Vacation’s All I Ever Wanted…

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I’m back from vacation!  Actually, I got back Tuesday night.  I’d given myself a 5 lb leeway, thinking I’d be with relatives who liked to cook, and we’d be going out to fairs, amusement parks, etc.  Well, Friday weigh in I was DOWN a pound.  I’m amazed at that, I admit, since I ate a decent amount of goodies.  A couple of things saved me.  1) my cousin and her husband are thin and eat like thin people who want to stay thin: ie, they skip meals, or eat one main meal then something small (I’m so used to eating a lot of small meals, this was tough on me; they also almost don’t eat veggies or fruits, my main staples); 2)  we walked constantly and I played with the kids (I exercised in the morning a couple of times too); 3) I really did stay conscious about not going crazy with the high calorie foods, and even though I ate ice cream, I also turned it away a few times (along with a few other things, like a fresh made donut).

Cows at the county fair.

I did ride rides, like rollercoasters and the ferris wheel, the log ride, the whip.  Except for the merry go round I didn’t let myself feel self conscious about my size.  On the MGR I just wasn’t willing to put my big behind on those small wooden horses(!)  My cousin’s husband has a nice digital camera, he took tons of shots each time we went out, mostly of the kids.  A few had me in them.  So, the family got together a couple of evenings and we did a slide show on the 40 inch tv.  Nothing like seeing your size 16/18 bod on a big screen to shake up your (body image) equilibrium!  I definitely felt self conscious, and my cousin told me she worries about her weight (she’s about 5’1″, in good shape — I didn’t see any extra pounds on her), I know that must effect how she reacts to me sometimes (and eating).


I will give myself credit for getting right back into my good eating habits pretty much the minute I got back.  Traditionally, vacations have thrown me off eating wise and it can take a period of time to get back on the wagon.  I went to the gym yesterday after a week and a half hiatus, I was in better shape than I thought I would be.  I skipped a part of the routine, but didn’t feel bad at all (I thought it would be more of a struggle).  On Wednesday and Thursday I took long walks, since I didn’t feel up to the gym yet (still pretty exhausted from traveling and getting used to being back at work).

No, I didn’t lose weight on vacation, some people do.  I did maintain, not entirely due to my efforts, I owe a good deal of the credit to circumstance.  That said, or rather admitted, I am happy to be back to 242 and getting nearer and nearer to being out of the 40s, which will be a great thing for me mentally.

Sunday, Sunday….

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This is a general update post, with a few random thoughts.  I’m back to 243, but didn’t hit the 242 weight again yet.  Had one glass of beer with sister in law (otherwise OP for the day; yes, I did miss a gym day — but had a nice long work out on Friday.  I’ll go today and Tuesday, Wednesday I leave for my vacation.  I didn’t eat popcorn on Friday, I did chose a Mediterranean salad (veggies, chickpeas, feta cheese) with a piece of whole wheat bread (that I shared with the birds) and not the quiche and salad at the BBG (went yesterday, gorgeous day) — ok!  I confess I drank a Brooklyn lager there!  Did lots of walking (2 to 3 miles).

For dinner I had a slice of pizza topped with spinach (from Lenny’s) and a thick crust square (cheese).  I am improving my weekend eating.  Not that long ago I would have eaten a take out meal on Friday, had the popcorn, gotten the quiche with salad at the BBG and had an ice cream on the walk home, and eaten the pizza.  Then I would have struggled the entire next week to maintain or have a slight loss.

I have to mentally prepare myself about gaining a couple of lbs on vacation.  Since I won’t be working out that week, and will undoubtedly have OP eating, I think it’s inevitable.  I do not plan on pigging out in any way, and will make healthy choices and avoid sweets and goodies as much as possible.  I will be mindful, because I know I seriously do not want to back track in any big sense (over a few lbs).  My cousin and her husband are thin and healthy, so I know they must cook, eat and be active to maintain that.   That’s something for me to keep in mind.

