September 9, 2003

Oh yes.  I'm back again. I always knew I wouldn't stay away forever, but it has been nearly a year since I wrote in the Fastastic Journal.  It's not that I haven't been giving consideration to the extra weight that I carry, but more from an inside view from an outside.  When I "planted" weight loss as my goal in the spring to be harvested in the fall, I figured that I'd be working all through the summer and have lost a great deal by fall.  Instead, I was propelled into a comfortable place where I could effectively work on the weight loss without  having a lot of other stresses to handle.

I've been warring with this.  Part of me feels that doing this shouldn't be a stress, but should be a labor of love for myself.  It's something I've always wanted, as long as I've been fat.  It was really after my first divorce from Paul that I started gaining weight at alarming rate.  After gaining almost 80 pounds in a year (why can't I lose that quickly and effectively?), I continued to steadily gain through three more pregnancies and a went up and down within a 10 pound range.  I'd gain 10 pounds, lose 15, gain 20, lose 10, gain 12 back and forth for years.  The first divorce was in 1992, if that tells you anything. 

I'm not wanting to be thin at all, in the truest since of thin.  When I'm bony, I look extremely sickly.  I'm shooting for 140-150, which is when I seem to look my best.  That means that I need to lose about 80-90 pounds. 

I've always been fortunate in that I look younger and and thinner than I actually am.  My mother recently died at the age of 60.  My father died in 1986 at the age of 52.  The thought of only living another 10-20 years is terrifying for me.  I know that most of the women on both sides of my family have lived to be quite old.  I know that my mother and father had very different diets than I have and lived very different lives than I do.  Still, it's a scary thought when I have a young husband and young children.  I want to be able to do all I can to preserve my life and eliminate the factors that could take me away from them.  Ignoring the whole "could get hit by a bus tomorrow" theory, I think my weight is my biggest threat.  For a lot of people, being overweight doesn't pose a major health issue, but I've been feeling glucose-level symptoms and I don't like leaning that close to things like diabetes. 

So I'm back at it again.  I'm keeping it very simple, going with very low carb and low fat, water, some exercise.  It feels like a good time to do it, so I'm on it. 

In preparation for today, I have been sorting through the library of information I have on weight loss and related subjects.  I've tried a lot of different supplements and techniques and most of the time, it wasn't that they didn't work, but more than I didn't work.  I eat for comfort and for the joy of the sensory experience of eating.  It's something I really love to do and with which I've comforted myself for a long time.  I don't really hold to Dr Phil's notion that we anesthetize ourselves with food, at least not all of us. 

I've turned myself inside out (you folks know what an analyzer and mental sifter I am) looking for some major, streaming tear revelation of why I overindulge in eating and as nearly as I can tell, it's just not in there.  It's something I like to do.   Since I now have a strong sense of what it could cost me, my enjoyment of it is lessening and I figure I need to get back to eating for sustenance instead of entertainment.  I'll miss it, that's for sure, but I don't plan to have anything forbidden, just carefully monitored.

I knew for certain I wasn't going to go into the total deprivation route when I was watching the (new) movie, "Freaky Friday" with my daughter (great movie, especially with a daughter).  In it, Jamie Lee Curtis switches bodies with daughter, Lindsay Lohan.  They are in a driving scene and JLC, in her daughter's body, sees that the daughter, in JLC's body, has bought McDonald's fries and is eating them.  She freaks out and yells at her that the fries will go straight to "her" hips.  She then realizes that it won't hurt her daughter's body, so she yanks the box of fries from her daughter and proceeds to moan with delight over eating her "first French fry in 8 years."  WTF??  If I stay fat forever, I'm not ever going to be that harsh with myself. 

