February 11, 2010

New BMI = 23.99

Things are moving much more slowly in the weight loss department now.  And I’m OK with that, after finding out a month ago that my body fat percent was 19%.

I hit this milestone last Saturday but I’m out of the habit of even looking to hit those weight loss milestones, anymore – I’m more focused on figuring out how to adjust my macronutrients and calories for burning carbs rather than stored fat (since there isn’t as much of it, anymore!  LOL).

I’ve noticed that when my average calories drop below 1500 I tend to get really strong cravings – much stronger than I’ve experienced over the past year.  And they’ve sometimes led to binges over the past month.  Grr.  So I’ve adjusted my calories up and added some apple, citrus, and wholegrain crackers back into my diet.

The next milestone will be in 1.2 lbs when I’ll have removed 55% of my original body weight.

I’m getting really close to my goal weight of 150 lbs.  This morning I was 152.4, which is within the 3 lbs above and below that I would like to use as my maintenance bracket.

I’ve been increasing my swimming distance, too.  Last night I swam a mile (32 laps in the metric pool).  The total swimming distance for the aquabike triathlon is 1.2 miles = 2000m (the equivalent of 40 laps in a metric pool).  I’d like to get to the point where I’m swimming that distance fairly regularly before it’s time to jump in the lake and practice in open water in a wetsuit, because I know those things will slow me down and add to the difficulty.

The training program I’m using will start on March 1.  Since I’m technically doing a duathlon (aquabike doesn’t include the running), I’ll substitute my regular exercise for the running bits.  My aim right now is to have a strong base fitness going into the start of the training program.


November 23, 2009

New BMI = 26.72, “Your RealAge is 38.6!” and the ugly fact about perception of obesity

Today, on my 44th birthday, I reached another milestone.  165 lbs off.

The next milestones coming up are pretty cool:

  • in 0.7 lbs I will drop into the 160s.  Which is where I was in COLLEGE.  (And briefly in grad school after I lost 100+ lbs the first time.)
  • in 2.8 lbs I will literally be HALF the woman I once was, by weight.
  • in 11.1 lbs I will be out of “overweight” and into “normal” according to BMI.  I’m not sure I EVER really believed I might get there.  😯 Hoped, yes.  Believed?  I dunno.  But now I’m sure I can.

DDOORN on Spark People has an amusing tradition. Each year on his birthday he goes to to calculate how much YOUNGER he’s getting, biologically, due to the improvements he’s made in his health and fitness.

This is a fun idea, and I’ve adopted it this year.

I went there and filled out the information for approximately what I did, ate, and weighed last year (around 330) and got the answer that I was 46.1 (3 years older than my calendar age). I can tell you, I FELT a lot older than that. I was already having trouble with my arthritic knee going up and down the stairs in my house and was starting to wonder how I was going to cope as I aged further.

Things happened (you can see my Spark Page for details) and I started losing weight again in early December. I had lost 40 lbs by the time I was introduced to SparkPeople in March.

Now, 160 lbs lighter than my maximum recorded weight and approximately 150 lbs lighter than last year, my supposed biological age is 38 and a half. It feels like less than that – I haven’t felt this healthy or strong since I was in my 20s. Of course, I don’t actually KNOW what it feels like to be biologically 38, because I was over 300 lbs for approximately the last 15 years…

Some other thoughts about the changes since my last birthday, some of which may be uncomfortable to read:

While talking with Lisa on the phone this morning we discussed how the world is different for me now. One of the things that came up is how it felt to be super morbidly obese and how people treat others who are obese.

I felt kind-of cushioned and “safe” in my “fat suit.” My parents were very strict and physical disciplinarians. As a child I never considered myself to be “abused,” as there was always a “reason” for hitting me – with the metal end of the belt, with a heavy hairbrush, etc.

One incident that sticks out in my mind is the day around 8 years old when I went to school in shorts and a classmate asked why there were giant, father-sized handprint-shaped welts on my thighs. I explained that I’d done something I wasn’t supposed to the previous evening, and had been spanked. She was horrified and offered to tell her parents for me (her father was on the city council). I declined, and after that wore long pants to school. Looking back on it, this strikes me as the behavior of a child who might be experiencing a degree of physical abuse.

My mom wasn’t the most nurturing person in the world, either. She was extremely tightly wound, insecure, and unhappy as a homemaker. Just about the only time I felt loved and accepted was when I was being fed. I came home for lunch in elementary school. She’d make me lunch and we’d watch Split Second and Password on TV, shouting suggestions to the contestants. I remember when I was 8 or so one of my favorite lunches was Kraft macaroni and cheese. I could have as much as I wanted. It was common for me to eat THE ENTIRE POT. I still love boxed macaroni and cheese, and for this reason studiously avoid it.

Don’t get me wrong – you could do a lot worse for parents; they pushed me to excel in school, provided more than adequate food, shelter, and clothing, taught me how to read at 4, bought a 1972 World Book encyclopedia and put it in my bedroom, brought me on trips (Boston in 1970, San Diego in 1975, all around the US in 1976, England in 1977), taught me how to garden and fish, encouraged me in music and scouting, brought me camping every summer, etc. They were just from a different generation where kids were brought up strictly and a fat baby was a healthy baby (he was born in 1910; she, in 1921).