Ok, one more BBG shot

Gotta jump in the shower.  More to come….

When life steps in…and revisiting family dynamics

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I read a thread today posted by a woman who’s family and friends wanted to celebrate her birthday by taking her out to eat and cooking for her — it was just piling up into not one, but THREE days of “celebration”, which was making me a little upset — as she put it.  Tomorrow my sister in law and nephew plan to visit me, we’ll go to a local bar and have a drink and chat.  Maybe eat, who knows.  I’ll have to miss my regular gym visit, since I won’t have time between the end of work and meeting them.  That stressed me out because I want to get back down to the 242 this week (I’m at 245 right now).   Both situations I present above put into my mind that life constantly steps in with this weight loss process.  Eating is a social event; no, it’s not always possible to get to the gym 3 times a week.

I could order a spritzer, or carbonated water at the bar.  Seems unlikely I’ll do that.  I’ve had a very good eating week, stayed on plan through the weekend, skipped going out to eat, didn’t eat the “Friday popcorn” I let myself have.  Also seems unlikely I’d have more than one drink, I’m not a big drinker, and it’s hot (meaning the alcohol will go right to my head).

So if I were to face up to it, how many times have I let special and social occasions be a good excuse to eat what I wanted.   Many.  I deserve it, it’s fun, eating is fun, I shouldn’t deprive myself, weight loss is a life long effort, right?  I’ll go back to the program after X holiday is over.  Which I usually do, but how’s that workin’ for me?  Well, it slows down the process.  When I say process, I mean the rate of weight loss.  And when I say the rate of weight loss, I mean I’m extending the amount of time that I’m at this weight, 245 lbs.  I think that has to start be less ok with me.

My sister in law believes in eating healthily and being at a healthy weight.  She’s had 3 boys, and after each, worked most if not all of the extra pounds off.  She goes to the gym, goes to the track.  Watches her diet.  My brother, her husband, has no impulse control with his eating.  He’s gone to famous weight clinics, and even had gastric surgery, years ago.  He’s still quite heavy.  He has to take insulin shots, has a bad knee, a bad disk in his back.  All those things combined makes it so he can barely walk.  He’s 10 years older than me.

I know SIL will compliment on my weight loss; I don’t see her that often, so gym work and some lbs off since last year will be noticable to her.  You know what’s funny?  She’s usually the only one in my family that does comment on my progress.  My dad, sister (who’s heavy too) and brother more often than not stay mum on the topic.  And if I bring it up, it gets dropped fast, or else dad will say something like:  your sister did well when she saw a nutritionist, she should do that again.  Somehow the topic of my weight has always been that of which naught is spoken.  

My other brother used to tease my sister with some choice names: thunder thighs (she was thin and cute in highschool, when she was married; carried a few extra lbs in between, would lose them, then when she had her three kids, she balooned to where’s she heavier than me — that’s a mind boggling thought, I was always the big one).  He never called me any names. 

Maybe I just seemed too delicate and desperate to them.  Maybe the whole family had a type of denial around it, I’m not sure.  No one ever commented on how much or what I ate, my exercise level, or on my ever increasing girth and unhappiness/depression around that.

BF and I joke about my weight and body all the time (he’s nice and supportive about my weight loss efforts I should add).  I’m not sensitive to it now; yes, I guess I was super sensitive about it at various points in my life.  I guess I feel more in control of setting boundaries, and I’m more self assured.  Boy, it has taken work.  I hope I have the happiness and contentment about myself that other women here have when I reach my goal.  I’m still digesting that idea.

Anal/Obsessive Charting and a Lovely August Day

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I pulled out my weight loss journal yesterday, and since then have been anally plugging in the numbers to excel charts to see what the dates and lbs lost would look like on a graph.  2008 was the nose dive year for me.  I had about a 9 lb weight loss range for the entire year, but only a one lb weight loss from the first weigh in of the year to the last.  One pound in one year.  That must be micro ounces per week.  I had serious dieting burn out.

