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My Story, Part 4 Busting the Plateau

Thursday, November 12, 2009

I became more active after moving to Seattle, and while I had lost about 15-20 pounds, I could not seem to get below 140.

We all have our reasons for wanting to lose weight. Some do it for their health. Some for their vanity. I wish I could be an angel and say that I did it for my health, but in truth, it was probably driven mostly by vanity. And desire to find love again.

I remember when I was fitter, and the look of a boy's adoring crush on me. At 160, I was invisible. At 140, I was a 'nice' girl and fun to hang out with, but not interested in 'that way'.

There was a guy that I met at the bar I liked. We were flirting, and sort of started dating. Then he started going cold on me. Finally he said, "Cathy, you're awesome. You're a great girl. You're smart, fun, and I have a great time with you. But I just don't find you physically attractive."

What a jerk. But, he finally said what I thought everyone was thinking. It hurt. Humiliated, I kicked him out of my apartment. I cried. I wanted to crawl into a shell and disappear. I wanted to fall back into my old comfortable place - I was trying so hard, I lost a lot of weight, I thought I looked great - why bother?

But then, something in me clicked.

I got angry. I *am* awesome.

I'll be darned if that guy, or anybody, said something that defeated me. I was reminded of something Eleanor Roosevelt once said:

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."

I made some success with dieting. I decided that I needed more exercise than walking to the bookstores. I wasn't sure what to do. I didn't want to get a gym membership. Seattle is full of skinny-fit singles. I didn't want to be the fat girl on the treadmill in a room full of pseudo-athletes. I figured I would have to do something at home.

I didn't want to do exercise videos - my apartment was too small. What I ended up doing was playing the game Dance, Dance Revolution on my Playstation 2. I read an article on MSNBC about some kids who had lost weight playing the game. I liked playing games, why not? Kind of weird, kind of funky. I didn't think of it at all as being 'exercise' and having to do 'a workout'. I was playing a game and having fun. I would come home from work, prepare a meal using e-Diet's meal plan, then play DDR for an hour.

At first, playing DDR for an hour was impossible. I was dripping with sweat and embarrassed that I was so out of shape. I wanted to quit. Sometimes I would get home, and think it was never going to get any better, so why bother?

I thought, oh well, I'll just try and beat my high score. I listened to the music, 'danced' on the pad, and played the game. I didn't think about how many calories I was burning.

In time, (how long? weeks? forever? would have liked sooner!) my balance and coordination improved greatly. I was playing the game on advanced. My heart wasn't pounding out of my chest anymore. In fact, it was too EASY!

I still wasn't ready for the gym. I bought a bicycle. (You can read my bicycle "Mount Everest" story in my profile.)

My weight not changing much depressed me. Was I doing something wrong? However, while my scale weight didn't change a whole lot, my body shape sure was. My body reacted very positively to exercise, but I didn't see it on the scale right away. I found my size 14 shorts didn't fit at all, and my size 12 jeans were almost ready to drop off my hips too.

I went shopping. All new size 10s! I went home, gathered up all my size 14 and 12 clothes, and dropped them off at Goodwill. I went through my apartment and threw out every junk food item I could find. (Sorry Sally Struthers and starving kids in Africa. It's junk; you wouldn't want it anyway.) Cookies, chips, candy, ice cream, soda and crackers. I never wanted to see them again.

To Be Continued, My Story, Part 5 How I My Changed Habits

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MISTYLUV79 11/12/2009 7:08PM

  Very motivating... Now I have to go back and read parts 1 thru 3!

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TURBOAMIE 11/12/2009 3:02PM

    I have enjoyed all your posts and I can't wait for the next one!


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55WALKER 11/12/2009 2:25PM


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My Story, Part 3 Reborn in the Rain

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

After moving to Seattle in debt and the heaviest I've ever been in my life, it was time to start over clean. I found Seattle to be a very friendly city for walking to the store for groceries instead of driving, and it was chock full of used bookstores! I thought I was in heaven.

Seattle also has a ton of locally owned restaurants that are inexpensive and actually pretty healthy. I wasn't eating at fast food places anymore. I was eating delicious bowls of vietnamese pho and bento boxes.

I didn't intend to, but I started losing weight. I first started noticing it when my size 14 pants were too loose. I moved down to size 12.

While I was picking up some good new habits, I was also picking up some bad ones. Being new to the city, I started spending a lot of time at a local bar. Not having many friends, I went there to socialize. While I was making new friends, I didn't seem to be meeting any new dating interests. The guys I was interested in weren't too interested in me.

This was something kind of new to me. Guys in high school and college found me pretty cute, and I was dating often. In Seattle, I had no dates. While I have always believed that a person should love you for who you are, there is still an attraction element. Seattle was full of fit, active men who wanted fit, active women. This was a bitter pill to swallow. I was not attractive to the men I wanted to date.

