Weighty Matters

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I Don’t Fit!

The catalog from one of my favorite online clothing companies arrived yesterday.  Are you all familiar with Making It Big (M.I.B.)?  I’ve always found that they offer good quality clothes, truly designed for plus sized women and not just regular designs produced in bigger sizes.  Bonus — they are the only plus sized company that uses really plus sized models.  I’m not talking about size 16 or 18 only, but women who honestly wear 20, 22, 24 or larger.   I’ve purchased many lovely garments from this company over the years.

I’m still not buying a lot of clothes and certainly got some nice things over the weekend that will see me through over the next couple of months.  However, I have a couple of special things coming up that I need just a few more outfits for, so I was happy to leaf through the catalog pages.  I experienced something that has never happened to me before.  Most of the garments that I am interested in aren’t offered in my size!  The smallest size they come in is a 2X and I’m a 1X at this point, or smaller if the garment is a really generously-cut style.

I don’t fit.  I can’t fully describe how much this blows my mind.  For most of my life, it’s been the other way around.  I’d see beautiful clothes in stores or catalogs that I couldn’t wear because they weren’t available in sizes for the super obese.  Regardless of the number of times that I take myself off of mass mailing lists, I still get several catalogs that I’ve never been able to shop from before.  I’m going to have to rethink this and start looking through them instead of dumping them right into the recycling bin before I go into the house.  Better yet, as I continue to downsize, more stores become options.

Down here in the Florida Keys, I’ve not had a lot of places that I could go to shop for clothes.  KMart and Sears were the only two.  Even then, pickings were slim.  Our KMart is horrendous.  Many of us actually wished that it would be one of the ones that closed so that, perhaps, a different and better retail operation would take the space.

For new clothes, I’ve always relied on catalogs or made sure to hit the plus size chains when I go “off the rock” to the mainland.  If I traveled throughout Florida by car on business, I always did store locator searches for Catherine’s stores in the cities I visited.  Catherine’s has long been my favorite store for their variety of styles and quality.

I’m slowly realizing that as time goes on, I’ll need to do this less and less.  I’m already venturing into the Women’s Departments of big stores like JC Penny’s and Macy’s.  At some point, I won’t need the Women’s Department either.  The choices will be endless.

Wow.  This is truly an amazing feeling today.

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I’m Obese! Woohoo!

Friends, as of this morning, I am obese and I am celebrating.

Sounds counter-intuitive, even crazy, doesn’t it?

Not when you look at my history.  When I started my journey to wellness and commited to having weight loss surgery, I weighed 386 pounds.  At my height, this meant that I had a body mass index (BMI) of 64.2.  BMI is the quick determination of obesity.  Roughly, here’s how the numbers stack up.  Normal weight = BMI of 18.5 – 24.9.  Overweight = BMI of 25-29.9.  Obesity – 30-39.9.  BMI equal or greater than 35 with obesity-related health conditions, or any BMI equal or greater than 40 means morbid obesity.  Greater than 45 with health conditions or BMI of 50 means you’re super obese.

A BMI of 64.2 practically needs its own category beyond super obese.  Perhaps mega-obese?  Modern medicine hasn’t defined it yet.

So, I was super obese.  Every time I see the surgeon for a follow up appointment, he recalculates my BMI.  He actually does it on his iPhone.  Me, I go to one of the numerous free BMI calculators available on the internet.

This morning when I stepped on the scale I was 239 pounds.  (I’m closing in on 150 pounds lost!  These last 7 pounds have been slow to come off, delayed by the bit of food frolic in which I indulged while on my Hawaii trip.)  Today’s weight  gave me a BMI of 39.8.  My co-morbidities and obesity-related health conditions of high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar have resolved, so this puts me out of the morbid obese category into the “merely” obese!  Yes, my friends, I say that’s reason to celebrate!  Picture me doing a happy dance around my bedroom this morning.  Better yet, do it with me.

In the grand scheme of things, this particular number doesn’t mean anything.  I still need to lose more weight.  Sixty pounds from now when I weigh 179 I’ll leave obesity behind and join the world of the overweight with a BMI lower than 30.  My doctor wants me to go to at least 166.  He says that I’ll gain some weight when I transition to maintenance so going lower will give me room to gain a few pounds and still not tip back over the line into obesity.  Thank God he isn’t hammering at me to get to normal weight.  The thought of losing all of the way to 149 pounds is more than my mind can wrap around.