It’s a little up in the air my starting weight, since I used a spring scale for the first 6 months.  At 3FC I guesstimated 320; extrapolating from when I first used the Tanita mid January 2004 back to June 2003 when I started, my weight would have been 318.  I’m going to share here, with all the glory and embarrassment it entails, the amounts I’ve lost each year since then.

  • 2003     20 lbs lost
  • 2004     13 lbs lost
  • 2005     19 lbs lost
  • 2006     12 lbs lost
  • 2007      9 lbs lost
  • 2008      1 lb lost
  • 74 lbs total

In 2009, my first weigh in was Feb 13 at 253.3.  Aug 6, I weighed in at 245 (I’d gotten down to 242, this represented a jump up of 3 lbs due to ???, partly overngnoshing, partly TOM–this is week before, could be other stuff, definitely did not overeat 3 lbs worth, but it’s not like I haven’t seen these little leaps many times before, as the anal weight loss charts will testify to).

It’s hard for me not to feel like anyone who reads this blog would never listen to a word I’d have to say about weight loss considering the dead snail pace my efforts represent, heh heh.  In some ways I’ve embraced this lifestyle, and in some ways (obviously) I’ve been fighting it like a cat in a box.

I will say on my own behalf, I never gave up (only came close!).  I never gained back the weight.  How do I feel about it being so slow?  I’m not sure, sometimes I hate the thought, it seems like time wasted and I want to kick myself in the rear.  Other times, I’m so freakin’ proud of myself for getting it off and keeping it off.  I have made significant and I believe permanent changes in my habits and outlook.  Since it’s been 6 years down this road and I’m still losing and finding my eating and exercise routine fairly easy to stick to, I think I have a right to say that.  Honestly, this chick wants no more yo-yo’ing (a couple of lbs is ok, no more double digit fiascos).

I think the food/eating will have to continue to evolve, as will the exercise.  I’m still letting bf do 90 percent of the cooking, not a disaster, but he doesn’t have an extra ounce of fat on his body.  As my weight gets down what and how much I eat, I have a feeling, will need to change.  Right now I eat about 1800 to 2000 calories a day.  I don’t religiously log everthing I eat; my meals are fairly routine and I’ve used fitday to check them out calorie wise.  Besides, logging everything drove me a bit batty, even with something as simple and easy to use as fitday.  I know when I’m consuming too many extras, though I may play the denial card from time to time (thus, the scale ups and downs).

I wonder if at the start of one of those years, maybe picking a good one, like where I saw a 20 lb loss, if I’d told myself: “you will lose 20 lbs this year, no more, no less,” would I have felt like a complete failure and given up?  Margie, in 2009, you will lose 20 lbs, no more no less.  Will that make me be a rebel and strive for more??

In any event, I’m glad I created those charts and am facing it all realistically; the good and the bad aspects.  That way I can decide what next steps I may need to take, and what I might want to do.  And it’s a lovely August day!


Eating, the topic of endless interest…Part III

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We are passing through the world.
This is some of what is does to us.
                    — From: Fleshly Answers by Rachel Hadas

The third, and last part of the series I want to write, heh heh, has to do with habit.  Eating habits.  Part of the whole tangled up ball of yarn that involves emotional eating, binge eating, compulsive behavior is simple ole habit.  You know, that knee jerk, how I’ve always done it, what feels natural, groove kind of behavior.  Habit can be like a glue.  It’s the evening, bf and I are sitting watching tv, lots of Burger King and McD commercials flash in front of our eyes.  Hey, he says, I’m hungry!  Ah oh.  My “friend” habit from the past couple of years (I put the quotes in because sometimes habit has been my sincere friend), whispers in my ear, Yeah, I’m a little hungry.  Cheese and crackers would taste great right now.  And I haven’t had that in a while, doing it in the past hasn’t hurt that much…

Um, yeah, it has hurt in the past, because I stayed in the 250s for about 3 years because of that kind of behavior.  Not horrible, not binging, but bad habit.   Breaking the bad habit groove for me, and I’m still working on it, involves several elements. 

