Tag Archives: skinny girl inside

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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Drum Roll Please…

Today is a momentous day.  I had my gastric by-pass surgery October 24, 2012.  Today I am 4 days short of the six month mark,  Today I surpassed a major milestone.

Today, I weigh 197.  I have lost 101 pounds in six months.

dc-fireworks

I can hardly believe it.  I am overjoyed that I have passed this milestone, but I have to admit I have been struggling recently.  Not really with the weight loss.  I have been losing weight pretty steadily.

I have been feeling this restlessness and a growing emptiness inside me.  I’m not sure what it is, exactly.  I think part of it may be loneliness.  I have lived nearly all of my adult life alone and on my own.  I have watched all of my friends and family around me build lives, get married, have children while I have stagnated.

But I do not think what I am feeling is just loneliness.  I have been really struggling over the past few weeks to define it.  I have had many semi-sleepless night going through my emotions and everything I have been through.  I think part of my introspection is a result of this blog.  I also think part of it has to do with several of the personal essays I have written recently.  I have spent much of the last year really delving into my life.  I have examined many reasons why my life has turned out the way it has.

Ultimately though, I think this restlessness and emptiness are necessary.  I have this growing, overwhelming desire to fill my life, that emptiness with something substantial, but what that is I really do not know.  I’m not sure that I can really narrow down that desire to just one thing.  It feels more like I want to fill it by experiencing everything.

I think the emptiness was always there.  I just buried with food, video games, anger, and depression instead of dealing with the problems in my life.  I let that behavior go on for far too long.

This surgery, this weight loss has given me the opportunity to change all of this.  The question is, what do I do now?

New Facebook Page

I started a Facebook page for A Skinny Girl Inside.  Please check it out.  Hit like for updates on blog posts, daily updates or thoughts, and more pictures!  I’m just getting it started, but I should have plenty of content up soon.

Hit the Like button to the right over there————->

Or follow this link:

https://www.facebook.com/ASkinnyGirlInside

Mixed Bag

So, some of the test results are rolling in.  I talked to my primary doctor at the end of the day Monday.

It turns out, my vitamin D levels are woefully below acceptable levels.  This is not good.  I am sure that part of the problem is that I do not drink milk.  I am allergic to milk, so I am very good about staying away from all milk products.  The problem is, I do not get enough vitamin D.4 She did give me some suggestions on other foods rich in vitamin D that I need to start eating more of.  She also wants me to start immediately taking vitamin D supplements, 2,000mg per day!  But after I told the surgeon’s office this news today, they wrote a prescription for a mega dose of 50,000mg.

Good news, cholesterol still 151.  This is very good.  Bad cholesterol starting to come down.  Good cholesterol needs to be higher.  Triglycerides, still crazy high.  I’m still trying to get that number under control.  I do not want to take medicine to lower my triglycerides, but if I have to, I guess I must.

One of the things I am being tested for is the H Pylori virus that lives and grows in the mucus lining of the stomach.  I do not know a lot about the virus, I just know I’m being tested for it.  If you want more info, please check the wiki-link that I provided.  The salient information that I want to provide is that the initial test, which was the blood test that my doctor did, came back negative.  This is good.  The real result will come in Friday when the GI doc gives me the results from the culture they took of my tummy.  I should also have the results from the Celiac disease test they did.  The GI doc who did the colonoscopy does not think that I have Celiac because he saw no damage, but they took a culture anyway.  My sister has Celiac disease and chances are greater among family members if one person already has the disease.

I’m not going to write anymore information about Celiac in this post, but I know a lot about it, if anyone ever has any questions, wants more information, or suggestions on how to make yummy gluten-free meals, let me know.  I’m more than happy to share.

I still have to get the sonograms of my gallbladder.  I have an appointment Friday morning before work.  I was ill in February and they did every test imaginable for my gallbladder and they found nothing wrong.  They just need a current test showing it is still OK.  Why they cannot just take my word for it is beyond me, but I’ll go waste the money.

I met with my nutritionist and the nurse at the surgeon’s office yesterday.  They did not like my vitamin D levels, as I stated earlier.  But they also did not like my EKG.  Now they want me to get a cardiac clearance.  They said that the EKG showed that perhaps my heart is not getting enough blood.  This could be an indication of a blockage, it could mean my arteries are small, or it could just be my weight.  In either case, I have to get a stress test.  I have a heart doctor that I saw two years ago.  I am calling them tomorrow to get this scheduled.

I am very concerned about this because heart disease runs in my family.  I have never been diagnosed with heart disease.  I am hoping that this is not an indication that I have it.  My bad cholesterol is a little high.  My triglycerides are high.  Now this.  I am going to hope for the best but get my butt to the heart doctor asap.

