Posts Tagged ‘obesity’

To the man who yelled “fat ass” out his window

Fat ass

No way!?

Thank you. I’m sure you were just trying to be helpful. Your words were truly enlightening. I had no idea prior to your comments that I do, in fact, have a fat ass. Even has I pulled my size 24 pants on this morning, I just completely missed the fact that my ass is fat. So, thank you.

And although you didn’t have time to elaborate as you drove past, I’m sure you were really just trying to point out my obesity in order to remind me of health risks, such as diabetes, heart disease, and sleep apnea. Of course, those are all things I would never have thought to discuss with my doctor (whose office I had actually just left) if you didn’t take the time out of your busy day to call me a fat ass.

You’re not the first, ya know. I’ve heard various forms of “fat ass” throughout my life. All that fat must clog my brain and make me stupid because I obviously need constant reminding. So, of course, you won’t be the last either.

I’m sure you’re an expert on all that is me. You learned all you needed to in those few seconds. I’m sure you know how lazy I am and that all I do is sit on the couch, watch TV, and eat Twinkies. It must have just been a rare occasion for me to peel my bulbous behind off the sofa. Just looking at me, it’s obvious that I’m undisciplined, unmotivated, and of course, sedentary.

But, you know, just in case you have a few things wrong, or you’re even remotely interested, here are some real things about me . . . . good and bad:

~I have a 9-year-old daughter who is my world.
~I watched my mom die when I was 16.
~I battle anxiety and depression every day.
~I’m a sci-fi/fantasy geek . . . and am particularly obsessed with Doctor Who and all things Joss Whedon.
~I wasn’t always fat, but I’ve always thought I was.
~I work with kids with special behavioral needs. It can be incredibly stressful but also incredibly rewarding. I love what I do.
~I started working as a freelance writer/editor four years ago. It was something I had wanted to do since adolescence but never thought I’d be able to pull it off.
~I’m a (mostly) recovering self-injurer and I’m working on a book to help myself and others realize they’re not alone and self-injury does not just affect teenage girls.
~I want to learn how to sew just so I can learn how to make better costumes for comic cons, renaissance faires, and Halloween.
~I’m an adult child of an alcoholic.
~I have an obsession with books.
~Even at 300+ lbs., I can still walk a 15-minute mile.
~I’m an emotional eater. I’ve always had difficulty loving myself and I learned a long time ago that food is a comfort when I can’t find it elsewhere. I’m fighting to break free from that.
~I’ve always wanted to travel, but I’ve never made it out of the United States (and I haven’t even traveled much within the country).

This is just a small sample of the things you can’t possibly know about me just by looking at me, but, of course, my fat ass trumps them all.

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The motivation behind fat shaming

There’s a saying I love – You can’t hate people for their own good.

FatOne of the most widely accepted forms of judgment is fat shaming. I’ve written about this before – bits and pieces here and there. I’ve written about how you’d be hard-pressed to watch more than 15 minutes of television without hearing a fat joke. And just forget about social media. I wrote about how I apologize for being fat all the time because I need to get it out there first. I need people to know that I know I’m fat because then maybe I can avoid their opinions on it.

Fat shaming is accepted because society claims they want to help fat people. We have campaigns that want to combat childhood obesity by displaying posters and billboards and videos of fat kids and stating facts about how unhealthy they are. We have people who think it’s okay to dispense dieting tips to perfect strangers, people who defend the bullying of overweight people because “maybe it will motivate them,” people who honestly believe that you can know all you need to about a person just by looking at his or her size.

It’s okay to tell a fat person that she’s eating unhealthy food. It’s okay to tell her to put back the ice cream or lay off the McDonald’s because you’re just trying to help. But guess what. A fast food double cheeseburger isn’t a healthy choice for anyone, whether that person is 110 pounds or 410 pounds. But we don’t tell thin people to stop eating unhealthy food. We don’t care if thin people are unhealthy because at least they’re more visually appealing.

It’s okay to tell a fat person that he needs to exercise more. We can tell him to hit the gym, go for a walk, or quite simply, to get off his ass. I know a lot of “lazy” thin people, but nobody tells them to hit the gym, go for a walk, or to get off their asses. Exercise is healthy for everyone, not just fat people, but fat people are more likely to visually offend us, so it’s okay to call them out “for their own good.”

