Thursday, December 1, 2016

Just one thing...

As im sitting watching my nephew sip soup  feeling the joy of being present for the small things.  Its been three days since his jaw surgery. He has been in extreme pain, feeling frustrated simply because he cannot eat. 

But today..hes having soup......potato soup purée.....the best soup in the world.....through a syringe.  He's smiling and soup is running down his chin. "Its good" he says.."its really good". 

Friday, October 14, 2016

Poor Little Fat Girl

I spent almost two years losing 100lbs and now I've gained 35lbs back

I am asking myself why?  Why after all the hard work have I let myself gain weight back?  I say "let myself" because I do realize it is all my doing.  It is all a result of not monitoring myself, being lazy (yes lazy!) not preparing meals taking for granted that the processed food and overeating would catch up to me.

Losing weight is such a mental game.

The entire time I was losing I would tell myself not to give up, and now three and a half years later, I'm still telling myself not to give up.  Sometimes it seems like a complex idea, all the pushing, and sacrifice to reach a goal, but really it's simple.  KEEP GOING.  Keep doing the things that made you successful at losing.  But sometimes you get want to get that old feeling back.  You know the one where you don't think about what you eating, you just unconsciously enjoy.  Sadly, that old feeling has consequences.  Next thing you know you can't fit the pants your wore a month ago and you don't like how you look in the mirror. You notice that double chin starting and the panic sets in.

But then you reason,  I did this before, I can do it again.

Tomorrow we get it together!

I'm here to tell you....getting it together takes a lot longer than you think.

The thing about weight re-gain is that if you don't keep trying that old mindset that you had before returns, slowly pushing your new habits into the background until everything you did to lose weight becomes what you used to do.  You scold yourself and feel guilty because you know if you just kept going, you wouldn't be here.  Now what?

Now we start over.  I know that plunging into it, being drastic doesn't work. I know that restrictive eating doesn't do anything but make you hungrier.  So the best thing I can do is take it slow, concentrating on one thing at a time. Slowly work into those good habits.

Every day is a try.
If I try every day, eventually the good habits will become my life again.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Eating what doesnt exist

Sometimes I get soo hungry.

So, I eat. But hours later I "feel" hungry again. 

Sometimes I talk myself out of it, but other times I stuff my face with comfort foods. I know it is impossible that I am actually hungry, but I continue to look for that ghost meal that will make me "feel" less hungry. A"meal" that makes me feel the contentment that being full brings. Even though I know it isn't real hunger,  I still want it.  

It's almost been three years since I started losing weight, and I'm still dealing with the same mindset I had when I weighed 340lbs.  Every day isn't always a fight but staying on track can be difficult to navigate when your mind tells you to do otherwise.  I know that over eating is a choice. I dont have to do it.  But that doesn't always stop me.

Overeating tends to make me feel numb to whatever is going on that makes me uneasy. Right now it's PMS, my emotions are swinging all over the place, I'm irritated at whatever. I'm already thinking of how to get my favorite comfort food and how good I will feel when I eat it.  And tomorrow....I will feel better, But then again...maybe I won't.  

The problem isn't the food, it's the power we give it. Food is for nutrition and survival.  But when attached to our emotions its becomes a dangerous outlet.

I used to think if I was consciously aware of everything I put in my mouth, I would make better choices, And in the past I did.  I used to record every single morsel, feeling bad when it wasn't within my caloric range,  But at some point, I realized that sometimes it's the conscious choices that we make under emotional distress that have the biggest impact.  And if you're just an emotional person, you have a harder time than most. I realize that I will always struggle with the thoughts that pass through my head.  But one day I may learn now to disconnect them from eating.  Until goes on.

Friday, January 22, 2016

What I Know Now

At 330 lbs, I hated having conversations about my weight.  I would visit friends and relatives on pins and needles just waiting for the dreaded weight loss conversation. You know the one that goes something like:

My mother size 8: If I could just lose 20 lbs
Me (in my head with eye roll) I am not having this conversation, shut up!!

My dad, while eating ice cream: So how much weight have you lost?
Me (in my head with painful eye roll) OMG, LEAVE ME ALONE... shut-up!!

