Archive for the ‘Re-do’ Category

Mini-Goal: 35 lbs! (Again)

January 24, 2013

 

My weight bounced around for a couple of weeks following the miscarriage. Partly due to the miscarriage, partly due to me eating poorly. I’m not sure it has stabilized, but I started tracking daily at the beginning of this week and it seems to be consistent with what I’m eating.

So, I am back at 202.8 lbs my 35 lb mark. It’s also the “no longer obese, just fat” mark. Which feels good. I never made it to the full 40 lb goal, so I’m back on track to try to lose those last five lbs of this goal.

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Lost

January 17, 2013

At 11-weeks and 5 days I started to get some brown spotting, which a day later turned into blood and on the date of 12 weeks exactly the doctor confirmed I’m having a miscarriage.

It sucks, of course. It beyond sucks. I’m angry and sad and frustrated and confused.

What I know is there is nothing I could have done. I’m simply in that unlucky 25-30% who have a first-trimester miscarriage. I know that a first-trimester miscarriage is common, is usually the result of the fetus not being viable in the first place usually because of chromosomal anomalies, and I know that most women who have a first-trimester miscarriage go on to have a successful pregnancy resulting in live birth. This information doesn’t make it suck any less right now.

However, if there is one thing that this year has taught me is that I will keep going, even when not all of me wants to.

So, why am I blogging about this on a weight and health blog?

Well, the way I see it, it’s part of the process. I stopped trying to lose weight when I found out I was pregnant. And, I know that to be healthy – especially given that I want to try to get pregnant again – I need to continue this health journey.

So, where am I in that journey. During the 12 weeks of pregnancy I gained 3.6 lbs for a total of 203.6 lbs (not bad – well within the 5 lbs recommendation for first trimester).

I’m going to spend the next week simply recovering from this, and then go back to my paleo eating plan with a new energy. Really go after that 40 lb goal (which happens at 197.8 lbs) and look into joining a crossfit gym.

Milestone (Another!)

December 13, 2012

I woke up this morning not expecting much in the way of weight loss… not that I have been making choices that I thought would not result in weight loss, just that I’ve been loosing fairly big chunks lately and that usually stops after a couple of days. However, I was pleasantly surprised to be BELOW THE 200LBS MARK!!! (199.4 lbs to be precise).

Awesome!

It feels really good not only to get to my old milestone of 201.2 but to breeze through the 200 lbs mark unexpectedly. Truth is I was expecting days, if not weeks, of staring manically at the scale as it refused to drop below 200 lbs.

Just a few more pounds to go until I reach my 40 lb goal.

Milestone

December 6, 2012

 

I have been having a bad week generally in terms of weight loss. Perhaps a bad two weeks. Some lack of progress seemed reasonable because I had some high sodium meals, and other times I couldn’t figure out why I was seeing no progress.

I still haven’t figured out what was going on, but today my body seems to have dumped a bunch of water weight and I miraculously find myself at 201.2 lbs.

Why is this odd number important? Back in the summer of 2010, which was my last serious “I’m going to get fit and loose weight” attempt this was the exact number I made it to before life happened and I slid back up to 237.8 lbs.

I remember being very disappointed with myself that I had been within 1.2 lbs of cracking the 200 lb mark and I didn’t make it.

To be fair it was a brutal diet and I was exercising at the gym everyday and I was riding my bike to and from work (a total of 26 KM/day). I think I was simply unable to maintain the rigor of the diet and the huge level of activity.

This time round has been much easier. The diet mostly takes care of itself. I certainly have moments of frustration where I feel like I am doing everything right and nothing is happening. But, then there are days like today.

Leveling Off?

May 31, 2012

After my brother’s death I had a lot of problems with food. It took me almost two months to make it back onto solid food, and I had lost nearly 20 lbs. Of course, as I know from previous failed starvation diet attempts simply depriving the body of food is a terrible way to lose weight and keep it off. I was expecting to gain approximately 2lbs for every pound I lost… and maybe that still will happen, but I hope not.

I took it easy getting back into food. The first foods I was able to eat were really crap high sodium soups like Lipton cup of soup. I gained five pounds of water retention almost right away. From there I worked my way up to soft foods like mushed up avocado… or to make it sound better “hurray for guacamole!”

Aside from the soups which had some noodles once I was off those I have more or less managed to stick with a paleo diet. Although I’ve decided not to worry about it too much when I eat out. I may have to re-think this if I eat out more frequently.

