Thursday, March 06, 2014
We hear it all the time. Women come in all shapes and sizes. We can all be beautiful in our own way. Part if this is true, but it's lead to a dangerous movement. Too many women are encouraged to be "proud" of their obesity, even morbid obesity. This shouldn't happen, because obesity and morbid obesity is not healthy. Not physically. Not mentally. I know because I have been there.
At my heaviest I was 309 lbs, with a BMI of 46.3. Now after years of up and down struggles I am down to 187, with a BMI of 28. I still have a little ways to go before I am in the "healthy range" although comparatively I feel pretty healthy. I try and run 10 miles a week and bike 20. Play with weights a couple times a week, although I have a harder time staying motivated with strength training. My last check, I managed 38 girlie pushups in a minute -- which I could never do before, not even as a kid. I've run up to 5 miles at once, I normally run 2-3 miles at a time. My biggest size was a 24 or a 22 with broken in elastic. I'm a size 12 now. I'm smaller than the average American woman, (apparently the average BMI is 28.6) but I am still overweight. I can live with being overweight, to a point. I'd like to lose that last 20-25 pounds, but I'm at a point where my focus is on maintaining healthy habits and I'll lose what I lose. Being a little bit overweight is not the end of the world. I don't plan on running a marathon, although I am considering a 5K.
I've lost 122 pounds, which is approximately what my 21 year old "baby" weighs. But my success is about more than finally losing that "baby weight." I'm still 7 pounds more than what I was when I went into the hospital to have my first baby when I was 20. Getting under 180 will be a big milestone for me, whenever I happen to get there.
Many obese people see their obesity as something that defines them, Of course it isn't, but it is limiting. It means at best having less energy, not sleeping as well, enduring rude comments. For me it meant serious depression and anxiety, problems with my cholesterol and blood sugar, horrible self esteem-- because I did let it define me.
Celebrities and wanna be celebrities come out and say they are proud of their size, but in many cases it probably means they are in denial, just not ready to face it. I wish they could be more honest. Just say they aren't ready to deal with their obesity, rather than saying it is okay. Losing large amounts of weight is dramatic, it changes you in many ways. There's as much psychological work as it is physical.
Yes, women come in all shapes and sizes. And being a size 2 is not a requirement for feeling worthy. Whatever our weight, we can find ways to grow, be proud of who we are and the impact we have on the world. Physically and mentally, it is more difficult to function with morbid obesity but no one should hide because of it. No one should be afraid to improve.
For me, obesity led to GERD, which played a role in developing vocal chord dysfunction -- a condition where the voice box spontaneously contracts, and you can't breathe through your mouth for several minutes. My episodes were happening several times a day, and I had a constant urge to cough. When I gave into that urge, I 'd stop breathing. So fatty deep fried food was out. More exercise was in. Running became regular because it emphasizing diaphram breathing, inhaling through the nose, exhaling through the mouth. I haven't had major symptoms in a while, just a sore throat from time to time, which leads me to evaluate whether I've "cheated" too much with acidic food, sweets, caffeine, chocolate, or refined sugars.
I stopped being obese when my health gave me no other option -- or an extremely undesireable option. Yet VCD was a gift, because it made me do what I had to do, and I am much happier and proud of my progress.
There is good in all of us. We can find things to be proud of regardless of size. Body image is a personal battle, until you decide to share it.
Friday, January 10, 2014
I woke up this morning and was quickly disappointed. In Minnesota we were coming out of a cold snap, and finally we were getting a nice day. The plan was to hit the gym early, then go get a little work done at the coffee shop. But my stomach was painfully gurgling, and came to the conclusion that it wasn't wise to go anywhere, or eat more than very small portions of easy to digest food.
And I still had to work, I'm a freelance writer, and there were deadlines just hours away. After finishing a couple assignments, I contemplated the gym, but opted for a long walk, and I almost hit my 10,000 step goal -- about 600 steps shy. I walked around the house a bit only to realize that I had taken off my fitbit tracker, so I very well could have made it. But the big news is when I got on the scale, I saw 199.2 -- a number that I haven't seen in a decade.