My brother while chugging a protein drink and lifting a 20 lbs weight:  You really need to get that weight off.
Me while sucking teeth, rolling eyes, and chicken necking: LEAVE ME ALONE!!

Well meaning family friend:  You know I love you,  but you really need to get that weight off,  Its not good for you, this is what I did.
Me (in my head, with a blank smile) FOR REAL.  My dad put you up to this right?.... I'll kill him!!! 

My uncle, who cherishes me:  Ain't nothing wrong with you girl...
Me (in my head with a smile) You've a little tipsy and maybe a little blind.  I love you but, have you seen my...

Then there is the at work conversation that goes something like:

Random size 10-12 women:  I ate like a pig this weekend
Me (in my head) while eating my lunch:  Seriously...

I cant tell you how many time I've walked away from conversations wanting to scream.  I felt hurt, confused, misunderstood and mostly that no one loved me for me.  I wanted to be left alone.  I felt like they were embarrassed by my obesity and wanted me to change so they wouldn't look bad. (So yep theres drama again)

But seriously, having conversations about weight usually led to hurt feelings and resentment.
Telling a person they need to lose weight is pointless. THEYKNOW THEY NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT!  They haven't accepted it.

As I now look back on pictures of myself I remember knowing how big I was, I was conscious of it at with every movement.  But I had no idea what to do about it.  Telling myself I need to lose weight is the easy part. Losing the weight was much harder.  Being in my body, shuffling all that weight was my normal, I was used to it. As with most things, it is always easier to just keep doing what you know even if it is killing you.
Obesity is a physical acknowledgment of overeating, visible to everyone around you, inescapable.   If you keep going, you'll be on a CPAP machine and blood pressure medicine forever.  No matter how much your family loves you, they can't do it for you.  At some point you have to have to DO something.  But if you try to lose weight, you might fail again, or you might succeed.

On the other side of 330 I understand what my family saw.   I understand that they were concerned about my health and quality of life. Maybe, they didn't know how to address it and they did the best they could to help.  And for that I am grateful.  I wouldn't say that any of their words motivated me to lose the weight, but the fact that they cared enough to try means so much more now.  

Back then I didn't realize how bad I felt until I started feeling bettter.  Feeling good and having more energy trumps feeling bad any day. In order to keep that "good feeling", I'll have to keep the weight off. I have no idea how it'll get done, but im definitly willing to find out. 

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Pretty please

Earlier today my sister (in law) said she needed to get her nails done.

She said she needed something to make her feel like a woman....

While I am totally familiar with the thought of not feeling quite as feminine as you could or should, I found it strange that she would say it.

Later on that day it dawned on me.  She didn't just need a manicure, she needed to feel pretty   She mentioned that when my brother used to always tell her she's pretty. And while she never took him seriously, it obviously made its impact on her.   In fact, it is one the many things I liked best about him. Sometimes when I was visiting we would be out somewhere shopping or hanging out, he would look at her and say to me " Isn't my wife pretty"? I don't know about most of you but I happen to be very partial to my sister in law, not only is she a good person, she is beautiful.  She may never understand how he really felt but I knew. In those moments I could see her through his eyes, I felt his love for her.  Even though he isn't here, his words are still in my mind.  I miss him and  I miss those things he said about her and to her.  I can only imagine how much she misses him saying them too.

My sister (in law) have always been friends.  We have a common thread, we are both "middle only girls" me of two boys, she of four.  While this may seem like an ideal position in a family of boys, it is not the utopia imagined. We may be daddy's girl (by default there's no competition) but neither of us grew up believing ourselves to be the pretty princess of the family. Never spoiled or coddled, we at times fought to show our brothers we deserved respect. We were called rough or tomboy, never pretty or princess.

But life has a way of making it up to you.  She married a man who loved her and believed her to be the prettiest woman in the world.

It my forty seven years it is not often that I have been told I'm pretty much less believe the mouth that it came from except dad (who could be partial) But a word said from the right person at the right time means so much more than when thrown casually around.  She had that once and now it's gone. My heart aches at the thought that he is no longer here to say the things that she needs to hear. So  now, my nephews and I  do what my brother no longer can.  We make her feel loved.