I gave myself two weeks to adjust to real food before deciding to actually start monitoring myself for any kind of weight loss. My weight did bounce around all over the place in the first week and started to stabilize in the second week. I realize a week is probably not enough time, but I need a starting point so I drew an arbitrary line in the sand on Monday.

And there it is: 225 lbs.

That is just over 10 lbs down in total. So it looks like I gained back half of my starvation diet weight.

This number feels odd to me right now. A year ago this would have been one of my heaviest weights of the past two years and would have me feeling bad about myself. But, coming down from 237.8 the comparatively lower 225 lbs feels good.

My clothes have returned to fitting, whereas at 237.8 I was beginning to feel like I would need to buy new sizes.

It also means I have met several rewards that I need to give myself:

1 lb – manicure – done!

2 lbs – lip / eye wax – done!

5 lbs – movie rental – done!

10 lbs – pedicure – need to do.

What About Exercise?

May 24, 2012

Diet and exercise.

Healthy Eating and Active Living.

They are almost always paired together. But, there is increasing evidence that it is diet, not exercise that plays the key role in weight loss.

I encountered this idea the first time I hired a personal trainer. At some point the trainer said something to the effect that weight loss was 80% diet and 20% exercise. More recently I’ve started to see numerous articles published citing that it is diet, not exercise that is key to weight loss.

MSNBC: Diet, not exercise plays a key role in weight loss.
Time Magazine: Why exercise won’t make you thin
Mayo Clinic: Better to cut calories or exercise more?
Guardian: Why exercise won’t make you thin

As this idea gets unpacked a familiar food-politics theme emerges: the role of the food industry in our health and nutrition. More specifically what the food industry will do to protect their profits at the expense of the health of the public.

Here are some more articles on this topic:

University of California Berkley: Lecture, Dr. Marion Nestle How The Food Industry Influences Diet and Health
How The Food Industry Influences Diet and Health (book)

One of the best examples I have seen recently of food-politics promoting exercise over nutrition is Coca-Cola Canada’s partnership with participACTION and sponsorship of  Sogo Active. This campaign promotes getting youth active.  It has great examples of programs that get youth active, but it completely fails to mention that drinking Coke is really bad for your health.

This is not to say that exercise is not important. Exercise does some pretty important things like: strengthens bones and muscles, improves mental health and mood, lowers blood pressure, improves cholesterol and reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, breast cancer and colon cancer.

I will credit my reasonably active lifestyle with the fact that although I am in an obese BMI range I have not faced any serious health problems, or even minor health problems. Except for the fact that I am fat, I’m healthy. The fact that I’m healthy, and reasonably active led me to my own conclusions about the role of exercise in weight loss.

Each time I have tried to lose weight in the past I have included exercise as a key component of that weight loss. And, I have generally been more successful at getting myself active than I have at being mindful about what I am eating and how it is effecting me. My general assumption was that I don’t eat a lot of junk food (I think), and if I’m exercising everyday and eating reasonably ‘good’ foods then I should be able to lose weight.

Sadly, this has never, in ten years proved true. My assumption at this point for why this hasn’t works are two-fold.

First, I don’t think I have taken a close enough look at what it means to have a healthy relationship with food. To truly make a food lifestyle change. I’ll come back to this in other entries.

Second, I think that I am proving case in point that while exercise is good for my health, and is likely the reason I am as healthy as I am, it is not having any significant impact on my weight.

This doesn’t mean I’m going to give myself permission to shun all physical activity. I will however, be placing much more emphasis on learning to eat well, in a way that makes me happy, healthy and facilitates weight loss. I will not be putting a significant amount of emphasis on if I made it to this gym each morning.

Food Acceptance and Food Allergies

May 10, 2012

When I first started thinking about this journey again the biggest question in my mind was what can I do differently this time that will help me succeed when I have failed so many times before. It was at this point that I came across the Fat Nutritionist. A friend of mine who also struggles with personal health and fitness issues introduced me to the blog via Facebook and I was hooked.

Instead of talking about what food you should and should not eat, she starts with going back to the basics of teaching yourself to eat again. Her main theory is that people who are over or under weight, have at some point, developed an unhealthy relationship with food. We have disconnected food from our body’s signals. We are no longer able to intuitively manage our relationship with food in a healthy way. So, instead of staring from a place of discussing what you should eat (and shouldn’t) she starts with instilling good eating habits.

