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(Undesperately) Seeking Balance

At one of my WW staff training sessions, the leader warned us all that it was going to be potentially tricky, to balance WW work with our own health and fitness. At the time I didn’t really get what she was talking about. But it hit me last night.

After my traveling weekend, I had plans to go to an exercise class last night. I was realllly looking forward to it. But about an hour before, I got a call from a WW leader that a receptionist/weigh-in person was needed, like right away.

Of course, I could have said no. On the other hand, when one is in a new position it is a good thing to be seen as helpful and responsive. AND, I really feel that I could use as much mentoring/training as I can get. There are so many minute details involved in this job, and I think the more practice, the better. So I said sure.

This was my third training session and my second time doing weigh-ins. My mentor was great in helping me with doing a practice run-through before they opened the doors. I felt a lot more relaxed than I did the last time. I also felt very strongly how incredibly intimate this is, to see someone’s weight like that. It’s so personal. I had a bit of a flash that the little weigh-in booth is not unlike a confessional, but instead of prescribing ten Hail Marys or whatever, we hand them a fresh tracker and the chance to start a new week.

I was less nervous about the myriad little details this time, so I felt like I was able to really focus more on the people. I felt so much tenderness for these people as they performed the ritual removing of shoes, watches, belts, ANYthing before they stepped up. I think it is a really big deal, and important, that WW staff are also WW members. I SO know what they are going through. (in fact, I need to do my WI for this week, and have been procrastinating!) I kept thinking of the Buddhist loving-kindness (“metta”) prayer in my head: (may you be happy. may you be safe. may you be peaceful) But I expanded it a little bit, adding silently: may you be healthy. may you be free of shame.  I kept repeating this in my head in between members.

One woman achieved a big goal she had been striving toward for a long time. She was so happy, and I was so thrilled for her. High fives all around! It was like being a store owner whose customer wins the lottery. It was really exciting! I had four people up for various “recognitions” and I was really so glad for all of them. And for the people who gained, I tried to offer as much support and encouragement as I could. I think I did a good job, and my mentor had some really kind and complimentary words for me afterward.

When I got home, it was pretty late and I had not yet had dinner. I ate and then did not feel like exercising. It was already dark.

AH, I thought. So THIS is the balance thing they were talking about.

I watched the new show, Dance Your Ass Off, which is sort of a combination of Biggest Loser and Dance With the Stars. I am already a sucker for such shows, and this one really really impressed me. It involves a number of very overweight people who are trying to shed pounds AND compete in dance competitions.  For one, these people all had great personalities and were great dancers. Their confidence was so out there, and that put them miles ahead of the general population, as far as I’m concerned.

It’s hard to dance and show your body when you’re not feeling it’s in its optimal shape. But they were all out there – jumping and strutting and shimmying and just going wild with beautiful exuberance. I felt quite emotional while watching them. I am a terrible, self-conscious dancer who has never felt good about how I might look. I feel like I have no coordination and that I just look foolish. Recently a friend of mine had a dance party for her birthday and while I had fun, I also felt like I was the biggest klutz out there.  I only really felt comfortable dancing with my husband. At one point we had to switch partners and I think one of my partners was absolutely incredulous at how bad I was. SO… I am completely awed by the folks on this show who are so good, and they’re definitely choosing a super fun way to get into better shape. My hat is so off to them!!

Today, I am going to exercise no. matter. what.

“I Wish My Doctor Would Make Me Lose Weight”

No, I didn’t say that.  But a friend of mine did, when we got together recently. We were WW buddies for a long time, many years ago and on and off.  We both started together fifteen years ago, and we’ve seen each other during many ups and downs.   She recently saw her doctor, who was thrilled at her low blood pressure, her stellar cholesterol and triglyceride levels and her perfectly normal blood sugar.  She’s also at a weight that’s very high for her, but her doctor wasn’t concerned and said only, “Lose weight if you want to, but you’re perfectly healthy.” My friend felt really disappointed at not being admonished to lose weight, and feels like she doesn’t feel motivated the way I do, because for me, it’s much more of a health mandate.

So. Should she just relax and not worry about losing weight? But she’s not happy at her weight. Is it difficult for her to lose weight, and harder to find motivation, if it’s not about being healthy? Personally, I feel like being healthy=being fit and being able to move about easily without a thought: climbing stairs, going on hikes, taking walks wherever without a second thought, etc etc. Not to mention more challenging things like sports, boating, etc.

