Tag Archives: weight loss

The Fat Pejorative

You really want to insult a woman? Make her feel like she’s nothing? Let her know that no matter what she’s accomplished in her life, the only thing that matters about her is her outward appearance?

It’s surprisingly easy. Just tell her she’s fat.

Here are a few other ways to cement the idea that she is fat, and therefore not really worthy of any other consideration in life:

  • Question her every time she eats -“Are you eating again?”  “Are you really going to eat that?”  “Should you really be eating that?”  “Try an apple instead.”
  • Giver her unsolicited food or exercise advice.
  • Talk to her only about her weight, the food she eats, whether or not she exercises, or her “health”.
  • Take pictures of her eating and put it on the internet with what you view as funny, albeit mean slogans.

What brought this on today, you ask?

An old high school friend of mine posted this picture of Michelle Obama on Facebook.

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Now, this is not a political blog, and I do not wish to delve into politics here. Certainly, anyone is free to disagree with the president or any politician of any persuasion at any time for any reason. That is a right that is protected by the constitution. This picture is also protected speech, however repugnant it may be.

That said, I was outraged by this picture. The politics of it are inconsequential. What has me angry is the message it sends about women, food, fat, and shame. It says that no matter what a woman has accomplished in her life, that her outward appearance matters more than anything.

She can’t be caught doing anything unattractive, certainly nothing as unattractive as eating. Heaven forbid. That is immediate grounds for mockery of the highest order.

This whole episode has started me thinking about the use of the word “fat” as a pejorative. I cannot tell you the number of times I have been called “fat” as an insult, even during times in my life when I was clearly not fat. And it has clearly had a deleterious effect on my life.

What bothers me now is not how being called fat or being mocked because of food affects me, because I’ve learned more constructive ways of dealing with that. I am worried about the message it sends to young girls. Young girls are bombarded with wildly inappropriate images of unattainable airbrushed beauty. They are sent contradictory messages from the food and diet industries…consume, diet, consume, diet. Eating disorders are on the rise. Childhood obesity is at epidemic levels. All of this worries me.

I have a 6-year-old niece who seemingly knows nothing about food issues apart from her allergies. Here is what she knows. When she’s hungry, she eats. She does not worry about the number of calories in something. She doesn’t worry that it will make her fat. She just eats when she’s hungry. When she’s not, she doesn’t. Furthermore, as far as I can tell she has no self-esteem issues whatsoever. This is the kind of life and self-image I want for all girls.

I never want to see her change. In fact, I do not ever want any girl to ever go through what I have been through. It makes me sick to think that society will push her into obsessing over food, what she eats, how much and how often, and basing her value solely on her appearance.

I can assure you, it is no way to live. Mocking pictures like the one above, only perpetuates the notion that eating and being fat are the worst possible crimes a woman can commit.

Until we change that notion, being fat can and will always be used as a pejorative to bring and keep women down by people who are not smart enough to disagree with you more intelligently. We need to recognize that food is for nourishment and everybody eats. We need to recognize obesity as a medical condition and treat it as such. We need to recognize that women have value because they are people and as such deserve respect.

But mostly, We need to stop giving the trolls the power to control how we see ourselves by using fat as a pejorative. That is truly the only way things will change for young girls in the future.

Why Weight Loss Surgery Is Not The Easy Way Out

Why Weight Loss Surgery Is Not The Easy Way Out.

 

I am sharing my friend’s blogpost because I agree with her wholeheartedly! Anyone who says that bariatric surgery is the easy way out has no idea what they are talking about. Please click on the link and read her post!

Bariatric surgery is a huge lifestyle change. There are struggles and difficulties, and potential major problems. But, if you follow the plan, you can achieve great success and change your life.

My surgeon’s office made it clear to me that the surgery is not a cure, it is a tool. The tool can help you change your life, improve your health, and lose weight, but you still have to do all of the hard work. There’s nothing easy about it, but like anything that is good, it is worth all the hard work in the end.

via Why Weight Loss Surgery Is Not The Easy Way Out.

Like The Best Compliment Ever!

Recently, I had two separate friends on two separate occasions pay me the best compliments.

Let me preface this by talking about something else for a minute. I have written the past about having friends, colleagues, etc who only know me as the “after” Colleen. When I show them pictures of the “before” Colleen, they are absolutely aghast.

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“OMG! No, that’s not you!”