While doing all this walking and eating less fatty cheap eats, I had lost some weight. My scale was reading right around 145-140. While this was great news, I began to see myself as overweight and ugly. The first thoughts of really needing to lose weight started floating through my head. Everywhere I saw these young, pretty, thin girls in their 20s. I was 29 years old, facing the 'dreaded' three-o. I began to get desperate.

I tried going on 'diets' again. No results. I was trying to eat healthy and exercise, but I was doing it wrong (didn't know it). I still didn't know how to properly prepare a meal. I didn't know how to calculate calories in/calories out. In more dark and despairing nights alone, some thoughts starting going through my head about purging after a meal. Fortunately, I never went down that path. I had a friend in school who was bulimic, and I helped her through it. I could not be a hypocrite. Also my fear of vomiting kept me from ever actually trying it.

I tried calorie restrictions which were probably more on the side of starvation diets because, again, I still didn't know how to properly prepare a meal. It did not work. I would starve myself for a couple of days, then I would gobble up anything I could find.

I thought about joining Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig. Instead I found E-diets (which I was a member of until I found Spark.) I started learning about proper nutrition and exercise. I followed their meal plans to teach me how to make an appropriate dinner plate. I bought a food scale. The first time I weighed a 4oz piece of steak, I was appalled! That was not a STEAK. That was a BITE! But I tried it. After finishing it, I sat miserable thinking it wasn't enough food.

I started reading about enjoying things in moderation. While I tried and tried, I simply could not get myself to eat a handful of chips. If I ate one cookie, a few hours later, I would go back to the kitchen and have another, and another. One day I looked around my pantry and realized that if I wanted a change, I would have to get rid of the junk. I was loathe to throw anything away because "starving children in Africa" was ingrained in me. You don't waste food. I thought I would just finish what I had.

When I finished what I had, I just got more. Old habits die hard. I rationalized 'moderation'. I thought I was eating healthy and exercising, but the scale wasn't budging. Again, I blamed slow metabolism. Maybe I just can't lose weight. I could not break 140.

To Be Continued in My Story, Part 4 Busting the Plateau

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

VHALKYRIE 11/12/2009 6:37PM

    Thank you! Glad you are enjoying! It's a true story. :)

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55WALKER 11/12/2009 6:32AM

    I'm loving this. You sound natural and real and I'm enjoying following you.

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My Story, Part 2 Reality Bites

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

In part 1 I described how I came to be 160 pounds at 5'0". My BMI was approximately 31, which is obese. However, I went into denial about it. I thought that I just had a few extra pounds, and wasn't willing to do anything about it.

Sure my boyfriend and I tried a few crash diets. Slim fast, Lean Cuisines, the Zone diet (not a crash diet, but we did not follow it) and a few more. Atkins was a dream. All the steak you want? Oh yeah, I can eat me some steak. However, we weren't really committed to it. We lost weight, but we gained it all back. Who can drink Slim Fasts forever? Yuck.

I stepped on the scale at one point, and was still not ready to face the number. 160 pounds. My scale must have been calibrated wrong. I figured it was off by 10 pounds (like 150 was any better). Thinking about it now, I'm horrified with myself. How could I ignore and rationalize the blatant evidence?

By this time I figure I was addicted to food like an alcoholic is to liquor. I couldn't stop eating that much. It felt wrong if I didn't eat that much. If I tried to restrict my calories, I was 'starving' and couldn't help myself. It was a habit. My perception of what a 'meal' should be was overinflated and distorted.

I lived like this for about 3 years. I figure it could have been worse. I got off easy at 160 pounds with the lifestyle I was living.

Things came crashing down in about January 2002. My boyfriend and I both got laid off from our jobs during the tech crash. I took a job at Circuit City just to get some money in. He took a job in another city which lead to a three hour commute every day. Our relationship strained and deteriorated, then finally broke. We split in May of 2003.

In the process of ending our lives together, I made a couple of startling revelations.

1) I was broke.
2) I was fat.

All of those days eating out at restaurants contributed to an enormous debt and an enormous waist. I was left overweight with all the bills and no job.

I had a friend who lived in Seattle. Starting from the bottom, I had nothing left to lose. It was time to make a change. I moved to Seattle July 2nd, 2003.

To Be Continued in My Story, Part 3 Reborn in the Rain

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

KAYOTIC 11/12/2009 9:38AM

    Isn't it amazing that we can try so many "diets' before realizing that they don't really work! My list was different from yours, but the idea is the same, be it slim fast, weight watchers, Covert Bailey or whatever, there can be no lasting change until we change our view of living. How much and the quality of the food we are eating will always matter, no matter what we weigh!