It also makes me really believe that getting diagnosed with diabetes was a true gift to me. Because it DID wake me up, big time, and made me motivated like nothing else has. But I’ve heard that 75% of diabetics are NOT compliant and do NOT lose weight even when it’s recommended. I guess it takes different things for different people.

At this point I feel like I would never, ever, ever go Back to where I was. Now that I am here, I realize that I am truly a happier person when I am feeling healthy and fit and not constantly wrestling with food issues.  Someone commented not too long ago that everything is not solved when we lose weight, and I agree with that. BUT. I truly am overall in a much happier place than I used to be. It used to be that if I had a happy moment, it was a BIG DEAL. They might come once a week or even once a month sometimes. But now, I honestly can say that I feel happy for the large part of every day. I get totally giddy when I hear my favorite songs on the radio (current super happy song: “Strange Overtones” by David Byrne, it cracks me up NO END), I am filled with happy endorphins when I work out, I love my friends and my family. I have a great and meaningful job. It’s all very, very good.

Would I be in this place right now if I hadn’t been scared into it by diabetes? I do not know.

Goal, Eluded. It’s Okay.

So I didn’t lose the .4 necessary to make my goal yesterday. I even took off my socks at weigh-in, (advice from a Twitter friend!) and came in at exactly the same weight as last week.

It seemed as if losing less than half a pound would be (no pun intended) a piece of cake. BUT I did have several pieces of cake last week, and more than one celebration dinner (daughter’s Bday, observed several times over!). AND I was uncharacteristically stressed over the impending weigh-in. For the first time in months, I felt (self-induced) Pressure. I felt like it should be a slam-dunk. But it was not.

I definitely learned from this, in many ways.  It will come when it comes.

Day 3: (catching up) Goals and Celebrations

Oh gosh. TOO much to say! This is going to have to be a speed blog.

Yesterday, day 3 of the challenge, went well. I ate all my fruits and vegies. I went to WW and am now officially 1 lb away from 30 lbs lost, AND my stated goal. I am really thinking about this whole “goal weight” thing. When I first started this journey in January, I truly did not think that a 30 lb loss was even remotely possible in this lifetime. I was hoping for maybe 10. Maybe 15, tops.  I have not weighed this weight in almost twenty years, and while it is great, it is also a little freaky. I am not used to it. It’s a little bit strange.

Also, when I began this blog, I had very negative feelings about people who dieted while in their healthy range. I am now in my healthy range.  But I really do not think I am dieting anymore. (was I ever?? That is up for debate) I am making choices every moment of every day. If those choices lead to further weight loss, then good (I think). If they keep me exactly where I am now, then fantastic. If those choices make me gain weight, I will make changes.

Like I said, I did not think I would ever reach this weight. So now that I am here, I am looking around and thinking, well?? Now what? I am aware that MANY people who are at my current weight and height feel very unhappy with themselves. They feel fat and want to lose 20 lbs. more.  Me? I am far from “skinny.” I still have a pooch of a belly, and still have padding around my hips. I’m not svelte by any means, although much svelter than I was. Part of me is pleading with myself to STOP NOW. Part of me is curious about how much weight I could or will lose if I keep on going.

I guess only time will tell.  The thing is, at WW you must state a “goal weight” much like declaring one’s major. I sort of arbitrarily put my goal weight down as 30 lbs. It’s in the healthy range. So it’s possible that I could get there in the next few weeks. (I’m less than one pound away) I am not sure it is a good idea or realistic to make it much lower. But… I don’t know. It’s weird.

I’m going to just see what happens.  My goal has always been to “be healthy” and I feel healthy right now. Really healthy. So now I feel like any additional weight loss would be primarily for aesthetic reasons, which I have been rather vehemently opposed to.  I supposed I COULD get healthiER. But what does that mean?? It’s something to mull over.

———–

Last night we went out to dinner to celebrate my daughter’s 15th birthday. We went to a great Italian place that serves family-style.  We ordered lots of amazing and great food and I enjoyed every single bite. But I think the key word is bite: I only had about 2-3 bites or forkfuls of every item. Bread with olive oil dip, fried calamari (!!) with aioli, caprese salad (tomato and mozzarella), eggplant rollatini (breaded eggplant with ricotta/marinara), cracked crab, penne Carbonara (yes, with cream and pancetta! bacon!), and gnocchi pesto. Then we came home and had CHEESECAKE.