So how do I plan to celebrate today’s milestone accomplishment?  Well, I’m not breaking out cake and ice cream, that’s for sure.  I prepared a healthy lunch to bring to work — homemade egg salad and some hummus in romaine lettuce wraps.  I also have a navel orange for an afternoon snack.  Tonight, it’s Zumba class and a walk with the dogs.  I’m partying in my heart and spirit instead of with food, plus I’m celebrating it here with you.

Woohoo!

 

 

 

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Expelling Toxicity

In a conversation with some friends the other day, we talked about how each of us has experienced toxic people, places or situations in our lives at some point in time.  Some of the poison is created by other people and they then transport it with them into our lives like one might bring a virus germs.  Their condition then infects us and takes over.  Unfortunately, sometimes we infect ourselves.  We let toxic thoughts take hold and replicate until they mess us up mind, body and spirit.

Toxicity sucks.

There.  How’s that for a powerful and enlightening assessment?  🙂

Okay, seriously now, I’ve thought about this a lot and cannot for the life of me come up with one good reason why any of us either create a toxic soup for ourselves or permit others to be toxic or bring theirs with them into our lives.  Really, who want their life to be a Superfund site?

There are various depths and manifestations of this emotional waste.  We have people who are always negative.  That’s their go-to place.  Everything’s bad or hard or doomed.  Nothing good happens.  Everyone treats them horribly.  Life sucks no matter what.   Those lemons can’t be made into lemonade because they where rotten when they got them, damn it!  I’m miserable just describing negative people.

Don’t we all know people who live in a place of constant drama and, boy oh boy, don’t they always cast themselves in the lead role?  The older that I get, the more exhausted I am by the mere thought of conjuring up that much sturm un drang.

When I’m surrounded by negativity or drama, I feel its effects.  It drags on my spirit.  Stress results and impacts my body.  Mentally, it wears me out.

Granted, life isn’t always going to be sunshine and sweet smelling flowers.  It would be horribly naive of me to expect that as a perpetual state.  However, I firmly believe that we can counteract the crap that sometimes falls.  We don’t have to wallow.  We also can choice to what extent we permit toxic people into our lives.  While it might be our nature to be empathetic and supportive, we need to set the boundaries, too.  It goes back to the airplane analogy that I’ve used before.  If you’re traveling with someone who might need assistance, put the mask over your own face first.  Note that this means you pick up your mask and put it over your own face.  It does not mean that you give up your mask to the other person.  It doesn’t mean that you suck in your air and then feed it to the other person.  Sometimes the best thing that we can do for someone else is not take over their problems or drama but to instead give them the space to deal on their own.  If you assist them in putting on their mask, it’s then their responsibility to breathe on their own.

One of my personal goals this year is to be aware of other people’s toxicity and avoid getting mired in the emotional sludge.  I can also refuse to play any role in someone else’s drama.  I want to surround myself with upbeat, grounded, healthy people, places and situations, to experience positive energy, and to continue to experience and take part in life with a healthy, positive attitude.

If this means that I need to choose to expell toxicity and reduce my exposure or connection with the people who revel in it, then I need to be strong enough to do so.  In the end, I’ll be better off.

 

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Musing on Motivation

Motivation is a tricky thing sometimes.  It can be as powerful as a locomotive, as out of our control as the tide, energizing as lightning, and as elusive as an improbable wish.

If we could lock it down or coalesce it into something we could plug into our psyches and turn off and on with a switch, we’d be golden.  We could also license our product and make a gazillion bucks.

Alack, alas, that’s a ginormous “if”.

There’s no one-size-fits-all, unifying motivation.  Different things propel different goals.  Even when the goals are similar, what flicks your switch might not do a thing for mine and vice versa.  There isn’t even a common formula, or a common sense formula for that matter.  Five years ago, I wouldn’t even consider weight loss surgery.  I had to hit my tipping point which was surely not the same for what motivated my friends to choose surgery.