The first and most important of her habits is permission. She has a few long entries on the subject of permission, I suggest you head over there to read them if you are interested. In a nutshell what it boils down to is the idea that so long as you are punishing yourself for what you are eating you are cultivating a negative relationship to food. Permission means acknowledging that you are giving yourself the permission to have the craving and satisfy the craving. You are not powerless over the chips, and you do not have to punish yourself for eating the chips.

From the concept of permission she works through a number of eating lessons that can help a develop a self-awareness of what I am eating, when I am eating it and why I am eating it.

All of this sounds really good, and I began to implement some of it. Specifically acknowledging and accepting my cravings, trying to be aware of my level of hunger or fullness and scheduling regular meal times.

I was also keenly aware that I fell into many of the traps she identified. Things like “the last supper syndrome” , blaming and shaming my food habits and more. So, I was thinking of joining one of her regular eating groups to get a handle on my eating.

There is however one complication: food allergies.

I have one anaphylaxis allergy – Pork

One long-time food allergy – Dairy

One newly diagnosed food intolerance – Gluten

Avoiding pork has never been much of an issue for me. Even once I started eating meat again after years of being vegan my meat is generally fish, chicken and sometimes beef.

Dairy has been more challenging. Because it is a non-life threatening allergy that generally just comes with a lot of discomfort and some ugly digestive side effects I sometimes allow dairy to slip into my diet. Sometimes cheesecake tastes good enough to take the pain.

A few years ago I was noticing even when I was not including dairy and was specifically avoiding it I was having similar digestive problems. At the worst a bad dairy attack can make me feel like I have a flu for up to 48 hours. And without the dairy I was still feeling the same. I eventually brought it up with my doctor who after some referrals for tests and nutrition tells me I’m also gluten intolerant. This is not good. Bread and Pasta are two of the great loves of my life.

So, I find myself in this odd space between trying to accept my food and food cravings while feeling resentful and limited in what I can actually eat and feel well. Enter the Paleo Diet.

Revisiting the plan

May 3, 2012

Before the grief there was a plan slowly starting to form.

While I am comfortable being a woman of size, I am not happy with my current size and it is beginning to effect my quality of life. I am not interested in becoming stick thin again or inviting the health and psychological problems of trying to get there.

The challenge I had put before myself was to lose weight and size slowly and incrementally. I wanted to do it this way so that I could:

  • Be evaluative of each step and when I felt good and wanted to stop,
  • Ensure that the slow approach would keep the weight that I lost off,
  • Not pressure myself to lose X lbs in Y time frame and beat myself up when that didn’t happen,
  • Truly evaluate what works for my body,
  • Explore what nutrition means to me, what tastes good to eat and what feels good in my body.

There were three main tools I had set up to try to achieve this.

1. Weight loss rewards

I have never been a rewards person, but I think this may have been a mistake. There is part of me that thinks that achieving a goal should be reward enough. However, my track record tells me that this is not enough for me. So, I set up a chart with a goal of a 20 lb weight loss. I set rewards at 1, 2, 5, 10, 15 and 20 lbs. The idea was to keep myself motivated and then evaluate at 20 lbs. Decide if I felt up to going for another 20 or if I wanted to simply try to maintain for some time. In this way the parameters were either weight loss that was not constricted by time, or time for maintenance with no weight loss expectation.

2. Self acceptance monitoring

This is harder to articulate as a tool. Although I am not comfortable with my current size I am comfortable being a woman of size. I like curves, breasts, hips, tummy and softness. I am also generally happy with my life and the parts that I am not happy with I feel that I can do something to change. Part of the slow incremental weight loss needs to be a mindfulness to keep an eye on my positive sense of self.

Wading into the weight loss challenge is a good way to turn negative. To start to degrade my body and my self. Some would see it as self empowerment, but I find this is only true while success is happening. If success is not a straight road – which it rarely is – then it is easy to slide into self depreciation. Once the downward cycle begins then it is hard to appreciate any success. Small success are no longer enough, it becomes a game of the long goal in the distance that is never achieved.

To help with self-acceptance I am making sure that I keep subscribing to Plus Model Magazine, which is where I get many of my images and keep reading size acceptance blogs.

3. Paleo Diet

Through various failed diets I have realized that I do need some guidance for what I put into my body and that guidance has to be more than calorie-based. I came to the idea of trying the paleo diet not from a weight loss perspective but from the ability to help me manage some of my food allergies and still eat a well balanced diet. It also promotes local food and seasonal food as well, and helps me increase my protein intake which I know is needed.

