(Eating) Disorderly Conduct

In high school, my daughter completed an International Baccalaureate subject in Art.  Much of her art centered on a theme of beauty and a warped female interpretation of beauty.  This  “cutout book” was a satirical statement on how girls could reshape these works of fine art, by slimming down these ancient beauties.

She got rave reviews from the reviewer for this work in particular.

Lately, I’ve been wondering if I’ve become obsessed about getting to my goal weight.  I simply will not eat carbs or sugar.  It’s sort of like putting an aspirin between your legs to not get pregnant – I just won’t do it.  I also was a little alarmed that I cut off the taping my foot doctor had done to my foot last week because it prevented me from swimming.  I’ve been wondering if such extreme actions are really healthy mentally.

But, on the other hand, I get increasingly frustrated with the fat and flab I see now hanging from my arms, legs, and stomach showing up in my reflection in the mirror.  It’s hanging around like guests at a party who won’t leave long after the party is over.  I just want to be rid of it, so my mind starts thinking of ways I can cut corners.  I’ve even thought of surgery and liposuction.

When I visited my daughter in Florida recently, I was very disappointed to discover I had gained four pounds upon my return.  I’ve since lost them, but am still where I was a few weeks ago.  So, my progress has stalled once again.

I’m considering going back to My Fit Foods for another 3-week period.  I’m fairly sure I won’t have the same dramatic weight loss I had the first time ’round, but I thought it might help to introduce a new regime of eating healthy.  I feel like I’m in a rut.

Exercise Improv

I suck at swimming.  I’m a disgrace to my Zodiac sign (Pisces).  I marvel at the way people just glide through the water, effortlessly.  It’s as if they have a secret motor beneath the surface propelling them forward.  How is that even possible?  Nonetheless, because my heel is still on the mend, I need to swim rather than do any other kind of aerobic exercise.  I won’t win any Olympic awards for my swimming performance or style, but I will get in the pool and get my heart rate pumping.  I will say that after ten minutes or so, I could actually feel my muscles.  That was pretty cool.  I’m guessing I’ll build up stamina over time.

I have to put my TEAM weight loss program on hold.  Very disappointed in that.  I will also start weight-training tomorrow with my trainer.  I’m worried that I won’t be able to keep losing weight if I don’t exercise.  I don’t think I’ll gain weight, as I’ve really tackled the eating thing.  I simply don’t eat foods that are not healthy or will put the pounds back on.  It’s easy now, and even rewarding when I find something new I like to eat.

That’s all for today, just wanted to make a note that even if you have to make adjustments to your weight loss program, all you risk is a little embarrassment in form.

Lawdy, Lawdy, I’m Doing This!

Getting your mind and body disciplined to lose weight is a lot like learning to ride a bike, I think.  At first you’re wobbly, insecure, easily thinking, “I can’t do this!”  But, with a lot of encouragement and the will to keep going, you start riding on your own!  That feeling of, “I’m doing it!  I’m riding a bike by myself!”  is pure elation.  Even if you need training wheels to get started, that liberating feeling when you’re cruising down the street on your own is pure joy.

So, I am starting to ride free of training wheels.  My mind is locked onto getting to my goal weight, and my body is responding to the physical training I’ve put myself through.  I signed up for a TEAM weight loss program at my gym and am really enjoying it.  OH, it’s not easy, but that’s part of the fun. I actually jogged yesterday on the treadmill and was not out of breath or had any chest pains.  Like a miracle, really.

Another good analogy:  exercise is like marital sex (for women, I guess).  You kinda don’t want to do it (nag, nag, nag), but when you’re done, you say to yourself, “Jeez, why don’t I every want to do this???”  No more explanation needed. 🙂

In the spirit of massively greater transparency this year in 2012, I’m going to start posting my weight so anyone who’s interested can track with me.  I started at 300 (count ’em!!) pounds.  I have had some rocky loop-de-loops, but am progressively moving toward my goal weight which is around 160.  So, even though I’ve lost a lot by most people’s standards, I still have a long way to go.  Stay with me!

I invested in a Withings scale.  Highly recommended.  Already finding some interesting data points. For instance, I weighed more after I came back from the gym, but my total fat percentage was lower.  Cool!

Here’s where we are today:

French Women Don’t Get Fat (or Ugly)

Ah, Paris.  I love you so much more than you love me.   All the women in Paris look like this young woman.   They exude fashion sense and good taste.  Walking around in Paris is a veritable moveable feast in style and sophistication.  Except, of course, in the heavily trafficked tourist areas where the out-of-towners blight the landscape.

