Monday, June 29, 2009

Baby Steps

About an hour worth. I went on a big long walk today with a friend. It's been really hot lately and I just can't bring myself to go out and exercise in 90+ degree weather. That's just insane.

Thankfully, in Utah it cools down at night. We walked for about an hour in the cool night air and it was beautiful.

Sadly, it reminded me just how out of shape I am. I NEED this.

Today on a message board someone started a topic about obese people. Said things like, "Why is it that they just let themselves go? Do they just resign themselves to being single forever? Do they just not care anymore?"

That was a bit difficult to read. I mean, it's about the most insensitive thing you can say - to assume that the only reason someone is fat is because they don't care. Because they've let themselves go.

So yeah, I have let myself go. But there's a whole lot more to it. Those struggles that I have - the same as any girl growing up - well, I dealt with them by eating. Some people exercise obsessively. Some people drink or smoke or do drugs. Some people eat their way through their insecurities and pain.

It's terrible to think that people actually believe the bad stereotypes out there. I hate that anyone still has to deal with this stuff. Talk about a bummer.

Thank goodness the majority of people are smarter/more understanding/kinder in their curiosity and opinions.

Thank goodness for good friends who will walk slowly with me as I begin this journey.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The food is getting old

I like the foods on my eating plan, I really do. But one of the reasons why I have a hard time with consistency in eating is that I get bored very easily. I would consider myself a foodie if I had the money. I just adore food. I crave intense flavor regularly - something that will make my mind work while I'm eating. I think about the combination of spices and base ingredients, the textures, the symphony of it all.

Maybe that's why I liked Ratatouille so much.

There are a number of cereals out there that meet the criteria, thankfully, which means that I can choose between 4 or 5 that I do actually like. It's difficult for me to keep eating though once I'm done with a bowl of cereal, and Dan has asked me to eat an egg or some other protein for breakfast every day. Says it's important to get protein with every meal.

And even though I do have some variety (egg, tuna, cheese stick), and even though I like the options, I'm getting bored.

How is it that having a pretty good variety of foods to choose from - all of which I do like - I still have to talk myself out of cheating?

Eating good food can be expensive. Maybe that's why I don't feel like I'm being cheated. I get Sun Chips and Triscuits (the fire-roasted tomato flavor is insanely good), really yummy spices, Skinny Cow desserts, good yogurt, etc. I shouldn't be bored. This kind of food shouldn't get old.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Week 2 - still losing

(I thought I was holding it in the same place, but maybe not)

You may look at that "still" and wonder how many diets I've tried in the past (seeing as how it's only been two weeks). Or you may wonder at my perseverance. Yeah, I don't have much. And this week has been tough.

There has been eating out and dinners in with lots of people. There has been very little sleep and lots of appointments out. There have been lots of people around and little money in the bank.

All of this combined means it's hard to stick to an eating schedule. The exercise is easier, not that I've done much of that. Gah. And I still lost 2 more pounds.

My calories have been bumped up to almost 1600 per day. For any of you who diet, you'll know that's a lot. How can someone lose significant weight while eating lots of calories?, you might ask. It's simpler than you might think.

Our bodies need calories for energy. In today's society, we often go long periods of time between meals and then eat till we are very full. That translates into our bodies not having the energy and then having too much (calories anyway). So basically, we need to eat only enough to sustain ourselves till the next meal. And eating every 2 to 3 hours teaches our bodies not to "save" the calories for later.

Dan has been teaching me the gospel of Elmo. Oh wait, that's E.L.M.O.

Eat Less, More Often. As much as I'm following it, I'm losing. I just need to do more ELMO. Right?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Supplemental 2

As I sit in the darkened living room this morning to avoid the glaring reality that is my insanely messy house, I think back to this "diet" and how it has affected my life already/so far.

I like to cook. I really do. Living in a converted basement apartment, the facilities aren't the most convenient. The hubs and I have made do since we got married, but we've been extremely lazy about it. We eat out a lot because the prospect of either carrying everything upstairs to cook or cooking on the single burner or in the toaster oven isn't appealing. And that says nothing to the fact that *we will then have to stand over the laundry sink to do dishes.