It's only human to want to be loved, appreciated and on occasion told that you are pretty (yes men too!) we all need to know that someone sees us in a way we don't see ourselves, we need admiration, confirmation and sometimes convincing that we, in our imperfect state, are indeed lovable. We need to be told that we are smart, sexy, intelligent, funny, pretty (handsome) and sometimes even beautiful.

The power of being told you are pretty is real.  Just as deep and meaningful as love.  Next time you have a chance, use your power. Give a girl a gift.  Tell her she's pretty.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

All I Have Is Me

This morning while on the train I used my idle time to scan my Facebook  page.  Normally there aren't that many new posts to view at 7 am but I was surprised to find a re-post of a video post by a man named  KHARI called "Wonderfully Made"  The video is a montage of photos of beautiful plus size women, set to a the background of KHARI's poetry. He uses some powerful words to describe what he feels for wemon and how we have allowed our self-esteem to suffer under the noses of those who think that we should look a certain way to be happy about ourselves.  Since, just the other night I was tripping over my weight loss, this video came right on time.  

I felt encouraged by his words of love for women, not because of what they look like but because of who they are.  His words made me want to cry. But now as I reflect on the images, I have to admit,, I felt uncomfortable,  Every image I saw represents me, I am that woman with the full lips and wide hips, stretch marks and round belly.  

This man is telling me to love the body I'm in with all its "flaws"?  The stretch marks and all? I don't hate myself, but there are the times when I find it difficult to  love myself as much as I should.  It's hard to love the fat when society says I shouldn't.  Dont get me wrong, I'm trying to love the skin I'm in, Sometimes the rebel in me says screw society, but the little girl in me wants to be accepted. Somewhere in my life the indoctrination ofthe idea that what I am, what I look like, fat... is nothing to be happy about, I should feel ashamed. And truthfully there are times when I do.

Now that I've lost the some of weight, you think I'd be content.  But I'm not.  It seems like I've become like everyone else, walking past the mirror thinking ugh!!.   Yes, I've lost weight but I'm not satisfied.  I don't like the saggy and  flabby skin that seems to have a mind of its own.  when I think of all the years I spent stuffing myself, I want to cry.  But what can I do, the past is gone and THIS is the only body I have.  Its all mine... FOR LIFE.  I may not always be happy about it, but I don't want to spend the time I have left complaining pinching, and pulling myself apart for not being fat-free.

For the past two years, I've been so consumed with reaching that numeric goal that I never considered that weight loss really has nothing to do with loving yourself.  Just because you have fat on your body does not mean you hate yourself or vice versa.  Yes we all have bad days when our esteem is in the toilet for some reason or other but we dont live in the that toilet, We live in the real world.where some days the sky just isnt all that blue, but at some point (sometimes with a little medication) it gets better.

I sometimes like to fancy that I could that woman who could embrace her fat, but theres always that little voice that says "not yet"  so until I reach that state of contentment (if there is such a place) Ill keep trying.  I certainly know it will be healthier in the long run, so really what have I got to lose.

So moving forward into 2016 I plan to show my stretch marks a little more love.  Im sure as I lose more weight Ill notice more of my little squiggly friends jiggling back at me.  But instead of complaining, im going to take the time to be gracious that im a lot healthier than I used to be and with time and little woo woo woo'ing I might convince the little girl in me that the only person that she needs to worry about accepting her is me.

Image result for cartoon characters little girls

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Panic Mode

If you knew me well, you'd know sometimes I'm little dramatic.  I’m just a little (ok a lot) emotional and tend to overreact.  Naturally this doesn't really help most situations, but since I keep most of it to myself, no one need experience the mental anguish I put myself through.

As you know I’m on a mission to lose weight.  While I have proved to be quite successful over the course of almost two years, I am currently stalling out.  I've been within five lbs. of my lowest weight for at least three months now.  When I started I thought in two years I thought that by now I would have lost half of my body weight.  As you can see, this has NOT happened.  (Getting emotional…) After my first year I did a reevaluation, I set some new smaller goals.  One of which was to reach 210 lbs. by my two year anniversary.  

