Two observations of late; OK maybe three.
One, it’s been way too long since I’ve written anything “fer fun”. WAY overdue. This is like therapy.
Two, I’ve been amazed and inspired of late. Chris and Kip the Crossfitters, Sharyl the Skinny who’s dropped over 50 pounds, Beth & Shari who are running (all.the.time!), all my mom friends finding time for Camp Gladiator. My spouse is also on my list – Skip got “the talk” from our doctor not long ago; he wasn’t in the danger zone, but was headed there. So Skip said screw pharma (thanks, honey, did you forget where I work?), changed a few eating habits, and bought a bike. And … another bike. AND … a third bike. And … the funky bike shoes, bike pants, and bike shirt. He’s dropped 30 pounds and now gets good reports from Dr. Ferguson, so it’s all worth it. And it’s simple, but not drastic changes – he’ll still go to Whataburger, but he foregoes the fries. He’ll consume a diet Dr. Pepper now when he gets a craving for pop (that’s Nebraska for “soda”, BTW). He tries to load up on veggies when he can. And he hits the streets of Plano every nice weekend morning for a long ride. I’m very proud of him and the positive changes he’s made (still waiting for the $10K bike to suddenly appear in the garage, though …)
Three, I know how hard that is – to lose weight or to start a new fitness program when you are so NOT athletic and you think competitive eating might be your ‘sport’. That is me!
So, there’s some thoughts running though my head about my own weight loss and fitness journey that need to get out (they keep churning around in my head). Who knows, maybe my path will inspire someone else. Or, it’ll just make you laugh. Regardless, it’s time to shut up the voice in my head and get it all out!
Diary of a Fat Girl
I was never athletic as a kid. But I loved to eat.
Correction: I loved to eat staggeringly crazy quantities of horrible, fattening food.
Turkey platter, loaded with fries, under an avalanche of cheese and a pound of bacon? With a gravy boat of ranch dressing on the side? And that’s an APPETIZER before my steak and sides arrive? Yes, please! Oh, you can’t finish the last ¾ of your cheesecake (even though you only had the side salad and water for lunch)? Pass it over, sister, and as soon as I’m done licking every last schmear of whipped cream off of my own dessert plate, I’ll polish yours off, too. Party bag size of M&Ms? Jen, party of one. I’ll always take the corner cake piece, especially if it’s laden down with extra icing flowers. Cake’s sole purpose in life is to be my frosting vehicle. Buttercream, for the record.
Now, I didn’t do this all the time – but enough. And in between the staggering quantities of bad food, there wasn’t much good – very little by way of vegetables, fruits, or lean meats. Lots of sandwiches, chips, burgers, fries. Always with a Diet Coke, of course, because, well, who needs the extra sugar and calories, right?
I’m not sure when my bad eating habits started, and it’s not for lack of good food offerings at home. Gardener Mom Sandy always had fresh tomatoes, green beans, peppers and other goodies coming out of the backyard in Omaha – and she is an awesome cook to boot – but I just wasn’t interested. My parents would say I was picky – and they’re right. (Hello, Karma … Katie’s just as picky, maybe worse.)
I’m sure some psychologist could have a heyday with my eating habits, but whatever. I just ate. I liked – and still like – to eat.
In the fourth grade, I crested both 5 feet in height and 100 pounds. Ratio-wise, that’s not bad – but I was bigger than about everyone else in class. And I was a dork/nerd/outcast already, so being taller and heavier than everyone else – while starting puberty to boot – was JUST.AWESOME.
High school graduation … probably about 165 and my height topped out at 5’7”. End of freshman year of college, 185ish (thank you, Amigos crisp meat burritos dipped in sour cream, Valentino’s pizza, and daVinci subs, among other things … foods I still crave when we go home).
Somewhere between freshman year and graduation, I entered the 200 club. By the time of graduation, I was at 210 or 220. And there I stayed until I was married in 1995.
And then … not sure what or why, but I hit my highest weight sometime before moving to Texas in 1998. A whopping 270+ at 30 years old. Ouch.
Through it all, I would occasionally make attempts to lose weight, usually in response to some comment – not necessarily something harsh directed at me (although a lady asking me when the baby was due was a trigger for some changes … NEVER ASK A WOMAN WHEN THE BABY IS DUE UNLESS YOU SEE THE BABY EXITING HER BODY AT THAT VERY MOMENT). At one point, it was a male coworker who was eating tuna and crackers for lunch who made an offhand comment “Tryin’ to keep it under an eighth of a ton.” This was when I was in my 270 phase, and when you start thinking of weight in terms of tonnage … holy schnikes. So I’d do Weight Watchers for a while, and get back down to 220ish … and then stall.