“Oh I can’t believe you ever looked like that!”

I expect that reaction from people who did not know me before the surgery and before the amazing 127 pound weight loss. What I never expected to hear, but secretly glad I did, are the following comments by people who knew me both pre and post surgery.

Recently, I took the metro to the writer’s group one night. I was approaching the escalators, which I routinely walk up and down, btw, when one of the other AWG members came up behind me.

Right after she greeted me with a, “Hi Colleen!” she smiled and told me, “I’m getting used to seeing you look so small!”

I’m not always used to seeing myself as small, so it really felt good to have someone else say it.  I just smiled and said thank you, but really, on the inside I was doing one giant happy-dance which is probably more reminiscent of Pee-Wee Herman’s Big Shoe Dance than an actual happy dance because I’m a horrible dancer even in my own head, but still, I’ll take it.

The other compliment came from my friend who helped me pack and move my apartment. In typical white-trash fashion, I festoon my refrigerator with magnets and pictures. The magnets mostly hold the pictures of family members, (OK mostly pictures of my niece), in place, but some of the magnets are decorative in the loosest sense of the word.

On the refrigerator at my old apartment was a picture of me and my baby sister at her wedding. I weighed probably 300 pounds at the time. I have posted that picture of me and Jenny before. I was quite fat.

Aug 2010

Aug 2010

The friend who helped me move has known me since 2005 or 2006, which is to say she knew me when I weighed 300 pounds.

She grabbed the picture and loudly proclaimed, “OMG Colleen, I almost asked you who the other person in this picture is.”

I of course replied with, “The bride is my sister Jenny.”

“I know that! I almost asked who this person was!”

She was pointing at the 300 pound me.

“But you knew me when I looked like that!”

“Yes, but I don’t think of you like that anymore. It’s hard to believe you ever looked like this.”

We both laughed and packed the picture and magnets away for the move.

When I’m feeling down because I haven’t finished losing the weight, or feel that I haven’t made enough progress, I think of these two incidents. They are great reminders of how far I have actually come, not to mention great reminders of the fantastic friends I have.

Me at Shenandoah Mountains

Me at Shenandoah Mountains

I Have Always Wanted To Do That

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I have had a rough winter, physically, emotionally, food-wise. I have just been making myself crazy. Like most people in the US, I will be so happy to put this winter behind me.

With spring making an appearance in the DC area today, I feel inspired. I got up early this am and went to a Women’s Day luncheon for Empowered Women International. My good friend Sush took part in their program and now has her own art studio.

When I woke up this am, I was not feeling well. I had a bit of constipation, which is quite painful. I had to pick up my friend at 10am, and I wasn’t sure I was going to be able to make it. I forced myself to deal with it and just go.  I am so glad that I did. I had a great time. I also came away from the event inspired.

I also started thinking about all of the things that I never did because of my weight and all of the health problems that I had. I had trouble walking and breathing. I felt that I could not fully participate in events because of that. Or I was depressed because of my weight and health problems, so I did not even try.

One of my biggest fears, now that I have lost 127 pounds and can do so much more, is going backwards. I do not ever want to find myself in that place again. So, when I got up this am not feeling well, it was tempting to just say home under the covers and whine about not feeling well. I probably would have too if Sush had not called me.

I dragged myself off the couch, took a shower, put on a pretty dress, styled my hair, and left the house. As Sush would say, “The New Colleen goes out!” I did. And I’m glad for it.

So, I decided I would make some goals for myself this spring. There are all kinds of things that I never did that I really want to do. Here are 5 things I have never done that I am going to make myself do this spring.

So, we’ll see how much I get done. I have to do the Tidal Basin walk and Cherry Blossom parade at particular times, obviously, but the rest I will give myself until the first day of summer to complete.

I want to kick off the warm weather season right. I need to dust off the funk from this winter. I think getting out and doing stuff I have never done before I a great way to jump into spring!

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Learning My Triggers

I have had many conversations with a fellow bariatric friend of mine about the subject of learning what my eating triggers are and how to deal with them.

“You’ve done the easy part,” she tells me, as if any part of this weight loss journey has been easy. “Now it’s time to work on why you overeat.”

She tells me all the time that I need to learn what my eating triggers are and learn to deal with them differently than I have in the past. This is especially important now that I can eat a little more. She’s ten years post-op, and she said she is still learning herself. (She looks great, btw.  She’s lost 135 pounds and has kept them off for ten years, so she’s doing something right!)