1) acknowledging in the moment that the behavior choice IS NOT HELPING THE CURRENT GOAL.

2) I have to be an adult and make the responsible, adult choice, and not give into the momentary desire (because it’s not fulfilling a true hunger, it’s a food desire, an urge)

3) acknowledging to myself that I can make the leap of faith in myself, that I can do it, and reach my goals, I’ve already made enormous progress.  I can overcome my fears and anxieties around the whole weight loss process.

Getting out of the 240s into the 250s represented a move out of my BIG STUCK PERIOD (major happy dance).  Now, moving from the 240s into the 230s has opened up new territory, which is potentially loaded for me.  After I’m below 240 I’ll be in the weight range I was in college.  In a way, it feels like I’m redefining myself.  Every ten pounds has felt that way, actually.  Thinking of myself being in the college weight range makes me feel joyful, and hopeful.  So why do I have this anxiety and fear around it?  You’d think I’d be thrilled with the thought of getting my weight down to that point.  My current reasoning around it is that I still put this burden of “action” or “expectation” around the pounds coming off, which sabotages me.  And it leads me to emotionally cling to BAD/UNHELPFUL HABITS. 

My plan for dealing with this, and I do have one, is to zone out.  Zone out, you say?  isn’t that UNMINDFUL and won’t that lead to falling into bad habits and away from success?   Au contraire.  By unmindful I mean I’m going to have simple goals (stay away from the crackers and cheese, keep the eating out at a minimum, stay away from the chocolate, the wine coolers), and not OVERTHINK the weight loss and what it means for me to have a smaller body, i.e., what I THINK I’ll have to do once I lose the weight.

One last thing before I go today.  I’ve been heavy since I was in elementary school.  As an adult, I don’t even remember being below 200 pounds (that would put me in an “overweight” category, instead of obese, at my height).  So, even though it’s a good distance away, weight loss wise, the thought of being below 200 lbs feels like entering another universe.  In a way, that fact may be making it harder for me to envision success:  I’m not going back to something I knew, I’m achieving a brand new goal for myself.  Interesting to see how this will develop….(!)

Eating, the topic of endless interest….Part II

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Let me start by saying I think binge eating truly sucks.  That felt good.  Let me follow up by saying every one most likely has a different definition of what a binge is, so here’s mine:  I consider it binging when I emotionally must eat a certain food or foods, and I don’t feel I can stop until the amount of those foods I have on hand completely is finished, i.e., the donut box is empty, the pizza gone, the Dorito bag a flapping piece of plastic coated with orange dust.  If you were to ask me what causes this, even after having gone through therapy for it, I couldn’t tell you.  I guess I could yap on about it filling voids, etc., family dynamics that scarred me, being overly sensitive, having bad coping mechanisms.  I would imagine the reasons one suffers from binge behavior must be unique to each person.  I’m not a psychologist. 

I did work with a therapist who specialized in eating disorders (I consider myself a “healed” compulsive overeater).  And I did group therapy for a short while (which helped me get over shame and guilt feelings).  What I do remember making an impact on the binge behavior was an approach in a book Overcoming Overeating  The idea behind it is to get your mind to believe that you have the real choice to eat whatever amount of any food that you want, that you do have the power to stop eating at any point (and there are no bad foods).   In my mind, I had this thought that I would be coming to the end of the food, the bottom of the box, the last one in the bag, that created a kind of panic where I felt compelled to finish it.  To eliminate that binge inducing thought, I would have to have as many boxes or bags of whatever food ON HAND, so in essence I would have an unlimited supply.  Once the box got towards the end, I’d buy another one.  I did this experiment with old fashioned donuts.

