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Stick a Pin in it!

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!" 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.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MADKAPKID 7/18/2011 8:46PM

    what a wonderful blog. Wouldn't it be nice if we could just stick a pin in it....and poof, the problems would be gone. Alas, there is no magic pil...or pin. BUT, the good news is WE CAN DO IT! WE CAN achieve our goals. IT may take awhile...but, WE CAN do it! Have a joy filled day.....Karen emoticon

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LINOVER 7/18/2011 4:48PM

    Great blog! I think we all would like to find a magic pill to make that extra weight go away overnight! It didn't appear overnight and won't go away that quick! Sometimes it takes us a long time to accept that fact!

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ESILBO 7/18/2011 3:22PM



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JILL313 7/18/2011 11:31AM

    Jeannie, What a great blog and like you I was/am always looking for the magic that will let me loose this excess weight with no hardship on my part, Well, we both know there just isn't any--yes it's up to us to have determination and motivation to get healthy and it is hard work at times. Now, I'm impatient as I've been Sparking for more than I care to mention and have lost only 24#s. It's time for me to re-read the Spark again as that really helps me focus and get my act together better. Thank you.



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TORTILLAFLATS 7/18/2011 10:56AM

    Hey Jeannie, love your blog. And I have to tell you, just incase, somewhere in the far reaches of your brain you are wondering about those pins, LOL, they don't work. I take insulan with a needle twice a day and I think it only lets more air in, my belly just keeps getting bigger. We better stick to Spark and what really works.
Thanks for being so supportive.

emoticon emoticon

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VTMAID 7/18/2011 8:51AM

    What a nice blog! I was always looking for the pin, but found it here on SP. Sometimes things move a little too slowly, but to me patience has never ever been a virtue--it's been an excuse for not getting things done! I am learning different ways to not set myself up to fail, and reading blogs like yours are one of the things that helps!
Thank you!

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EOWYN2424 7/18/2011 8:28AM

    hang in there! You can do it!

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Embracing Hunger: Is it Possible?

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!


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TORTILLAFLATS 6/15/2011 11:47AM

    Jeannie, well put and very thought provoking. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us.
Gail emoticon

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LINOVER 6/13/2011 9:52PM

    You have really made me think! I also have repeatedly said that I am hungry when I really am not! I also will find myself picking for no particular reason!

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DEEGEE2 6/13/2011 3:04PM

    I think it will be great to be able to not eat even when I think I am hungry - especially at night !

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JILL313 6/13/2011 12:47PM

    A great blog Jeannie!! I almost never go to bed really hungry and in fact unless my stomach is growling I don't know that I'm hungry. I'm more of an emotional eater like so many people and I turn to food to ease tiredness, anger, boredom, etc. I'm going to try to be more mindful of what I eat as I still eat too much processed foods and once in awhile a few pieces of pizza, etc. I'm going to try to eat slower. . .I have a whole list of shall do's and not's. Have a great day!!



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_KATHY 6/13/2011 11:35AM

    I think some of us were just born hungrier than others. I was told that I demanded 2 bottles instead of one. Now, that could have meant something other than hunger to a young new Mom but I've felt "hungrier" than most all my life. I've also thought my hunger pangs must be more severe than most because when I got hungry, it was an immediate and almost desperate need to stop the pain of hunger, not pang.

Now that I'm restricting my calories, I feel hunger again. Pangs not pain. I look at it in a similar way as Bill up there. If I'm hungry and I've eaten what I need, then I must be getting rid of ugly fat and pounds. It also helps me to remember that 25% of all children in the US go to bed hungry. It almost feels like amends to those children when I feel the pangs of hunger and just let it go.

Another thing I try to remember is no one dies from hunger between eating diner and breakfast. Here is another mantra that helps me.. "Hunger is my friend" You get the picture. Any way you look at it, it's annoying to be hungry. But as with everything else, it passes, even hunger.

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MAGGIEROSEBOWL 6/13/2011 10:41AM

    Good insight! We are NOT hungry in the truest sense of the word, and yet we eat and eat and eat. Hunger (the way we experience it) isn't such a bad thing. I worked for so many years to never be hungry. I didn't even really enjoy my food, because my belly was always at least half full and I never allowed myself to get very hungry. I was afraid of being hungry I think.

Now--I enjoy food so much more. Simple, unprocessed fruits and vegetables taste so good to me and before I wouldn't touch them. It's a learning process, but you are right--we need to learn to embrace that hungry feeling!

Comment edited on: 6/16/2011 8:59:47 AM

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    I was at a pretty significant calorie deficit for about 8 months. Towards the middle of the run, I learned to deal with hunger pretty effectively. Hunger made me think "OK, now I'm burning some crappy fat cells" and I felt good about it.

Another great way for me to deal with hunger was cardio. Going out for a reasonably hard bout of cardio killed hunger pangs. This doesn't work for everyone. You need to find the things that work for you. Other things to try, caffeine, strong mint calorie free chewing gum, gargling mouth wash, a large apple.

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    So true. I must say "I'm hungry" a hundred times a day. Old habit for me. I'm working hard on eating slowly but it's not a easy task. Thank you for this article. I love when spark friends get me thinking. Have a great day.

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The Truth--Plain and Simple

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. 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!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ESILBO 11/27/2011 11:02PM


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DIANA_IS_BACK 6/8/2011 11:40AM

    I admire your honesty with yourself. I also have had many ups and downs with losing weight and it was not until this past week that I actually started being honest with myself about my weight. I have talked the talk, but never truly walked the walk.

I wish you continued success on your journey.

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KJDOESLIFE 6/8/2011 11:09AM

    Finding a support system can be the greatest tool to losing weight. It's tough, a lot of us eat things we know we shouldn't and even though we aren't hungry, just want to eat or are upset or angry. Journaling and blogging help, as does finding other SP members that have similar journeys. Being honest with yourself, as you have done here, is very inspiring. You can do this. Good luck and keep writing!

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    Great & very honest post! Thanks for sharing. I often wonder how some people seem to be able to control their eating and stay slim their entire lives. Others lose weight and actually keep it off (that is rare), while a great many of us fight a losing battle against morbid obesity our entire lives. What is different about those people who control themselves?

I think it's because they put themselves first in life. They give what they need priority over other's needs. Now--early on--that's tough. You get married and have a hubby to take care of, then you have kids, and elderly parents and grandkids, and you have to take care of all of them, and it goes on and on. But at some point you have to say, "STOP, it's time for ME now." I reached that point about 18 months ago. I still take care of others, but not as extensively as before, since the kids are all grown up and hubby is pretty self sufficient. I love seeing the little grandchildren whenever possible and they are a lot of work, but it's always just for a short time, then they go back home and I can concentrate on my own needs again.

I read somewhere that it would be nice if food journaling and watching what we eat became as automatic as brushing our teeth or showering is every day. It would be nice if it ever got that easy, and maybe it will with time. It is discouraging when I read about people regaining lost weight, even people who keep it off for several years can seem to find a way to regain at some point in time.

But as we age, we see things more clearly. We realize that if we don't take care of ourselves, we're simply not going to be around to enjoy life. Watching our weight, controlling our caloric intake and exercise all need to become an obsession, and a life-long obsession. We need to put ourselves FIRST for the rest of our lives, so that we are here to take care of those we love.

Comment edited on: 6/8/2011 10:17:49 AM

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RGORNELAS63 6/7/2011 1:09AM

    Hi Jeannie I too have struggle to keep my weight off and have failed. I started SP on June 14,2009 with the help of my daughters. I have managed somehow to lose 93lbs. now I seem to be stuck there can't seem to accomplish my second goal. I get disappointed with myself and eat more than what I should especially when I get depressed or stressed out. I still hang to SP hoping to keep on going with the help of the team members and my emoticonso I'm still hanging by a thread hoping to do better. Rosa from West Texas(by the way what part of south Texas do you go? we go to Rockport and stay for 3-4 months. emoticon emoticon

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SPEEDY143 6/2/2011 10:57PM

    Amen to every word, I too could have written your blog except for the VBG surgery. I, on the other hand, spent 9 months under the care of a doctor, with no insurance, on a protein sparing fast... makes me gag even 30 years later to even think about how nasty that drink was, but I did lose 125 pounds. Yep, I kept it off for a good number of years but there wasn't any counseling or therapy to address WHY???? I had 125 pounds to lose in the first place so eventually I gained it all back plus another 50 pounds emoticon emoticon emoticon

Last June I thought I was going to die I felt so bad. I just wanted to enjoy our kids and grandchildren... nothing special, just the simple joys of flying a kite in the park or to be able to go camping again. My DD told me about Sparkpeople and the old Linda began to fade within a week emoticonIt's saved my life and knowing there's others who struggle with the same demons keeps me focused emoticon We can do this ladies.... together... we can emoticon

emoticonblog... emoticonfor being so honest. It's SparkFriends like YOU that gives me the motivation to continue!!!


Comment edited on: 6/2/2011 10:58:32 PM

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JILL313 6/1/2011 9:03PM

    Great Blog that I sure can relate to as I'm a Food Addict and it's been one of my greatest pleasures but the consequences can be deadly when we become morbidly obese, which I am. I'm trying to change my eating and live the clean Healthy Life with lots of good food instead of the junk food I still sometimes crave. I've got to get off my butt and start to move around more as that is my weak area and far too often I come with lame excuses not to do them. . .I'm Only Hurting myself with my overeating and not exercising so I'm working on loving and valuing myself more. I am so Happy you joined the 60 & Over Team as we do support, motivate and encourage one another. Just love your heartfelt and excellent Blog.



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VTMAID 6/1/2011 8:33PM

    This is the best and most honest post I think I have ever read. It could have been me writing, but you said it so well! I too fall into the morbidly obese category. I am 60 years old, 5'1" tall and currently weigh 244 pounds. In the last 7 years I've had cancer, lost my last parent, became an empty nester, left a job I had for 12 years for a job I've now had for 5 years (equally stressful, but in a good way), broke my foot, had a couple mini strokes and my husband had a heart attack. Fortunately he survived. Instead of embracing all the challenges in life, I over ate even knowing that would be the one good thing I could do for myself would be to get the weight off. Like you, I keep coming back to SP and this time I am determined to finally put some time into taking care of myself. Sounds as if we are alot alike! That is, with the exception of cooking. I hate cooking! I would much rather knit or sew or go to work. I am blessed with a job I love and a fabulous boss.
I bought the Spark book in early 2010 when I first joined SP. I have finally started reading it. I usually use SP from my smartphone and really like the app. It's been a big help.
OK, now I'm rambling on and on! I just wanted to thank you for your wonderful post. I hope we can stay in touch.

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JO88BAKO 6/1/2011 8:29PM

    Your blog is very nice. This is a hard journey but so worth it. I am far from my goal. You have a really good attitude. I wish you the best of luck, you can do it!! I live in Iowa also. Wasn't it a beautiful day? Take care

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SHELLB7 6/1/2011 8:17PM

    I love how you said you like to cook. I've often thought things would be easier if I liked to cook, then I could try all the great recipes on Spark. Do you try a lot of the recipes from here? emoticon

Also congratulations on your first blog post. I did read it and I liked it! emoticon

Comment edited on: 6/1/2011 8:17:21 PM

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