So, here are some of the things that I know cause me to overeat, eat without thinking, binge-eat, or whatever you call it:

  • Stress – My job, although wonderful, is very stressful sometimes. I find myself snacking more during the day.
  • Well meaning (or otherwise) rude weight loss comments from others – Why do I care what they think, right? But sometimes I do. I’ve worked so hard to get where I am, and I hate that other people think they have a right to judge or tell me what they think I’m doing wrong. That’s the one thing I’ve always hated about “dieting”. Other people’s comments. Weight loss is at once private and public. I could write about this one all day, but I won’t here. Maybe in another post.
  • Plateaus – Everyone hits them. Mine has lasted almost 5 months. The science of dieting seems simple enough. Eat less, burn off more calories than you take in, you will lose weight. Right? Wrong. That’s true and not true. Yes, you do lose weight if you eat less, but your body is not a machine. It is complex. It has to readjust to the new lower weight. You have to keep the diet change up for the weight loss to begin again. You have to increase your activity. You cannot stop. You have to have faith that it will all work out. I think that’s the hardest part for me.
  • Negative thinking – We all do it. It doesn’t help that sometimes those negative thoughts are reinforced by the thoughtless masses who feel free to comment on your diet, body changes, etc. Mass media does not help either. Constantly seeing images of fat stomachs walking down the street while the news media bemoans the obesity epidemic in this country. Reading magazines with unrealistically skinny super models on the cover and adorning every page. It is easy to feel bad about yourself when you are constantly bombarded by these images letting you know how wrong you are.
  • Change – Change is stressful for as it is for anyone. I have changed my life a lot in the past two years. I lost 127 pounds. I changed jobs. Now I am moving into a bigger apartment. All of this change has been for the good, but I am still overwhelmed sometimes.

So, how do I deal with all of this without overeating. The truth is, sometimes I don’t. I have definitely fallen victim to an eating binge even since the surgery. Admittedly, more often than not, I am able to fend off a binge by doing something constructive, eating a healthy meal, taking a walk, writing. But more than once, I have caved. I try not to beat myself up about it, because that just makes matters worse. Everyone makes mistakes. Still, I recognize that I need to learn to deal with this issue.

Learning to constructively deal with my eating triggers may take a lifetime, but I am determined. As difficult as it is, I have to do it. I do not want to ever go back to the life I had before.

There are some good things to be said for all of this.  Despite a few episodes of binge eating the following remains true:

  • I am still committed to losing the last 46 pounds that I want to lose.
  • I am still committed to never gaining the weight back. And on that note…
  • I have not gained any weight. Not one ounce.
  • Despite my prolonged plateau, I came down one size in pants from a 14 to a 12.
  • I can sometimes wear a Large instead of a 1x.
  • That means I can shop in the normal women’s department and not the plus sizes anymore.
  • I have purged my wardrobe of almost all of my plus-sized clothes.
  • I still eat much healthier than I did before the surgery. (5 fruits and veggies per day, 70 grams of protein, keeping starches at a bare minimum!)
  • I can walk without struggle.
  • I can breathe.
  • I really feel as if I can be a full participant in my own life again.
  • I have great people in my life. I really am very lucky. I have great friends and great family, all of whom have been extremely supportive of everything I have done.

So, the struggle continues, but I have no intention of giving up. I stay focused on all the good things I have accomplished. Even though it is hard sometimes, I have faith that I will get to where I want to be in the end.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Selfie

I have taken a lot of selfies over the past year and a half documenting my weight loss and how I look now vs. how I looked “before.” This one is from about August I think.

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This one is probably from around October-ish:

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I have really enjoyed seeing how my body and my life have changed as I’ve lost weight. What I really love more than the physical transformation is how my life has changed.  I really feel that I can participate fully in my own life. Before I couldn’t, not really anyway.

I go on many weekend adventures with my brother and his family.  Often, we just go to the museums in DC.  But one time, we went to the Shenandoah Mountains and drove up and down Skyline Drive enjoying the view.  I had never done that before.

I took this selfie of me, my sister-in-law, and my awesome niece:

me em and mommy

And this one of me and my niece:

me and em2

But I think my favorite picture from that day was when I surreptitiously captured my sister-in-law and her daughter taking a selfie.

emmy and mommy

I thought this was so cute and captured a wonderful moment between mother and daughter. I am just so happy that I am healthy enough to be included in these moments. I really am the luckiest Auntie ever!

