Tag Archives: fat chick

What I Think About While I’m Biking (Hint: Not you!)

I have been biking quite a lot recently. I try to get out at least 3-5 times a week. I have even biked to work, although I do not do that often. I’m often hot and sweaty after I get there and the ride home, while primarily downhill, is mostly on city streets and is kind of brutal and scary.

A few months ago, a friend of mine, or maybe someone I know only slightly posted this meme oh Facebook:

bike-pic

I think the person was trying to be encouraging by showing how judgy they are not by posting a meme on Facebook. I was slightly offended by it and became more so the more I thought about it. I’m not upset with the person, just the idea. The idea that there are good fat people, those who exercise or do something other people deem to be healthy. And bad fat people. To me, this is just another form of fat shaming.

The idea that my health, my appearance somehow belongs to other people is offensive to me. If I do what you think is the right thing, I’m worthy of praise, and if I do not, I deserve derision.

Now that I am biking myself, I’m here to tell you that while I’m biking, none of that matters. Here’s the secret. Fat people bike for the same reasons skinny people bike…because they love it. Yes, it is exercise and helps to build muscle mass and burn calories, but that is not my primary motivation.

So I thought I’d share some of the things I actually think about while I’m biking. (hint: those thoughts have nothing to do with you or what I think you think I look like!)

  1. Balance! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Whoa Whoa! Don’t fall! Don’t fall!
  2. I put my feet not the pedals! Whoo hoo!
  3. OK, pedal, pedal! Don’t fall!
  4. I’m biking! I’m biking!
  5. OK get to bike trail…
  6. Big hill! It’s downhill, you can do this!
  7. Holy crap here comes a car! It’s OK! It’s OK! They’ll go around me.
  8. Whew, they went around me. Catastrophe averted.
  9. I made it to the bike trail! OMG, it’s uphill! At least it will be downhill on the way back.
  10. On the way back: How can the bike trail possibly be uphill in both directions?? Seriously? Who designed these trails?
  11. OMG, my legs.
  12. OMG, my butt hurts.
  13. OMG, I cannot breathe.
  14. Just breathe!
  15. OMG, I think a bug flew up my nose!
  16. Now my nose is itchy!
  17. Can’t take hands off handlebars to scratch nose.
  18. I have to scratch my nose.
  19. Scratches nose. Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! Don’t fall!
  20. Making bike trail part of the sidewalk…not a good idea!
  21. Case in point…who decided to put a lamppost in the middle of the bike trail/sidewalk? WTF? img_1858
  22. Bike around lamppost by railing and risk running into the railing and possibly tumbling down the embankment and into the creek? Or bike around lamppost street-side and risk tumbling into traffic? Nice.
  23. Preparing to bike up a short, but sharp hill. I can do this. I can do this. Uh oh, someone is coming downhill fast in my lane! He’s not looking up. Look up, look up look up! “Hey, look up! Coming towards you!”
  24. He moved, thank God.
  25. Lost momentum. Great, now I have to walk up the hill.
  26. OMG, I didn’t know I could sweat this much.
  27. Family with kids, “I’m on your left!” Please, God, don’t let the kids run out in front of me!
  28. Did the runner I just passed going downhill just pass me as we are going uphill? Holy crap, I’m slow!
  29. When does this get easier?
  30. Does it have to be so hot out?
  31. When does this hill end?
  32. Breathe! Just breathe!
  33. You can do this!
  34. Home at last!
  35. I so totally rock!

I do not think about what other people think I look like. Not at all. I think about safety and the other people I see on the trails. I do not want to put myself or anyone else at risk.

A friend of mine recently asked me that since I live in an urban area and I bike on the streets a lot if cars scare me. The answer is, they terrify me. I have a healthy fear of cars. Every time I have to cross a street or bike on the street, I’m terrified. I know most drivers are cautious and do not want to hit me, but in that moment, all I can think about is trying to avoid being hit. I yield to everyone.

But here’s another secret, I spend most of my time on my bike being terrified. Terrified I’ll fall. Terrified I’ll run into a pedestrian. Terrified of going uphill. Terrified of going down hill. Terrified of going too slow. And terrified of going too fast. Still, I get out there.