And then of course there’s pregnancy, but as long as my OBGYN didn’t say anything about my weight, I sure wasn’t gonna worry about it. Weird, I don’t really remember what my PG weight was – I think 250, 260. My only craving was cake – with lots of icing (figures). After Katie arrived, I leveled back out at the 220 mark – and there I stayed.
And, at some point, I got tired of it. Tired of shopping in the Fat Girl Section where everything is sized ending in a “W” (for “whale”, I’m sure), and is usually colored shit Army green or is in some horrible animal pattern because of COURSE overweight women look FABULOUS in clothing that is associated with military convoys or the fat wildebeest, separated from the herd waiting to be picked off by Mumfasa. Thanks, fashion designer people. (And never comfortable, breathable fabrics, either … the worst!) Tired of overflowing the airline seat, and just not being comfortable in general.
I briefly flirted with the idea of bypass or lap band surgery. But I knew the same part of my brain that sabotaged my Weight Watchers program would sabotage my surgically reduced digestive tract, too. Because this is how my brain starts to work: one Snickers = 8 points; therefore, 3 Snickers = 24 points. That’s within my daily Weight Watchers point limit so today I’m having Snickers bars for breakfast, lunch and dinner – and technically it’s “legal”. If I could eat Snickers bars without issue, post-surgery, guess what – at some point I’d be eating Snickers bars. LOTS of Snickers bars. Sorta defeats the purpose of the surgery and weight loss if I’m still putting junk into the machine. I also heard of a lot of people having issues, post-surgery; I wanted to eat less, but eating is still enjoyable – I didn’t want to lose that entirely. I couldn’t overcome the idea of NEVER eating certain foods.
I tried MediFast at one point. Got a coach who was less than enthusiastic about her role in the process, so before long, I quit that too. However, a former coworker had turned her life around with MediFast and loved it so much she became a coach. So I hit up Neva to try MediFast again. I needed something structured to help me get where I needed to be.
I’m not going to tell you it was awesome. For the girl who loves to eat, being limited to five MediFast meals a day, plus one “lean and green” … well, it sorta sucked. The only thing that helped was there are a lot of chocolate MediFast options: bars, puddings, shakes. That’s probably the only thing that kept me from becoming entirely psychotic (I’m sure I was partially psychotic; Skip would say there’s always some amount of psychosis happening). I will say that not having to THINK about what to eat was a bonus. Obviously, based on this little narrative, if I’m left on my own when it comes to eating, well, y’all see how that turns out.
Passing the 200 pound mark on the downside was a big milestone, and pretty exciting. Eventually, I got down to my targeted goal weight of 155, and there I stayed, in maintenance mode … for a while. I re-introduced normal foods in replacement of the MediFast meals and tried to get back to something more “normal” for eating.
I didn’t get back into cheese fries, cheesecake, and mass quantities of M&Ms, but bad habits started creeping back in. My mantra is butter+flour+sugar = it’s all good; I’ve got a serious thing for all baked goods. It’s hard for me to stay away from them for very long. And I still have control issues – it’s hard for me to have just ONE cookie; my brain says oh screw it, have another. And maybe one more. And another … and then I’m suddenly staring at an empty Thin Mint sleeve (I know – it’s not just me who does that; everybody falls victim to Thin Mints).
Of course, carbs means the weight starts creeping back up. But dang it, I refuse to let it hit 1/10th of a ton again; I am NOT going back to shit army green clothes, no way. For the record, it got close to 200 before I pulled it back in.
So I’ve been working on eating better. More nuts, more proteins, more veggies, fewer desserts and carbs. That part is still a struggle; I’d much rather have ice cream at the end of the day than go without. I’d say the carb battle is maybe a draw at this point; probably still eating too many overall, but fewer “binges”. The weight is back down; I’m not to the 155 mark, but well below the 1/10th of a ton mark it was toying with for a while.
The other part of this equation is exercise. Even while doing MediFast I didn’t do much by way of fitness. I’ve always been big on walking; I did do a ½ marathon at one point, walking the entire thing (me + running = NO). There is something nice about just getting out with headphones on and moving. I’d tried gyms too, but they never lasted very long – I’m not good at managing my own time and effort there either, apparently.
So one day I decided I needed to do something – both for weight loss and just to build up some strength. Regardless of my weight, I’ve always had some back issues and the older I get, they ain’t getting any better. Time to work on that core, and I knew to be successful, I was going to have to find something structured that would keep me in line.
A former coworker and friend, Shari, kept checking into Orange Theory Fitness on Facebook. (For the record, she’ll also participate in danged near every 5K offered in the greater DFW area, but: me + running = NO.) So I got curious, checked ‘em out online and thought, well, it’s worth a shot. Plus there’s one literally in my backyard, so getting there isn’t a problem.
So I picked up the phone and scheduled that first “consultation/free session” …
To be continued!