I also have been watching the new Weight Watchers commercials where a woman reaches for some forbidden food, (In one, it's a cookie, I think, and in another, it's a slice of pizza) and her friends chastise her with comments like "there goes your diet" or "Amy, really..."  Friends who smite me for what I eat wouldn't remain my friends for long.  I am well aware that people do so with good intention, but still, it's offensive when whatever we eat is a personal choice that we make with full knowledge of the effects.  So for all of you people who love and want to help, "tsk tsking" me when I make a choice that isn't what I'd normally make is NOT the way to do it. 

The Weight Watchers commercials are almost as offensive as the Jenny Craig commercials where the woman laments her enormous weight (which may be huge to her, but is much less than I weigh) and actually threw out the family photos in which she appeared saying, "When you weigh 180, you DON'T want to be reminded."  For one thing, the commercial is completely offensive and insensitive to people who are over 180, sending the message that if you weigh 180, you should be ashamed of yourself.  Is it so hard to simply have people who have lost weight gush about how much better they feel and how much energy they now have?  Do we have to incorporate insults into the pitch?  Motivation through guilt and shame really pisses me off.

In situations like weight loss where I have not experienced a great deal of success, I often feel a bit adrift.  When I'm aimless like that, it really helps me to start from a firm foundation of the things I know to be true.  In the best interest of that, I've worked out the things that I know to be true about weight loss.

1)  Although there is a mathematic formula that says that if you eat less and exercise more, your headspace has a great deal to do with your degree of success as well.

2)  Some supplements, such as appetite suppressors and thermogenic drugs (that speed up metabolism) do work and work quite well, some better than others and all individual to the person.  I have tried a few of them and for me, Hydroxycut was the most effective.  Right now, I'm using One-a-Day Healthy Weight, which is a multi-vitamin combined with Chromium and Green Tea Extract.  Hydroxycut is cost prohibitive for me right now.  Stacker 2 was very effective, but left me a bit speedy.  It doesn't have that effect on others I've known.  Dexatrim Natural was also quite good and less expensive. 

3)  "Modified Atkins" most often is also referred to as "eating," not dieting.  I do believe there are those who can successfully modify Atkins and other low carb diets, but I think that overall, when you begin to monkey with the mix, it throws off the whole system.  If you modify, be sure and immediately go to low fat proteins.

4)  Low carb diets are very effective.  Low fat diets are very effective.  They are effective for very different physiological reasons.  If you lose a lot of weight on a low carb diet, you will likely gain it back if you do not watch your carbs for the rest of your life.  Regardless of which extreme you use, if either, be very careful when you start introducing the reduced food group back into your diet.  Low carb diets make you feel fuller and more satisfied.  They also give you a strong grounded feeling and help you sleep better.  Low fat diets make you feel light and clean out your system. 

5)  When you first go on a low carb diet, you will lose a great deal of water weight, which is a good thing.  When you reintroduce carbs into your diet, if you aren't careful, the water weight will come back on.

6)  Exercise sucks for the most part, but apparently is necessary for us sedentary types.

7)  Body Flex, by Greer Childers, is very effective if you stick with it. You have to do it exactly as prescribed:  twice a day for two weeks, then once a day afterwards.  Stop doing it and things get flopy again quickly.

8)  Just walking isn't enough, sadly.  You have to get up to a sweaty level or might as well stay on the computer.

9)  Being sweaty sucks.

10)  Listening to audiobooks while you get sweaty is a nice distraction.

11)  Wear good shoes when you exercise or your legs and feet will start to hurt if you're more than a little overweight.

12)  Obsessing on the scale is a bad thing.  Once a week weighing seems to work best.

13)  Measuring is also important, bust, abs, hips and thighs, because you exercise, muscle will build as fat is lost.  Muscle weighs more than fat, so don't believe the lying scales.  Of course, if you show no loss over a year or so, it's not the scales that are lying.

14)  The more places you measure, the more inches you get to claim you lost.  :- )

15)  When you're craving, taking a walk or drinking a glass of water is a joke we tell ourselves.

So that's the place from where I'm starting.  I'll check in from time to time to let you know how it's going.   


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