This meal made me so happy – so very happy – because I enjoyed it with absolutely no regrets. I didn’t feel guilty. I loved every single bite, savored every bite. I was a tad nervous when I got on the scale today but told myself that even a couple of pounds would be worth it. But guess what: I weighed exactly the same as yesterday.

Yay.

Feeling Healthily Competitive? Join Me In This Challenge!

Wow. The FabFatties have done it again – they’ve set up a HUGE challenge for the next two weeks. It involves doing many, many great things to boost one’s health.  I was so excited when I saw this because truly, that is what has done it for me these past months, doing LOTS of different things, all which benefit my health and weight loss efforts.  One of the ways to win points in this challenge is to recruit others to do it too, so that is what I am doing right now – I am asking all of my readers to join me!! Come on, come on, I get a whopping 25 points for every recruit!!

These are the things that we are being challenged to do: (the intials afterward are my own abbreviations for the challenge, which I’ve used in my handy-dandy Challenge Worksheet –if you join up I will email you one!)

*Eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily- 5 points (F/V)
*Drink 8 glasses of water a day- 8 points (8W)
*Exercise- 1 point per minute (EX)
*Do a random good deed- 5 points (GD)
*Stop drinking soda pop for a day- 1 point (NS)
*Actually read someone else’s blog post and leave a comment- 1 point (RB)
* Answer Fab Fatties random bonus questions about us- 5 points (FF)-Bonus questions will be posted daily on our blog.
* Recommend 2 fabulous friends from twitter and tell us why we should follow them- 2 points (TW)
* Eat a healthy breakfast-1 point (HB)
* Lose weight- 1 point per pound (LW)
* Keep a food journal for the day- 5 points per day (FJ)
* Take a walk during your lunch break- 5 points (WK)
* Have a friend join this challenge- 25 points per friend-make sure your friend tells us you recruited them! (RF)

So as I said, I’ve made up a handy-dandy tracking worksheet so you can track all of your points each day. I am gunning to do EVERY SINGLE challenge point, every day. (except maybe the lose-weight one, not sure I can (or should) do that every day.)

In order to sign up, you must email the FabFatties here,  on or before 12:00 a.m. MST Thursday May 28th 2009. You must send them your name, Twitter name if applicable, and your blog or website URL (if applicable; it’s not necessary). Also, tell them that Foodie McBody sent you!!!!! So I can get credit! 🙂

And LET ME KNOW (in comments on this post) if you are doing it. Also send ME your email address if you want the unofficial FabFatties Challenge Tracking Worksheet! It will help you keep track of all the amazing things you are doing for your health.

Here’s to some HEALTHY COMPETITION! Let the challenge begin!!!!!!!!!

“Normal”

When I stepped on the scale this morning, I had to blink several times. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that I was sick as a dog most of the weekend, but it registered a number I have not seen since… well, I can’t even remember when. A long time ago.

And it put me solidly into the “normal BMI” weight range.  My BMI is now 24.8!!!!!!! I am in the category of “normal weight!”

  • Underweight = <18.5
  • Normal weight = 18.5-24.9
  • Overweight = 25-29.9
  • Obesity = BMI of 30 or greater

This has been my goal for many, many years. It has been my Weight Watchers goal every time I joined WW, and I never achieved it before. I’m actually kind of overwhelmed. So this was my mini-goal, and when I set that goal, I truly did not believe it was possible or achievable. Really.

At this point, I am just going to keep doing what I’m doing, and see what happens. I’m not “on a diet” anymore. (which I think is probably the key to all of this!) I’m just living my life.

Speaking of Weight Watchers, I did their online questionnaire for potential leaders, and am going to a recruitment meeting on Wednesday. I’m just… checkin’ it out. The questionnaire had about 200 questions like “Are you an enthusiastic person?” (yes) and “Do you care about other peoples’ success?” (yes) The only one that really stumped me was, “Do people tell you that you dress sharp?” I had to LOL at that one. Um, no….. not really. But recently, more so! Ha! My recent clothing spree went a long way in that direction but I still don’t think I’m any fashion role model. (ha ha ha)

I’m still feeling super shaky and woozy from the weekend. I do not think it is all the 5k’s fault – at all – I actually think I was truly ill, but managed to rally for the race and then crashed, big time. I was awfully sick yesterday. So I’m going to try to work from home and skip my afternoon workout. Later, ‘gators.

PS. OMG. Just realized I might not be “normal” after all — turns out that there is an ASIAN BMI SCALE that is lower than the “regular” scale. Yeah, even with a name like Foodie McBody, I’m Asian American. And the Asian American scale puts me back at… overweight.