I learned how to cook in Italy, dang it! Why did cooking become so uninteresting? Is it the facilities? The lack of variety? The fact that carrying 300+ pounds around makes my feet hurt like hell if I'm standing for more than 10 minutes at a time?

Whatever the reason, I really don't enjoy it anymore. The thought of cooking meals makes me cringe. Scavenging for food is hard enough as it is, without factoring in foods that fit the criteria. And that says nothing of doing it like 5 or more times a day.

Eating out is easier. I can do a chicken breast or a salad or whatever, and I don't feel like I'm doing too badly. But sitting at home in my post-tornado-disaster house, eating at regular intervals is just one more thing on my long list of crap I need to do.

Logically, I know it will make me feel better. Having a clean house, eating healthy... they are two things that will keep me sane. But the herculean effort it requires to get off my butt and DO anything is daunting and overwhelming and frustrating.

I'm tired. Like really really really tired. It's not because the food I'm eating isn't giving me energy. It's more that I never get enough sleep and I'm mentally exhausted from the effort of living.

Can I really do this for 6 months?

*I say "we" but really I mean "Brent". That laundry sink is killer on my back - just too low to be comfortable for more than a couple seconds.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Supplemental 1*

*tongue in cheek (you know, supplements, like food supplements... haha)

One big fat note for this "diet" thing. Besides the fact that it's not really a diet, of course.

I have not felt hungry at all. And that is a very big deal. Eating foods I like, never feeling hungry, and still losing weight? Yeah, I think I can do this.

Week 1 - Who am I?

You know how you identify yourself for who you were as a teenager? Like, I was pretty medium-sized back then, so I consider myself a medium-sized person now. I almost have to remind myself that I'm fat. There are fat people, skinny people, and me. I'm in the middle, dang it!

I know lots of formerly-skinny people who still fight their current size just because it's not what it used to be. And I know lots of people who grew up chubby who, even though they are all sorts of trim now, still see themselves fat.

I think it's time to rethink this. I mean, I really want to be that medium-sized person again. I like curves, but would rather not have extras. Like the "belly curtain" or the "butt shelf".

Of course, maybe getting bigger but still seeing myself medium will make it easier for me to get back there.

Even being all gung-ho on this program I felt like I had failures all week long. I didn't exercise as much as I should. My portions were bigger than prescribed. I even had extra meals a couple of times. I was prepared to fail. I mean, isn't that what diets do?

8 pounds down. Huh, what?!

So, the very first night of my new plan, my sister was in town and we ordered some food from a new barbecue place. I don't think it really fit into the plan. And most of the other days there were glitches. I went out on one good bike ride. And I went on a couple of walks. But I didn't do any weights, and I'd say I only followed the eating plan about 75%.

And I lost 8 pounds of fat! Holy crap!

I LOVE this! I am rededicating myself because now I know it can work. Dan says that I will never be 100%. As long as I do work at it, we'll be okay. He's a crack head. But I trust him.

Good times ahead!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The first real visit - Week 0

This morning I took my food log to Dan for the bad news. Just kidding. Sort of.

The purpose of keeping a food log for two days is to see what kind of caloric intake is maintaining my current weight. Dan looked it over and we have a plan.

I have to admit I'm a little scared. I'm a champion eater and it doesn't look like a whole lot of food. I have decided to have faith, however, because Dan assures me that the complexity of the foods will keep me filled all day long. The goal is to not feel hungry at all, which really is best in dieting.

Then again, this isn't a diet. This is a metabolism kick-start.

I'm starting out with 1422 calories today, more or less. And Dan assures me that by the end I'll actually be eating more calories than that. Either way, 5 meals a day should help too, and it's all foods I'm already eating.

