Posts Tagged ‘diet’

Where Oh Where Did Fat Girl To Fit Girl Go?

In case you’ve been looking for the Fat Girl To Fit Girl blog, I’m still here! I’ve just moved around the corner to http://fatgirl2fitgirl.com.

I’m still blogging regularly over there. Just with a new bright look and my own host! Please come visit.

And if you have me on your blog roll, please update it with http://fatgirl2fitgirl.com. Thank you kindly!

A Note Of Thanks To My Body

At my heaviest weight, I was 267 pounds. That was 15 years ago. Through the years, I dieted, stopped, exercised, stopped, dieted some more, and stopped again. Any of us who has a substantial amount of weight to lose can probably say the same thing. We rarely get it right the first time, or the second or the third time.

When I started on my latest and last fitness journey in 2008, I weighed 230.2 pounds the day I stepped on the Weight Watchers scale. I happen to know that I’d managed to drop about 5 pounds before then. I weighed 167.2 this morning. That’s 100 pounds from my heaviest weight to now.

Yesterday I ran 4 miles. Running 4 miles is something that I wouldn’t have attempted or believed I could do….ever. Certainly not when I was 267 pounds or 230 pounds. Not even when I was 18 and 140 pounds and in good physical condition.

I was on my way to personal training this morning with my friend Jen…there will more about her and her alternative approach to resistance training in tomorrow’s blog post…and I started thinking about how far I’ve come. I think about this a lot. It keeps me going.

And I realized that I am truly grateful for having been 230 pounds, even 267 pounds. I didn’t appreciate it at the time, but I do now. Our bodies are amazing. Amazingly loyal, and amazingly resilient. My body still carried me when I had 100 pounds more on it’s 5’4″ frame than I do now. And at 230 pounds when I decided to get fit this time, it let me walk first, and then run…and swim and bike.

Being morbidly obese comes with consequences. And make no mistake. I was morbidly obese. I got winded easily. I got tired easily. I had acid reflux and heart palpitations. I felt like crap. But I was able to keep going.

You would think there comes a point where the body just says, “Nope, not doing it anymore. Not moving from this spot until you start treating me better.” It seems to take a lot to get the body to that point.

Think about it. If you abuse another person, you end up in jail, or at the very least that person can be taken away from you. But if we abuse ourselves, and getting to the point of morbid obesity is personal abuse, even if it’s done slowly and with yummy sugary treats, the only consequences we face are personal.

I am grateful that I weighed 230 pounds. I abused my body, but it stuck by me. And when I was ready to start treating it right, it responded. With each step and each pound lost, my body has gotten stronger and rewarded me in ways I never imagined. I have energy. I feel great. Aches and pains are fleeting. My skin has retracted to fit my frame (for the most part).

I can tell you that if I’d stayed at a reasonable weight all of my life, I probably would never have started running. I wouldn’t have gone back to swimming. I wouldn’t have attempted triathlon. Why would I have had to?

I would have been normal sized but unfit. Because I weighed 230 pounds when I decided to get fit this time, I knew I needed to exercise and eat healthier to reach my goals. I’ve taken it slowly. I’ve had missteps. But my body sticks by me. And I’m encouraged to get stronger and healthier every time I look at myself in the mirror or run a longer distance.

So thank you body. At whatever weight, I couldn’t have done it without you.

And I promise this time it’s for good.

Taking Control

Our Beloved DaleThis was a tough week. We had to put our dog to sleep on Thursday. He was old and very ill. He was also a sweet, sweet guy. We knew it was coming and we knew it was the right thing to do, but it didn’t make it any easier.

There were other stressful events this week too. Normally, I can shrug most difficult situations off and deal with them, but when they converge all at once, they can feel insurmountable–out of control.

And what do I do when faced with seemingly insurmountable stress? I eat. It didn’t help that this happened on a Thursday, my weigh-in day, and typically a day of more relaxed eating for me. On Thursday though, I let food take over. And that extended into Friday. I was looking for comfort, and looking for it in comfort food. The surprising thing was I didn’t get much comfort from the food. Only a stomachache.

Saturday I managed to rein in the eating machine somewhat by starting the day with a good 3-mile run. During the couple of hours after my run, I felt more positive and almost back to normal. My food day wasn’t perfect (we had lunch plans), but it didn’t include the bingeing from the two days before.

I am back in control today. I’m still sad. I’m still overwhelmed. But I am back in control.

This week, having reverted back to old ways for a few days, I realized that the most important part of my fitness journey is finally having control over the food I eat and how I take care of my health. My out-of-control days ended up feeding my distress and making me feel even worse. Taking charge again of my food and exercise has put me on the path toward being in control of other aspects of my life too.