You know that sports shoe slogan, Just Do It?  I wonder if that actually worked for any significant number of people.I remember when I was a young teen, a colleague/friend of my parents suggested that when I really got a hard crush on a boy, I’d lose weight.  Care to guess how many crushes I experienced that didn’t lead to successful weight loss?

When I was a kid, I wanted a horse of my own more than anything in the whole wide world.  My father told me if I lost 50 pounds, he’d buy me one.  Even the promise of my heart’s desire wasn’t motivation enough.

There are some things that do involve an almost A plus B = C motivational equation.  For example, I love my job and want to keep it so I go to work every day and do my job to the best of my ability.  Easy, right?  I wonder if I would have been able to keep my job if losing weight had been a requirement.

Motivation feels like it should be more physically substantial than a wish, a want, a dream or a goal.   Unfortunately, in many cases, it feels like it is less tangible — that it really is a wish, a want, a dream, or a goal.  It’s powerful and can also be a power suck when it’s gone.  It can also be darned hard to locate when it takes a vacation from our lives.

I don’t know why I’m musing on this tonight.  I haven’t lost my motivation.

Yet.

That’s the crux of this.  I’m afraid of losing my motivation.  I had such a great weekend and now I’m second-guessing the positive juice out of fear.  Begone, fear.  I refuse to give you power.

I will continue on my weight loss and fitness journey.  I will not abandon myself and my determination.  I am going to keep on with the effort, reach my goals, and build on the success.  Healthy eating, regular exercise, and a pro-fitness lifestyle are my present and they damn well are also my future.

 

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Adjusting My Mind

Prior to going to the doctor last week, I had to fill out the new patient paperwork which included my current weight.  Last week I also went online to calculate my current body mask index (BMI).  In both instances, I incorrectly typed my weight as beginning with a three.

After several months, I still don’t instinctively remember that I weigh less than 300 pounds.   I step on the scale a few times a week.  You’d think that I’d be used to seeing 2 something.    In my own defense, I guess it isn’t too out there.  I weighed more than 300 pounds for decades.  Still, since I celebrated getting below that mark  and did so several months ago, I’m sort of surprised that I keep writing my weight wrong.

Sometimes when I stand before the mirror, I’m really surprised at how much thinner I look.  I’m happy to say that I haven’t suffered from “fat eyes”, that syndrome when I think I’m a lot bigger than I really am.  However, the new, ever improving body, isn’t something to which I’m yet accustomed.

I’ll get there; I believe this to be true.  There will come a day when my new body is “normal” to me.  I know I have months to go before I reach my goal weight.  After that, there will be several months, perhaps even a year, before I can have the “skin-ectomy” (My made up term.) to remove the excess skin.  So, I’m a long way way from the final product. 🙂  Again, I say, I’ll get there.

Physically, I’m a constant work in progress.  Mentally, I am too.  I made good progress this weekend with my shopping experiences.  Once I saw the smaller sizes that I was fitting into at one store, I never looked back.  I hit another store and went right for the smaller size, trying that one first.  I think I just need to build on each experience where I see, acknowledge and accept that I keep reducing in size.

As for remember this when I have to note my weight on electronic forms, it doesn’t matter if I slip and put in a 3.  I can always delete the error and reenter the right info!  It’s certainly an easy adjustment!

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Full Day & Flower Ink

Wow, what a full day. I’m ready to curl up with a book and go to bed early.

I sort of slept in, which means later than 8:00. I had plans to meet friends at the mall at 11. Before that I got in breakfast and a fast paced 35 minutes on the treadmill.

Shopping was fun. I never used to say that but moving easily around the mall adds positive energy to the experience. First we spent time trying out different cosmetics at Sephora. Then these friends introduced me to Lush. Natural, lovely bath salts, oils, bubble bath and soaps. Plus creams and beauty products.

I’m hooked on these products. I bought some bath salts, a cinnamon bar good for rubbing on sore muscles, and ocean salt which is a lovely softening scrub.

When I go to product stores that have samples and testers, I’m like Alice in Wonderland consuming unknown stuff just because it says Drink Me. So when I saw the tooth tabs that said they were good for cleaning teeth and freshening breath and the had bold Try Me stickers, I did.

