Posts Tagged ‘fat’

Preggers Week 6

December 27, 2012

I had my first doctor’s appointment last week and I am indeed pregnant. I’m six weeks pregnant (approximately) today. One thing I didn’t know about this whole “how far along are you” business is that it’s 40 weeks (approximately) from the day of your last menstrual cycle. Which means there are definitely two weeks in there where you are not pregnant.

There’s also the whole bit about when you ovulate and when the sperm fertilizes the egg, and egg not having implanted yet and you can’t be pregnant until implantation. Even after that there is this whole transition from embryo to fetus which is the most high risk time for miscarriages.

So, I have two weeks left until the embryo starts to transition to a fetus, that happens between weeks 8 – 12. The first trimester ends at week 13, and if I have not had a miscarriage by then the chances of miscarriage are significantly reduced – although the physical complications from a second trimester miscarriage are significantly more.

Weight wise I am bouncing around like a ping-pong ball. In the last week I have been as low as 198.6 and as high as 203.4. I know the reason for this is that I have become a total salt addict. I cannot get enough hot pickled pepperoncini peppers and roasted sea weed. I know I need to back off of them, that they are not good in the quantities I am eating them. These are definitely the most powerful food cravings I have had. So I’m struggling to control them.


Obese No More! (Still fat)

November 22, 2012

When I started this journey (again) at 237.8 lbs that put me at a BMI of 35.1, which is severely obese or obesity class 2.

< 18.5 – Underweight
18.5 – 24.9 – Healthy Weight
25 – 29.9 – Overweight
30 – 34.9 – Class 1 Obesity (moderately obese)
35 – 39.9 – Class 2 Obesity (severely obese)
> 40 – Class 3 Obesity (morbidly obese)

In some ways I have been more eager to hit the 202.8 lb mark than making my 40 lb goal (although that will be no small achievement). At 202.8 lbs I am officially no longer in an obesity category I am merely overweight.

I know this is really just some invisible, imaginary and in many ways arbitrary line. However it is a line that is felt, especially working in a health-related field. I constantly see the statistic:

“Two-thirds of adults are overweight or obese, and one-third of adults are obese.”

That emphasis on obese makes it feel like those of us who crossed that line are somehow pulling the western world into the dreaded OBESITY EPIDEMIC. We are pulling down the ship. I hear the word obesity and I think of all the stock footage of people’s disembodied stomachs and bottoms jiggling down the sidewalk on the 6:00 pm newscast. I worry that it could be me!

In reality I know it is not true. Even at 237.8 lbs and 5’9″ I looked more like the cute chubby girl, than I did the 6:00 pm news footage. And as Jimmy Moore pointed out in Fat Head, the “obesity epidemic” is in large part created by the CDC’s adoption of BMI. Before widespread knowledge of BMI ‘fatness’ was measured by a number of different factors including weight, percentage body fat and overall size. But since BMI we now do a simple square and lump people into categories.

BMI is a terrible indicator of health:

National Public Radio
Globe and Mail
The Guardian

It ignores other health indicators such as cholesterol and triglycerides, total body fat as compared to body muscle, and cardio-vascular health. And, at 237.8 lbs I was a healthy woman. No arthritis, no elevated levels of any kind to concern my doctor and good heart health.

However, I do have to admit that BMI is, in my case, a reasonable starting point for a health indicator. Yes, BMI may put the super-fit Russel Crowe or Olympic athletes into a morbid obesity category because their muscle mass tips the scales in the wrong direction. But I wasn’t overweight – or obese – because of an over abundance of muscle.

I’m just plain fat and that is okay. There is nothing wrong with being fat. I’m happy and healthy at a BMI of 35.1 and now at a BMI of 29.9. So, why worry about BMI? Why celebrate my transition out of the obesity category and into the overweight category? Well, because as much as I hate to admit it, I’m one of those people the health statistics are warning us about. I’m not an anomaly. I may be healthy now, but if I keep the weight on then I am increasing my chances for a whole host of obesity related health problems. I may never get any of those problems if I am not genetically inclined, but since I don’t know if I am genetically inclined why roll the dice?

I really don’t know how much I have improved my health or decreased my chances of becoming unhealthy by moving out of the obesity category. All the ‘obesity treatments’ simply suggest losing 10 per cent or 20 per cent of the body mass can ‘greatly improve’ health outcomes. So, I’ve done that. And, I think I’ll keep doing it for a bit. I know more than anything keeping the weight off over the long term is what will improve my chances of staying healthy into old age.


April 24, 2009

I just finished my week 2 day 2 workout, planned here. It really showed me how much changing up my workout can knock me out. I was thinking that once I was past the pain of the first workout from last week that I’d more or less get into an even keel, pushing myself but not really concerned about the workout.

