Friday, April 30, 2010

Vanity

I started this blog last spring (coming up on my blogoversary) because I was skidding down the hill towards diabetes and I wanted to stick my feet out and slow down the bike. That's still my main motivator. That's why I do this. But now that I've started, interest in looking nice has spiked. I spend more time fretting over my hair, fussing with makeup. I like to see my muscles in Zumba and I maneuver to get a place where I can see myself in the mirror. I bought retinol. I haven't been this involved with my appearance since college. I distinctly remember having a meltdown one day where I decided I wasn't going to fool with it anymore, the boys would just have to take me as I came. Probably time for another one of those :)

I checked my blood sugars this morning. I have 2 different monitors my dad left and no way to calibrate either. Anywhere from 109 to 126 fasting-- all high, but enough variation that I'm going to wait for the fasting test and the A1C test (long term blood sugars) at my doctor's next week. I'm going to ask her about going on Metformin which doesn't seem to have too many major side effects, and is used for prediabetes as well as diabetes.

My blog is picture-deficient, so here's a couple over the last two weeks or so. (Not that I'm overly involved with how I look or anything-- it's perfectly normal to take weekly pictures of yourself in the bathroom mirror. If you're a blogger.) I like to imagine I look a little sleeker since I've been more regular with the weights. If you don't see a difference, say something nice about the curtains. Or the beadboard. I'm not picky. (Thank you, Kathy, for the pretty dress! The river of wonderful hand-me-downs, as the size fours pass to the twelves who pass to the 16s, the 24s and all the up. Comforting when you have to give up your favorite things because they don't look right anymore.)

Then:

Now:





Have a great day, everybody! Say it with me: Calories down! Protein up! Lift those weights! Step away from the mirror (unless you're checking form. Do you think that's just a bodybuilder excuse?)

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wrestling

I have been struggling with my secret experiment, which is trying to adhere to a popular commercial weight loss program ("It's Not a Diet, It's a Lifestyle!") It's a lifestyle featuring less food than I'm used to and I'm having a hard time with it. I was hoping to meld my loosely evolved program (real food, fewer grains/refined carbs) with the Lifestyle, but I've been dealing with some degree of hunger and whimpery "Is that all?" feelings, plus I've let it move me towards ersatz food--bars, sugar alcohols, added fiber that does less than desirable things to my digestion. I have a feeling this isn't going to work out between us. I told myself it was an experiment from the get-go, it was only $13, and if I try very hard and click my heels three times I will manage to convince myself I'm not a failure and neither is It. Just not a match, I think.

I need something that is intuitive in some ways and strict in others. I suspect I might be able to lose another ten pounds and keep that off. On the other hand, maybe I can't. I wish I had a more upbeat message, but it's possible 26.something or other is the lowest BMI I can maintain without getting into a Thing. Success (straight from the Lifestyle's materials!) is achieving a lower weight and sustaining it. Whether or not that weight will get me into a 2-piece bathing suit or "normal" on the BMI charts.

I've been keeping up with my weight workouts. Just from a metabolism perspective they really do make a difference. I feel less "diabetic" when I'm lifting weights, less cravy, less likely to get sudden crashing hunger. So that's a "Lifestyle" I want to maintain, whatever I decide about the other piece.

So where do you fall? Formal diet (sorry-- Lifestyle!) versus intuition? Group versus solo? I'd love to hear.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sore

Weights. Ouch. Four days this week, yay me.

I had a successful Cheat Day yesterday. How do you define success in a Cheat Day? I paid attention to my belly and didn't overeat, and while I had a lot of treats (let's see, water ice, a bear claw, and a homemade chipwich) I enjoyed each one and it was enough. The munchy/chewy Insulin Resistor* (I think that's my new name for it) is less of a factor lately-- maybe that sorry Friday where I didn't feel like eating helped out, or maybe it's the weight training. Or Friday being the first day in 6 months where I didn't eat at least some chocolate :)

I am going to try something new but I am going to keep it a secret until later in the week. (Even from me: Stop thinking about it, right now!)

I would like to check out my body fat somehow. I had the Blue Cross scale blat out 31% last summer. Didn't like that much. My calipers, where you just check above the sacroiliac, say 25%, but then I don't carry a lot of fat above my sacroiliac, you know? I think there's a tape measure method somewhere. I'll go look for that and report back.