Today’s cat picture is showing little Mia again.  I shared this picture of Mia when my co-worker just got her as a kitten.  As you can see, she’s getting pretty big!  And it seems she has made a truce with the other cat Ziggy, during naptime at least.  🙂

 

The Closet Project

Well, so much for a daily post, eh?

This weekend turned out to be a very busy one.  Saturday, I spent the day working on my closet, at long last.  I started cleaning out the clothes closet at one point this summer, but I never finished.  I made great progress this weekend, however.  Sunday, I spent the day meeting up with different groups of friends.  Everyone is clamoring for my time now since the surgery is so close.  I have the greatest friends.  🙂

Back to the closet project:

I have four bags of clothes that are trash.  Three bags are set to go to charity.  I took clothes out of storage and sorted through those as well.  In the end, I did 14 loads of laundry.  I also washed all of my sheets, blankets, towels, and pillow covers.  Since I will be gone for a month, I wanted to make sure everything was clean and fresh as I will be having a series of guests once I return from my convalescence and I will not be around to freshen them up later.

Cleaning out the closet was at once the easiest thing I’ve ever done and the most difficult.   There are clothes that I was anxious to get rid of and other outfits were more difficult.  Generally, the difficult ones were clothes I had not worn in a while and that I had some emotional attachment to.  They have a lot of grief and regret attached to them which is always problematic.

The clothes that I have wanted to get rid of for a very long time I kept because sometimes they were the only ones that fit me.  Generally, they were stained, ripped, had holes, worn out, or just ugly.  I purchased a few inexpensive shirts, etc this summer to get me through until after the surgery, so throwing away those clothes was easy as pie.

After cleaning out the trash, the next step was also easy.  I got rid of the clothes that I just hated.  These clothes were in good shape and perfectly wearable, so I put those clothes in bags to give to charity.  They may go to good will, or a homeless shelter.  I have not decided yet.  These clothes were easy to sort through as well.  It is easy to get rid of the things you do not like.

I found it hardest to get rid of the clothes that I really like whether they fit me or not.  I have clothes from size 14-30.  Obviously, some of those clothes I plan to keep and wear as I lose weight.  It was very difficult for me to sort through these clothes.  I have held onto these clothes for years hoping to fit back into them.  Some of these clothes I have a lot of emotional attachment to these outfits.

I found it very difficult to be judicious in deciding which of these outfits to keep or donate.  I think I did a pretty good job.  I set some standards for what I decided to keep.  I think this formula worked pretty well, especially for some of the outfits in size 16-20.

If an outfit had any of the following, they were pitched or put into the donate pile:

  • broken zippers
  • missing buttons
  • seam tears
  • holes
  • suitable for only one event, like a dress that I might only wear once
  • non-cute outfits
  • too out of fashion to be appropriate
  • out of season

Non-cute and out of fashion clothes are certainly a subjective guideline.  That is OK with me.  If there is no chance I will wear the outfit even though they may fit, there’s really no reason to wear them.  I tried to pay attention to season as well.  I have a pair of shorts that is one size too small.  Well, it is October now.  By the time I am able to wear shorts again, they will most likely be too big.  They went into the donation pile.

As far as out of fashion, I got rid of clothes that were glaringly out of fashion now.  For example, I got rid of all of my flower dresses from 1990, or as my sisters liked to call them, drapes.  They will be so pleased.

If an outfit had the following, I kept:

  • good condition
  • suitable through several size changes
  • super-cute outfits
  • appropriate for the season
  • not too far out of fashion

I kept clothes like sweaters, t-shirts, sweatshirts, loose-fitting dresses, anything less than 15 years old that wasn’t glaringly out of fashion, blouses, and anything that I could wear through at least 4 sizes.

There was a third category of items which I could not discard.  My graduation gown from college.  Yes, I still have that.  My super-cool high school letter jacket for band.  I’ll never wear it again, I cannot get rid of it.

The Penguins Hockey sweatshirt signed by one of the team members that my late father gave me.

And this groovy crocheted 1960s era hippie vest.  Granted, I was two years old  in the 1960s, but that vest is just too cool to throw away.

Now, I know my sisters would argue that I did not get rid of nearly enough clothes, evidenced by the fact that I still did 14 loads of laundry.  But I think I made a lot of progress.

As I lose weight and shrink out of my clothes, I will continue getting rid of stuff.  This process is far from over.  I feel that I am much more prepared than I was on Friday.

Doctor What?!?!