I watch Man vs. Food from time to time. If you haven’t seen the show, it’s pretty much a glorification of overeating anything that’s chock full of grease and fat. Adam Richman, the show’s host, goes from town to town checking out their glutton-inducing menu items. He ends each show with a food challenge, which usually has him shoveling a ton of food down his throat in a short period of time. It can be oddly entertaining and also incredibly disturbing.

When Adam visits each establishment, he talks to the locals. In almost every episode, he chats up a cute (and usually thin) female and she comments on how much she can eat. And he swoons. Something about thin women who can eat a lot is deemed incredible sexy and admirable.

As a teen, I fluctuated between 160 lbs. and 200 lbs. In hindsight, I was incredibly healthy – perfect blood pressure, no cholesterol, I walked everywhere . . . on the weekends, I would do the 8-mile walk around the river just for fun. Even with stopping at the Philadelphia Museum of Art to have a cigarette and run up the Rocky steps, I finished the walk in less than 2 hours. Yet every doctor I went to told me how I needed to lose weight. So, that’s what I tried to do.

It didn’t seem to matter how many salads I ate or if I only drank water or how much I worked out, I always struggled to lose those extra pounds. I did what many teenage girls do in that situation. I started loading my body with every diet pill I could find. I took laxatives. I puked after meals. I stopped eating all together.

I also listened to the boys talk at school. I read teen magazines that interviewed boys and asked them what kind of girls they liked. And I watched TV shows and movies that showed boys and girls dating. There was a theme that came up pretty frequently. “I want to date a girl who eats real food, not just rabbit food.”

One more example of the sexiness of thin girls with big appetites.

There was shame in being fat, not shame in being unhealthy.

There seems to be this idea that a fat person is not a complete person, and it has nothing to do with unhealthy eating or poor exercise habits. It has to do with an assault on what we find appropriately attractive. “She’d be beautiful, if she just lost the weight.” “She looks great now that she’s lost so much weight.” And so on and so forth.

I have a few very dear friends who have lost massive amounts of weight. They’re incredible. I am truly inspired by what they have accomplished. They are beautiful and amazing women. And they were beautiful and amazing women when they were 300+ lbs. Their weight loss has affected each of them in their own ways, but their stories belong to them. I do not and will not ever invalidate what they have done, but I will also never act is if the people they are now only exist because they are thin.

I am striving to lose weight, to get healthier, to make positive changes in my life. I’m doing it for me. I’m doing it because I don’t like where I am right now. And I will reach my goals. And I am sure the journey will impact the person I am, but I will still be me.

And whether I am 150 lbs. or 300+ lbs., I am a valid human being who is so much more than a number on a scale or someone else’s opinion of my physical appearance.

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Not-a-diet week something-or-other: Making it happen

When I first started this not-a-diet in August, I had a really pretty plan. I was going to post an update every week, complete with pictures. After I had lost a significant amount of weight, I would be able to scroll through those pictures and actually see the progress. I would have this beautiful, consistent documentation of everything week by week.

But apparently, life is just not quite so neat. Which suits me just fine. I’ve always been an organized chaos kind of person. The organized part is optional, of course.

I’m a part of a group on Facebook that is partaking in a 90 day goal challenge. We’ve each set up daily, weekly, monthly and long-term goals for ourselves. We get points for completing each goal and at the end of 90 days, we’ll see what percentage we’ve completed.

I am just over one week into my challenge, and I’m doing fabulously so far. I have 10 goals every day and have hit 8-9 of them each day. The downside? The 1-2 that I didn’t hit were eating well and exercising. I was uber productive all week long with work, family stuff and household thing, but I was stretched to my limits and had very few spare minutes in my days.

My breakfast this morning: Peppers, onions, asparagus, cucumbers, mushrooms, broccoli, crunched up bacon and a little bit of parmesan cheese

Today, I went grocery shopping. For the first time in weeks, I stocked up on produce, came home and chopped everything up. I now have a fridge fully stocked with veggies that are quick to grab for snacks or cooking. I ate healthy today. However, I also only worked about half of the hours that I usually do – which, of course, is going to cost me money. Still, I think I can make this happen once a week.

I also picked up a dozen or so Lean Cuisine meals. I know that anything processed is not exactly healthy, but I just don’t always (or often) have the time to make healthy meals and I figure this is a lot better than having a mountain dew and chips for breakfast (which was what I did all last week).

Slowly, but surely, I am figuring out what works for me. It’s trial and error . . . and there has been a lot of error . . . But I feel like I’m getting somewhere, so I still call this a success.