Turns out that Asian Americans should aim for a BMI of 23, not 25. The explanation? Asian Americans are “fatter” at a lower BMI than Caucasian Americans. This translates to an increased risk of diabetes and other health problems at lower weights.

Sigh. Well, I’m still happy for the weight loss, and I’ll just keep doin’ what I’m doin’.

PPS. A friend just pointed out, I am only half Asian. So maybe that means I can take an average between the two. Yes! 24!!!!! 🙂

MORE THOUGHTS: (I just can’t stop writing this post!) I am also well aware that many women would find my “normal” weight horrifying. I see women starting OUT at WW meetings who are probably at 20 BMI and they want to be 18. That’s a little scary to me. When I mentioned on my FB page a few months ago that I needed to lose weight, one person confided in me that she was up to XXX weight (OH NOOOO!!!) which was, at the time, about 15 lbs less than I weighed. For her, it was a total nightmare that she weighed what was actually my goal weight. So, it’s different for everybody.

I’ve pretty much reached my goal. If I keep doing what I’m doing and I end up continuing to lose, then so be it. (to a certain extent) If I don’t, fine. But I’m not TRYING to lose a lot more weight. I’m just going to see what happens.

The End of Ambivalence

It’s kind of amazing to go to events where I run into people I haven’t seen since… Before. They’re kind of shocked, and always ask, How did you DO this? I laugh and say, “The short answer is, I got diabetes.” Of course everyone knows that diabetes itself does not cause weight loss, unless you’re really ill. But it’s a long answer. The longer answer is, “read my blog.” It’s so complicated and yet it is so simple. It’s so many things.

I went to Weight Watchers this morning and had a 3.2 lb loss at weigh-in. They had a bunch of flyers about WW leader recruitment. I took one. Still mulling this idea over. I still really really miss teaching, and it could be an interesting opportunity. I might go to one of their info meetings next week and find out more.

Anyway. I’ve been thinking a lot about: why now? Why, after 30 years of struggle, is this finally working? I have lost weight in the past – but never this much- and never without terrible effort.

This time, it feels almost effortless – and at the same time, I am putting every ounce of focus and attention on it. It’s one of those weird paradoxes. It doesn’t feel at all like a “diet” – and yet it has taken enormous reservoirs of time and mindfulness. But it’s not “hard.” If that makes sense. Does it make sense?

I realized today that one thing that’s very different this time around (and I think may be the KEY difference) is that I am not ambivalent. For a long time, I was ambivalent about losing weight because I was always wanting to lose weight for my LOOKS, and I felt angry about that. I felt like women should be loved and accepted and appreciated and deemed beautiful no matter what their size. (I still do) So it felt on some level like a betrayal of myself and other women to want to lose weight for looks reasons.

And yet..I have to admit that I think I look better now than I did in January. I FEEL better – both “looks” wise and health wise. I have tons more energy, and I just feel strong and happy.

It was not until I got this pre-diabetes wakeup call that I really cared about losing weight for other reasons, ie health. Before, I didn’t believe that I was unhealthy, because I wasn’t overweight enough. Or so I thought. I used to bristle at the notion that being “only” 25 or 30 lbs overweight was enough to endanger my health. I was wrong about that.

So I sort of defiantly stayed overweight and did not attend to my health because I didn’t want it to be about my looks.

Another thing that is different this year has to do with my past, and my life as an adopted person. It has definitely affected me throughout my life, to think of myself as a person whose very existence was a burden to others. I was most definitely a “mistake,” and the cause of much shame for my birth mother. (I’ve known her since I was 20) She likes me as a person, but also has VERY deep ambivalence about my very existence.  I am her worst, biggest and most distressing secret.

This year is the year that I made the pretty big decision to stop wishing that my birth mother would acknowledge me in the ways that I would like. I pretty much gave up. After about 30 years (hmm, is there a connection here?) of desperately hoping to openly be recognized as her relative. I wonder if this “giving up” makes it suddenly possible for me to lose weight, as well.

I was chasing after love where it couldn’t be found. I was pretty much a bottomless pit of need and sadness. Once, many years ago, in therapy, I made a little clay head with a huge open mouth. I called it “little head” and it represented my unending hunger. And why even the most giant pan of macaroni and cheese would never be enough. I understood it, but I couldn’t change it. Until I finally gave up on wanting what couldn’t be had.