Here's my generic meal plan:
7 am - small bowl of cereal
an egg
a handful of strawberries

10 am - 5 whole wheat crackers
a string cheese
an apple

noon - sandwich (with meat and cheese)
10 Sun Chips

3 pm - half a cup of cottage cheese
a peach

6 pm - 4 ounces of lean meat
green veggies
1/4 cup of brown rice

8 pm - 100 calories of dessert (Skinny Cow)

He said to switch up the fruits, the meats, and the veggies so I don't get bored. Sounds pretty good actually, doesn't it?

The rules of nutrition:
1. Always eat at least 5 times a day. By providing your body with a consistent and frequent supply of just the right number of calories, its need to store fat is reduced.
2. In planning each of your meals (or snacks), a ratio approximately 1 part fat, 2 parts protein, and 3 parts carbohydrate is a good place to begin. Depending on the severity of your daily work routine and training protocol, you may need more or less carbs for energy. Fat is essential for maintaining good health, and it's needed in the manufacture of many hormones in your body, so do NOT attempt to eliminate fats from your diet! Remember that protein and carbs both have 4 calories per gram, while fat has 9 calories per gram.
3. When you sit down to eat, ask yourself, "What am I going to be doing for the next three hours of my life?" Then, if you're taking a nap, eat less carbohydrate foods; if you're planning on a training session, eat more carbohydrates, and so forth.

Most of the fat loss will be done through nutrition, but some will be done through exercise.

Dan mapped out 8 exercises for resistance training - building muscle, or at least keeping it healthy and making sure I don't lose it. And for cardio I can walk or bike or do yoga - 3 times a week for 20 minutes each time. Not too difficult. I just have to schedule it all in. :)

I hope none of you are disgusted by the picture of my fat belly at the top. I don't know that I'll lose fat there first, but I sure would like to lose a lot of belly fat. Maybe I'll take weekly pics of my other fat body parts. But I won't subject anyone to that. When I get to the end I might show a total before picture and a total after.

Anyway, so far so good. We're off!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

So, I'm fat

The time has come to "say goodbye, fatty!"

No seriously, I'm fat. I've been fat for a very long time, and for long before that I just thought I was fat. That means that in my mind, I have essentially been fat since I was like 12.

Like most women, I have a terrible opinion of my body. I hope that it's a realistic opinion. I've learned over the years to like myself despite a severe dislike for my shape, but that was a really difficult task. From a young age, I took my cues from the general world about my self-worth, so even though my family told me I was a good person, I figured I was never good enough because I wasn't shaped right. Or I didn't wear the right clothes. Or I was the wrong religion. Or I talked too much. Or something.

The one thing that the world told me was right bothered me. I, um, developed very early. By the age of 12 I was wearing a real bra. In fact, I never wore any kind of a training bra. I was ogled and objectified. Funny thing is that nobody told me I was beautiful except for my family. But guys - especially those a few years older than me - really liked my boobs. And I hated them. The boobs and the guys.

Since I knew that my body wasn't right, how could I possibly trust the affection of guys professing interest?

I was in my 30s before I got over that.

When I got to college I gained a lot of weight. I remember telling myself as a teenager that I would never let myself weigh 200 pounds. Yeah right. I hit 200 in college, but was so insecure that it came out as anger and bitterness.

When I was 21 I went to Italy to be a missionary for my church. You might think that, like most of the people who went to Italy for a long time (a year and a half for me), I'd gain weight. But the physical demands were so grueling that I lost 45 pounds in the first 2 months I was there. I had to safety pin all my clothes so they wouldn't fall off. The nice part was that I was eating a ton. Carbs galore! I had a large bowl of cereal for breakfast, a giant bowl of pasta for lunch, and usually a whole pizza for dinner (pizza in Italy is different from here, I promise) - plate size. Yum. And I still lost weight!

After the initial weight loss, I weighed about 180. I didn't keep losing, but I didn't gain either. I kept it off for over a year - till I came home. Then, I got a job working terrible hours (often day and night hours), started eating terribly, drove everywhere (instead of walking or biking), and within a year I was up to 280.