Dale, our dog, got old and sick. We had no control over that. But we were able to say enough was enough and help him get to a better place.

For me, this fitness journey has been about being aware and in control of my health too so I can be in a better place. Sometimes, I get knocked off, but I won’t stay down for long anymore. I like having control.

Soul Searching

I went to lunch with a friend yesterday. It was my last day of vacation and it was a nice close to a couple of days off from work.  I’ve gotten over my crazy binge-y days (well, sort of) and for lunch yesterday had a nice Caesar Salad with grilled chicken, dressing on the side. It was yummy and filling. And the whole way home, I wanted ice cream. Cold, creamy and sweet. I got home and had a bottle of water, thinking maybe that was just thirst. But about 15 minutes later, I went for the ice cream… (in a controlled fashion this time, light ice cream, 1/2 cup.) But I wanted that sweet. And I realized, I always need want something sweet after a meal.

Bear with me as I digress…

Last night I was talking with my sister who had gone to a past life regression session. She’s been sick on and off for a number of years now and she’s trying different therapies to get to the root of it. Traditional medicine can’t figure out what the heck is going on and she’s been told on a number of occasions it’s all in her head. Actually it’s just about everywhere but her head. She’s been diagnosed with Sarcoidosis (oh wait, that’s not what it is…even though the telltale nodules in her lungs were there) Lupus (oops, sorry, not that either), Hypo Thyroid (nodules there too but well, no, that’s not causing the other issues…), perimenopausal epilepsy (huh? ok a stretch, but more or less impossible to diagnose or dispute, and most likely not that either.)

She is now going for allergy testing, and through the program she is in, NAET, is trying to understand her emotions and how they may play into whatever she is dealing with, and how that might be affecting her relationship with certain foods.

From there, she decided to try past life regression therapy. She’s been told she’s an old soul…

Her regression therapy didn’t take her back to previous lives really. It did take her back, however, to when she was a baby and had pneumonia. She was 6 months old and in an oxygen tent in the hospital. Visiting hours were over and they made my mother leave. My sister put her arms up to be picked up for the very first time in her life, and my mother was not allowed to hold her. It broke my mother’s heart, and she told this story on more than one occasion.

Apparently it broke my sister’s heart too. What was so interesting is that she remembered not just that my mother left her in the hospital (she would have known that because she’d heard the story), but how she felt at that moment. Scared, abandoned and confused. It was a tough for her last night to dredge that up. But maybe, just maybe, it will also release some locked away emotion or fear that has had an effect on her health. Who knows?

Ok, so that was the long way around to a food story. Her story last night made me think about my relationship with food too. Where did it start? Where did it go so horribly wrong? I don’t have a normal relationship with food. I don’t think any obese or formerly obese person does. Obviously these things start in our childhoods. I had a therapist once tell me that everything we do, situations we put ourselves in, are attempts to re-create how we felt as children, because that is where we are most comfortable. For example, I grew up with four brothers, a sister and one bathroom. 🙂 My childhood consisted of ordered chaos and I’ve chosen jobs along the path of my life that are chaotic. I am also the oldest and have always had a strong sense of responsibility. So in my chaotic jobs, I’ve always had roles where I am the one who cleans up and makes sure everything gets done.

Growing up with four brothers and a sister and not a lot of money also meant that when dinner was put on the table, if it was something good, you had to eat fast if you wanted more. Not to mention, there was always a loaf of Wonder White Bread and Parkay margarine there with dinner. It was the ’60s okay? White bread was good for you, and it was ok to smoke during pregnancy.

My mother was a wonderful cook and she believed in balanced nutrition. We got our veggies, even if we didn’t like them.  Her specialty, however,  was desserts. So when she made us eat something we didn’t like, like liver and stewed tomatoes (my Dad’s favorite) or succotash (lima beans anyone?) or Pork Butt and Cabbage (actually that last one wasn’t too bad), it was always followed by some yummy dessert.

It was how they would bribe us to finish our dinners. Finish your lima beans and you get sugar! That wasn’t bad for you then either. Sorry, at eight years old, it’s tough to comprehend the starving children in other countries thing.

Desserts would be creamy homemade puddings, cakes, brownies or cookies and even, yes–I went for one of these last weekend–Whoopie Pies. My mother made those from scratch. Sometimes the desserts would be from the store…Ring Dings (does anyone remember them in the foil packaging? We’d eat the Ring Dings and then spend hours ironing out the foil. I’m not sure why.)

I was so conditioned as a child to expect dessert after a meal that it is what I look for still to this day. And I don’t know if it’s possible to change that conditioning. I don’t know that I will ever not want something sweet after something savory.