For anyone who feels out of control of her eating, you’ll get that this is a scary process.  It scared me, and it helped me get past my binging.  I do not binge eat anymore.  Was it a fast thing?  No, it took me decades of my life.  Did it have to take that long?  No, but I kept going back on diets, which sent me back into a binge mindframe.  For me, for most of my life, there’s existed a fine line of dieting/binge behavior; I had a desire to lose weight for my quality of life, my health, my looks.  At the same time, I needed to find a way that wouldn’t drive me nuts emotionally.  Diets promote binge behavior in me.  How do I eat to lose weight (diet), and not fall into binge behavior. 

It turned out to be a slow process.  No more dieting (like official WW, JC, whatever), BUT I do believe in eating healthily and watching how much I eat.  I don’t eat anything I don’t like.  Exercise has been a lifesaver in the process, not only does it help me emotionally, makes me feel healthier, makes me healthier, it helps me to feel good about EATING healthier and eating in a good calorie range.  My eating and exercise habits have evolved and continue to evolve.   

And it’s meant I’ve had to work on dealing with my emotional issues in ways other than with food.  And it meant that I had to face many of my emotional issues.  That took time and effort too.  Sometimes a good stew takes time. 

Eating, the topic of endless interest… Part I

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So, this and last week had their ups and down eating wise.  We celebrated bf’s birthday on Saturday, and I bought a small chocolate cake from Union Market, maybe 6″ diameter, that we split.  I indulged in a few other small things, cheese and crackers one night.  We had two hotdogs for lunch on Saturday, from a vendor, since we were in the park.  The weekend before that, I had a couple of meals out at restaurants.  Oh, and holy cow, we’ve been splitting wine coolers at dinner instead of drinking ice tea… (Today I ate right on track, yeah me.)

Yikes, I let the calories creep up on me again.  Plus, I hurt my foot (see below), so I skipped a gym day to give it a chance to get better.  It’s actually a good thing I did that, since I know I would have aggravated it more had I gone, and today I almost can’t even feel it.  The end result is that I’m maintaining instead of losing.  I have a challenge coming up, eating wise, in a couple of weeks too:  a vacation trip to Pennsylvania where I’ll be staying with people who really can cook (funny part of that is, none of them are overweight!)

At least now, I have the wherewithall and mindset to get back on track, even after these overindulgencies.  I spend time at 3FC, and I know that’s helping.  Really, my eating has been good for the most part, it’s the little extras and not big splurges where I’m faltering.  I admire the women here who can diligently stick to their plan through all challenges.  If I could switch myself into that person I would do it. 

Ok, Margie, no flogging allowed.  You’ve been getting better and better.

Here’s the quintessential American eating experience, Thanksgiving dinner, ha.  That’s me, the little blond girl with the yellow plastic cup.  Look!  mom wasn’t fat, dad wasn’t fat, sis was a little chubby (so was bro — guess who’s taking the picture).  I remember it being something of a free for all at dinner, grab what you can before somebody else eats it all.  Eating came to mean eat until you’re stuffed, especially at dinners like this one.  You were supposed to be stuffed, weren’t you?  It’s Thanksgiving!

My dad would come home from work — he worked hard, my dad, long hours, sometimes a long commute   — and he’d make himself these triple decker peanut butter sandwiches (he loved peanut butter; he’s alive, just doesn’t eat peanut butter, he’s had a couple of triple by-pass surgeries).  I think that example, combined with my learning to eat my emotions early on, got me into nasty habits.  I remember sitting in front of the television at night with a cup of hot chocolate or tea, and about 5 or 6 slices of bread with margerine and either jelly or sugar and cinnamon.

