Back on the Wagon

I haven’t really been watching what I eat.  I also haven’t been exercising.  Those two things combined have made me gain 12.5 pounds in the last 111 days (weight according to my Wii).  That’s on top of the 15 pounds I gained towards the end of 2011/beginning of 2012.  Ugh.

I could tell that I’d gained weight.  After all, my clothes were fitting tighter, it was more tiring to go upstairs, and it was a lot more difficult to keep up with DH’s normal walking speed.  A couple of weeks ago I found myself actually getting mad at him and thinking he was walking faster on purpose – I guess I just didn’t want to admit that I’d gotten fatter and slower.

C25K is a lot more difficult this time around too.  DH and I started C25K a few weeks ago as part of our preparation for the Tinkerbell Half in January.  We’re on week 4 day 2… the other 3 weeks weren’t a picnic.  I found myself strangely reluctant to do something that I’d found so much joy in before.  Yet another sign of being fatter and slower.

So, starting mid-morning yesterday, I got back on the fitness wagon.  I ate healthy foods. I went to the gym and lifted weights.  When DH got home, we went for a run.  And today I’ve eaten according to my plan.  In the interest of full disclosure, I’m planning on starting Alli again.  It worked really well for me in 2008-2009 when I lost 43 pounds on it.  I kept most of the weight off from 2009-2011, and I’ve just gotten suckier at doing what I need to do.

I am pretty hungry though.  And all that damn chocolate, marshmallows, and convenience food isn’t making the munchies go away any quicker.  It’s just about time for my next snack and more water.  Hopefully that’ll last until dinner.  Dinner tonight will be hoisin glazed chicken with seasoned couscous and roasted veggies.  Sounds awesome, doesn’t it?

So, that’s it.  I just need to not be fat, slow, and lazy any more.  And I need to figure out how to stay that way once I achieve my goals.

 

OH! That’s another thing.  My first weight loss goal is 8 pounds.  I need a prize for when I get there…

Weight Loss TV

I’m not a big fan of TV in general.  I don’t really have the time to watch it, especially specific shows every week.  I do try to make the time to watch weight loss TV shows like The Biggest Loser on Hulu, though.

I’ve tried to analyze why I like this particular type of TV as opposed to regular shows or other reality tv.  I think it’s because I can see parts of myself and those I love in the people on these shows.  And I always love the transformations they go through and the emotional growth I see.  But I’m still dissatisfied – probably because the people on these shows are so overweight that they’re in even worse condition than most of the people I know.

I wish they’d make some kind of weight loss/healthy living show for people who don’t need to lose hundreds of pounds.  They need to make a show for people that really only need to lose 40 pounds or learn how to cook healthy foods or fit everything in with a super busy life.  It’s not just about the weight loss for the average person in my life.  It’s about other things as well.

I know the spectacle sells, but it doesn’t reflect the majority of what I see in my life.  I wish TV did sometimes.

I Read: Brave Girl Eating

A couple of days after I wrote “My Offensive (?) Obesity Post” I came across a book called Brave Girl Eating by Harriet Brown.  It was returned to the library along with a lot of other materials on Anorexia and Bulimia.  Obviously, someone was doing research on eating disorders.  When I see such a huge number of materials on one particular health topic, I often wonder if they’re researching for school or if it’s for a more personal reason.  It’s none of my business and I would never ask, but still I wonder.

Seeing this book (and all of the others like it) in the sorting bin reminded me of my earlier post about the stigma that probably should be associated with obesity, the difficulties associated with leading a healthier lifestyle and how we learn to be obese by mirroring our families.  I admit that I don’t know much about eating disorders, so I picked up Brave Girl Eating because it was the story of a regular girl, with a healthy family life and no history of abuse or mental illness who “fell down the rabbit hole of anorexia.”

I really liked that this book wasn’t just about the struggles of Kitty, the adolescent girl who developed anorexia.  It was about the family’s struggle to bring her back through Family Based Therapy (FBT) instead of the typical institutional therapy that is prescribed for most anorexics. I also appreciated that Kitty’s story was used as the common thread as Ms. Brown discussed the research she performed on her daughter’s illness.  Her research included clinical trials, studies, articles, books and websites – many of which painted a terrible picture of Kitty’s future.

Those of us who have never had an eating disorder find it unfathomable that someone would refuse to eat, or would purge in some way just because the image they carry of themselves is so skewed that they cannot see the skin and bones everyone else does.  We cannot imagine how difficult, trying, and painful such an illness is for the families who feel powerless in the face of this disease.  It’s all just sick and sad, and not researched nearly enough.

So, while I do still think we need to do everything possible to not be obese, I think we also do need to make sure that we’re not taking it to the other extreme: starvation.

My Offensive (?) Obesity Post

I’ve been thinking about a few things for awhile now.  Most of my conclusions are probably pretty controversial on these topics, but they make the most sense to me.  They do not reflect the views of my employer and may not necessarily reflect the views of my family/friends.  I apologize if the following post offends anyone.