What I can change though is how I handle it. I want something sweet. It doesn’t have to be a gazillion calories and laden with fat and sugar, although that’s the most fun. There are so many portioned snacks that subdue that sweet urge just as well as a Whoopie Pie (470 calories folks, almost all fat). And fruit, that’s sweet too! Who knew?

For this food quirk at least, while maybe I can’t control the urge, I’ve learned to manage it more or less. Maybe it means I still eat a little too much sugar from time to time, but I’m eating far less of it than I would have in the past. And I’ve learned to savor it too. Somehow when I take my time and enjoy my food (another behavior that is taking some work), the calories just don’t seem to hang on as long.

Can you pinpoint any childhood habits, pleasures, behaviors that are affecting your adult eating? What are you doing about them?

Mirror, Mirror On The Wall

CatAndMirrorI have a magic mirror in my bedroom. When I was heavy, it was always kind to me. I’d get ready for work in the morning or to go out somewhere and it never made me feel fat, well not too fat anyway. There was no getting around the fat thing really. I was never that delusional.

But I always felt ok in my clothes until I’d see myself unexpectedly…in a store window say, or in pictures. Is that what I really looked like to other people? Because it wasn’t how I saw myself. As a fat woman, I generally dressed in clothing that was on the loose side. Even though all of the magazines said dress in fitted clothes to shed ten pounds instantly, I was never comfortable with that. Wear a belt? God forbid. In reality, I probably made myself look even larger than I was (now looking back at pictures), but my thinking was that if I hid the rolls, no one would notice? Silly, I know. How, after all, do you hide three chins?

Ok, so now when I look into my mirror, I recognize that I’m smaller but I still see myself much the way I saw myself back in the “fat” days. Remember, in this magic mirror I didn’t see a really, really fat girl. I have sucked it up and changed some of my wardrobe habits. I wear fitted clothes now and belts, sometimes. But I’m still not so comfortable there. Give me a nice roomy empire waist top….a long flowy skirt with elastic waist, a pair of jeans two sizes too big now, and I’m a happy camper. I feel smaller when I’m wearing clothes that are larger. I also like layers. I’m trying to wear clothes that are more fitted though. And I bare my arms and even my legs from time to time.

I ran into Macy’s the other day with my daughter right after work and I passed a mirrored pole and caught my reflection.

When I passed, I had to back up and look again. There was a small person there. That couldn’t have possibly been me, could it? I was even smaller in that mirrored pole than I ever thought at home.

And when I see pictures of myself now, I’m kind of shocked. Only one chin? A collarbone? Biceps? I see these things in the mirror at home but I don’t know if I believe them. I keep waiting for fat me to return; I know she’s still lurking inside my head just waiting to make her grand entrance.

I don’t know that I’ve accepted myself in this new fit body just yet. And I should have by now. I’ve been working on it for quite some time. Maybe it’s that I am still working on it that keeps me from really appreciating how far I’ve come. Maybe its simply that I spent so much time in the other body, I’m reluctant to let it go?

How could that be you say? Being fat is like a security blanket. You get used to having it around as a protective shield. And change is scary. Even change for the better. I mean what if after all this hard work, the benefits I thought I’d gain from my fitness quest elude me. I’m still me. I still have the same insecurities and fears. I’m still unorganized.  I still procrastinate with the best of them.

I know getting fit doesn’t change everything, even though I suppose I hoped it would have in some ways. Get fit and win the lottery! Doesn’t work that way, right?

But it has changed one very key component of my life and for that I am grateful: my health. And with my health, I hope to live long enough to work on all those other pesky changes.

P.S. I lunched with a friend today who I’ve seen a number of times as I’ve been losing weight. I was late and she was waiting and she admitted that twice, she saw women she thought might be me and then realized, no, those women looked like the old me, not the new me. It seems people who know me are still adjusting to the changes too.

And then she told me I look really good. She’s a good friend. 🙂

There Are Still Days…

There are still days where I wake up late and don’t get out to exercise in the morning or at any other time of the day, planned or unplanned. There are still days where I would like to eat anything that doesn’t try to run away from me and the more sugar the better. There are still days, after more than a year of eating healthier and exercising regularly, where I’d like to throw in the towel and go back to my old ways. There are still days where the threat of gaining the weight back doesn’t have nearly as much of an impact as eating cake would. Today is one of those days. Maybe it’s hormonal or the time of the year or lack of sleep/stress. Who knows?

I would have hoped that after more than a year of a healthier lifestyle, the lure of empty calories and laziness would have gone away completely. But they haven’t. My old behaviors still lurk in the back of my consciousness just waiting for a weak moment to spring to the forefront and sabotage all of my hard work. I’ve learned to resist for the most part, but resisting doesn’t make the day any easier,  and it doesn’t make the desire go away.