Love isn’t inside food. It isn’t inside some people who just aren’t able to give. But I was certainly chasing after it, for years and years and years.

I’m finally getting where the love is. It’s in me, and it’s in people who are open to it. Food is just… something else. It’s wonderful to enjoy, it’s delicious and fun, but it isn’t love.

(lightbulb moment)

When I was diagnosed with diabetes, it was like I was being asked, “Well? Do you want to live? Are YOU ambivalent about your very existence?” and the answer came back a ferocious YES, and NO.

I’m not ambivalent anymore. I want to be here. I deserve to be here.

And that’s the pretty long answer about how I lost the weight.

Guest Bloggers: The Fabulous Fatties Sit On A Ball!

I recently read an article that described how people who fidget more tend to be a lot thinner. I found this very intriguing.  I tend to be pretty restless, especially when sitting. So I was especially interested in reading this post on Weight Loss With The Fabulous Fatties’ blog. (we are doing a blog post swap!) It’s pretty funny too, but truly useful for weight loss!

It’s Saturday and I (Angie) am working, or supposed to be, but apparently I am blogging. :) Has anyone with a desk job tried to sit on an exercise  ball while at work?  A couple years back I was seeing a nutritionist who recommended I try this.  I didn’t at the time, but have done it a few times more recently, and am in fact sitting on a sleek silver exercise ball as we speak.  I recommend everyone this this as it does use some muscle’s for balancing (legs, stomach and booty).  Oh… I just had a great thought!  I am renaming this exercise ball to my blogging ball and I will force myself to sit on it when ever I am blogging or twittering.

However, this advice does come with a WARNING!

  • Do not reach for items out of your reach, the ball will roll and you will fall flat on your face.
  • Do not try to scoot the ball, it does not have wheels like your cushy office chair and you will fall.
  • People will look at you like you are crazy!  Now I am used to this type of reaction from people.  One lady I work with calls me her “eccentric friend” but some of you may be more sensitive than I to others reactions.
  • Co-workers will probably steal your ball when you leave your desk to go potty and you will have to hunt it down, which unfortunately decreases productivity.  Bit of Advice: always check the supply closet first!
  • When standing up do not scoot your ball back you will fall on your head and have a minor concussion.  Most employers will expect you to still work with a minor concussion.
  • Do not lean forward to get a closer look at your computer screen while on the exercise ball as you will face plant into your desk and get a bloody nose and possibly some mouth bleeding.
  • If you suck in your gut and sit tall while on the exercise ball you will get tired at a quicker rate.

I’m just sayin’ sit on the ball with caution!

Have a FABULOUSweekend and eat a brownie for me, preferably one with chocolate chips, white chocolate chips and pecans.  I had a skinny friend once tell me nothing tastes as good as thin feels.  I think she believed that so I never shared my brownies with her!

Thanks for the great tip, Angie!!

And for those of you for whom a ball does not provide enough fidgety movement, you can always try Ellen’s Hawaii chair!!

Watch Out What You Wish For…

All my adult life, I’ve wished – I mean desperately wished….

  • that I could enjoy exercise.
  • that I could be satisfied with small portions of food
  • that I could deal with hard emotional times without diving into high-carb comfort/smother foods
  • that I could truly CHOOSE healthier options, and feel good about it
  • that I could run again
  • that I could lose weight without feeling deprived
  • that I could feel the benefits of meditation
  • that I could develop a meaningful spiritual life

Well, guess what. It looks like I’ve gotten all those things – for now, anyway. I have to say I’m sort of stunned. Because just a few months ago I would not have believed that even ONE of these things were even remotely possible.

All of these statements are now true.
AND… I’ve got diabetes.

Is that the tradeoff? Or was it diabetes that allowed me to finally wake up and have these things I always wanted?

It’s like a zen koan. It’s actually too incomprehensible for words.  I wonder what I would have said, if I’d climbed to the guru on the top of the mountain, please let me have these things, and he said, “OK, but you also have to have diabetes.” What would I have said? What would I have chosen?

Several people have remarked to me that I am doing an amazing job dealing with my diabetes. But I really feel like, what choice do I have? That’s how I feel now. I feel like there is no option but to be as healthy as I can be.

But I didn’t feel like this before, when I was way overweight, when I had high blood pressure, when I was inactive. Those things didn’t scare me and didn’t cause me to change anything. If anything they made things worse. It was the diabetes that woke me up.

Funny how life is.

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