—————–

As a fat woman, I’ve heard/read many things by self-help and self-esteem gurus.  They usually say something along the lines of “Love yourself – embrace that beautiful (overweight) body.  There’s nothing wrong with obesity.”

I hate to break it to them, but there is something wrong with obesity.  We all know that obesity is a fully preventable and treatable problem (in most cases) that can be linked to major conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancer.  These are all things that can lead to disabilities and early death.  Obesity costs this country and its citizens a lot of money in rising health care costs.  It also costs us in emotional damage when we can no longer fit on amusement park rides, when we become the butt of jokes, and when we feel as though we’re facing our personal demons all alone.

Please don’t tell me to embrace and love my fat.  Don’t tell my overweight neice and nephew to love theirs.  Don’t tell my brother that it’s OK for his dog to be overweight. Don’t tell me that my obesity is not my fault even as I make the choice to eat poorly and lead a sedentary lifestyle.  Stop offering the “magic pill” of gastric bypass and/or lapbanding when you know that patients see it as a magic pill.

I’m not condoning bullying by any means.  I do think, though, that there should be a stigma attached to obesity, just as there’s a stigma attached to alcoholism, drug use, and tobacco use.  If there were a way to tax obesity I’d probably support that too, so that at least we could recoup some of the money it costs this country to medicate these people. 

I know I sound harsh, but I’m coming from the position that our children learn what they see.  If mom and dad buy fast food every night and sit in front of the TV for hours on end, the kids will think that this is OK.  If mom and dad are obese, the kids will think obesity is OK.  Trust me, I know from experience!  My mom was obese.  Most of the food choices in our house were unhealthy.  We sat and watched TV.  And before I said “enough is enough” I was almost 200 pounds with joints that ached and problems sleeping because of my weight.  I learned how to be obese as a child and I accepted it as normal.  I didn’t learn how to be healthier until I was an adult and looked at my lifestyle objectively to see that it wasn’t (and should never be) normal.

I’m reading the book “Switch” by the Heath brothers.  One of the vignettes in the book talks about being specific when seeking change.  We can tell people over and over to “eat healthy” but most people only have a vague understanding of what healthy eating entails.  So instead, you need to be specific.  Community leaders in one city focused on getting people to switch from whole milk to 2% milk.  They showed the community how much fat and saturated fat is in whole milk, and told the community what ingesting all that extra fat could do to them.  They illustrated the problem, and then told the community they should switch to buying 2% milk to avoid these problems.  It worked. 

I know that the answer isn’t for someone to tell me (or anyone else) to love their fat.  And the answer may not be taxing obesity.  And telling people to make healthy choices is too ambiguous.  So maybe, instead, we should focus on one food choice and one activity choice each year.  This year we’ll focus on replacing sweets with fruit, and walking around the block as a family after dinner instead of turning on the TV.  Those goals are specific and doable first steps for most people. 

I’m not sure what’s bringing out this tirade.  Maybe I’m just tired of the campaign to make obesity acceptable.  Maybe I’m tired of hearing people make excuses  for their obesity.  Maybe I’m tired of going out to eat on a date with my husband and trying to make a healthy choice only to find that the healthiest thing on a menu is onion rings.  Seriously – ONION RINGS!  It’s just so disheartening to believe with every fiber of my being that it is within my power to be healthier only to find that the media, my family, and even date night restaurants are against me making the best decisions for my health.

Family Fitness

Awhile back I noticed a problem with my sister’s kids.  All they do when I’m there is watch TV.  Then I saw them in their underwear and noticed rolls of fat.  He’s 9 and she’s 6 (soon to be 7).  Much too young to have this kind of a problem.

Today I was there to watch them and mom while my sister and brother-in-law went out for an early Valentine’s day.  The kids were playing with the Wii and becoming winded after 5 minutes (literally) of swinging the Wii-mote like a sword.  Then they turned off the game because they were “too tired” to play any more.

Although I’m not the best model for fitness, I know that I need to do something.  I can’t let these kids get type II diabetes and all of those other problems that come with obesity.  I also know that my sister would be deeply offended if I were to bring it up with her.  So, today they “helped” me work out.  We picked out cans of food that we could use as weights.  We did jumping jacks, hops, and jogging in place.  We did upper body work.  We kicked and stretched.  Then we played hide and go seek.  We raced to see who could get their chores done fastest – my nephew had to put away his legos, my niece had to put away the silverware and bring the dirty dishes out to the kitchen and I had to make lunch.  When we were done we took turns showing off our newly made muscles.  They said they had fun with it all so I know it’s not that they don’t want to get up and move…

I think I’ll start taking them to the park or for a hike every other week.  Unfortunately, my schedule doesn’t allow me much more free time than that.  DH said that he’d teach them how to kick and throw punches too.  And, when they’re with me, I’ll make sure they have healthier meals.  That’s all I can really do, right?

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