So, why do I do it? I do it because I have to. Not because I’m required to, or that the doctor told me I must. I do it because I love it. When I’m on my bike I’m not concerned about what I look like or what anyone else thinks of me. It is the only time I feel free from the judgment of other people; free to just live in the moment. I think that more than anything gets me out there on the trails as often as possible.

I see people of all sizes on the bike trails. Some a much smaller than me, some much bigger. One girl in particular stands out. I saw her this weekend and I think she was biking with her boyfriend. She looked like she was struggling. Still, she was faster than me. The two of them whizzed by me without a problem. I later caught up with them as they had stopped for water. She saw me coming and smiled. She looked just as hot and sweaty as I felt. I smiled back and gave her the biker nod – the nod many bikers have given me. A nod of recognition; of camaraderie; a welcome to the club. I hope she sticks with it and loves it as much as I do.

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Holiday Foods: Planning vs. Reality

So, a few weeks back, I wrote a post about being prepared for the holidays food-wise.  I thought I was ready to deal with the holiday eating season.  Honestly, for the most part, I have been very disciplined.  I have allowed myself some cheats, but all in all, this has been much harder than I originally thought it would be.

october-holiday-food

There are three things that have really put me in jeopardy this Christmas season.  Well, five now that I think about it.  They are as follows:

  • The return of hunger pains – Not with a vengeance, but at meal time and snack time, I do get hungry.  And if I skip any part of my diet plan, I definitely feel it.  So, I have had to learn to manage hunger pains, which I really did not need to worry about for at least 8 months post-op.  Plus, I can eat more now that I could last year.  Those two things combined has made dealing with food this holiday season difficult to say the least.
  • Office party #1 – My work has had two Christmas parties.  The first one was at Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum in DC.  This was so much fun.  Trays and trays and trays of food everywhere.  And if that wasn’t enough, waiters walked around with more trays passing out more food.  I was very good all day.  Light meals and snacks, sticking to the bariatric food diet plan.  Then the party hit.  I still tried to stay on schedule, protein and veggies only.  I just ate too much, which let’s face it, is probably just a normal sized meal for non-bariatric surgery peeps.  But for me, it is way too much.  I did have a tummy ache and get a little nauseated, but I survived mostly intact, I think.
  • Office party #2 – My department had its own office party.  That was a 2 1/2 hour eating feat I have not really done at all since the surgery.  I had appetizers, fried zucchini shoe strings, cheese, a slice of some kind of meat, and assorted veggies.  Then we sat down to dinner.  Salad.  Not bad. I had a small spoonful.  Then the pasta course started. Two different kinds of pasta.  I had four tiny pieces of pasta.  I really cannot have starchy food, but I wanted a taste.  Now, keep in mind, I was pretty much full after the appetizers.  They served the food slowly, so there was a lot of time between courses, but I am already in forbidden territory and the food just kept coming.  Then they brought out eggplant parm, which I hate, so I did not eat.  Then rosemary chicken and roasted broccoli.  I had about three bites of chicken and 2-4 bites of broccoli and I really just had to stop.  I thought I was going to explode.  Then they brought out dessert.  Tiramisu and chocolate mousse.  I did not even look at the Tiramisu.  I knew if I did it would be all over.  I took my spoon and sliced off the teeniest bite of mousse I could manage and just a spot of whipped cream.  It was just heaven.  I thought I was going to pop.  I had to get up and walk away from the table before I was tempted to try another bite.  My stomach hurt so much, and I was very nauseated.  It stayed in the bathroom for about 10 minutes.  Then when everyone else was done eating dessert, I ordered a cup of coffee hoping the warm liquid would start moving some of the feast through my system.  When I got home, I dutifully logged every bite into My Fitness Pal, chocolate mousse bite and all.  I ate over 500 calories in one meal that took me over 2 hours to eat.  For me, that’s twice what I normally have.
  • Writer’s Group Party – OK, this one was not so bad, but still, a little bad.  This was held at a bar.  I did not actually order any food. I just ate what other people were sharing.  I had three wings, carrots, celery, humus, and some nachos over the course of about an hour and a half.  Not the greatest meal, but not too bad.  Once I was done nibbling, I just drank water for the rest of the night.
  • Office treats and other junk – This has been the hardest for me to deal with.  So many yummy things.  Tons of cookies, truffles, peppermint bark, candy, etc.  I got tired of seeing cookies, so after having one cookie, I was done.  I managed to stay away from the cranberry-orange bread, which was tempting.  But the chocolate truffles just killed me.  Someone sent French truffles filled with caramel.  I love, love, love, love, love caramel filled chocolate.  I decided that I would give in and allow myself one French caramel filled truffle.  I took it back to my desk and took one small bite.  It was heaven.  The caramel just melted in my mouth.  Before I could stop myself or change my mind, I quickly threw the rest of the truffle into the trash.  I knew if I finished it, it would be all over.  I would have to go back and just scarf up the rest of them. My co-worker could not believe I did that.  She was like, “Wow, you have incredible will-power.”  I replied, “No, I do not.  If I didn’t get rid of this now, you might as well check me into French caramel truffle rehab!”  It was tempting to reach into the trash and retrieve the truffle, but my pride just would not let me.