As you can tell, another goal has not been reached (not for a lack of trying). 
I still have 20 lbs. to go. Since April 20th is three weeks away,  its NOT happening.
At times like this I feel defeated, like maybe I've done all I can do and come as far as I’m going to go.  I ask myself "Is this the END?" Not seeing the scale (or inches) move for months can really be devastating (overreacting).  But the thing is, I've been here before (like last year? duh) and yet, there is suddenly doubt; "maybe I’m doing something wrong".  I begin to question everything I know.  I surf the net religiously for the solutions even though I already know that only time will get me through this.  I cry and moan until I've convinced myself that stuffing my gut with food is the only thing that will help.  I stop at the dollar store or 7 eleven to buy my drug of choice (potato chips) and refuse to let just one chip do. This goes on for a few days intermittently until I CHOOSE to let it go. With a lot of self-talk I begin to accept that this is temporary, and as the stream of time, it too will pass. I begin to accept that my body is not used to this new weight and it needs to adjust  At some point I make the choice to keep moving forward, confident that I have what it takes to care of myself until. try to focus on my accomplishments.  I remember that tomorrow is new day fresh with no mistakes and that I don't have to do this perfect I just have to get it done.  I realize its OK to feel sorry for yourself and eat a bunch of crap, but at some point you have to pick yourself up and walk away from the pity party.

Almost two years ago I realized that what happens to me is entirely up to me. Which makes each plateau a defining moment.  What I do now, in this moment, defines what happens next. This doesn't have to be the end and  I don't have to give up. I don't have to remain overweight and only I can make that choice.  I'm sure I will plateau again, and I'll probably go into panic mode.  But eventually, (eventually) I'll talk myself off the ledge.  Each time it happens I will get stronger until one day Ill be happy to plateau at a normal weight.  Until then, the drama continues.  

Monday, March 9, 2015

The ride of your life....

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.  So tell me, which ones came to mind when you saw this picture?

Did you think, OMG! (That’s actually three words) or maybe like me you thought just one, "WOW"!

These are the pants I used to wear at almost 340 lbs. They are a Lane Bryant (7) or what I believe is single digit used to mask a real size 30. (Sizes 14 to 28 riiiiight!!)

I debated whether I should post this pic or not.  Losing weight is so personal; putting yourself out on the World Wide Web takes courage.  Knowing what you've accomplished is out there for the entire world to see makes you vulnerable.  Not just to opinions of others but to yourself. 

Anyone who wants to lose weight can relate to my feelings of inadequacy. Seriously, I don't think I'm anyone great. I still have about 70 lbs. to go before I reach my numeric goal and as you can see I'm still fat.  Posting a picture of me to let the world know where I was, tells people exactly where I am. Currently, I am 230 lbs. with plushy arms and legs, wide hips and a surplus of thighs that still hang on even after 100 lbs. loss. Good days, bad days, not giving up on me and fear of a regain and or failure is still very real, but the courage to continue is getting better. 

It's a strange feeling.  I know those pants are mine. I know I used to wear them. But, for some reason I can't believe that is where I was.  I have to admit I feel a little sorry for myself.  It took me a long time to really "see" the real me.  Now when I look back I understand why the people around me were worried.  But mostly I understand why even on my worst day, when the scale refuses to move... I should be proud.   Losing weight can be very difficult.  The process physically and mentally is a challenge. But the reality is I have and I still am meeting that challenge.

Yes it will be a journey.  Actually, it's more like a roller coaster ride.  There are ups and downs and twist and turns, and sometimes you will need a GPS to get you on back on track, but it’s a ride worth taking.  The hardest part is making up your mind to get on. 

To anyone who reads this, I sincerely hope you get on the ride, there will be times the handle bar will dig into your hip, you'll close your eyes and be frightened beyond belief, you'll scream and cry (mostly at your scale) and maybe you just wanna hurl. But in the end, it’s the best ride you'll every take. 

Monday, February 23, 2015

Reflections: Weight loss - 10 things you need to know.

April 20th will be two years that I have been attempting to lose weight.  Along the way I have done a lot of reading about health, exercise, food and stories of those who have successfully kept weight off. I wouldn't exactly classify myself as successful (pending reaching my goal and maintaining it) but there are a few things that I do feel that everyone who has tried, is going to or is currently losing weight will appreciate.

