Weighty Matters

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Red Alert – Cupcake Craving

I really want a cupcake.  Not any run of the mill baked good, but one from the specialty cupcake bakery up the road.   One with chocolate cake, a chocolate ganache filling and a thick, fudgy swirl of chocolate buttercream frosting.  Peanut butter and chocolate would be good too.

I thought about stopping in to buy one on my way home from work but I resisted, mostly because I was in a time crunch.  I had to get to the sheriff’s office before five to turn over my drugs.

Ha!  Made you think, didn’t I?  😀  Our Sheriff’s Department provides a collection service for prescription meds that are left over.  I had pill bottles with meds from as far back as 2007.  I’m not big on taking pain meds one pill longer than necessary so I never used up all that were prescribed after my gall bladder surgery, my carpal tunnel surgery, or my painful dental procedures.  I also had leftovers of the meds that I used to have to take to control my cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar.  Clearly my medicine cabinet lacked for space, but this morning I bagged everything up and dropped it off tonight.

Back to the cupcakes.  I don’t know why I intensely long for one tonight.  There’s been some stress in the day, but nothing mind-shattering.  I’m busy, but no more than my normal rate of hectic work load.  Maybe it’s hormonal.  Maybe I just want a freaking sugar and carb-laden cupcake for no discernible reason other than I. Want. One.

I’ve made a bargain with myself.  As soon as I hit “Publish” on this post, I’m heading out for a Zumba class.   When I’m done dancing off 800-900 calories, if I still want the damned cupcake so much, I will give myself permission to go to the bakery and buy one.  Honestly, even if I eat dinner, with the Zumba workout, I will still be well beneath my daily allotment of calories.  I won’t be able to eat an entire cupcake, so I still won’t have overeaten.

However, I am willing to bet, or at least hope, that after putting out the effort to Zumba, I’ll decide the cupcake just isn’t worth it.

I will report back in a couple of hours.

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Eating Buddies – Losing Buddies

I just looked at the post count.  This is number 396.  Holy wow.  We’re closing in on 400!

I went out to lunch with friends today.  We don’t often get to do that because our days at work are pretty tightly scheduled, so the fact that we spontaneously thought of it and could fit it in was a great treat.

I started thinking again about how incredibly fortunate I am to have such terrific, unending support from family and friends.   Even when a couple expressed fear that I’d elected to have major, life-changing surgery, they still clearly wanted the best for me.  If I ever make a list of the things someone needs when heading into this kind of effort, a strongly supportive circle would be at the top.

Asking for help and support is not something that easily comes to me.    Don’t laugh, particularly since I just stated that I’ve been running at the mouth, and at my typing fingertips, about my weight issues, the surgery, my recovery, my compulsive overeating/binge eating disorder and everything else for 395 (and a half, now) posts, but talking about my weight and my issues was never that easy.

It was easier when I was in the anonymous rooms of OA or when I was around friends who also needed to lose weight.  The difference is that when I regularly attended OA meetings, I was focused on remaining abstinent from the disease of binge eating.  When I was around my overweight friends, if it was a time when I wasn’t in program, we might talk about our weight, etc., but we kept right on eating.

Being around friends who can also be eating buddies often makes for a food free-for-all.  An Eating Buddy friend is hardly going to judge your Big Mac, Supersized fries and chocolate shake when they’re ordering the same big amounts of food.

The dynamic can shift, and suddenly so, when one of the buddies decides to go on a diet or do something else, to put forth a seriously committed effort to losing weight.   There are some who feel threatened when their eating buddy chooses a different path.  Some have even been known to sabotage the weight loss effort.

It is much healthier to have losing buddies, a network of family and friends who will listen to you, hug you, spent some quality time with you and support you in your effort.  It’s these friends who might offer you a bite of their rich, decadent dessert and understand if you only want a bite or might pass up the cake at all.   It’s those who don’t push food at you as if they need you to overeat or eat off of your food plan so that they ultimately feel better about what they’re eating.