Now I am in Pittsburgh visiting with my mother for the holidays.  She’s kind of a food nazi. All my life, I have hated her fixation on limiting what I eat.  Now all I have to say is, “Thank goodness.”  She does not keep junk in her house.  OK, she keeps popcorn in her house, but I dare not touch her stash.  It has been a relief not to have all those temptations so close at hand.  I need to refocus.  I need to become more disciplined in the New Year if I want to lose the remaining 46 pounds.

I will be glad when the holidays are over, and the pressure is off.  It will be a relief to return to normal eating patterns.  This holiday season has been very tough for me to deal with.  Last year was not as difficult because I could barely eat.  But now that I actually feel hungry and can eat almost 1400 calories per day, (including protein drinks), the temptation to over-indulge has been very stressful.

My next biggest hurdle is New Year’s Eve.  I am spending that time with friends.  I am making chicken saag and my pumpkin brownies for everyone.  And I know that there will be a lot of other foods.  I think I’ll be OK because I will have many good options to choose from.  And my one friend is kind of worried about food herself so I know she will not have a lot of junk on hand.

Wish me luck!

Resurrecting My Schedule

This week has been rough.  I had a great weekend last week, and it seemed like I was going to have a great week to follow.  And then I woke up sick on Thursday.

I did make it to work that day, but my boss told me that I had the option to work from home, which I used on Friday.  The illness was absolutely horrible, but I am feeling a little better today.

My schedule, eating, exercising, working, was thrown completely off kilter.  I have eaten nothing but crackers and chicken broth for a couple of days.  I tried to keep my vitamin intake the same, but I know that is off a bit too.

Good news though.  I’m down another pound.  Bad news, I spent what feels like forever, in bed completely immobile.

weightnew

I might try to go out and get some lunch and pick up some groceries today, just to get out of the house for a bit, but I think I am still going to keep inside and rest for the lion’s share of the weekend.

Maybe tomorrow I will go for a walk.

I have not had a cold for nearly two years.  I was not sure how my post surgical body would handle being sick, especially if I become nauseated, which I did this week.  I did not vomit, thankfully, but there were definitely some close calls.

I have been very lucky, post surgery.  Unlike many people who have had a gastric by-pass, I have not had very many incidents of vomiting or nausea after eating.  In truth, I have not vomited at all.  Partially because I have been very, very careful about what I eat, especially in the months immediately after the surgery.  I really allowed my stomach to heal well before I started introducing new foods into my diet.  I did make some mistakes, I cannot lie about that, the whole lamb burger incident for example, but mostly I have tried to be very careful.

Now that this illness is on the decline, I am not so worried about being ill now.  I still do not welcome any illness, but I think I feel better about how my post surgical self will weather such a cold.  I am so afraid of getting sick to my stomach and doing damage if I do vomit.  I guess now that my stomach has healed from the surgery the danger of damage is not as bad, but still, I’m sure there is some risk.

Anyway, I don’t want to end this post talking about that, so let me say this.  I lost another pound!!  Yay!