1.  You will always think about food.
You will eat it, you will buy it, you will weigh it,will prepare it, you will meditate on what you should have, shouldn't have, when to have it, when not to have it, regret having it or not having it, wonder if you had to much or if you had enough (get my drift) You will wonder whether a day will come when you wont think about it. Trust me, as long as you eat it, you will always think about it.

2.  The numbers mean everything but really they don't.
I weigh every single day!!

Yes I purposely drive myself mad on the regular. And after spending millions of hours obsessing about getting to a certain number, millions of seconds thinking that if only I weighed (insert magic number), watching a digital number go up or down many times throughout the day I realize that what seems to mean soo much in the moment really means nothing.

I read once that a scale is just a tool (like a hammer, no?) The scale is simply a tool to let you know where you are and if you are on track, and I "try" to use it as such. However, since accuracy is never 100% you can never trust it implicitly. One day you will smile at it because it let you know that all your hard work paid off.  The next it will betray you letting you know the high sodium snack along with your monthly bill will make you retain water like a buffalo. Twenty days later you'll be right back where you were twenty days ago frustrated and wanting to use other tools to beat it into a pulp (Hammer please stat!!) But if used properly (hint hint) it will teach you about your body and how it responds to what is eaten. It will help you stay you on track. As long as you know where you are you can map where to go.The scale can be your friend.

3.  It is never...ever..over
Don't get me wrong if you keep working at it, you will reach your goal, you will have the satisfaction that you are no longer categorically overweight, you will fit into those size whatever jeans and smile like a fool as you zip them up, but just know you will need to keep that up. I haven't reached my goal yet so more on this later.

4. Who you are is... well...who you are ...
I cant say this any plainer.  some of you realist wonder why it even needs to be said, but because of the weight loss dream sequence some of us have going on in our heads (me included) we idealize it and later become disenchanted when we realize that "XYZ is, isn't, has or hasn't happened because I'm fat". Life is what you make it, and sometime its just crappy. You are you with fat or without it.
It can be a defining moment when you get that reality check and finally accept that you have been hiding behind your weight, using it as an excuse for not doing what you want or possibly as a way to not face life. I'm not saying that everyone has this issue, but I have and I'm working on it.. Somewhere around the loss of the 100th lb I realized that my life was not going to be like the weight loss stories I read in magazines, Although I felt better about myself, nothing had magically changed, I didn't feel exceptionally confident, I still have self esteem issues, I am sometimes and may always be a mess.  Weight loss helps you feel better but it isn't a cure all. Granted you will smile more, you will feel lighter and you will be stronger, each lbs loss will be a step in another direction, but the essence of you, all of it good and bad will still be you.

5.  You may have flab
OK, so the chicken wings are real yall!! Lately I started to realize that the flab is most certainly real. I have flabby arms, boobs and thighs, There are stretch marks everywhere.  I'm 46 , Ive been overweight since high school so I don't even know what my body is like without excess weight.  I know the skin will shrink but the flab is guaranteed.  Somehow I have convinced myself that I can accept it, but lately the saggy thigh thing has got me just a little scared.

6.  People around you WILL change.
My parents used to tell me that if I lost weight I may lose some friends.Being my parents of course they are of mindset that as their daughter I'm the best looking of all my friends...and if I lost weight well.. heck  Id be a looker.  Frankly the thought of me losing my friends scared me,  (c'mon really...who wants to be better looking than ALL of their friends??)  Sadly, the thought of it stayed with me and as I have lost weight I half expected it to happen. Thankfully it hasn't, however what I have noticed is that people  give you those long sideways glances. Wondering what's different about you. Some people who started out supporting you no longer have positive things to say. They are uncomfortable with you and project their insecurities.  People who don't normally talk to you now suddenly feel the urge to talk to you, you're a weight loss celebrity (no paparazzi please) and some will start speaking less maybe ignoring you or when they do speak they seem a little different (you know they give that look, that vibe..) Then of course there is the weight loss groupies who feel the need to confess all the good and bad things eaten (like I'm a "food priestess") All in all the extra attention comes and goes and can be uncomfortable at times. Don't depend on it to make you feel good. Like everything else in life, it will pass.

7.  Losing weight is the best thing you can do for your health.
Since I've lost weight I have rid myself of a CPAP machine, high blood pressure medications, and various maladies associated with obesity.  By eating clean I learned how my body responds to food. I've discovered various food allergies that affect my overall health.  You can do yourself no better than to eat right and exercise and lose weight, Your body will thank you.