Part of it was being over ambitious:

The dumbbell shoulder press had too much weight on it. I wasn’t able to complete either set fully. But I came close so I’m keeping the weights at 20 lbs for next week.

The wide grip lat pulldown I had originally set at 60 lbs, reduced to 40 lbs and then when I tried 40 at the gym it was much too easy so I put it back up to 60, I probably would have done better to go 50, my form was really sloppy and I wasn’t getting the weight all the way down. Still I was close and finished both sets so I’m leaving it there.

The lunges nearly killed me. I’ve done lunges before, but I’m obviously out of practice, I couldn’t hold the weights, my grip was gone, so I dropped from 40 lbs (20 ea.) to 24 lbs (12 ea.) and was still panting like a dog and feeling a wee bit dizzy after these sets. I took and extra minute recovery time before doing my crunches.

By the time I got to the HIIT it was the first time in a planned workout I was really wondering if I should go on, I felt pretty beat at this point, but figured the HIIT is what takes the fat off so I’d better.

The elliptical was longer, and I made it, but my sprints weren’t as fast. On Wednesday I was going about 200+ strides/min on the sprints, today was 185 – 200 max on them.

The one-leg deadlift wasn’t bad, but I’ve got terrible balance: hello! Core, where are you? Because of the balance I was only getting 3-4 reps per set.

I set the row at 9-pegs on the slidy-barbell machine thingy (no idea what that’s called – an olympic bar set on a vertical slide). This was actually fairly easy at the end with 5 reps / set. I will leave it there for one more workout and then drop it.

I’m still feeling pretty wobbly and quite tired. The good news is that I’ve been having a lot of personal stress lately and it’s really hard to be stressed out when you work your body this hard. Yay exercise as distraction! Whatever gets me into the gym, right?

There are a few must do’s as I continue this plan:

1. Find out how to eat protein right after work out instead of hours later. Consider protein bar or something – watch out for carb loaded protein bars.

2. Planning workouts when starting new job may require more days at gym for less time, or splitting between morning & evening workouts. Right now the work outs themselves take 1hr 30 min, and with getting ready, shower time it’s 2 hrs 20 min. I don’t have that much time in the mornings… or well I won’t when I start my new job.

Past the Pain

April 22, 2009

It took me until Sunday to really feel normal again after Thursday’s workout. Sleeping was difficult my muscles hurt so much and walking was really bad. I did however make it through my social night, not with grace, but still standing.

I repeated the workout again today, in a slightly different order, with much better results.

I began with the New Rules of Lifting for Women weights work out and finished with Health Habits aerobic HIIT work out and then anaerobic HIIT.

This pattern proved much less painful, and more productive. I can increase the weights on my Barbell Squat and Seated Row (also increased to 50 lbs for this workout), the 45 degree push up is ready to be lowered. I increased the weights and the number of steps for the step up and will leave it there for at least one more work out.

The Prone Jacknife however is unbelievably difficult for me. I have a small moment of saving grace in that I accidentally thought I had to complete 15 reps, and it was only 8, but they were painful and in poor form nonetheless. This one will take some work.

The Aerobic HIIT on the elliptical was much harder after completing the weights work out, but the overall work out was much more manageable. Not bad on squats or push ups for anaerobic.

I did use proper waiting times between sets and a better warm up this time for a total work out time of 1 hr 20 min. I can feel the work out in my legs and lower belly, and mildly in my arms but not the debilitating ‘hurts to breath’ of the last work out.

NROLFW is supposed to be done three times a week, so I’m not considering myself ‘on’ that program until I actually get to three times (likely next week) but I am following the Health Habits HIIT program since it started with one work out per week.

I’m planning a return to the gym on Friday, with this B-side workout. The HIIT will change as I advance through it, once I get to three times a week the NROLFW parts will be the same alternating workout A (last entry) to work out B exercises for sixteen weeks.

NROLFW – Deadlift
Planning 45 lb bar + 40 lbs total. = 85 lbs.

NROLFW – Dumbbell Shoulder Press
Planning 20 lbs per arm
This exercise is very difficult for me as I smashed up my shoulder a few years back.

NROLFW – Wide Grip Lat Pullown
Planning – 40 lbs
(yes, I picked this video for the accent)

NROLFW – Lunge
Planning – 20 lbs each arm = 40 lbs
(if you can get past the first 10 sec of this video it’s actually good, except for the ugly product push at the end)

NROLFW – Swiss Ball Crunches
Body Weight

HIIT – Elliptical
12 min, 10 sec sprint 50 sec recovery
I did notice I’m only supposed to be doing one aerobic HIIT per week, but I’m comfortable with one per work out, so when I get to two per week I’m simply going to add a new machine.