It’s good to have losing buddies now — whether the friend or two who are also working on weight loss, or those who aren’t but who care so much about me that they’re rooting on every step of progress.   It’s good to have those of you who come here, read and comment.   It all reinforces the effort.

My goal for this week is to be aware of, and acknowledge, the support I receive on a daily basis.  My secondary goal is to always be supportive of a friend who is going through a difficult challenge.  To borrow a phrase from OA, together we can do what we could never do alone.

 

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Progress on the Promise List

Those of you who have been with the blog for awhile have heard me share about one of the “lines in the sand” for me that pushed me over the edge so that I decided to have weight loss surgery.  Bear with me, please.

I love the ocean.  There are only a handful of years in my entire life when I have not lived within a mile of the Atlantic Ocean.  Honestly, for most of my life I’ve lived within steps of the beach.  As you know, my home is on a harbor in the Florida Keys, on the ocean side.  From the time I was a baby, I’ve gone on boats.  Fishing was a popular family activity up home on the Jersey Shore.   That’s why my folks bought this little house as a vacation home here in the Keys.  These islands meant they could fish in the winter too.

I love boats.  I love being on and in the water.  Four years ago, I bought a boat of my own, a sweet, stable 22 footer.  My dream was that I would be able to take friends out fishing and to some of the snorkeling spots located not far from my house.   I also like taking out the boat and meeting friends at a local sandbar for an afternoon of cool, wet, socializing.

Two years ago, when I was at my hugest, I still went out on my boat, even though it was often awkward and not all that easy for me to gracefully move around.   Emotionally at that time, I’d given up on myself and had pretty much resigned myself to never losing my excess weight.  i knew that within the next five to ten years, I’d be even further on the way to being disabled if I wasn’t dead from a heart attack or some other obesity-related condition.

One day I’d joined up with others at the sandbar.  We’d arrived at low tide and by the time we were ready to leave, the water had come up.  I went to my ladder and realized that I couldn’t easily get my foot up on the lowest rung.  I tried to maneuver my knee on it and was almost successful, but my body was just too big.  I couldn’t help myself either because I didn’t have the arm strength or upper body strength to haul myself up out of the water.

Thankfully, we could let out some additional anchor line and I walked the boat back to where it was still somewhat shallow and I managed to get on board.

This, my friends, was a defining moment.   It’s a damn good thing that I’d found this out when I could still touch bottom.  I could just as easily have jumped off of my boat while snorkeling and not been able to get back on without assistance.  The dismay, horror and sadness stayed with me for days.   Honestly, I could have sunk completely into despair and totally crashed and burned.  Fortunately, I went the other way and decided not to give up on myself.  I became determined to change my life around, and go to any lengths to lose weight and get healthy — even though it meant having weight loss surgery.  Less than a month later, I’d gotten the name of a surgeon from my primary care physician and attended the free information seminar.  From there, everything moved steadily forward.

As you know, I have an ongoing Promise List of experiences and activities I’ve promised myself I will do as I lose weight.  On that list I put, “Take friends on my boat and go snorkeling”.

Last year at this time, I still had not lost enough weight or built up my physical condition enough to risk doing the snorkeling trip.  In the last 12 months however, I’ve lost many more pounds and invested a lot of time, energy and effort into physical exercise and conditioning.   The hard work has paid off in so many ways.  It’s what enabled me to zip line, snorkel, and hike the crater in Hawaii.  it makes every day just easier and less exhausting over all.

Today was just one more example.  Move another item from the “want to do” column on my Promise List over to the “I’ve done it!” side.  Today we were blessed with absolutely perfect weather — bright sunshine with a light kiss of breeze and calm waters.  I’d made plans with friends for a boating excursion.  First stop – Coffin’s Patch, a popular spot for snorkeling in a sanctuary area.  After putting on my fins and mask, I walked down my boat ladder into the warm, clear-as-glass water.  I wish I had an underwater camera so I could show you the beautiful, lacy purple sea fans, big brain coral and all of the colorful fish that I swam around.  It was just glorious!  We must have stayed there, swimming around and looking at everything before I swam back to my boat.