8. You must eat well.
A year into losing weight I finally decided to do some form of regular exercise.  I chose walking because it is free and I could do it anywhere. However I was under a misconception that once I started walking, get up my speed, Id burn a bazillion calories and the weight would start dropping.  I was wrong, In the past year, I logged over 900 miles and the weight loss was slower than the previous year,  I manipulated my intake I ate good, I ate bad, sometimes I ate nothing.  What I learned is that I felt my best when I ate well, I lost weight when I ate well.  Eating well ALONG with the regular exercise made me feel my best.  Both are necessary to good health.  For me, eating well is 80% of the weight loss equation.  I lost more weight just eating well than with exercise.  Which leads me to.....

9.  Exercise is necessary.
Exercise never comes easy to an obese person, but in order to keep the weight lost off, you will need to incorporate it into your life.  I never liked exercise until I started walking.  I love walking I love the feeling of freedom it brings. It is definitively for me but it may not your niche. I know Ill never be a gym rat so that's out for me.  I love the idea of being able to run but until recently I thought it impossible, However over the course of the past year, I've found myself WANTING to run, I've gotten my walking speed up and sometimes feel a run coming on. I actually feel like running.  I find myself jogging through the cross lights, through the metro, and to my car for no other reason than the fact that I feel like it and I somewhat can!! Imagine that, I'm doing something I once imagined to be impossible.  My point is, you may not like exercise, but there is something out there for you, go on, find your exercise niche,

10.  NOTHING happens unless you MAKE it.  DO SOMETHING!!
So many times I've read stories about people who have these AHA moments that led to weight loss, i.e. doctor says I'm gonna die, my kids, my husband etc is embarrassed, I'm unhappy, I cant fasten the seat belt, (yes the seat belt thing actually happened to me on a airplane and later a water ride in a amusement park, but I wasn't moved to do anything about it) I am happy to say I'm NOT one of those people.  Id read so many of those stories that just like them,  I "wanted" no... "waited" for an AHA moment, but it never came.  I wondered what was wrong with me,   In the meantime,... I DID NOTHING.  One day while randomly browsing Amazon I came across a book about a man who lost 100 lbs by counting calories, since Id never counted calories I thought hmm, a dude who counted calories??, might be interesting.  In the course of day I read his book, The things he said made a lot of sense so I decided right then and there to try counting calories, I thought what the heck, I might lose 10 lbs, and then Ill figure out what to do next. I followed his advice and then downloaded My Fitness Pal, I started counting calories and almost two years later I'm down 112 lbs. Long story short (too late) Please stop waiting for an AHA moment!! Losing weight doesn't always start with a plan, it starts with a try, and then,  you KEEP trying.  Each day will have challenges, but if you don't DO anything, NOTHING will happen. So DO something, you'll be surprise where it will get you.

I know this sounds like something you read before but its my truth, Weight loss is not a easy process but its worth it.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The Power of Loss

A year ago today, my brother died.

Saying I miss him is not enough to convey the depth of my feelings.

I miss his hugs
I miss the jokes we used to share
I miss watching him come into his home tired after a hard days work, being proud that my brother was a good man.
I miss the love he showed for his family
I miss the way he looked at his wife and and then would say "isnt my wife beautiful"
I miss his ability to diffuse me by making me laugh and his uncanny ability to embaress me in social situations
I miss those conversations we had on the rare occasions when we were alone.
I miss him treating me like he was my big brother even though he was the youngest

I miss his presence, I miss his smile and knowing he would always be there for me.

But today, he is not.

In the past year Ive learned that death can change people. 

It has a way of putting life into perspective.

It makes you see past all the nonsense and get to what really matters.

So often we get caught up in the petty nonsense and resentments of the past. We waste time being upset.  We get offened over something that seems so major at the time, we lose focus on whats really important.   But when someone you love dies, you learn all that really matters is the love you have for one another.  You learn that accepting people for who they are and loving them with all your heart can soothe the worst pain. 

What we do on a daily basis seems so insignificant, but to someone who knows they are loved it means everything. Tell people you love them, show it even more.