HIIT – 1 Leg Deadlift
Body weight
(they seem to look different when you get weights, but this looked reasonable for a body weight exercise)

At some point if I ever get a personal trainer I should ask them about form in the videos I select. The variety of videos on youtube is astounding, and for a novice like me it’s really about selecting which ones give me confidence. That, and I try to select as many as possible with women, for well, a female perspective.

Fat, Fatophobe?

August 6, 2008

Is this like being called a self-hating _______ (fill in the ethnicity)?

I spent too much time online yesterday discovering some new blogs that taught me some new words like Fatophile and Fatophobe. The terms seem to be the property of slang in blog land at the current time.

John of the Total Transformations blog has a good summary of the arguments on his entry titled Fatophile vs. Fatophobe

I should also thank McBloggenstein for introducing me to the term fatophobe on his blog entry, Wait… Does that make me a fatophobe?

To get the most acceptable definition of fatophile, or to be more politically correct “Fat Acceptance” I looked up the NAAFA: National Association to Advance Fat Acceptance Here is what they define as the issues:

Discrimination towards fat people in the workplace, education system, and healthcare system has been clearly documented and is growing rapidly. Weight discrimination was reported by 7% of US adults in 1995-96, and almost doubled to 12% by 2006.

To improve working conditions, healthcare, and overall quality of life for millions of Americans, weight must be added to the list of categories covered in anti-discrimination laws. This can be accomplished on a federal, state, or local level.

Size Discrimination Consequences are Real!

  • Creates medical and psychological effects
  • Results in wage disparity
  • Affects hiring and promotion
  • Affects academic options and advancement
  • Why Do People Partcipate in Size Discrimination? They Believe…

  • Stigma and shame motivate dieting and other attempts at weight loss
  • People fail to lose weight because of poor self-discipline and willpower
  • How Does Our Culture Allow Size Discrimination?

  • Sanctions overt expression of bias in social situations and through mass media
  • Says thinness is desirable & perpetuates societal messages that obesity = failure as a person
  • Places blame on the victim ignores contributing environmental factors
  • In response to the “Fat Acceptance” position people and organizations that promote reducing body fat do so almost exclusively from a health and wellness standpoint. A random google search can pull up any number of articles on the side effects of obesity on health.

    The Journal of American Medical Association: Vol 289, no 14, 2003 Effect of Weight Loss and Lifestyle Changes on Vascular Inflammatory Markers in Obese Women

    The Canadian Medical Association Journal: vol 160, issue 4 The cost of obesity in Canada

    World Health Organization Website: Obesity Epidemic

    The articles referenced above are from the most respected medial journals in the United States, Canada and the World Health Organization these are a very small sampling of what is available online.

    It is perhaps understandable that with national governments and international governing bodies lining up with health experts across the world to declare obesity a danger to individuals and society that a fat acceptance movement has emerged.

    Fat Acceptance: The Pro’s

    (Another good youtube video that takes too long to load – unfortunately

    There are some important points made by the fat acceptance movement:

    The flip side to obese is underweight or anorexic. There is a great deal of pressure on young women to be “too thin”. At the same time many women who are in a healthy size range report that they feel “fat” because they do not look as thin as the models, and women who are overweight are often vilified in popular culture.

    Increased images of a variety of body types and sizes in the media, advertising and popular culture could go a long way to building a society that is more accepting of difference.

    Research on size discrimination is not as widely available as research on the health effects of obesity, however there is a good body of credible research detailing the effects of size discrimination. The American Psychological Association agrees that size discrimination does occur and is in fact at its worst amongst children.

    Discrimination clearly does have all of the impacts listed by NAAFA

    Size Discrimination Consequences are Real!

  • Creates medical and psychological effects
  • Results in wage disparity
  • Affects hiring and promotion
  • Affects academic options and advancement
  • When considering wage, hiring, promotion, academic options and advancement, the only factors that should be considered are a persons ability as it pertains to the job, or field of study. Including factors that do not affect job performance or academic ability is unjustified discrimination to which I can see no social benefit.

    We also know that the highest rates of obesity occur in the lower middle classes. Higher education and higher incomes typically lead to healthier lifestyles.

    Finally there are environmental factors that contribute to obesity. The dollars spent on advertising of fast foods, junk foods, oversized restaurant foods and general consumerism of foods in North America is a multi-billion dollar industry that is largely unregulated.

    Fat Fear: Is it all bad?

    What if we were more afraid of fat? Can we be afraid of fat as a society without targeting individuals? If social values really do value thin is that a bad thing? Can we value thin without implying that someone who is fat is a failure?