Tonight, I will sleep without an alarm. I'll clean, go to the gym and run a bit if I'm up to it, and have a normalish productive day. Some treats aren't edible.
Tuesday, December 31, 2013
So, this morning, I told myself I would brave the Minnesota cold, near -10, and head out to the Y on the 8:20 bus.... I wound up catching the 11:20. When I got there, I walked .2 miles around the track, then I ran .2 miles and I just wasn't into it anymore. But getting to the gym and putting in that tiny distance was pretty pathetic, so I ran another lap, and another, and another, until I had run 3 miles. I walked another mile after that. Then I went to the weight machines and used three of those. A couple more laps walking. A 10 mile bike ride, and another mile around the track happened before I headed back to the locker room.
All in all it was a good day, and that 3 mile run, it turned out I made it in approx 31 minutes. Not bad for still being 40 pounds away from goal, and technically still obese -- although barely now, not morbidly so. I was hoping to get across that threshold as the new year started, but that's okay. I'm still going in the right direction, my balance is better, I'm more agile, and if that last 40 pounds takes me all of 2014, then it takes me all of 2014. As long as I keep moving and eating healthy, it's bound to happen.
Motivation is great, but sometimes you need to do just one more lap over and over until you start to feel accomplished.
Thursday, October 03, 2013
I like food, if I didn't chances are I would be here. For the most part Sparkpeople is about portion control and living a healthy lifestyle through exercise and what not, and most of us are pretty familiar with what happens if we don't take those healthy steps. We gain weight, or at the least fail to lose what we want to. But when we don't make good choices, we don't always see an immediate detriment, and when we do, there's usually not an immediate reward.
But lately, I've had a medical mystery of sorts. I started getting a scratchy throat, then a bad cough, then my larnyx started periodically closing up cutting off my airway -- very scary, especially when I didn't understand what was going on.
One possibility is GERD, or acid reflux -- which I've had some experience with, the other is allergies, which I've had very little. My lifestyle choices also make me a candidate, I love things like pizza, garlic, chocolate, coffee, soda, tomatoes, alcohol, etc -- all things that are acidic. As soon as I made the connection of GERD being the possible culprit of my intermittant episodes of not breathing, I decided to give up coffee, red meat, and spicy things. I went to drinking green and white tea for a while, and now I'm drinking mostly Roobios tea (which is pretty darn good BTW).
If a craving comes I ask myself "do I want a cheeseburger or do I want to breathe? The choice is pretty easy. Quality healthy lifestyle plans, such as SP, will tell you you don't have to give up the foods you love, you just need moderation. But sometimes, there are things you have to give up completely. And although it may not always seem like it, the choice really is between life and death.
So the upside to all this is I'm making changes that I probably should have made a long time ago, because the things I'm missing are really trivial compared to the things I stand to gain.
Thursday, September 19, 2013
A long, long time ago, when I was a teenager I started gaining weight for the first time since I was little more than a toddler (aside from basic growing weight). As I found myself officially "chubby" I thought to myself if I ever weighed 200 pounds I would die (of embarrassment). Then. after I had my kids - at 22, I did, and I did not die. As time went by, the new "die" point scooched up to 250, and then 300 -- I reached both, and here I've lived to tell about it.
Along the way, I've come to be bothered by those who harp over those supposed extra ten pounds that I can't even see. I told myself, that if I got down to what "they" weigh, I would appreciate it. Today, I'm 235, still 66 pounds from my goal, 33 away from breaking out of the "obese" category, but it's come over years. I spent a long time on a 285 plateau, then hovered between 265 and 270 forever. I couldn't break 250 to save my life -- then I did. And I sat in the low 240s for some time as well.
While I'm as excited to break a plateau as anyone, I've realized that they are a gift. I've learned that when I find myself at a standstill I can stop and look around and see how far I've come. I'm down 74 pounds, but I can't take it for granted. Wallowing over the other 66 won't get me anywhere, and it will keep me from appreciating this moment where I'm giving myself a well deserved pat on the back. I reward myself with new little challenges that were once out of my league.
I've learned to stop and enjoy the view, and even the long plateaus don't seem quite so long.
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