Moment of truth time!  In all honestly, my ladder really could use an extra rung, but the lack didn’t stop me.  I maneuvered my knee onto the bottom run, pulled myself up until I could get my foot on it, and then boosted myself the rest of the way up.  I did it!  Mission – and Promise List item – accomplished.

I’d shared the history with my friends and when I was back on board, they cheered for me.  It was a truly fine moment to share and I’m sure my grin was bright, happy and, probably, a little cheesy.  It was great!

From there we cruised a couple of miles over to the sandbar and ate the lunch we’d brought.  One of my friends also mixed up an excellent, tasty sangria.  I’m a responsible boat captain so I limited myself to half a glass at the very beginning, but it was enough to use to toast the day and celebrate.

Here are a couple of photos to show you the beauty, at least above the water’s surface.  I really must look into underwater cameras soon.  I know for a fact that I plan to go snorkeling a lot more often!

Endless beauty!

Endless beauty!

Snorkel Trip 005-web

Happy Captain.

Happy Captain.

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On Productivity

Whew, another active day but as I sit here, I am still coherent, so it’s a good time to blog.  Here’s what I accomplished on this fine Saturday, the first day of my weekend off.  I went to my 9 a.m. Tai Chi class for an hour, and then zipped over to Zumba Gold class.  Faster pace, for sure, for the next hour.  I don’t usually double up my exercise like that but I didn’t get to Zumba on Tuesday and I really want to get at least one class in each week.

After Zumba, I went over to the animal shelter.  I’m on the Board and am also a volunteer.  We’ve been working with a mastiff that has anxiety and stress issues.  He’s really a sweet dog, but because of his size he can be intimidating if he gets all jumpy, and if he growls or barks when he’s anxious, so the more positive interaction he gets, the better.  I actually worked with him a little on his leash manners too, enough that I felt confident that I could handle him on a short walk.  He did great.  I’m so proud of him.

After that I hit the supermarket, then came home and did some clearing out/clean up work in my shed.  I had some squares of pebble tile left over from my pool and bathroom that I offered to a friend, so that clearing out involved lifting.  Good work.  I followed that up with some time in the pool, mostly cleaning said tile.  Whew!

I did find some time to relax and read, which was great.  I also made boating plans with friends for tomorrow.  If all goes as planned, I’ll get to share about experiencing something else from my Promise List!

After dinner I remembered that I hadn’t walked the dogs today!  Even though they had plenty of yard time, running in and out with me as I did my tasks, there’s something about a good walk.  So, we set out for about 20 to 30 minutes.

This, my friends, was a physically active and productive day.  It’s all made possible by weight loss.

The weight loss has also helped my non-physical productivity.  While I’ve always been pretty efficient and also able to accomplish a lot of work, I’d noticed in the last few years before my surgery that my brain was draining sooner than I was accustomed.  I also found that around 3:00 or 3:30 p.m. I really wanted to nod off at my desk.  I believe now that the mid-afternoon snooze-desire was probably mostly due to the sleep hypopnea at night where I wasn’t getting the quality of sleep I needed in my 7 hours each night.  I have also come to believe that the sheer physical energy I expended just in walking or going up the stairs to my office or, hell, just moving at all in my large body wore me out.  No wonder I was tired mid-day!  No wonder  I often dozed off after dinner for a ten or twenty minute nap at home.

These days at work, I habitually have a sizeable to-do list.  I probably always had a sizeable list, but I seem to have made it even more sizeable.  It’s like the more that I get done, the more I think of to do, and the more I want to take on.  I don’t need to doze mid-afternoon.  I have more energy physically and mentally.  Being healthier has enabled me to raise the bar for myself.  I am now even more productive.

I truly love my job and believe in our mission.  My work contributes to our success and I want to do whatever I can.  So, this extra productivity also feeds my spirit.  This is definitely a terrific bonus to the weight loss.