We didn’t eat fast food very much, and we didn’t buy much junk food (later on, as a highschool aged teen, I did start to scarf down entire bags of Doritos or Cheese puffs at one sitting).  We didn’t drink pop (except on rare occassions), or eat sugary breakfast cereals.  The calories came from staple types of foods, and consuming lots of it.  I still laugh (dryly) at the thought that we lived in northern California, a drive away from where a major portion of this countries fruits and vegetables are grown, and the typical variety of greens stocked in our house was canned peas, iceburg lettuce, and carrots.  In the summer we might eat corn on the cob.  Or maybe we’d eat canned corn during the year.  Later my dad started growing tomato plants; we kids refused to eat tomatoes (I didn’t start until in college), and tomatoes from a GARDEN sounded way to icky to put in your mouth (they’re on the ground, and dirty!)  I hated onions too.  I’m not sure how I managed to turn that all around, but I’m ever so thankful I did (my siblings haven’t).  My mom rarely made desserts (pies and cookies on holidays); we did have ice cream in the freezer fairly often.

I went through the entire evolution: 

  1. sitting in one place that’s dedicated to eating (ie not in front of the television);
  2. eat/chew slowly, putting down your fork between bites;
  3. buy a smaller plate; don’t go back for seconds (I still violate this from time to time, taking a little more);
  4. eat what you like to eat; eat smaller meals more often (I eat 3 meals and 3 snacks);
  5. learn how full and hungry feel, eat when you’re hungry (let’s face it, most eating programs fly in the face of that little pearl of wisdom) and stop when you’re full.

I’m sure there’s more that would fit into that list, but that’s a good overall survey.  Next entry will be about binge behavior and overcoming emotional eating — and dealing with all of that while it’s tangled up with just plain bad eating habits.

The beginning of august, and body acceptance…

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I bought a cute orange blouse at Macy’s a couple of weeks ago ON SALE.  I highlight those last two words because I’m so bad at shopping well, and get thrilled when I’m actually able to find a bargain.  Drum roll please, $7.  Yep, seven dollars.   Along with the cute orange blouse, I bought a brown cardigan (which was closer to $30 and less of a deal).  Why, you may ask, in the middle of July did I buy a cardigan?  The answer, the blouse has very short sleeves.  Yeah, and???  And I have fat upper arms! duh!   OK, Margie.  It’s AUGUST IN NYC (hot, humid), you’re going to wear a cardigan??  No, that isn’t a practical choice.  So I wore the short sleeved shirt all by its lonesome, and I accepted that I have fat upper arms, not only accepted it, but flaunted them in public.  AND I saw several people from the neighborhood that I know today, me wearing said shirt.  Guess what, no one noticed or cared. 

In General Chatter, a thread started about More To Love (the tv reality show), and the comment came up from sharongracepjs:  How sad for those people who think losing weight will make them like themselves – imagine somehow getting your extra pounds off, then being skinny, and still hating yourself! Where do you go from there?!

Great question!  There’s no better time for me to start liking myself than now.  About a week ago, I stumbled on a thread in the maintainer’s section (which I don’t usually go to), and the topic was short sleeved shirts and how that particular item of clothing struck fear in the hearts of women.  It may be a long time before I’m “skinny,” and even then I will most likely have the dreaded “wings.”  I have them now, and am 45, and unless something wonderfully magical occurs, I will have to deal with them to perhaps a greater degree when my body is thinner.  I’m going to accept them and allow my body to be what it is.

I bought a bathing suit a few years ago, that I’ve only worn a few times.  I don’t go swimming that ofen.  It’s cute and a flattering style for me (sort of a hi, H neck).  It has a short skirt that covers my upper thighs (I carry a lot of weight in my upper legs).  Now that I’m down about 9 lbs, it actually fits better.  I won’t say it’s not a struggle for me to put it on and go swimming.  Whenever I do, though, I feel a real sense of relief that I’m making an effort to overcome my physical self consciousness, which in a way is self hating, because it’s like I’m saying to myself that my body is so embarrassing to me that I can’t stand it.   Ok, Margie, get over it.  I’m going to take it with me when I go visit my cousin in Pennsylvania this August, in a couple of weeks.  They have their own pool, and I really think I should push myself to wear it.  They’re family, and I would love to let go being so paralyzed by my girthitude, because I have a feeling this will be an issue for me even as the pounds come off.