Right after I popped the mint wasabi sample in my mouth the staff said, “you didn’t just try one, did you? We usually don’t recommend them.”. Around the foaming, not great substance in my mouth, I said, “then why are they right at the register with a Try Me sticker?”

The staff very nicely let me rinse mouth out and spit in their sink. Oh well, the other products are great!

Lunch with even more friends followed. Then a quick trip to another store where I found a great black dress for an evening event at a bargain price!

Shopping complete, we were off to the tattoo parlor to meet Steve and get my ink.

Here’s the new tattoo. The skin is still irritated but it’s pretty and will get even more so. The design is the common meadow/wood violet which is the state flower of NJ- my home state. The notes beneath are the opening to Thunder Road.

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I really like the artist and asked if he would recolor my other tattoo. It looks much better now.

A quick visit to Target for various items and I was beat. I had a great day and am now ready to end it on a good, relaxed note. One funny irony. Those great new bath salts will go unused for a little while. I can’t soak the new tattoos for two weeks!

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Guesstimating Size

My appointment with the hematologist turned out to be as unnecessary as I expected. He looked at my blood counts and agreed that the things that are low are consistent with thalassemia trait, which I already knew about. He said that I’m not iron deficient and that giving me an infusion would just stock more iron than I need in my liver with no way to get rid of it. He was unconcerned and, hopefully after he sends his report, my surgeon will be too.

Since I had to take off the entire day from work because the doctor’s office is 2 1/2 hours from home, I decided to stay overnight so that I could take advantage of being “off the rock” as we call it when we leave the Keys.

This arrangement meant I could spend some time with friends and also do a little shopping.

I went to Lane Bryant. The first thing I did was get a bra fitting because I was pretty sure I’d gone down a band size. I was wrong. I’ve gone down three since the last fitting! I thought the woman was nuts until I tried on the smaller bra. It fit comfortably and shaped me great!

Next I picked out a few tops, ranging from one size smaller to three sizes smaller, depending on how they were cut and sized. For example, some were sized as 20 or 22. Some had dual numbers like 18/20 or 22/24.

In the dual numbered tops, the 18/20 ones fit great! In the single number ones that had more fitted waists, I was more comfortable in the 20s but that’s down from my previous size of 24.

I wanted one neutral blazer/jacket. Since this was fitted, I picked a 22. I swam in it! I saw a 20 which fit well, but just for the heck of it, I tried the 18.

It fit! I can’t quite comfortably button it quite yet but will be able to in a couple of weeks which means I’ll get longer wear out of it before it’s too big.

A size 18! I don’t think I’ve worn an 18 in 30 years! I’m so psyched.

With this kind of shopping success I could have seriously damaged my credit card. Luckily LB was having a great sale. If you bought at least five garments, you got 50% off of everything. With those savings, I could buy a few nice new things for spring and also throw in new underwear in smaller sizes.

What a wonderful Shopping NSV!

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On the Path to Pretty

I don’t like seeing gray in my hair.  I’ve had gray hair for years which means, of course, that I’ve colored my hair for years.  Each year there are more and more of the silver strands clumping up into my dark brown hair.  Blech.  The most obvious areas are the roots around my face and, obviously, down the part.

My hair grows fast so I go every four or five weeks for a color and shaping.  Since late last fall-early winter, I’ve embraced a completely different look for me.  For a few years I was going with a very straight hair look, including keratin protein treatments which reallllly straightened it out.  I have coarse, thick hair and it tends to frizz in the Florida humidity.  Now I’m embracing my natural waves and curls.  Actually, I’m doing stuff that enhances the curliness.  Much to my surprise, I’m loving it and so is pretty much everybody else.  I’ve had people ask me if I had a perm.  That’s how curly my hair can get.  A bonus to this style is that it is so easy to maintain.

When I straightened my hair I had to blow it dry whenever I washed it and then reinforce the straightening with a flat iron.  That all adds up to too much time.  I don’t love fussing with my hair at all.  With this style, I wash my hair, towel dry it, brush it and then scrunch in some foam meant for curls.  I can scrunch it as little or as much as I want to encourage the curls and waves.  Whatever the case, five minutes and I’m done.  I l-o-v-e the efficiency and results.