Two things today:

1. I went to my doctor for my pre-op appointment.

2. I heard on the Today Show that a doctor turned away a woman for being too fat.  I am outraged.

Also, I am going to add some pictures of me in this post. One is very current.  Some are from when I was thin, once upon a time ago in high school and college.

Number one.  Yes, I went to my doctor yesterday.  Friday, I received a call from the surgeon’s office that the insurance company declined the claim because they wanted a letter saying that I am medically cleared for surgery.  My doctor’s office requires a pre-op visit before they will provide that letter.

I have no problem with that.  So, I ran to the doctor yesterday afternoon for my appointment.  She did a full check up, took more blood, and made me do a breathing test.  Oh and weighed me again.

I have a funny story to tell about the weigh-in.  They were training a new nurse, who was shadowing the regular nurse.  She is young, short, and very thin.  A very sweet person.

I stood on the scale and she moved the bottom weight to 200 and tried to get my weight.  Yeah that wasn’t going to work.  She was kind of shy about taking it up beyond 250.

I have to say, the other nurses have no such reservations.  They weigh people all day long and can pretty much assess where the scale needs to be to get an accurate reading quickly.  They can dispassionately take your weight and height and move on to the next phase without question, comment, or judgment.  They see hundreds of people a day.

To help this new nurse out, I just moved it myself to 250 and let her measure the weight from there.  Then she apparently put the wrong weight on my chart.  My doctor came in the room and looked at my chart and had a confused look on her face.  She then said, “Your weight was 247?  You’ve lost 50 pounds in the last two weeks?”

I just smiled and shook my head and said, “No.”

We both just laughed.

college

Once we had a thorough talk about the surgery and what she was going to do, they made me take a breathing test.  I have asthma.   More than that, I have been diagnosed with pulmonary, obstructive disease.  That basically means something is blocking my breathing.  Specifically, the weight I carry in my stomach is pushing against the base of my lungs, crushing them and making it difficult to breathe.

To compound the problem, my father died of complications after a lung transplant.  He had a heredity disease called alpha-one antitrypsin deficiency.  Patients who have alpha-one lack an enzyme that protects your vital organs from your own immune system.  The primary organs that are affected are your lungs and your liver.  Damage to those organs can cause emphysema and cirrhosis.  My father had both.

I am a carrier for the disease, but I am non-symptomatic.  But because I have asthma caused by pulmonary obstructive disease, I get chest CT scans and breathing tests done every two years to make sure that I do not develop symptoms.

My doctor needed to do a breathing test to make sure my lungs can handle the surgery and the anesthesia.  My test results were very good.  She said that the results were stable compared to the test I had done two years ago.  Still not great since I still have some trouble breathing.  But good because my lung capacity has not deteriorated at all.

They also gave me a breathing treatment, which means they gave me a dose of albuterol using a nebulizer.  That clears the lungs, but also leaves me feeling a bit light-headed and sometimes gives me a slight headache.  I had to take a nap after the appointment I was so wiped out.

Number two:  I heard on the Today Show about a doctor who turned away a woman because she is obese.  As I said, I am outraged.  Unfortunately, they did not elaborate on the today show, so I had to turn to the Google machine to find a story.

I found this story on ABC saying that ob-gyns in Florida turn away obese patients.  And this story about doctors turning away patients that weigh more than 200 lbs.

Here’s what I have to say to doctors who refuse to treat obese patients.  Shame on you.  Shame shame shame.  Shame shame shame.  It may not be illegal, but it is certainly immoral.  You should be ashamed of yourselves.

I have been treated badly by doctors because of my weight myself.  I always come away angry, humiliated, and feeling like I have nowhere to go for help.  What do you when you’re sick and  you go to the doctor for help and they refuse to help you?  What if all doctors refused to treat obese patients?  Where are we to go for help?

I am very lucky.  My doctor is really cool.  She is concerned about my health because of my weight, worried that I was going down a very destructive path, and happy that I am doing something about.  She has never refused to see me or treat me because of my weight.

This country is struggling with an obesity problem.  We need doctors on our side if we are going to prevent obesity where we can and help us overcome the obesity if we’re already there.

To prevent or treat obesity, people need to learn more about nutrition and food, healthy exercise, and their overall health.  For this, we need doctors to be our partners, not consign us to a permanent  persona non grata status.

I know, the irony of it all hearing about healthy choices from a fat chick like me.  Get over it.  I know what I’m talking about.  I have lived it.  I am thankful for my current doctors.  They are working with me to help me save my life.  I could not do this without them.

A Matter of Great Concern, etc

Today I want to talk about two things.  One is an update on Last Supper Syndrome.  The other is a very serious matter that has been weighing heavily on my mind recently.  Underwear.