This morning I did not get out to exercise. And tonight I have a fundraiser to attend so there will be little or no exercise there either. I’m ok with that. It can be a rest day.

I have a doctor’s appointment at lunch today, so I can’t do too much damage foodwise. I’ll be at work all day and I only brought good food with me to work. I’ll make it through the day; I’ll work hard to be strong tonight too. And hopefully, the evil urges will go away by tomorrow. They usually do.

And that’s the difference between then and now. Then, I would just cave. Now, I cope.

  • This morning, I tracked all of the food I plan to eat today. I find that that helps me to stay on track.
  • I decided to sleep in this morning. Sometimes, I find if I’m really tired, it’s harder to resist temptation.
  • I’m drinking lots of water. I do this anyway, but on days like this, I drink more because it helps to keep me feeling fuller.
  • I keep peppermint tic-tacs on hand. Nothing tastes very good after a mint (except for water) and for a little while they kill the cravings.
  • I will remind myself how much better I feel now than I did then.
  • I will blog about how I feel and count on the support of my online friends to pull me back.
  • And if I’m still feeling like I really need something off plan tonight, I will allow myself a small indulgence. I will not have lost the whole day and sometimes it’s ok to take a little break.

Tomorrow will be a better day. I find that my resolve is usually back after a day like this. And having managed this day makes me that much stronger going forward.

When you’ve lived a sedentary life of overeating for a long time, like I have, staying the fitness course is awfully fragile. But each day like this where I win the battle over the evil urges, the fitness side gains a little strength. It’s a long road, and it’s worth every step.

Exercise Won’t Help You Lose Weight…Or Will It?

There was an article this week on the Time magazine site that was titled Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin. The article got my, and everyone else’s, attention.

It also left me scratching my head? HUH?  Remind me again why I’m working so hard then? Running, biking, swimming, abs, and all the other stuff I’ve been doing? Now granted, the article does talk about the health benefits of exercise. It just proposes that exercise increases hunger and therefore, may not be the best path to losing weight.

Now I don’t know about the guy in the article, but exercise for me has been essential to losing weight. I don’t eat more on the days that I exercise because I’ve worked so hard to sweat some of the calories off. It’s days like today where I didn’t exercise that I don’t resist the Oreo cookies. Exercise backlash, perhaps?

I don’t know. This article makes the cardio vs. strength training argument sound almost reasonable. Why would you give anyone one more reason not to exercise?

I also read today: potatoes are not the evil white carbs we were once told they were. Water only really helps to curb your appetite if it’s in your foods (think soup).

Now I never thought potatoes were evil food. I like potatoes; technically they are vegetables and good for you. French fried? Maybe not so much, but don’t blame that on the potato.

And water? Drinking lots of it, all by itself,  has done wonders for my weight loss (I’m not a big fan of soup), not to mention how great my skin looks.

Carbs are bad. Well, not all carbs. Sugar…stay away from it! Fats, those are bad for you, carbs are good. Carbs are essential to healthy weight. Eat protein. No wait, don’t. Only eat melons, hot dogs and rice on every other Tuesday and Thursday….

There are so many conflicting diet rules, exercise agendas and secrets to this getting healthy thing, it’s no wonder we’re all overweight. Jeez, I mean, you start a diet, it’s working for you and then someone comes along and tells you that in the long run, you’ll still be fat. Why bother?

The bottom line is it comes down to common sense. There was an article a while back that said weight loss is about calories in vs. calories out. If you expend more calories than you take in, Voila! you lose weight. Now that’s something I can wrap my head around.

The key is finding the way that does this best for you. If limiting carbs keeps you away from your trigger foods, try that. Clean eating? If you can stay on that eating plan, good for you…healthy and lean. Me? Couldn’t do it. If I had to give up sugar, carbs or fat altogether, I might just die.

However, I’ve learned portion control (most of the time); I follow guidelines finally for getting enough fruits, whole grains, veggies and protein; I try to gauge whether I’m hungry or just stressed (for example, today’s Oreo binge was not because I was hungry). I treat myself now and again so I don’t feel deprived, but for the most part, I try to stick with healthier foods.

I eat well 90% of the time. The other 10%? I’m still learning. Some things work for me. Some don’t. This weight loss thing is not an exact science and I figure I’ll be experimenting forever.

As for exercise, do it. Even if it’s just a walk around the block. You’ll feel stronger, more confident, clearer and happier. I’ve lost weight before without exercise. That didn’t alter my life nearly as much as the weight loss has this time. I attribute that to the exercise, not the weight loss.

However you decide to get healthy, be realistic. Small changes, slow progress, those are the things that stick. Remember, these are changes for a lifetime.

So how are you making the healthy changes in your life?