Have a great weekend!

When I Get Discouraged…

It is easy to get discouraged when the scale does not move or does not move as quickly as it did in the beginning.  I have amped up my exercise recently, and I am trying to re-evaluate what I am eating to make sure that I am staying on plan and getting the right kind of nutrients.  I’m thinking of cutting back on the cappuccinos and converting back to regular coffee instead.  Fewer calories in regular coffee, although I will miss the foam.

Sometimes all I see is how far I have to go and not how far I have come.  To test the waters and attempt to cheer myself up, I tried on an item of clothing the other day that I have not worn since high school.  Yes, I still own one or two things from high school.

Let me preface this by saying that when in high school, I weighed between 120-135-ish range, depending upon the year.  I still have my high school band jacket and a t-shirt from my first school play.  I was in the orchestra my Sophomore through Senior years of high school.  My skinniest, at 125, was my Sophomore year when the school did West Side Story.

So, I put on my high school band jacket just for shits and giggles.  I can put it on and almost get it closed.  I cannot yet, button it, but a year ago, I couldn’t even an arm through a sleeve.  (Pay no attention to my messy hair and room, please.)

hs

It’s strange, because in high school I thought I was fat.  Everyone around me, almost everyone at least, confirmed this.  I was always being encouraged to diet.  I was always told how pretty I would be if I would just lose some weight.

Right before my surgery, my sister Sandy tried to put the jacket on.  She’s 5’4″ and weighs maybe 145 pounds.  She was always the skinny one.  She put this jacket on.  The sleeves were too short, and she could not even get it close to buttoned.

She turned around and looked at me and said, “Oh yeah, you were soooo fat in high school! Yeah right!”

If only I had known then what it was to be really fat…makes me sick to think about it.

So, when I’m feeling like I am making no progress, I put this jacket on.  I cannot wait until I can get it buttoned.  When that happens I will post a follow-up pic.  Maybe I will even put on my West Side Story t-shirt with it.  (I cannot believe I still have that!)

Happy Sunday, everyone and enjoy the start of football season!  I cannot wait until the weather cools off enough so that I can start wearing scarves and jackets.

Slow But Steady

Well, it appears my scale did not fake me out this am.  I am down one more pound.  I did got on and off the scale several times, as I did the other day.  Then I went to get my camera, got back on the scale, and the one pound loss held.

I have to admit, I have become kind of obsessed again with what the scale says.  I know that I shouldn’t and that “numbers do not really matter,” but I cannot seem to help myself sometimes.

Fortunately, I’m not weighing myself every single day, just 2-3 times a week, but seriously, I need to back off the scale a little bit.

Anyway, here is the pic of today’s weight:

scale2

This is also kind of a momentous number.  I have crossed a new threshold.  I have less than 50 pounds to lose before I reach my goal weight, 49 pounds to go!  I can hardly believe that.

I was so good last night.  I went to my weekly writer’s group and a couple of us went out afterwards.  Now, I did have a small supper before I went to the writer’s group, but I still could have eaten up to 262 more calories.

I wasn’t hungry, I wanted chicken wings.  And I did recognize the difference and therefore did not order them. Wings are one of my favorite food groups.  OMG, it’s bad.  Now, had I ordered them, I probably could only have eaten one or two wings, maximum.  I then would have 8 wings to bring to lunch today.  Still, more wings than I can eat in one sitting, but I love wings, so it’s not a problem.  They would have gotten eaten eventually.

I did not order the wings.  I drank my water and saved my calories.  I did allow myself a teeny treat before going to bed.  I had one small square of really dark chocolate and 1/2 teaspoon of peanut butter.  Something sweet and tasty, very low in sugar (2 grams) and a smidge of protein.

Speaking of peanut butter, wow, I really love this stuff.  I haven’t had peanut butter for years in part because I had developed an allergy to peanuts.  Since the surgery and massive weight loss, my allergies have abated quite a bit.  I decided to give peanut butter a try again.  I went to Trader Joe’s and bought the all natural peanut butter that you have to stir.  (I’ve always loved that the all natural more than the processed stuff.)  I have had no problems eating this at all.  So, I have been having peanut butter and apples for breakfast.  My niece went apple-picking last weekend, and I have a whole bag of fresh-picked honey crisp apples.  They are so delicious and go very well with freshly ground peanut butter.