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The Sleepy Blogger

I honestly didn’t realize that I haven’t blogged since Tuesday.  I know I’ve had a busy week but, yeesh.  That’s bad.  The good news is that I’m really good.  The bad news is that I’m so sleepy that the topic I thought of earlier today has already floated out of my head.   In concentrating, I think it was something to do with being more productive since I lost weight.  How’s that for a contrast?

Yes, I’d like to blog about being more productive, but right now I’m too tired to be productive, let alone blog about it.  *snortle*  That feels ridiculous to me, too.

Please forgive me, but if I try to do the blog tonight, at some point it will devolve into gibberish and I’ll end up with poiuytrewq on my forehead.

Hope you’ve all had a terrific week and that you have fun plans for the weekend.

I promise to blog on productivity tomorrow or Sunday.  Cross my heart!

In the meantime, if you’re so inclined, talk amongst yourselves. 🙂

 

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The Power of No

I don’t have any brilliant, in depth observations tonight.  Ha!  That makes it sound like I think I have brilliant, in depth observations on other nights.  Observations, maybe, but I don’t know where they’d rank on the brilliance scale.

Tonight, I just want to share about a little game I played earlier this evening.  I ran up to KMart earlier to see if they had embroidery hoops.  I should have known better, but I remember to pick up a couple of other things that I need.

Anyway, in order to get to the sewing section, I had to walk through the aisles of food.  Food packaging is oh so colorful and eye catching — particularly those bright bags of M&Ms, cookies, and other sweets.   Tonight I was on a mission to find a hoop, so I wasn’t ambling up and down in browsing mode.  I walked with purpose at a decent pace.  For some reason while I walked past the shelves of food, I started chanting in my head.  “No, no, no, no” in time with my steps.

When I realized what I was doing, I laughed and made a game of it, putting particular emphasis on the “No” when I spied a particular favorite.  Left, right.  Left right.  “No, no, no, hell no, no, no, no.”

If I’d done this out loud, people would have thought me nuts.  I would have called me nuts.  Since I was the only one who knew, I actually had fun with it.  No matter how silly it might seem, the “No” refrain worked.  After all, I didn’t buy any of that food, did I?

My takeaway lesson from this is that the technique can be serious or silly, but if it works, that’s all that matters.  Tonight, it was all about the power of No.

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Acknowledging the New Me

I wonder how long it will be before I never think of myself as an obese woman but automatically remember that I’m much thinner and healthier now.  It’s odd how I sometimes need to reset my thoughts.  Things pop up out of the blue.  Like today, for example.  I was getting ready to take the boat out for a ride.  It’s hard to describe but I keep it on a lift on the sea wall.  I lower the boat enough to sit on the side, swing my legs in and stand up.  Then I put it down the rest of the way.

Today I’d lowered it almost all of the rest of the way when I saw that I’d forgotten my water bottle.  My first thought was, “Damn.  Have to raise the boat.”  Two years ago, that’s what I would have done.  Today,  I looked at the gunwale, remembered that my body is thinner and stronger, that my knees are steadier, and that my balance is greatly improved.  All I had to do was step up on to the gunwale,  hold onto the metal of the console for extra safety and then step down onto the lift platform.   It really was that easy.

I was incredibly overweight for so long, that it’s not natural yet for me to remember that I’m different.  Sometimes I still hesitate before sitting in a resin chair.  I hold my breath at turnstiles.   I do a lot of mentally measuring spaces with my eyes before I walk through.   I suck in my breath and turn my back to the wall if someone wants to pass me in the hall, even if it’s a wide hall.  Old, formerly necessary, habits, die hard.

These and other “size compensation” behaviors could stress me out like they used to, but I’m trying to remember to follow up the old thoughts with new, improved ones.  Even if all I do is catch myself and remember, “Nope.  Don’t have to do that anymore” or tell myself to go ahead and sit in that resin chair because it’s not going to break beneath me, it turns the experience more positive.