'K, here's the report: 26.8%. Of course I do unbelievable amounts of sucking in to achieve a 30" waist, but that's fair, isn't it?

Get some exercise today and tell me about it in your comment. I'll come back and comment on mine after some ibuprofen and a hot bath.

*I think there's a Halloween costume in there somewhere, don't you?

Friday, April 23, 2010

Short Post

I had a bit of an emotional shock yesterday, nothing along the lines of Tyler's, but the kind of thing that makes you feel kind of wobbly and sick even though really, it should all be more or less okay in the end. It made suddenly very clear to me the difference between hunger and appetite. The rare times I feel like this, I eat when I have to and that's it. I don't think this is a diet I'll be marketing, though.

I did manage to do my weights and part of a Bollywood Workout from On Demand. There is something about cheerful people in voluminous garments skipping around in bare feet that bucks you up a bit, you just can't help it.

Please stop by 344 Pounds if you haven't already to wish Tyler well.

Have a good weekend, everybody.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

In Which I Am Glad No One Is Watching Zumba

There's this shimmy thing, right? And I wear cast iron undergarments designed to discourage shimmy. So all that's shakin' is stuff that no one wants to see behaving that way. Mostly I like my body, really I do, but sometimes I get annoyed with this baroque, super-girly figure I have. Whatever my weight, it's the same body style, just different sizes. It's like huge Tammy Faye eyelashes I can't take off. It would be fun to be rangy, just for a day.

That concludes the complaint portion of this post*. Here's the rest of the report:

Exercise: Zumba. Weights tomorrow.
Food: Planned (yay), Journaled (yay), Ate Peeps (no!) So around 2,000 calories which is overshooting my goal, and 260 carbs, which is too many. We'll try again tomorrow. I planned out the day, anyway.
Diet Soda: One. Drat.

So there you have it. How was your day?


*except the part where I note that today I worked both in and outside the home and I had not one minute to myself not one and I've not done the thing my boss wants from me and it's getting late and I need to have some fun at some point damn it. Obviously.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Back To It

We celebrated very-late-Easter last weekend, as our teenagers were away over actual Easter. Our dear friend who happens to be a rabbi is always thrilled when lambie cake falls after Passover. I did a big Easter goody clean out, shoving it out the door with friends, but quite a bit remains. I mean, I can't deep six my kids' candy, can I? Unless it starts getting me in trouble.

Today Is The Day when my DH and I are sworn to get back with our Five Factor workouts (5 minutes cardio, 10 minutes weights, 5 minutes core, another 5 minutes cardio, 5 days a week-- catchy or what?) Which we did. Although I was weak as a kitten. If I tried to lift one of Greta’s kettle-bells it would smash me flat. I was flailing around with 10 pound weights, but tap squats are tap squats, right? My core is in pretty good shape, if I do say it, compliments of Zumba.

I am also planning to woman up and come up with a Tom Venuto-style food plan, which involves (1) journaling out what you're going to eat and then (2) eating it. Novel idea. Something (we hope) in the range of 1600-1800 calories, 30/40/30. I am about 5 weeks out from my 1 year blogversary. It would be nice to see a bit more progress by then. I am also following along with Jen’s 30-in-30 Challenge: 30 minutes of exercise a day, 30 days. Good for Day 1 with an Appalachian Trail walk with a friend this morning and 5-Factor this evening.

Check out Tom Venuto. Anybody else read his stuff? What do you think?

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bullet List

*It makes random ideas look connected.

*See?

*I've missed my blog. Thank you to my wonderful guest posters who gave me a week to schlub around undetected.

*My friend gave me a slinky size 12 dress which zips, but needs another 5-10 pounds in the down direction before it will look right.

*I am having a hellofa time finding shorts/skorts/capris, because of my size 10 waist and my size 14 thighs. Maybe if I did my weights LIKE I SHOULD BE, I would meet in the middle at a nice even 12. Anybody know a good label for the small waisted and hip-enhanced?

*I still love Zumba.

*I am having trouble with fatigue. We live on undeveloped land in the middle of town and the field behind us, while I'm very happy it hasn't yet turned into the hulking nursing home it is slated to be, works like Dorothy's field of poppies. So. Sleepy.