As you might guess, it was depressing. I blamed the shallowness of guys for my lack of dates and ended up alienating any who might have braved the fat. My bitterness and self-disgust pushed all away, but it was always their fault, not mine.

Over the next 7 or 8 years I gained about 20 more pounds, had a few relationships that broke my heart, went on a few adventures, and came to accept myself. I decided that without a great body and without a relationship, I could still enjoy my life and like who I was. I could have a fantastic personality, accepting everyone and learning from all my experiences. The process of acceptance - of myself and my life - took about 3 years. It wasn't like I could just blink and make it all better. It was a huge process.

Four years ago I was in the best place of my life, both figuratively and literally. I was living in my dream location, had a dream job, some of the best friends anyone could want. Then I had an epiphany. The purpose of life is to progress in family relationships - either the ones we're born into or the ones we create. It actually made me sad because I knew I needed to go home.

Now, home for me was not some beloved place. Sure I loved my family, but they had moved to Utah after I graduated from high school and I felt no connection to the state at all. I thought it was dry and kind of ugly (I was living in Alaska, so the comparison was pretty drastic). The people were pretty generic. The opportunities, especially with dating, were limited.

But then I got a phone call. My sister was having a difficult pregnancy and had four little kids at home who needed more attention. Would I consider coming home for a month to help out? I was the only unattached and available member of the family left. Instead of going for a month, I packed up everything and moved back to Utah.

Being generally happy with my life, I decided to do some internet dating. I didn't take it seriously, and I dated more than I had in the previous 16 years. It still took 6 months, but eventually my cousin introduced me to the man who would become my husband. He didn't care about my size because he loved me for me. It was wonderful.

Having hovered around 300 pounds for at least 5 years by then, I was a bit worried when I gained 54 pounds with my first pregnancy. It was a difficult pregnancy, and I'm sure it was a lot harder because of my weight. After WeWe (his name for himself) was born I lost about 35 pounds very quickly. And then over the next year I gained about 20 back. What the...?!

Pregnancy #2 was also very uncomfortable and I gained about 40 pounds. And again I gained. Or at least it felt that way. Baby Mia is now almost 7 months old, and I weigh 338 pounds. I feel and look terrible and I'm ashamed of myself. I have no motivation and I blame my bad habits on circumstance. Yeah, there are lots of bad influences surrounding me. Yeah, my genetics aren't really in my favor for weight. Yeah, I have little kids at home. Yeah, I can't afford any kind of a gym. Yeah, it's too hot outside to do serious exercise.

But seriously, I'm sick of being fat. I'm sick of being in pain all the time. I'm sick of sleeping terribly because I'm so big. I'm sick of asking for seat belt extenders on airplanes. I'm sick of the almost-permanent bruise on my hip from the seat belt in my car. I'm sick of having to wedge myself into movie theater seats. I'm sick of shopping in the fat sections of stores (or in specialty shops!) and not finding anything that fits anyway. I'm sick of asking people to give me special seating because my butt is too wide for normal chairs. I'm sick of worrying if I'm too heavy for furniture (sorry, Tawna, about your patio chair!). I'm sick of getting winded when I'm just a little bit active. I'm sick of having to move my fat out of the way for sex.

So here we are. I'm 5'6" and I weigh almost 340 pounds. My bra size is 44J. I am 54% body fat. How do I know? Well, yesterday I met with Dan. Dan's some kind of crazy, but I like him. He's going to whip me into shape. He promises results as long as I do what he says.

The results? I'm glad you asked. The goal is 100 pounds in 24 weeks. That's down over 18% body fat. The eventual goal is to drop over 150 pounds, but Dan promised that by the end of 24 weeks (during which we'll meet once a week) I'll know my body well enough to keep going on my own. And he'll meet with me once a month to help me get the rest of the way. This is me. Feel free to commiserate. I'll be posting my journey here, including pics. I'm sure I'll be terribly embarrassed, but I figure that will just mean more motivation. Right?