One thing I’ve noticed about peanut butter that I haven’t noticed with other forms of protein, it really keeps me feeling very full.  Probably because most of the 190 calories in 2 tablespoons of pb is fat, and not the good kind either.  I don’t care.  I still love it.  And I still lost one pound!

My Thoughts on the Diet Industry

A couple of days ago, I read this fantastic open apology letter that a former weight loss counselor wrote to her former clients.  It appeared in the Huffington Post today, but also was originally posted on this blog.

I found that very interesting.  I have hated what I view as the “diet industry” forever.  Fad diets, diet pills, prepackaged meals, I’ve tried them all in all of them failed me.  Yet, I was always made to feel that my failure to make these diets work and keep the weight off was always my fault.  I did not exercise enough, walk enough, I ate too much, I ate the wrong combinations of things, if I only did this or that, etc.

I found it very interesting to hear from a former “weight loss counselor” about how some of these plans deliberately stack the deck against their clients to keep those clients coming back as they rebound from diet after diet.

“Wait a minute,” I thought to myself as I read this apology letter, “they sold a diet plan which they knew would not work or have a lasting effect, one which would most likely keep their clients coming back again and again?  How, exactly, is that healthy?”

Simply, it is not.  The diet business is just that.  A business.  There is no real lasting money in the cure.  It’s the repeat business that keeps the store open.

This is another reason why I think categorizing obesity as an illness is good.  Have people work with their doctors and trained dietitians to help them lose weight.  And force companies that want to pretend that they are offering solutions instead of a lifestyle of using their service, meet medical standards for a healthy weight loss and lifestyle plan.  Eat right.  Exercise.  Work with a doctor or nutrition specialist.

There is no real short cut to weight loss and a healthy lifestyle.  Yes, I guess you call the bariatric surgeries a short cut, but really, it is only a tool.  I am forced to eat smaller meals, but I work very closely with the nurses and nutritionists in my surgeon’s office to make sure those meals consist of nutrient rich food.  This is something I was not doing before.  I ate a lot and I ate a lot of junk.  Now I eat a little, and it’s primarily healthy food.

Here is an example of my before surgery diet:

Breakfast: (choice of one of the following)

  • Toasted bagel from Panerra with egg and bacon.
  • Breakfast burritos from local deli with egg, bacon, potato, onions, green peppers.
  • Croissant from deli with egg and bacon. (croissant fried on grill, of course).
  • 2 bowls of cereal with fruit.
  • Fried potatoes and eggs, bacon, or sausage, and toast or english muffin.

Lunch:  (choice of one of the following)

  • Chipotle burrito.
  • Chinese food, usually kung pao chicken with rice and an egg roll or pot stickers.
  • Sandwich and potato soup from Panerra.
  • Chicken drumsticks and rice and some kind of vegetable.
  • 1/2 rotisserie chicken and some bread and vegetables.

Dinner: (choice of one of the following)

  • 12-24 Chicken wings and fries.
  • Large Bag of Chips and some kind of dip.
  • 1/2 rotisserie chicken and bread.
  • Chicken Saag – entire order, rice, one somosa, garlic naan.
  • Chinese food, same as lunch.
  • Subway sandwich – footlong, cookies and chips.

Snacks: continuously throughout the day, chips or whatever.

Examples of meals post WLS:

Breakfast: (choice of one of the following)

  • 4-6oz nonfat plain greek yogurt & 1/2 cup of berries.
  • 4-6oz nonfat plain greek yogurt and peach or nectarine.
  • 1 scrambled egg with spinach and 1/2 banana.
  • 1 hard boiled egg with some kind of fruit.
  • 2 oz cheese and fruit.

Snack:

  • 4-6 oz nonfat plain greek yogurt & 1 scoop protein powder.