Struggling & Finding A New Direction

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I have to admit it, I have been struggling since the turn of the New Year.  I got sick on January 2 on my way to work.  Unpleasant, to say the least.  I’ve hit a very long plateau in my weight loss which has me thinking that I may never lose another pound.  That thought terrifies me as I am very afraid that I will start gaining again.  I want to lose another 46 pounds, but if I don’t I’m sort of OK with that.  I’m not OK with the thought of gaining any weight at all.  I also have been struggling with the number of hours I have been working.  That has really taken a toll on my over all mental well-being, mostly because I have no time for anything else and I’m exhausted all of the time.

Mostly though, I have been surprised by the number of emotional battles I have been fighting as well.  That has kind of caught me off guard because I have really been riding an emotional high for a very long time.  I think some of it has to do with the fact that my weight loss has slowed, and I fear regaining the weight.  Some of it I think has been dealing with people who just refuse to see all the work I have done and how I have changed.  To them, I will always be the out of control overeating fat girl who needs to be constantly reminded that her efforts aren’t good enough and never will be.

One of the reasons I have always hated losing weight is the public consumption of my weight loss.  I know…oh the irony of a blogger making THAT complaint.  But it’s true.  Any time I have dieted in the past, everyone always commented on my weight loss, or lack thereof, the food I ate, and whether or not I gained weight when the diet eventually failed. Making a change like that is a very personal, and often, painful journey, yet the whole of society feels free to comment and pass judgment on it.  I think that’s part of the reason I decided to blog my weight loss since the surgery.  If the whole world, (at least my world), was going to watch me lose weight, I was going to at least control the dialogue…this time.

But really, I think a large part of my emotional struggle has been trying come to terms with my own identity.  I don’t know if I’m really done losing weight.  I hope I’m not.  I do want to lose the last little bit I have left.  Still, whether I’m done losing now, or some time in the not too distant future, the end of my weight loss journey is in sight.

For many years I was simply the fat girl.  Then for the past year and a half, I have been the girl who is changing her life by losing an incredible amount of weight.  I now know a lot of people who knew me when I was fat and are now getting used to the new me.  And I’ve met a lot of people who never knew me as the fat girl, who just know me now and do not understand where I have been.

I guess I have really been struggling with who I am now that I’ve lost the weight (or most of it, at least).  Who am I if I’m not the girl who is losing weight?  I guess I’m the one who lost a lot of weight, but that title can only last for so long.

The truth is, however, none of that really matters.  What the world thinks of me is really none of my concern.  What I need to do is decide for myself who I am and where my journey goes from here.  I can choose to have a future where my excess weight no longer defines who I am.  It’s an idea that is as freeing as it is terrifying.  But this is the world that I have chosen to create for myself. Now I just need to find a way to live in it.

So, I made some decisions about this.  I went to a couple of my writer’s group this week and in both of them, we had to set writing goals for the new year. Also, my birthday was yesterday, and it coincided with the Chinese Lunar New Year, which I think is a great time to refocus and start something new.  This is now the year of the horse, and I was born in the year of the horse.  I do not put much stock in astrology, but I do feel that it could be a sign this will be a good year.

In my second, much smaller writer’s group, I said I would start writing on this blog more (again) and maybe change the focus a little.  I want to talk more about my over all health as opposed to just weight loss.  If I really am reaching the end of my weight loss journey, I need to do that.

I’m not sure where this New Year will take me, or what direction my life will go. I’m not really sure what this blog will become.  If the weight loss does start up again, I will definitely update that, but it won’t be my main focus.  I do want to write more about food, body image, health, and weight loss in general.  I am hopeful that I can come to terms with who I am now and where I go from here.  I hope you’ll join me on the next step in my journey.

The Compulsive Eater Sleeping In My Bed

“There’s a compulsive eater sleeping in my bed.”

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I said this to my mother a couple of months ago.  I had been sick.  I caught some kind of flu that also affect my stomach.  I did not eat for two days.  When I could eat again, I tried saltines and chicken broth.  The saltines turned out to be too heavy for my tummy, so I switched to Pringle’s.  The Pringle’s did the trick.  I could 5 or 6 of them to absorb whatever nastiness was going on in my stomach, and they were not too heavy.