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55WALKER 11/12/2009 6:31AM

    Thanks for the continuing saga.

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DARCEYOH 11/11/2009 4:13PM

    Change is inevetible whether its for the right reasons or not. Losing a job, a boyfriend, and a lifestyle, those things are difficult to go through whether you are overweight or not. I'm glad that you were able to get through those rough patches and see the good in the changes, even if you have to move to a new city.

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My Story, Part 1 How Did it Happen?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Who am I? How did I get here? Where am I going?

Ahh these existential questions are not about life and the universe, but about me and my journey with weight issues.

I haven't always been overweight. In high school, I was the typical teenager who saw herself as 'fat' and wasn't. I look back at pictures from high school and am baffled by why I thought that.

Pretty typical of most women's distortions of our own body image.

In college I was about 115-120 pounds. I didn't gain the typical 10 pounds they say college students gain. Probably because I was carrying 25 pounds of books in a backpack, up hills across campus, joined martial arts classes, and the school cafeteria was the worst in the nation. Seriously. There was a survey of college students across the country and my school ranked #1 for worst college cafeteria.

It was after college where I gained 40 pounds. That doesn't sound like a lot, especially when I watch shows like the Biggest Loser and the average weigh in is well over 100+ overweight. However, I am only 5'0". At 160 pounds, I was obese.

This didn't happen all at once, of course. It was slow creep due to a sedentary desk job and bad eating habits. I now had a job and money, and I could afford restaurants. My boyfriend and I ate out at almost every meal, fast food or restaurants. I was taught as a child to clean my plate. I didn't realize that the average restaurant plate has 2-3 portions worth of calories. I was also taught that when you eat at restaurants, your steak portion should be big. I would have balked at a 3oz steak. I would eat a whole 12oz steak, mashed potatoes and corn plate by myself.

When I started putting on weight and my clothes didn't fit, I chalked it up to 'slowing metabolism' at my ripe old age of 26. Sure didn't have the metabolism when I was 16 and could eat anything, I thought! I didn't think about what I was eating and how much. Cookies, cakes, donuts, chips, 64oz big gulp coke, double quarter pounder with cheese, half a box of pizza, 12" subway sandwich etc. My metabolism was slow, right?

Not exactly. I wasn't cleaning off 12oz steak from my plate when I was 16. I played soccer, trained with the team every day 2 hours after school, rode my bike, and worked as a retail clerk. My mom was a very good cook, and we always had fresh fruits and veggies in the house.

I wasn't cooking at home, and I wasn't eating fruits and veggies with my daily restaurant diet. I didn't 'have time' to go shopping or cook or do dishes. It was much easier to roll into a restaurant and sit down.

I had no idea I had become so big, even when I bought size 14 pants. Denial stage 1. I didn't see the fat me when I looked in the mirror. When I looked in the mirror, I saw the skinny me that was just a little overweight. It wasn't until my boyfriend took a picture of me looking through a telescope that I got slapped with a dose of reality. The picture was from behind. Jokes about 'wide angle lenses' come to mind. I looked really fat. Obese, even. And I still went into denial about it. No, no, I just take bad pictures. The camera always makes me look heavier.

Yet, it was not enough for me to do anything about it.

To be continued in My Story, Part 2 Reality Bites...

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JENNYLOVESPUGS 11/16/2009 1:45PM

    I just found your story... it's a lot like my own story and probably a lot of the people on sparkpeople. Thanks for sharing.


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55WALKER 11/12/2009 6:30AM

    I found the third one first and have gone back to start from the beginning. Thanks.

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DARCEYOH 11/11/2009 1:38PM

    Looking forward to the next one. My excuse was always "I take bad pictures at this angle."

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KAYOTIC 11/11/2009 9:12AM

    It's amazing the stories we can tell ourselves whether it's "I'm too fat" when we are normal sized, or "I'm just fine" when we are becoming unhealthy...good perspectives!

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Peanut Butter, Save Me!

Friday, August 24, 2007

I'm a little hungrier than normal today. I'm not sure why. I ate my usual high protein breakfast of cottage cheese and fruit. But by 10, I was almost completely starved. I ate a tuna salad kit and felt better until lunch. At lunch I ate a rice noodle bowl. I tried the $.99 Trader Joe's Garlic Rice Noodle bowl - delicious! Good value for the calories and taste. Also ate a salad. But about an hour later, I was hungry again. I'm blaming lack of protein at lunch, so I had two spoonfuls of peanut butter. I'm out of snacks though (forgot my usual lunch bag this morning with lots of fruit snacks) so I don't have anything left to eat until dinner. This could be bad...

Here's hoping 2 tablespoons of peanut butter saved the day...


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