Lunch: (choice of one of the following)

  • 1/2 chicken breast, 1/2 avocado, 1/2 cup of fruit
  • 2-4oz cheese and fruit
  • Chicken Saag (2-3 cubes of chicken breast, 1/2 cup spinach), and fruit.
  • 1/2 cup tuna salad, fruit & vegetables

Snack: (choice of the following)

  • 4oz nonfat greek yogurt (plain)
  • 2oz nuts (walnuts, almonds, pecans, etc)
  • 2-3oz cheese

Dinner: (choice of the following)

  • 4 wings, celery and carrots (that is a rare, but special treat)
  • cracker pizzas (usually 4 or 5) (saltines, tomato sauce, cheese bake for a few minutes in toaster oven)
  • Chicken Saag (2-3 cubes of chicken breast, 1/2 cup spinach), and fruit.
  • 4oz Chicken breast and two vegetables of some kind.
  • 4oz salmon and two vegetables of some kind.
  • 4oz cheese and vegetables and fruit.

See the difference?  So, yes, I am eating considerably less than I was before.  I am following the Dr.’s plan very closely.  I may allow myself a treat of chicken wings or cracker pizza, but look at the difference between my before surgery meals and after.  I used to eat out a lot.  I still eat out sometimes, but I often end up coming home with a huge amount of leftovers that I eat over the next couple of days.

Conceivably, you can try to continue to eat all of the bad food and make yourself sick stretching out your stomach so that you can eat almost as much as you did before the surgery.  But why would you do that?

The WLS surgery does not solve all of your problems or change why you ate badly, binged, or ate out for nearly every meal in the fist place.  It’s a tool to jump-start you on the path to good health, and it’s not for everyone.  But all of the good you can achieve can be undone if you do not take steps to address why you became fat in the first place.  These are things the “diet industry” was never designed to address and therefore never will.

Whatever you decide to do to improve your health, lose weight, or whatever, you need to find the will within yourself to stick to the plan.  It’s hard.  I still struggle every day.  And people on the outside continually give me bad advice or tell me what I’m doing wrong, even when I know I am doing what the doctor told me to do.  Staying focused is tough.  But once you experience all that you can gain from improving your health, it becomes harder to turn back.

All I know is that while I may want to eat certain things, and sometimes I may find a way to fit a night out at a restaurant or a special treat into my diet, I do not ever allow that to throw me off my plan.  I’ve come too far and worked too hard.  I do not ever want to go back to being the fat girl who could not even walk to from the bus to the office again.  Ever.

So I kind of wandered away from my point here about the “diet industry,” so let me try to find my way back…

Anyone who tells you there is a short-term quick fix to losing weight and being healthy is selling you something.  One thing I have learned over the past year is that it is a lifetime of work.  The changes you make will have to be permanent.  I will never be able to go back to having the kinds of foods I ate before my surgery.

Bottom line, if you’re not willing to make the commitment to truly change your behavior, you will never permanently lose the weight.  All the fad diets and pre-packaged plans in the world will never replace a life-long, sustainable, sensible diet and exercise plan.  And that’s what the “diet industry” does not want you to believe.  As long as you believe there is a short-cut, or a quick fix, they know they have you right where they want you, in their pockets.

Another One Bites The Dust

Yesterday, I said that I would weigh myself this weekend and post a picture of my weight on the scale.  Well, I did that this morning.  So, I’m going to post that picture here.  As you can see, I am down another pound from yesterday’s numbers.

weight

I now only have 50 pounds to go until I reach my goal weight.  This is absolutely amazing to me.

When I started this journey, I weighed 298 pounds.  To get to 125, I had to lose 173.  I have lost 123 pounds or 71% of the weight I need to lose to reach 125.  I am almost there.  O.M.G.

Today I have the whole day to myself.  My brother is in Pittsburgh visiting my mom, who got her cast off her arm this week.  His wife and daughter are with him, so no adventures in DC this weekend.  My sister is off boating with her husband.  I have plans with friends tomorrow, but I am being left to my own devices today!

I have some work I have to do.  I need to get to the gym.  I also plan on getting some writing done today.  And grocery shopping absolutely has to happen.

I will keep posting pictures of the scale as I continue to lose weight.  Hopefully, I can get close to my goal weight eventually!

Have a great Saturday!