When I do something and it’s easier in my new body, or I engage in an activity that demonstrates my improved agility and balance, I do my best to mark the moment in my head.  I believe the acknowledgement is important.  I need to recognize these experiences, both minor and major.  Each of those experiences becomes a brick in a better, stronger foundation.

I’m pretty sure that, as time goes on, I’ll see the flashback reaction to the old obese body less often.  I don’t know if eventually I won’t think that way at all, and maybe I shouldn’t want it to.  Maybe it’s good for me to remember how uncomfortable, awkward, limiting, and often painful that body was and how often it prevented me from participating fully in activities I wanted to do.  Then I can remember how I’m not limited in the same way today.  That is another way to acknowledge the new me.

 

 

 

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When Less is Plenty

Even after a year and a half, I’m still amazed that much smaller portions are more than enough.  In the world of an active compulsive overeater or binge eater, there is never enough food.  We want to eateateat, then eat some more.  If we aren’t eating, we’re thinking about what we ate or, more often, thinking about what we will eat next.  It can get obsessive.  Let me tell you, the constant food thoughts are exhausting.

I’ve had a really great two weeks with my food and exercise.  For this I was rewarded by good, steady weight loss after the long stall.  Today, even though I’d brought my lunch to work, around 11 o’clock I developed a true desire to eat something different than the 0% fat blueberry Greek yogurt.  I got a deep craving for a really good cheeseburger.  Fortunately, my boss and a friend were also in the mood to walk to the restaurant next door.  Bonus, my boss was willing to plate share.

The burgers are big at this restaurant.  We know that from long experience.  They also add a healthy serving of good fries.  In the past, I easily plowed my way through the entire basket of food.  These days, even if I could manage to force all of it in my stomach, it wouldn’t stay down long.  Honestly, I have no desire to eat that much food any more.

When the basket was served, my boss told me to go ahead and cut in, and then remove whatever portion I wanted.  I cut off a third of the cheeseburger patty, leaving behind the bun.  Four or five French fries were more than enough.  I also claimed the pickle spear and left her the tomato slice.

This meal amounted to the smallest fraction of what I used to eat before, but it was the right portion for me.  The three of us had a fun time chatting while we ate.  When we were finished, I was absolutely satisfied and didn’t crave one more bite.  Less was definitely plenty.

What a great, welcome change.  It’s good to remember that I can go out, enjoy delicious food while socializing, and not have to gorge myself in order to be happy.

 

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The Skinny on Skin

Before I launch into the post, I wanted to say that I’ve tried to reply to the comments Skye and Anonymous left on the last post Terminology.  WordPress has not cooperated.   So, Anonymous, thank you for the different perspective on use of the word “thick” and that it might not be meant in a derogatory fashion.  Skye, it’s good for us all to remember that thin people can be picked on or insulted too with different terminology.  Thank you!

So, this could be a TMI type of post.  My skin sag is really noticeable in some parts of my body — upper arms and my thighs to be exact.  Sure, I see it in my stomach region, but most of the time I can cover up that area.   I’m sure my butt cheeks are probably sagging, too, but that problem is behind me.  😉  Out of sight, out of mind, you know?

Living here in the land of warmth, 10 1/2 months of the year I wear shorts and capri length pants.  I purposely stay away from short shorts so, thankfully, I’m probably the person most aware of the epidermal bagginess.  My arms are more difficult to conceal, particularly in Ladies tops.  I’m okay in a unisex T-shirt but I’ve discovered that the sleeves of Ladies garments are definitely shorter.  I’ve started to look for things with 3/4 length sleeves to cover the problem.

I don’t even know if other people truly notice.  It’s enough that I now do.  Without stressing myself out too much, I am always aware of the areas and want to camouflage them.  Don’t get me wrong.  I’m not complaining, or at least not much.  All in all, saggy skin because of tremendous weight loss is a great problem to endure.

I know eventually I will have reconstructive surgery.  This always brings up sort of a macabre thought of the serial killer in Silence of the Lambs who wants to harvest skin from size 14 young women so he can make himself a skin suit.   Anybody who wants my excess can have it — providing, of course, that they don’t try to slice it off of me themselves but leave it up to a skilled surgeon in a sterile operating room while I’m under anesthesia.