The exercise thing is still an issue. Honestly, I just can’t handle it right now . . . and “can’t” is not a word I use lightly. The pain in my back is unbearable sometimes. And I know that it has a lot to do with the weight. My plan is to just get myself up and moving more frequently – even if it’s just around the block, or hell, around the house a few times, but to mostly focus on diet.

I am damn near positive that once I lose 20-ish pounds, there will be a huge difference in the pain. When I was around 290-295, I worked on my feet for 12+ hours a day and I felt nowhere near the kind of pain I feel now. Realizing this just makes me more determined to reach that 299 short-term goal!

Now let’s see how well I can stick to a healthy food plan AND remain productive in all the other areas!

An overdue not-a-diet check-in

It’s been several weeks since my last check-in, and in all honesty, I’ve been afraid to weigh myself. Overall, I’ve been eating fairly well (though we have ordered out at least once a week and that usually does not equal healthy!), but I have not been working out. At all.

The pain in my knee has been atrocious. I could barely move for a few days a couple of weeks ago. I was limping just walking around the house. I’m still only able to take the stairs one at a time. My back pain has been getting worse as well.

I attribute part of that to the change in weather, but I was also afraid that I had gained weight again. I finally broke down and stepped on the scale on Saturday, and I am happy to say that I have lost 7 pounds since my last weigh-in. I’m at 315, which means I have 16 pounds to go until I make it to my first mini-goal.

Kes and I are still planning on getting gym memberships. The cost of the memberships is incredibly reasonable. Our problem comes with traveling to and from the gym. Because we both work from home, we usually get by with a 10-pack of bus tokens every week. Going to the gym would mean that we both need bus passes. It will only cost us $20/month for both of us whereas the bus passes will cost us $166/month for both of us.

Maybe in January, once the holiday hoopla is over.

One of the motivators on my fridge - Perhaps "healthy" would be less shallow than "thin", but whatever works, right?!

Oh, my current weakness? I have been succumbing to my Mountain Dew cravings every day. A 24-ounce bottle every morning has replaced coffee! Maybe once it gets a little colder, I can get back to coffee – at least it’s sugar-free!

I’m not sure that I’m going to weigh in every week, but I do want to get back to posting weekly updates about my not-a-diet. I actually considered doing a vlog, which is totally out of my comfort zone. On Saturday night, I started up the webcam and just did it . . . only to find out that my webcam software sucks and I am unable to save the video to my computer or upload it to YouTube (supposedly, I can, but every time I tried, I was told “upload failed”).

Does anyone have anything thoughts? Would it make things more interesting? Should I pursue this whole vlog thing further or just stick with the written updates or do you not care at all? 😛 Be honest, please!

I’m attempting this thing called a routine. We’ll see how well it goes. As part of that routine, I have myself posting updates every Tuesday. (I’ve also scheduled in at least 2 other blog posts per week and time to read blogs – yay!) I am only on day 2 of this routine and so far, I’m on track. Let’s hope I can keep it going!

Happy birthday me, plus my weekly check-in

Week 3: August 22, 2011 --- 320.3 lbs.

I have had a bit of a rough week on several different fronts, but I’ve stuck with my not-a-diet (for the most part). I did enjoy a few splurges over the weekend because of my birthday (namely my Café Roma’s strawberry shortcake – a tradition since I was 13 years old). My weight loss progress is not as much as I would like it to be, but there is still a loss and for that I am happy! I lost 1.4 lbs. this past week.

My birthday was pretty much awesome! I spent the afternoon with some fabulous friends before the storm kicked us out of the park. The rest of my birthday was spent relaxing.

Here’s the video that Kes and Abby made for me:

Oh, and do you remember that blog I wrote about my Uncle Tom and what he said on the radio? Well, my oh-so-awesome cousin taped it when it first aired (I had completely forgotten) and she sent the audio file to me for my birthday! ❤ you!!!

(Ok, so after spending the last 40 minutes trying to figure out how to attach a sound file here, I give up . . . it was really freaking awesome and I’ll leave it at that!)

It gets even better. A month or so ago, my writer friend Samantha asked me to write something about career advice I had received from my elders. She asked me if she could use it to put an article together. I had no idea what to expect. Well, she sent me the finished article yesterday and words cannot even express how amazing it made me feel. I’ll share the article once it’s published! Sam, you’re awesome and thank you again!

Updated 8/24/11 — Here’s the link to the article I mentioned above 🙂

My 19th birthday; around 175 lbs.