*Sleepy is a reminder that I am probably eating too many carbs, though I am being fairly careful about sugar. I think diabetes educators are still telling people around 45 grams of carbohydrate for a meal. If you're eating 4 meals a day, that's still less than 200 g of carb a day. I'm sure I'm getting more than that.

*DH and I are scheduled to give it another good 5 week push after this weekend, when we celebrate late Easter with our kids and best friend who is thrilled we're doing it after passover, because then she can have lamb cake :)

*I have to say DH looks pretty damn good as he is. I feel a little guilty about this. He's 6'3" with a BMI in the 27ish range. BMI wise he should lose more, but my taste in men runs sturdy. It is horribly shallow of me, but I don't so much fancy the willowy type. Our plan involves getting back to the nearly daily weight workouts (all split up so there's no overtraining.) I am of course psyched about this purely as a health measure. Nothing to do with the fact that he's going to be looking awfully good.

*I didn't do new or great things with eating or exercise this week, but I did begin weaning myself off of diet soda. Still not perfect but lots better. This one I really hope to press forward with. I believe that diet stuff is fattening (for some people at least-- people like me) and I've implored my kids not to drink the stuff.

*Have a great second half of the week, everybody!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Guest Post: Danny from Fit by 41, Maybe 42

I am delighted to present my second guest post, written by Danny, Gina's husband, of Fit by 41, Maybe 42. This is one husband's perspective on a wife's weight gain. It is a rare man who will open up on this minefield topic, and I offer Danny a warm virtual shake of the hand not just for contributing, but for raising so many great subjects for discussion. And I have to add, both of these guests posts are so well-written, they are raising the literary bar around here at Am I Really That Fat? Not that I'm intimidated or anything :)

A Torrid Affair
by Danny, Gina's husband

I told my best friend when I was in high school that I never wanted to get married. I wanted to follow my dreams, roam the world, and live in a foreign country. He, on the other hand, pictured himself hitched, not hitch-hiking. He wanted kids and a mini-van. He wanted to settle somewhere quiet.

My best friend ended up being the one traveling the world. He built water wells in Bangladesh, taught in the Netherlands, and is currently doing a PhD in Australia. Oh, and he's still dating. While he did all this, I slipped a wedding band on Gina's finger at the tender age of 21, took out a loan to buy a minivan at 25, and after becoming a father of three at 31, I needed to find some place quiet.

So I couldn't believe when last year I decided to turn to my friend for marriage advice. Through a weak Skype connection from my home to Australia late one night, I managed to summarize my wife's struggle with weight, the fights it ensued because I was confronting her like she had a drinking problem, and the jealousy I surprisingly felt when she kept choosing food over our relationship —over me. She wouldn't always binge, but she would do it behind my back. Gina would wait until I was gone on business trips to partake of chocolate cakes like it was the pool boy. She knew it wouldn't help things between us, but she still chose food. Was my wife having a torrid affair with Messrs. Ghirardelli, Lindt, and Ms. Godiva?

What he said next completely changed my life. I couldn't believe such counsels came from a guy who was never engaged, someone whose idea of fun is to dig holes in a third-world country and then finish a PhD down under. After his words of advice, I felt a changed man.

My friend said that Gina's weight gain wasn't due because she loved me less, but rather because she felt comfortable around me, something I should cherish. That was a gutsy assumption from someone who had only met my wife once over a decade ago. But I bought it and enjoyed the fact Gina was comfortable with me.

He also said that in a relationship, we tend to obsess on a partner's major weakness. But if that weakness magically disappeared, our focus would shift to another one, always keeping us from truly being happy. Again, I felt he was right. He was either a genius, or I should send my kids to Australia—or drink water from his wells.

But I also wondered whether women completely grasp the level of pain a husband feels when he sees his young wife, whose physique was the major source of attraction, neglect her body and morph into something unfamiliar. If I tried to describe it, it would be akin to seeing your full-of-potential husband suddenly quit Harvard Law, move the entire family and his Xbox 360 to a dilapidated shack, and live off welfare for the rest of his life—and yours. Worse still, if you need an extreme example, the fellow decides to go work for an airline.

I've also discovered that we men don't realize how much we can hurt our wives, no strike that, how much we crucify our wives when we bring up their weight. Unless you want to be an actor, a gigolo, or the next Bachelor, appearance has never truly defined a man's success. But for a woman, it's huge. For thousands of years, the survival of women has depended on mostly looks and reputation, characteristics that have worked their ways through the evolutionary process. Subconsciously, males associate beauty with health to bear and care for their offspring. From the size of the breasts to the shape of the hips, the selection process is brutal but hardwired to an instant physiological reaction.