Tonight I had an appointment with my stylist   She applied the gray-covering color and, because the hairs around my temples are particularly stubborn, pressed rectangles of foil on top to strengthen the dye’s power.  For good measure, she sat me under heat lamps too.  I looked at myself in the mirror and burst out laughing.  My hair stuck out like Einstein’s, then I had the foil stuck on me and the heat lamps behind me made it look like antennae were growing from my head.  I looked like an alien.

Oh hell.  I have no pride.  Here.  See for yourself.

 

Auditioning for remake of My Favorite Martian?

Seriously, is there no end to how ridiculous we’ll allow ourselves to look in the name of vanity as we hike our way down the path to pretty?  I don’t know how anyone keeps a straight face, let alone carries on a conversation with someone when they look like they’re auditioning for the remake of My Favorite Martian. After the color processing and washing, Angelina, aka stylist extraordinaire, assessed the state of my style.  She snipped a little here and there, texturized a few areas and then worked in the styling foam.  A little bit of blowdrying and, voila, my ‘do was done.  We relocated to the waxing chair for some brow shaping, etc. before I left.  I can tell you that nothing makes me feel prettier than when I leave the salon after a hair appointment or my monthly mani-pedi indulgence.  One of these times, I should make plans to go out afterward instead of just heading home.  I was feeling particularly sassy and, at the same time, couldn’t stop laughing every time I thought about the “before” picture.  I honestly didn’t intend to post the picture on the blog.  Seriously, how many women want to put up a photo where they look ridiculous?  🙂  Just goes to show how comfortable I am with all of you.  In fairness to myself, however, once I decided to put up that picture, I thought I owed it to myself to also post an “after” picture.  Unfortunately, I just took it.  This means that it’s not only after the hair cut, but also after I’ve removed my contact lenses and my makeup.  Oh well.  At least my hair looks cute and curly, sans alien antennae.cutecut

 

 

 

 

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Energy Ups & Downs

Isn’t it odd how some days we feel like we can take on the world and other days like we have to focus all our power on just putting one foot in front of the other?

Tonight at Zumba, I was fully charged with energy. I brought my knees up higher, tried some of the more jumpy or twisty moves and really pushed myself on pace to maximize the aerobic benefit. The hour sped by and class was over before we knew it.

Earlier today I got the dogs out for a short walk and also practiced Tai Chi with a friend for 15 or so minutes.

I felt strong and energized all day. It was terrific!

Tomorrow I might have a power sucking day or another just like today. I’ll deal either way.

I work tomorrow and then have an appointment with a hematologist on Friday. My iron counts are low. This doesn’t alarm me because I have thalassemia trait. My surgeon wants me to see the specialist to make sure that the thalassemia is the cause. I guess it’s possible that the big change in diet could be the cause. The surgeon wants a blood expert to decide if I need supplements or a transfusion.

Filling out the new patient paperwork on line took 40 minutes. No, electronic program, I don’t remember the date or operating doctor of my childhood appendectomy.

I’m having dinner with friends and, if all goes right with planning, will get a new tattoo before I return home. I sent off some research photos and an explanation to the artist tonight via email. It was a lot more fun to gather images than it was to fill out that aforementioned patient paperwork!

How’s everybody doing? Activity challenge, participants, I’m rooting for you!

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Quick Bits

I’m more tired than usual tonight. So much so that I’m too lazy to turn on my computer.

It’s been a good day. I fulfilled my activity commitment beginning with a brisk walk with the dogs, practicing Tai Chi at work with a co-worker, and ending with a full hour class.

My right knee’s complaining a bit so I’m treating it to some ice.

I can’t decide whether to treat myself by taking a hot bath or by going to bed early. Decisions decisions.

I well remember nights when I’d come home from a day at work that was more physically strenuous than usual. My entire body ached, twinged, and downright hurt. I’d swallow 800mgs of Motrin, flop in my recliner and whine.

At least now when I ache it’s because I exercised and, ultimately, did some good for my body. I’m careful not to push myself to the point where I damage my joints.

Previously, I was in pain just from trying to keep up with the requirements of my job. That’s not a good or happy way to live.

This way is so much better.

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