Add all of that to the amazing messages and phone calls and lots of hugs and kisses from my daughter. Yup, definitely an awesome birthday! It feels great to be 28 (again)!

One week down, a lifetime to go

Because this is not a diet. I am changing the way that I live. I’ve heard that before . . . don’t diet, change your lifestyle. I understood the concept, but I could never get away from the “diet mindset.” Until now. I haven’t counted one single calorie all week. I haven’t scrutinized a nutrition label. And I haven’t avoided eating when I’ve been hungry.

Week 2: August 15, 2011 --- 321.7 lbs.

I have, however, lost 5 lbs.

My 3am cravings still come . . . and I still indulge them. I just do it with an enormous salad instead of a bag of chips or a plate of nachos. Oh, and my totally yummy salad dressing? A very little bit of oil, vinegar and a couple spoonfuls of Splenda.

I’m working towards making healthier choices.

I was proud of myself on Wednesday. I went to the beach with my best friend, her son and my daughter. It would have been really easy to say, “screw it” for one day and have a slice of pizza or a cheesesteak. Instead, I had a grilled chicken salad for dinner.

I’ve stuck with the Wii Fit every day. (Except Wednesday because I wasn’t home all day . . . but I think swimming in the ocean and walking the boardwalk for a couple of hours covered me for the day!)

The Wii Fit allows you to set calorie goals for what you want to burn each day. I

Halloween '97, somewhere around 165-170 lbs.

set mine at the highest possible, which is 455 calories. The first few days, I had to break up my workout to reach my goal. Since Friday, I have been able to do one straight workout to reach my goal (just about an hour).

In just one week, I can already feel the difference when I walk. The pain is still there, but it is much more manageable. My feet are also back to normal for the first time in weeks.

I know I will have my difficult moments, but so far, I feel really great. 🙂

Oh, and another success . . . I spent the day Wednesday with a smoker and I didn’t have a cigarette! (This is HUGE. It’s a lot easier to not smoke when you’re not around smokers!)

***So, I pretty much hate this posting a picture thing every week. I figured to combat my self-esteem issues, I would also post a “thin” picture every week to remind me what I’m working towards :-)***

Every day is a new day

Every day is a new day and a chance to start over. Today, I made the choice to change my life. Today, I made the choice not to kill myself with food. I’ve dieted before . . . more times than I care to count . . . the difference today is that for the first time in my life I fully believe that if I continue as I am, I will die. And I’m not ready to die . . .

I explained quite a bit of my past issues with weight in previous blogs.

My senior prom. I was 165 lbs and wore a size 12. I thought I was SO fat! My ultimate goal is to fit into that dress again.

Barbie Doll
Keep the BMI Away from Me and My Child
I am not my fat.

But I’m not worried about all of that now because today is a new day. Today, I get to start all over.

Today, I am tired of my swollen feet. I am tired of my back and knee pains. I am tired of losing my breath after dancing with my daughter to one song. Today, I am just plain tired.

Today, I have high blood pressure and am at risk for diabetes.

Today, I weigh 326.7 lbs.

But today, today is a new day.

Today, I woke up and turned on the Wii Fit. I love the Wii Fit! I know that it won’t work nearly as well as a “real” daily workout routine, but for all of my issues, it’s perfect. I like the step aerobics, the obstacle course and the boxing . . . I can definitely feel those. When my back starts to hurt, I slow down and do the balance exercises. When my knee starts to hurt, I do the stillness “exercise” . . . you literally just sit still for 3 minutes. Then I go back to the step aerobics, obstacle course and boxing.

Week 1: August 8, 2011 --- 326.7 lbs.

Here’s why that works for me — In a “real” workout, I would start to feel pain and just give up. I’d stop. With the Wii Fit, I keep going. They may not be the best exercises, but it’s more a state of mind thing. I’m still moving. I’m still in workout mode . . . even when I need a small break.

I worked out for a total of 1 hour and 10 minutes today, burning 460 calories. I’ve eaten really well all day . . . Lunch was a giant bowl of spinach and onions 🙂 I’m going to hit the farmer’s market tomorrow and load up on veggies.

Because today, I’ve made the decision that I am not ready to die.

***It kind of kills me to post my actual weight. Which I think is kind of silly. I mean, you can look at me and see that I’m fat, but to actually have people know how much I weight is horrifying. But it’s there for a reason. I will post updates on this journey every Monday, including my actual weigh in numbers and a picture. I need to hold myself accountable and this is how I am going to do it!***

Every day is a new day. What changes are you going to make today?