I know Pringle’s are chips, therefore junk food, and therefore not good for you, but they worked and got me though the illness.  I had no problem eating them in moderation, 5 or 6 chips at a time, and it was just enough.  I have not gone back to Pringle’s since.

Through my illness, I left the saltines sitting on my bed table, where they remained untouched until I was feeling better.  Big mistake.

Once I was feeling better, I actually started feeling hungry.  I discovered that in the middle of the night I was waking up and stuffing saltines into my mouth without even thinking about it.  It was second nature to roll over and reach for the crackers.  Most of the time, I barely opened my eyes.  I just reached over, grabbed a handful of crackers, and started stuffing them into my mouth one after the other until they were gone.  I don’t even remember if I tasted them as they slid down my throat and into my tummy.

I awoke covered in crumbs, an empty cracker sleeve on the bed table, feeling guilty and ashamed.

I don’t keep food near my bed anymore.  You would think that after the surgery, with such a small pouch, I wouldn’t be able to eat an entire sleeve of saltines, but apparently I can.  It would seem that the conditioning that comes from decades of bad eating behavior trumps new eating restrictions nearly every time.

Now that I can eat more, nearly 1400 calories a day, including protein drinks and snacks, some of my old bad behaviors are trying to make a comeback.

I had a hard time through the holidays.  All of the cookies and snacks were really hard for me to deal with.  I did OK when I was in Pittsburgh visiting my mom.  When I told her that the Christmas cookies were a huge temptation for me, she threw all of the ones she had away so that I would not be tempted.

New Year’s, however, I caved to temptation.  I went to visit friends in Delaware, which was a lot of fun.  I made my pumpkin brownies, which everyone loved.  And I made Chicken Saag, which everyone also loved.  My friends made Channa Masala.  I had plenty to eat that was good for me and fit my eating plan.  What did I do?  I ate the good food and then went back and had the occasional cookie or chip.  I did not have a lot of food, but I had enough of the junky type food that I did eventually get sick.

One of my friends kept telling me to be careful, but I just knew I would be OK.  I did not get sick New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day.  I got sick on January 2.  On my way to work.  On the Metro.  It was ugly.

I’ve talked in previous posts about dumping syndrome.  Sometimes the symptoms hit me right away, sometimes it takes a few hours, sometimes a day. I’ve also described some of the symptoms I’ve suffered, including nausea, headaches, sweating, and instant diarrhea.  I don’t get all symptoms each time I get dumping syndrome, but usually, a combo of some of them.

I will not describe all of the details of what happened that day, let’s just say, it was not pretty.  The DC metro apparently does not have public restrooms either.  All of the stations do have a bathroom, but you have to ask a metro employee if you can use it.  Not all of them will allow you, apparently.

I started feeling sick at the Pentagon Metro station.  I waited 10 minutes for the train.  I only had to go three stops before I would be able to get off the train and find a bathroom.  I only made it two.  I was in the Rosslyn station begging for a bathroom when I got really sick.  I ended up having to leave the station and go across the street to the mall, but by then, it was too late.

The metro employees were not very helpful outside of offering to call an ambulance, which would not have helped at all.  A very nice woman noticed that I was not feeling well and offered me some water.  I wish I would have had the sense to thank her properly for her kindness at the time, but it was all I could do to get to a bathroom.

After I got myself cleaned up and was feeling better, I walked around the corner  to Starbucks and bought a bottle of water.  I logged onto my work computer and sent out an email letting everyone know I would be working from home.  I waited another 15 minutes to make sure I was well enough to head back out into the world.  I then hailed a cab and went home.  I did end up having to go into the office later that day, but I drove.  I did not want to risk another metro episode.

What this taught me is that while the surgery solved a lot of my overeating problems, it did not solve all of them.  The compulsion to eat junk food, for instance.  That compulsion is strong.  The surgery also did not solve some of my triggers, what causes the compulsion to eat to emerge.  I am beginning to notice that I have a tendency to eat when I’m stressed-out, or when I’m upset about something. And the urge to eat at night is beginning to return.

The first year post-surgery, when I lost 127 pounds was the easy part of my weight loss journey.  Now that I can eat a little more, and I’m struggling to manage my triggers and compulsive eating.  The hard work seems to be just beginning.  If I want to lose the additional 46 pounds I have to lose, I really need to assert some control over my eating problems before they ruin all of my hard work and undo all of my weight loss.

