 doesn't seem like much and can sometimes be overwhelming, but no one ever climbed a mountain without taking those first few small steps. Sixteen is closer to 200 then I was a month ago. Sixteen pounds down is a far cry from 16 pounds up. Sixteen pounds down means my pants fit a little better and my knees feel a little stronger. So Operation Drop 200 is under way and "I can't" is no longer in my vocabulary.