I do not know why, but I have been inordinately preoccupied with the underwear supply I will need as I quickly lose weight after the surgery.   I am very worried about this.  I know it is silly.  I mean, it is simply underwear, but still I cannot stop thinking about it.

I have been the same size for so long, that I have built up quite a stock of panties.  I do a regular purge of old ones.  But I regularly buy a bunch of panties at a time.  Usually several packages of Haines Her Way at one time.  I generally have a pretty good stock of 2 months worth on hand so that no matter what the laundry situation may be, I always have clean undies.

Now I am looking down the road a couple of months ahead and there is a very real possibility that I may be throwing out the old and replenishing in rapid succession in smaller and smaller sizes.

I know it seems silly, but the doctor’s office has me making all kinds of preparaations and buying things in advance.  Vitamins, food, smaller sizes of clothes.

I have clothes, t-shirt, shorts, pants, blouses, that I can wear down to size 14.  After that, I will have to buy some clothes.  Vitamins will keep.  Most of the food I can buy right before the surgery, but I am buying things like chicken stock and sugar free jello now.  But I just don’t know how to prepare for the potential panty problem.

My sister and I had a discussion about this recently.  She has lost a little bit of weight herself (like maybe 10 pounds…I know…that skinny b%#ch!) and had to renew her own stock.   So, I shared with her my anxiety of buying new and tossing out the old.  We had a good chuckle.  OK, in truth, she laughed at me.  But she also made some suggestions of what I could do with them:

  • Use the old ones for cleaning rags.
  • Give them to Goodwill.
  • Make t-shirts out of them.
  • Make a quilt.
  • Donate them to a kite making factory.

 

When I told her these options were unrealistic and btw ewwww, she responded with, “Well, I guess we’ll just have to throw them away and buy new ones, crazy girl.”

If only it were that simple.

Now for the update on Last Supper Syndrome:

Recently, I had this crazy craving for margaritas.  I’m not a huge drinker.  On occasion, I will have one or two glasses of wine, but it is usually on a special occasion or when I go out to dinner with someone.  Mostly though, I’m happy to drink water.  I know, I’m boring.

I do not know what brought this current margarita craze, but I just had to have them.  I probably saw a movie or TV show where someone was drinking margaritas and I immediately thought, “OMG I have to drink margaritas before my surgery!”  Now, I haven’t had margaritas in at least three years.  In fact, it has been so long that I do not even know when was the last time I had them.

I contacted a friend of mine and we went out for happy hour last night.  There is a Mexican restaurant around the corner that has $3.00 margaritas at happy hour during the week.  That was pretty much perfect.

Now, Mexican restaurants are problematic for me.  I am allergic to milk, tomatoes, and corn.  Harry thought Sally was high maintenance because of the way she ordered food with everything on the side?  That’s nothing.  I go into a mexican restaurant and everything I order I have to say,  “I’ll have the (fill in mexican dish), no tomatoes, no salsa, no pico de gallo, no cheese, no sour cream, flour tortillas not corn, does your guacamole have sour cream or tomatoes in it? And white rice not spanish.  Pinto beans on the side no cheese on top. Thanks!”

Finally, my friend says, “She’s allergic to these things, please do not put them on the plate.”

The whole time the waitress is looking at me like I have three heads and I can see her thoughts scroll across her forehead as she thinks, “You realize of course, those are the ingredients in oh EVERYTHING we serve?  WTF are you doing at a mexican restaurant if you cannot eat the food here?”

Duh, $3.00 margaritas!  And I tip well, so shut up and bring me my plain steak fajitas.

Seriously, though, the waitress was great and we had a good laugh.  She brought me just what I wanted and many, many margaritas.  Well, 3 actually.  And now I’m good for margaritas for a while.

So now it is time for the obligatory cat photo.  Tonight I am featuring a cat that belongs to my partner in margarita crime, Andy.  Grady is his cat.

I went to high school with Andy.  He and my brother were/are friends and so me and Andy were/are friends.  We lost touch with Andy after high school when we attended different colleges.  Then we were reunited with him via Facebook a couple of years ago.  And as fate would have it, Andy and I live around the corner from one another.  Literally.  We grew up and attended high school in Pittsburgh.  Our lives went in different directions, and now Andy and I both live in the same town in Virginia.  I know, so strange.  I am glad that we are friends again.  My brother also lives in VA, but he lives like 25 miles from here.

Thank goodness for Facebook!  For all of Facebook’s flaws, I’ve reunited with several friends and this makes me happy.

So, thanks for the margaritas, Andy!  Here’s to Grady: