Monday, July 18, 2011
A number of years ago one of our family members was having some mental health problems and was hospitalized for several weeks.** I stopped by to visit for a few minutes and as I was leaving, she pulled me over to her to give me a big hug. Thinking nothing of it, I hugged her back, but she held on tight and whispered in my ear: "Jeannie, you know you're not really fat. If you just stick a pin in there (pointing to my sizable tummy) all that air in there will just go out!"
Hmmm...is that all it would take? Well, obviously the relative's thinking wasn't on track right then, and my tummy WAS fat, not full of air (or not completely, anyway). But I thought about it and wished with all my might that it really was that simple--just stick a pin in it and the air (fat) would magically disappear. Imagine the run on pins and needles if it could be "cured" so quickly. I wouldn't mind a puncture or two!!
Magical thinking has been a part of my life for a long time when it comes to weight gain and loss. I was always looking for the magic diet, hoping for a safe pill, or even looking to bypass surgery over 25 years ago. I also was a genetics nurse for a number of years, and research into the genetics of obesity fascinated me. Wouldn't it be wonderful if there was an honest excuse for my obesity? Something that wasn't my fault that led me to be more than 100 pounds overweight?
Now here we are in the middle of 2011 and there still is no silver bullet or magic pill, and while I haven't stuck any pins in my abdomen recently (or ever for that matter), I have finally come to the realization and understanding that the solution may not be magic but it is here! Coming back to SP again after several years, focusing on setting goals and trying my best to meet them, and participating in wonderful Spark Teams has become the closest thing to magic that I can find. The challenges I continue to face are surmountable if I keep the prize in sight--good health, energy, and the joy of achieving something that I've been trying to do for so many years. So, while we're all out there shopping for those pins and needles, don't forget to pick up a copy of The Spark and let the magic begin! I, personally, am looking forward to many magic-filled days ahead.
**In no way am I making light of mental health issues, but merely using this as an example of the faulty thinking in which I was engaged.
Monday, June 13, 2011
Who hasn't uttered these words: I'm starving! Or, I'm hungry as a ____ (you fill in the blank)! We work hard at being not hungry--plan our meals, shop wisely, track what we eat and try to stay within our calorie range. There are all kinds of hints to help us deal with hunger, such as drinking another glass of water, eating a piece of fruit, and saving a few of our calories for a snack when we feel those first rumbles of hunger.
I wonder how many among us have gone to bed really hungry. I mean the kind of hunger experienced by millions around the world due to abject poverty, famine or war. I'm pretty sure I've never had that kind of hunger. In fact, I eat well. So well over the years that I've become morbidly obese. Now I'm on this weight loss journey looking for ways to curb my appetite and hunger.
I've heard it you should stop eating when you're 80% full! I couldn't begin to tell you when I'm 80% full. We're also reminded to eat slowly because it takes the brain 20 minutes to recognize when we're full. I don't seem to have that shutoff valve regardless of how long it takes me to eat. Most of my mindless eating happens at other times--when I'm cruising the kitchen looking for something to chew on, for example. A bite here, a bite there--a piece of this or that. It has nothing to do with hunger, for the most part.
So, I'm wondering if there's anything wrong with teaching my body to experience those tiny hunger "pains" that often show up in the evening after I've had a wonderful day of good food and I've eaten all my planned food and calories? I'm not starved, nor am I hungry as a horse (that's what I usually say, although I don't really know how hungry horses get). Since I have this food addiction that keeps me eating long after I take that first bite, I really don't want to take it. Perhaps I can embrace this little bit of hunger, secure in the knowledge that I will have a good and well-balanced breakfast in the morning. I am so blessed that, unlike my sisters and brothers around the world, I truly am not starving to death.
Wishing a bright, happy and healthy week for everyone!
Wednesday, June 01, 2011
I am morbidly obese! It has taken me a long time to actually say those words to myself. Not that I didn't know I was "fat" and needed to lose weight. That's pretty hard to ignore. But, the word obese has always seemed so repugnant to me--judgemental in some ways, I suppose. So, I've thought of myself as chubby or fluffy (in the early days) and overweight and fat in later years. But obese? Please not obese!! And especially not morbidly obese!!
Over the years I've been a member of Weight Watchers, TOPS, and worked on my own to lose and gain weight--sometimes significant amounts. Twenty-seven years ago when I weighed 281 I had elective gastric bypass surgery, which for me was a procedure called vertical banded gastroplasty or VBG. I thought that was the answer to my weight problems. I lost about 60 pounds and kept it off for about 3 years before it started gradually adding back on. That was fairly early on in the world of gastric surgeries and while it may or may not have helped, I didn't have any counseling or support system before or following the surgery.
Sometimes I would ask myself why I was so hungry if my stomach was altered to only hold so much. Recently I went to the GI doctor for a prep for an upcoming colonoscopy. He was new to me so he asked a lot of questions, including about the VBG--when, how much weight lost, etc. He told me that the earlier procedures frequently "failed" in that the stomach often strectched considerably between the esophagus and the staples in the stomach. Hmmm...an answer to why I was hungry. But...not an answer to why I was eating all the time.
So, home I came and on the computer I got and searched and read and searched some more. Oh yes...I am morbidly obese all right. Even thought I've been a member of SP for over 4 years, I still hadn't taken it to heart. I don't tell anyone when I'm trying to eat healthier and in moderation anymore. There are too many failures I'd have to acknowledge if I did that. But for some reason SP keeps calling me back and a few weeks ago I read a blog about paying the price by LOSEBUDDHABELLY of the Slowest Loser team and shortly after that I read a blog about food addictions and binges by INDYGIRL and figured out where I am today...or close, anyway!!
I have a problem with food. I like it a lot. I enjoy eating, cooking (not doing dishes), trying new recipes, and above all, did I mention eating? I sometimes go on binges and all the while I'd think in the back of my mind that it really wasn't happening to me since I'd had surgery and couldn't eat that much, and binges were for people with bulimia, and compulsive eating after taking that first bite of something I liked but didn't really want or need happened to other people, but not me. Well...I am here to say that the plain and simple truth is that it is me and when I eat more than I need and I avoid facing the consequences, I gain weight and I am morbidly obese.
I'm sure no one will be able to read all of this very long post, but I am so happy to be here at SP and getting all the support and help of team members. It's incredible to know how much others care. I'm not afraid of stumbling, as I know I will, but I know that I have people willing to give me a hand up and I am looking forward to this journey--step by step I'm walking away from that life of morbid obesity!!
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