    I agree that no one should be discriminated against in the job market or academic sphere because of elements that do not impact job or academic performance. I have trouble extending the Charter of Human Rights which in Article 2 is meant to protect people from discrimination based on physical attributes beyond their control or cultural practices which should be preserved to include the protection of fat people.

    As compared with hundreds of years of colonialization, slave trade, refusal of citizenship rights for minorities and women, the holocaust, Rwanda, Bosnia, and now Darfur I can’t see the plight of overweight people in the same category of protected persons.

    Why should fat be a protected status? The difference for me is that a black, hispanic, asian, jewish, woman, can perform work of equal quality to a white man but cannot (should not have to) change the colour of their skin, religion/ethnicity, or gender.

    A fat person can in most cases change their body size. The question becomes should they have to?

    I have already stated that so long as a persons body size does not impact their ability to preform a job or academic appointment it should not be a factor. That being said there is an overwhelming body of research that shows the sever impacts of obesity on health. These effect range from chronic diseases, diabetes, cardiovascular risk and disease and many many more.

    Here in Canada we are constantly debating how to best use our precious health resources without having to further burden our tax base. I strongly believe in universal health care, I do not believe that anyone should be refused health care. I also believe in civic responsibility.

    In this way I do not believe a fat person should have to change their weight to obtain a job they are qualified to do. I do believe a fat person should be socially encouraged to get fit as a social good, just like not smoking is now a social good.

    I do not believe a smoker should be denied medical treatment, however I do believe the government can and should engage in campaigns that limit the accessibility of smoking, that promote smoke-free lifestyle choices, and that stigmatize smoking to the young as a poor lifestyle choice. Likewise I believe these tactics should and can be implemented to reduce societal risk of obesity. When we all pay for each other’s health care we should take care to preserve it and it’s availability.

    I’m sure at this point some people are asking what about the people who can’t help but be fat?

    There are lists of diseases that contribute to or exacerbate obesity, it is however difficult to believe that all of these diseases have increased at the astonishing rate of obesity in North America such that the majority or even a significant minority of the obesity cases could be medically induced.

    Furthermore I would argue that if obesity were to go into decline, and lifestyle choices leading to obesity become less and less common then less research and funding will go into studying obesity epidemic as a cultural phenomena. Then more resources and funding could be diverted to study obesity causing disorders. This would give more attention to those specific diseases as individual cases rather than an assumption that all obesity is caused by poor lifestyle choices.

    The final NAAFA position argues that there are environmental factors that contribute to obesity. Essentially that society is largely responsible for the obesity epidemic and as a result should accept obesity as our own creation and therefore protect it.

    There are billions and billions of dollars spent each year on advertising of food, fast foods, junk foods, fad diets, and fashions that all send very mixed messages about what we should consume and what we should look like. I don’t think that it is easy to be fit in North America in this consumer climate.

    There is however a danger in the environmental factors argument. While they do contribute to obesity, these contributing factors cannot and should not be considered separate from or instead of individual responsibility.

    The advertising makes it look good, the smell engineers make it smell good and the taste engineers make it taste good (uh, sort of)… but it is each of our individual choices to decide what we do or do not put into our bodies.

    Would it not be more productive to create better education for people to make better choices with? To limit and discourage the advertising of fast food and junk food in the same way that cigarette and alcohol advertising has been limited? We as a society made a mistake embracing the fast paced, instant everything, consume at all costs mantra, but that does not mean that we should accept the results of that mistake rather than trying to fix the root causes.

    If fat fear was more common, would we develop a corresponding fear of the choices that make us fat? Would this consumer demand be big enough to create a larger market for healthy organic foods and realistic images of portion sizes? Perhaps a dose of fear would not be an entirely bad thing.

    Fearing fat people as individuals is not helpful, but fearing fat as a society and it’s impacts on our social infrastructure could be socially beneficial.

    Am I A Fat-o-phobe?

    I think I can firmly plant myself on the fence on this issue. Or more accurately I think there is a wide stretch of middle-ground that can be covered.

    We can embrace different body types, sizes and shapes, value a diversity of colours, races, genders, heights and yes… weights without promoting obesity as a valid lifestyle choice or minimizing the risks therein.

    We can fight discrimination in our society while also fighting for the promotion of healthy living over junk food living.

    We can reconfigure our mental environment to value nature, out doors activities, meeting our neighbours and forming viable sustainable communities that make individuals feel included and people not consumers.

    I won’t be placing my own BBW ad anytime soon, but I am not going to dismiss my next job applicants capabilities based on their weight either.

    In short I don’t embrace and never will embrace the “fat acceptance” movement, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t recognize that we are all human and all entitled to dignity and respect.