I say this with no apologies.  I felt extremely uncomfortable in Paris as an overweight, under-dressed American.  But, in that reality, I was able to appreciate Paris all the more.  Sort of the old yarn, “I wouldn’t want to be a member of a club who’d have me as a member.”

Don’t misunderstand, this frank acknowledgement doesn’t mean I have low self-esteem or feel badly about myself.  It’s more of a recognition that looks are a form of Art.  I had forgotten this until I visited Paris.  It gave me a new perspective on beauty.   I tell my daughters (who are incredibly beautiful) not to define themselves by their looks.  I believe this wholeheartedly, but there is a virtue in complementing your beautiful surroundings with your own beauty.  Not sure I’m conveying this correctly, but it was a great learning experience and one I will remember for a very long time.

Now, onto weight loss issues.

Of course, it’s nearly impossible to avoid sugar and carbs in France.  I did really well for the first few days, but eventually broke down.  I even had pommes frites and pasta at one point.  I was really worried that when I returned to the US, that I would have gained ten pounds or so.  Much to my delight, however, I actually lost a HALF POUND!  I know why, too.  We WALKED the entire city, every day.   I wish I had my Fitbit in Paris, because – guaranteed – I was walking over 10K every day.  The best surprise for me was that I was able to walk these long distances without the usual resting, etc.  My feet hurt, but I was not out of breath or exhausted, etc.  I had no problem taking the long flights of stairs or going up hills.  It’s a testament to the work I’ve been doing.

After a wonderful trip, and a good few days catch-up and back to my new normal eating, I am very proud to report I have lost 40 pounds.  I feel great, and am looking forward to continuing with my 50% off campaign. Someday, when I can wear the clothes I’m collecting on Pinterest, I will return to Paris.  And slip in quietly unnoticed, which will indeed be a beautiful thing.

The Incredible Shrinking Woman

I’m actually down thirty pounds, but Lose-it! doesn’t have a badge for that.  Not sure what the next one is, but I’m looking forward to it!  It amazes me how much these milestones and personal support from friends matters as I truck along.

I’m still dealing with my pulled groin, or whatever it is.  And the heel thing is not going away.  Today, I tried to swim as I thought that would be less stressful on my muscles.  It still hurt, but I was really out of breath, so I guess I elevated my heart rate.  Of course, I got in the pool and swam down the lane and realized I had my FitBit on when I stood up.  It seems to be working now though, but I thought it was a goner.  We’ll see if it’s reliable.  They may permit a return on it according to their customer support community.

On the weight loss itself, it feels kind of strange.  I no longer have the gignormous stomach that obstructed the view of my feet.  (Where did it go?)  My clothes are all fitting loosely now, with very few exceptions. Like most women who’ve gained and lost, I have clothes in my closet in nearly every size.  I refuse to buy new clothes right now.  What I have done in the past is buy smaller size plus clothes in thrift shops.  I may do that again if my clothes really start not fitting at all.  The other noticeable weight loss is actually in my face.  I think it’s thinning out.  For a woman my age, I have very few wrinkles, so this is a welcome development.  When I reach my 50% off goal, I am definitely going to lie about my age. 🙂

I have been using a number of devices to keep me motivated (apart from the online friends and tools).  One device I’ve used in the past is to make a simple poster of my future state from magazine clippings.  It’s entirely old skool, made with scissors and glue.  It’s kinda fun though.  Lots of photos of horses.  I’ll post it when I have it finished.  It’s not a work of art, just a mental reminder of what I’m working toward.

My health has really improved, as I’ve said before.  I still can’t believe I don’t have acid reflux anymore.  I drink water exclusively, unless I’m drinking tea.  (Oh, there is plenty of drinking Chardonnay on occasion.)  I can’t give up alcohol altogether when I go out.  I still have not had a piece of bread since December 1st.

Tomorrow, I’m signing up for something at the gym called a 90-day challenge.  I hope it’s not just an opportunity or them to upsell me, but I’m going to do it.  There are a variety of programs associated with it that I’ve been curious about.  Yoga, grocery shopping, Zumba, even a 5K at the end, which I should be able to do by May 1.

Well, that’s it for now.  I’m feeling great and moving forward (albeit gingerly until my injuries heal).

Oh, best news?  I’m no longer “morbidly obese.”  Now, a pleasant “severely overweight.”  I’ll take it.