Sooner or later I’m going to research the actual procedure or procedures.   Think anybody’s put one up on YouTube yet?  Come to think of it, I only want to know the results and not the cut by stitch, cut by stitch  process to tighten and remove the sagging bags.  I’ve heard that I can donate the skin to help burn victims.  Need to check out whether that’s true.  I’d do it in a heartbeat.  After all, i don’t need it anymore, so if it can aid someone else, so much the better.

What I really want to know is how soon I can undergo the operation(s).   I’ve heard that I need to wait for a full year after I reach goal weight.  (Okay, at this point I honestly do need to indulge in a slight whine.  A whole year?)  I read somewhere else that a surgeon won’t do it until I’ve been at goal weight at least three months.  That’s a little less whine-inducing timeline.)

I get why I’ll have to wait for at least some number of months.  I’m sure that medical staff will want me to demonstrate that I can keep off the weight that I’ve lost or at least give me some time to stabilize in maintenance.  I suppose the best thing for me to do is not obsess over it at this point but accept that I won’t hit goal weight one day and be able to schedule surgery for the next.

Unfortunately, I also don’t think that all of the problems will be address in a single procedure.  That sort of stinks.  Despite the possible elevated pain, I’d rather do as much as possible under one anesthesia experience.

Okay, I am beginning to obsess.  This isn’t good.  Instead, I’m going to do some constructive thinking and planning.  I’ll seek out reliable information.  I have a follow up with my surgeon in a couple of weeks, I’ll just ask.  If it truly is a year’s wait, then I’ll rely on the Serenity Prayer to accept what I can’t change.  That’s much more sensible than creating upset and drama, right?

 

 

 

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Terminology

I’m a little fixated on terminology.  A few posts ago, I got hung up on the word “normal”.  A couple of days ago, I read an article where someone, I can’t remember who at the moment, referred to a woman who isn’t pencil-thin as “thick”.

Soooo, is that some new, 2013 term for women?  If so, oh hell, even if it isn’t and it was a one-time thing, it sucks.  Thick?  Really?

For the record, it is only ever acceptable to use thick to describe one part of me — my hair.  Not my thighs.  Not my waist.  Not either cheek of my ass.

It used to be if you referred to someone as “thick”, you meant “thick-headed” as in stupid and stubborn.  If I say I’m being thick today, it means that my brain is not firing all synapses and I feel mentally cloudy — like a thick fog has seeped into my mind.

My reaction with the word thick in relation to body shape or weight tells me there’s more going on here.  Maybe it comes from a childhood of being called unflattering and downright cruel things because I was overweight.   Tubbo, lard, Crisco, fatso.  None of them bring about the warm fuzzies.  I think I mentioned before that a classmate in high school used to yell out, “Thar she blows” whenever he saw me on campus, even if I was yards away.  I think he might have particularly enjoyed it when I was yards away, probably because he got to yell it louder to call more peoples’ attention to his oh-so-witty name-calling.

I won’t get into why some people think it’s okay to insult people because of their body size.  Maybe those people don’t spend much time pondering whether anything they do is okay.  Perhaps they just don’t care.

Right now, I’m trying to think of complimentary words to describe women who might not wear a single digit dress size.

No, I don’t have anything against women who wear sizes 0, 2, 4, 6 or 8, although I reserve the right to wonder how there can be a size 0.  Doesn’t the zero sort of negate the reality of there being a size?  But I digress.

Back to the terminology?  No matter what I eventually weigh, I’m always going to be curvy.  Curvy doesn’t offend me.  Neither does voluptuous.  My mother introduced me to the word zaftig, which can be defined as full-bodied, well-proportioned, shapely, alluring plump/curvaceous/buxom.  I like zaftig.  It’s sort of exotic.

It’s also so much better than thick.

Do you have any words that buzz you — either positively or negatively?  How would you like to be described?  How would you describe yourself?

 

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