Loving my body

March 15, 2012

I no longer accept that fat equals unhealthy, ugly, lazy or any of the other negative adjectives that are foisted on fat people, and most of all on fat women. Increasingly I also question our perceptions of what is fat. While I don’t deny that I am fat, I am very aware that the social images of “slim” and “fit” are incredibly unhealthy themselves.

At the same time I am coming face to face with the realities that obesity does come with quality of life draw backs that could, if left unattended, become health problems. I am deeply skeptical now of the hysteria around the obesity epidemic, but I do not believe that the concerns about obesity are unfounded.

At my last physical I was given a clean bill of health. Everything is in working order and all of my blood, cholesterol and other levels are appropriate for a woman my age.

This could be a great reason to tell myself that all of my body concerns are in my head. That I am sucumbing to the relentless media drive that fat is bad.

After two years of reading an incredible amount of body size/ body image / feminist / media literacy literature it is difficult to reconcile wanting to lose weight / size with accepting a positive sense of self. What I am coming to terms with is the idea that focusing too much on the size acceptance can be harmful, maybe not as much or in the same way as obsessive dieting, but still harmful.

Recognizing what my body needs is about finding that balance which includes loving my body at the size and shape that it is and still honouring my body when it sends me signals that I need to do something to care for it, which may include losing weight.

Loving my curves!

March 14, 2012

For the past three years I have bounced between 200 to 220 lbs. When I crossed the 200 lb for the first time around 2003 I was horrified. Crossing that mark, I think, sent me into my most unhealthy years since having been hospitalized for anorexia. While anorexia was unarguably unhealthier physically and psychologically, my response to crossing the 200 lb mark and struggles to get back below it have been unhealthy emotionally and intellectually.

I never abused myself emotionally as an anorexic as much as I have now that I am plus sized. Anorexia was very much about control, success, achievement and receiving validation for my efforts… well at least until it almost killed me.

Being fat however, is about failure, guilt, shame, ignorance, laziness, greed, ugliness. I can be made to feel like a pariah, someone not deserving of love, kindness, hope or charity.

Like many plus sized women I have been successful in other areas of my life. I have a good education, I am making progress in my career, I am in a committed relationship of over 10 years, I have strong family connections and close friendships, I have interests and hobbies that keep me busy and entertained. In short, I have a very good life.

So, why was I letting myself get so down about my body size?

I don’t really know.

It is hard to be self-evaluative about media influence, peer pressure, pop-culture medicine and how much all of this does or does not affect self-image. I could claim, as many do, that I am not affected by advertising. But, working in communications, I know that is simply not true.

What I have been able to understand is that my low self-image had less to do with how I felt about myself and more to do with what I thought others were telling me I should feel about myself.

Luckily for me I’m friends with a lot of free thinking women (and men) who are are good at pointing out toxic pop culture trends. I went down the rabbit hole and began to explore fat acceptance. What did it mean? Why would anyone do that? Didn’t they know that fat was unhealthy and unhealthy is bad?

Turns out there’s a lot that I didn’t know. Like epigenetics. Like the role the food industry plays in emphasizing fitness as core component of weight loss. Like the huge changes in the fashion and modeling industry. Like the existence of Photoshop Fluid.

On this journey, I learned to accept my fat body. To even love it. I am more comfortable, as a person in my fat supple soft skin that I ever was with my rib cage and hip bones sticking out. I’m warmer for one, and I have less body hair for another.

My partner who is a wonderful insanely-high-metabolism skinny boy (well not so much a boy anymore at closer to 40 than 30) also helped with this. He met me when I was over 200 lbs. He has seen me at weights ranging from 172 lbs up to 260+ lbs. My weight has never been an issue for him. No… I didn’t believe him either, but I did have to agree with him that after more than 10 years and me having no evidence that he has ever thought my body was not sexy I might have to give him the benefit of the doubt on this one.

WhenI look at women, the ones I do find attractive certainly fall into the plus sized category. They are round, soft, sassy, charismatic, and wonderfully erotic in a way that I simply do not find the super-skinny models on billboards and magazines to be.

So, I’ve reached 30, I’ve come into myself as a person, and I have accepted my curves. But, I’m still thinking of losing weight — does that mean I’m a hypocrite?