Men, if your wives tell you that you're terrible in bed or a loser who will probably never amount to anything, you might catch a glimpse of the pain you inflict when you mutter the three-letter F-word that rhymes with hat. When you criticize her looks, you do more than just plant a scimitar sword into her tender heart, you're destroying one of the most attractive features in a woman: her self-confidence.

Since skyping with my globe-trotting friend, I've managed to cut the string that tied my level of resentment to the pointing arrow of a weighing scale. But occasionally, I think about those who are married to alcoholics or drug addicts and wonder if they would agree with my now complete laissez-faire in my partner's diet. When does overeating become a deadly addiction that one shouldn't accept for a spouse? When does a husband who loves his wife becomes nothing less than an enabler? What would my friend in Australia do? Would he put his head in the sand... or dig his own hole?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Guest Post! Gina From Fit by 41, Maybe 42

I am tickled to present my first guest post, written by Gina of Fit by 41, Maybe 42. I had hoped to link this but better yet, Gina kindly agreed to guest-blog for me. Later in the week, I'll be posting her husband Danny's viewpoint. Gina writes movingly about the sticky problem of

When a Spouse Calls You Fat

(Or boyfriend, girlfriend, mother, father -- anyone who you've emotionally invested in)


My husband, Danny, is my soul mate. We've been married for almost 15 years. We click in every area of our lives. When we disagree about stuff, it's usually done respectfully. We listen, we talk, we honestly want to understand where each other is coming from. We're both thrifty and don't fight about money, a common thorn in marriages. Other than some heated debates on how to reprimand our kids, the only thing we fight about, I mean nasty bringing-out-the-worst-in-each-other fight about, is my weight.


He first brought it up after a year of marriage. He was 22, me, 27. We were taking a walk, hand-in-hand. I was happy. Birds were singing. La la la la la. Then, out of nowhere, he asked, "So, when are you going to lose the 10 pounds you said you wanted to lose?" {cue the screeching sound of a needle scratching an LP as she lets go of his hand}


He just mortared in the first layer of bricks that would eventually form a wall around me.


I was mortified. He didn't understand why; he thought he was helping me by holding me accountable to my desire to lose 10 pounds. I'm not really sure how that bomb was smoothed over, but it eventually did (but not without some damage).


We continued with our beer-drinking, wing-eating, happy-go-lucky college-going lives. I guess I gained. He brought it up, again. Fight. Smoothed over. More bricks layered the wall. Resentment compounded for the both of us.


In my heart, I did want to lose the weight. I was successful years ago (pre-Danny) on a popular liquid diet. I gained it back and (now say it with me) "plus some." (Isn't that the common story)? But, that liquid diet didn't work anymore for me. I was active, but as far as food went, I didn't know what to do. And I was freaking stubborn. The more Danny pushed the subject, the more I rebelled. ("He's not ---munch munch--- going to --- munch munch --- tell me ---munch--- what to do!")


He really took my weight-gain personally, he thought it reflected my lack of love for him. At one point, he said point-blank I was obese, and he never thought he'd be married to a fat woman and tried to explain that every man desires a pretty wife. He barked that he was going to assign himself as my personal trainer. (More bricks). He'll tell me what to eat and when to exercise. He'll do it with me. He bought me a scale (trying to be helpful). I resented and hated that thing. Eventually, that scale met its death from a second-floor window after one of our conflicts about my weight.


I told him I didn't want him policing me. I (post swearing and yelling) agreed I was gaining too much but to let me do it on my own. I would begin to cut back, and as long as he thought I was trying, it would appease him. We'd be "happy," again, for several months. Then I'd gain weight, and the confrontations would start over. That was the cycle.


We wanted to start a family (there were many more good times than bad). I wasn't losing but wanted to be at a healthier weight while pregnant. Around this time, he asked me to give his way a try. I agreed. My ill-informed way wasn't working. It was actually a little fun to do this project together. But, we weren't always together. He was working as an airline pilot and would be gone for days at a time. I had to police myself and found a calorie-restricted diet. I counted calories, measured, and wrote everything down while working full time.