The New (Old) Normal

Picture 1

Not exactly sure what the motivation was that struck me to finally reach out for help. I posted an ad on Craigslist with a headline that said, “Fitness/Life Coach: Can you Normal Size Me?” I filed it under the fitness category but explained clearly in the ad that I need much more than a personal trainer. I need someone who can keep me motivated, on track, someone who has more than muscle, but a real heart who can sympathize with the hard work that needs to get done to lose such a massive tonnage of weight.

I received over a dozen responses the first two days. I eventually had to take down the ad. All of the candidates said they could Normal Size me and explained their particular expertise and qualifications for doing so.  But one respondent, only had one word in the first paragraph of her reply. That word was “No.”

She brilliantly crafted an intelligent response to my ad that stated I am the only one who can Normal Size me. Here is the beginning of her reply:

No.

Any individual replying to you saying they can is wrong. There’s not a trainer on the planet who can normal size you. That power is yours and yours alone. You are the one in ultimate control of that end result. You have to have the drive and determination to hang in there on nights where the food is talking to you and you just want to dive in. You have to have the drive to get up and do that workout when everything in you screams to go back to bed. That’s going to come from you. You alone. That’s what’s going to get the weight off AND KEEP IT OFF.

What can a trainer/coach do for you? Give you the tools and support to regain control of your life. You’ve demonstrated that you’re ready by putting up that ad. That’s a huge first step. Most people with a lot of weight to lose never make it that far. So no matter what, congratulations! That is a huge, huge step. Believe it or not, one of the hardest parts is over. Making the decision to make a change is more then half the battle.

Well, she had me at “No.”

I’ve hired Clara to begin a marathon, long-term slow weight loss that will hopefully get me back to my normal self. This normal self, unfortunately, has never left my brain. I’ve been walking around for decades in a state of confusion because my self-image and my RL image are not in sync. As you can see on the pages of this blog, I seem to be unable to take on this Herculean task alone, so the addition of Clara to my life should make the difference.

Clara is not only an intelligent, sensitive, yet tough trainer, she’s a fantastic writer. It’s one of the reasons I hired her. I look forward to chronicling my personal transformation on the pages of this blog, as well as keeping up with how Clara is helping her other clients push toward their goals. You can catch Clara blogging at “The Power to Change,” as well as on the Houston Examiner.

I implore anyone reading this blog to please lend your support in the comments. It’s going to take a village to move this mountain. (It was worth the mixed metaphor.)

If you have to be away in a city…

Then San Francisco is the dieter’s best choice.  I managed to stay committed to the SBD because every restaurant I went to offered exceptional choices– salmon, eggplant, spinach salad, even hummus and pita… During the breaks at the conference, I had a piece of fruit.  It helped to have brought small snack packs of nuts.  I tried to bring small cans of V-8, but they were confiscated at security.  I felt somewhat like a Vegan terrorist.

For the cocktail parties, I had a glass of wine, and a lot of water.  It was fine.  I also walked several city blocks to get to the various dinner parties we had.  All in all, it was a great trip.

When I got home, I found I had LOST 2.5 pounds!  Yay!

Beginning at the beginning

For the past few months, it’s been bothering me that I am grotesquely overweight. Although I don’t have high blood pressure or diabetes or any other indicator that I’m unhealthy (even my cholesterol levels are not terribly unhealthy), the truth remains I am morbidly obese. My BMI is 46 where it should be somewhere around 20 or so. I weigh 285.

As a professional, I spend a lot of time online. I work on the social web, so to speak. It occurred to me that I should try blogging about my journey to reinvent my body shape. When I started researching “fat” blogs, I came across Jennette Fulda’s amazing PastaQueen blog and story. As they say, if she can do it, so can I.

Maybe.

When I went through my divorce, I kept a journal online. It was invaluable to be able to express my emotions, my fears, and ultimately my joy when it was over. The journal was private, however. For this life-changing trek, I see the value in sharing my experience with others who are also struggling and with those who can offer encouragement and advice. It’s a little scary putting it all out there in the public domain, but that’s part of the problem with obesity. We’re afraid to deal with it head on.

So, with that short introduction, I’m beginning my trek. I don’t know where it will take me, how long it will take me, and whether I’ll ever succeed at tackling my obesity, but this is my attempt to begin. For now, I’m going to mask my real identity. I feel badly about that, but the real truth is, I’m ashamed of my weight problem. I’ll be talking a lot more about that in posts to come.