I have not had a really great start to the New Year.  I guess it can only get better from here, but it’s going to take a lot of hard work on my part.  The fight against compulsive eating is apparently going to be a lifetime battle for me, but I know it is one that I really want to win.

It took almost three days for my system to fully recover from the metro incident.  My pride, however, suffered a bigger blow than my body did, and my take longer to heal.  If allow my compulsive eating patterns to overtake my life again, my pride may never recover again.

The Anti-Reunion

In a previous post, I mentioned that I was going to Pittsburgh for Christmas and while I was here I was meeting with some of my high school friends for a sort of anti-reunion.  Well, it happened.  I went. Here’s the proof:

1984

They scheduled the event for a Friday night, which made it a little difficult to get to. I worked on Friday morning then took the rest of the day as a vacation day.  I drove the 4.5 hours to Pittsburgh then had to change clothes quickly.  My best friend from high school was meeting me at my mother’s house.  We had plans for dinner and then we were going to the casino together to meet our classmates.

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Now, I graduated from high school 29 years ago.  I find that so hard to believe.  Yes, I know I’m 47, but it feels like the years have just flown by.  My friend Carolyn showed up a little late for dinner, but I didn’t care.  I just had more time to prettify myself, and trust me, I needed it.  Carolyn has not changed at all.  She looks slightly older, but that’s it.  She pretty much looks exactly the same.  The years have definitely been kind to her.

Sophomore hs

Sophomore hs

Talking to her really felt like coming home.  It was amazing.  I haven’t seen her for many years, but we talked as if we have talked to each other every day since high school.  We just picked right back up where we left off.  I felt the way I did when I met up with some of my grade school friends a few years ago…that I had found something I had been missing for years.  It was like finding the missing part of myself that I had forgotten about.

We showed up at the casino fashionably late.  We walked right past our high school friends.  Then we heard them calling our names.  They probably recognized me right away from all of the pictures of myself that I put online.  And of course Carolyn has not changed at all.  And the fact that we were together, the way we always were in high school, of course they recognized us.

I had trouble recognizing people.  My one friend, I was in the band with him, I just walked up to him and another guy and asked them their names.  I’m friends with him on Facebook for crying out loud.  He just looked at me and said, “You know me, Colleen.”  What an idiot I am.  As soon as he spoke and smiled, I knew.  Then I recognized the other guy with him.  He was in the band too.

Now, you would think that I would have thought to pull out my yearbook and look up the people who RSVP’d to this thing.  No.  Not that smart apparently.  So, instead of making an ass of myself, I just started asking the people I knew who some of the other people were.  By the time the evening was over, I was able to place everyone.

Now, none of these people knew me when I was fat.  In high school, my weight ranged between 120-135 depending on the year.  I think my lowest weight was about 120-121, but that did not last long.  Most of the time, I weighed between 125-130.  I spent a brief stint in my freshman year weighing 135.

So, for them to see me at 171, I had definitely gained weight since high school.  Still, I think I look pretty good.  Most of the people who were there are friends with me on Facebook and some of them read this blog.  Not all of them.  Now I’m sure many of them will at least read this post.  (hello guys!)  Some of them have seen the pictures of me at 300 pounds.  Most of them have not.

After most people had left, me, my best friend, and two of the other girls had a very long talk about weight.  We all laughed at how when we were young we thought we were fat.  I know.  We were not.  Carolyn and I weighed roughly the same weight in high school.  Funny thing is, we weigh about the same now.  Still, we were always dieting, and we always thought we were so fat.  Clearly, we were not.

It’s really a shame, because we were all beautiful, but none of us felt it.  We were always so consumed with how the other girls looked, the fact that some of them were so skinny.  When I look back, I realized that they were unhealthily skinny in many cases.  Yet, we felt so inferior to them.  Why, I do not know.  Some of the girls we were so jealous of, that we thought were so perfect were no different and no prettier than we were.

What I wouldn’t give to go back and talk to my younger self and tell her not to take it all so seriously.  That in the end, none of it mattered.  None of it defined who I am.  I defined myself.  The number on the scale didn’t matter.  Not to people who were truly my friends.

At some point during the evening, we appointed someone to organize an official 30th reunion, since 2014 will be 30 years since we graduated high school.  We are having an official reunion over Thanksgiving weekend next year.  Plans have been made, date set, location secured, Facebook page created, ticket prices established.  They apparently put the right person in charge.

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!