I was losing weight and felt so hungry. Then, one time I ate a cheese crisp. Something snapped. I ate another, then another. I foraged in the apartment for more food and binged. Panic struck in, "What have I done?! All that work ruined in 10 minutes!" I had heard of bulimia where people binged and purged. "Okay, just this once. You'll learn from your mistake and not do it, again."


I didn't learn. I did it again. And again. Danny didn't know. He saw a wife sticking to the plan. (smile pretty. kiss. kiss.)


Good news: I was pregnant with our first child! I had to be healthy for the baby. No more throwing up. Somehow I was saved from the addiction of bulimia. Thank goodness, but my addiction to food grew. Over the years I was a closet-eater. I was a in-the-car-rip-it-open-as-fast-as-you-can eater. I was a hand-shaking-forget-the-plate eater. I was having an affair with food, particularly ooey-gooey pastries.


Danny didn't see me eating, but he saw the results. He didn't know what to do. He said, "Gina, if you loved me, you would stop. Do it for me!"


The wall got taller, and I was pulling away from him.


Sometimes he'd be so angry. "I'm not happy! I'm going to tell you you are too fat and need help. Other men are afraid to tell their wives that. Instead, they behave like cowards and have affairs. I'm not going to cheat on you, but I am going to tell you I'm not happy." I remember thinking (briefly) I wish he would have an affair and leave me alone.


Part of his unhappiness was that I wasn't interested in sex anymore (I couldn't stand the idea of him seeing me exposed, vulnerable, and I felt safer behind the wall of bricks. Plus, I was a new mother and worn out). He felt I rejected him and chose food over him. He couldn't seem to understand why I didn't initiate intimacy, and I couldn't understand why he would want intimacy with me.


See, here's the paradox I couldn't wrap my brain around: he says that even though he's been unhappy with the weight gain, he found me physically attractive, is in love with me, and wants to be intimate. It breaks his heart that I choose food over him.


Confronting me about my weight is not an aphrodisiac. Telling me I'm fat and obese (although true) is not the sweet-nothings I want whispered in my ear. He knew that bringing up my weight wasn't going to get him any, but had to let me know, anyway.


One day, I saw he stopped wearing his wedding ring. He didn't feel I was committed to him. Neither one of us wanted to celebrate our 8th anniversary. It was some sad, sad times. What did I do? I turned to food.


My new neighbor who was large, too, asked if we could be walking partners. We both lost weight. My mood was elevated. Danny and I got along. I became pregnant with Skye, my 4 yr old.


Life has been a blur with a new baby, job losses, more moves and changes the last few years. I gained it almost all back and am 10 pounds away from my highest (as far as I know...I threw the first scale out the window, remember). Fortunately, Danny began to grasp that my weight-gain wasn't about him; I have a real problem with my relationship with food. His focus on my weight went from an aesthetic view, to a it's-coming-between-us view, to I'm-concerned-about-your-health-view, to I-love-you-the-way-you-are view.


We both built that wall. It's slowly coming down. I finally believe him that he truly desires me for me as me. I reach out to him. I let him be there for me. I tell him my secrets. I tell him my failures and weaknesses. I tell him because I trust him with my heart, again. I know he loves me. When someone feels loved, they feel loving.


I'm still tempted by the sweets and go overboard, but I'm learning about food, nutrition and have completely revamped our weekly menus. Now I'm doing it for me because I want to and am no longer distracted by someone else's wants. What I want is ringing clear, uninterrupted.


Danny had no idea how hurtful those first few comments about my weight could be. He grew up in a fit, athletic family with one brother. He was raised in France where weight wasn't an issue for 99% of the people, especially young people. He also has a beautiful, fit, no-nonsense German mother who tells it like it is; if it hurts your feelings that's okay as long as it's the truth and would help you.


If I was an alcoholic or drug-addict, and it affected my behavior, health and our lives, shouldn't he speak up?


Danny is honest and has great integrity. He's a loving, warm, wonderful father. (He watches our child now while I sit and write). He's honorable and passionate. He's funny and makes me laugh.


He is sorry for many of the things he has said. And I'm sorry for hurting my body so much and for hurting Danny as he watched me do this to myself. It's been a journey. Neither one of us wanted to give up on this marriage nor ourselves. We both wanted to become better people, better spouses, better parents. And we both worked at it.


"Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose."
Helen Keller (1880 - 1968)


I am a worthy purpose.