Anyhow, the result was that I associated food (quantity rather than quality) with emotional comfort and felt the need to protect myself physically from the world.

Fast forward to a year ago. Although I was physically uncomfortable, the fat suit made me feel safe. There was a physical buffer between myself and the rest of the world. And it also helped keep away people who didn’t genuinely like me for my mind and my personality.

What I didn’t factor in is that the fat suit also attracted people who saw me (rightfully) as emotionally vulnerable and used that information to get things from me by stroking my ego. I didn’t factor in the fact that the fat suit, while acting as a physical buffer, also weighed me down and made me slower and weaker physically.

And here’s the part that may be uncomfortable to read. Wearing a fat suit was blatant advertising that something was wrong with me, mentally and/or emotionally. It’s not just that it made me physically less able. It broadcast to the world that I had serious problems that were interfering with taking care of myself.

I am not talking about the fat that constitutes “overweight,” or even necessarily “obese.” These conditions are the new “normal” in the US, and can sometimes be caused by medical problems. But when you get into “morbid obesity” and “super morbid obesity” (which is where I was a year ago), it’s like wearing a big sign that says “I’m a mess. I may be high-functioning and in denial about it, but scratch below that veneer, and you’ll find a messy unresolved issue.”

This is the ugly fact that Lisa pointed out, and I have to say I agree with her. No wonder people often give other Very Large People a wide berth. It isn’t necessarily right or fair or kind, but it does make sense.

150 lbs of fat less, and “8” biological years younger, where does that leave me now? I still have a bunch of the issues that I had a year ago. With years of counseling and drugs they haven’t disappeared; losing over 100 lbs isn’t going to make them go away fast, either. But at least I’m no longer advertising them to the world or letting them get in the way of taking care of myself physically. And that’s something.

If I have to be vulnerable (and it seems that I do, since that’s basically the human condition) I might as well be in good physical shape to face it.

September 16, 2009

New BMI = 31.2

Filed under: food,health — origamifreak @ 7:32 am
Tags: , ,

Two milestones today:

  • I’m under 200 lbs for the first time in I don’t know how long, but it’s got to be at least 15 years.
  • I’ve removed 135 lbs

Next milestone in 1.3 lbs when my BMI will drop below 31.  When it drops below 30, I’ll no longer be obese, just overweight.  Yay!  Considering I started in “super morbidly obese,”  I think this is pretty amazing.

Cousin Nick and changed the terms of the contest – it’s not whomever gets under 200 first on a single day, but whomever can stay under 200 for an entire week.  So, if I can just hang on and keep it under 200 for 6 more days, I’ll WIN.  HA.  Nick, if you’re reading this, I like seafood.  Specifically SHRIMP.  hehe.

September 9, 2009

New BMI = 31.45

Filed under: food,health,travel — origamifreak @ 1:50 am
Tags: ,

Went on a nice 47 mile round-trip ride with Lisa and Steve from King’s Lynn to Hunstanton by the seaside yesterday.  Pictures and route forthcoming when Steve has a chance to upload/enter them.  🙂

Some new milestones this morning:

  • I’ve lost another 5% (10 down, 6 to go)
  • I’ve removed 40% of my starting weight (getting on toward being half the woman I used to be)
  • I’ve officially won my contest with Vic, so she’ll have to pay for the bloody marys in January (she dropped out for legit personal reasons a while ago, but she still owes me at least ONE victory bloody mary!  LOL)

Next milestone in 0.2 lbs when I’ll have removed 135 lbs.  And in 0.8 lbs I’ll win that contest with my cousin Nick, and he’ll owe me a nice dinner in November.  Hehe.

Today is my last day here in the UK.  I’m flying at 1pm to Philadelphia, and then from there to Syracuse.  I better go see if those boarding passes printed out…


August 28, 2009

New BMI = 32.64

Filed under: food,health — origamifreak @ 7:17 am
Tags: , ,

Hit a new milestone this morning.  My weight is now under 210.  I’ve got 8.4 to go before I win my contest with my cousin Nick (whomever gets to 200 first) and he will owe me food.  At our family reunion in November.  Nick, if you’re reading this, I like SHRIMP.  Hehe.

Next milestone in 2.8 lbs when I’ll have removed 130 total.

August 26, 2009

New BMI = 32.98

Filed under: food,health,travel — origamifreak @ 7:29 am
Tags: , ,

Woo-hoo!  I’m officially THROUGH that nasty 220 plateau.

A BUNCH of milestones hit today:

  • 80 gone since I started tracking my food at Spark People in March
  • Another net 5% removed (projected for 8/21 so I’m almost a week late – see comment about plateaus, above) 9 down, 6 to go!  This is the best estimate I have for marking where I am in the process in terms of actual effort and difficulty.
  • I’ve lost 125 lbs since I started
  • My BMI is under 33.  When it gets under 30 I’ll no longer be obese, just overweight!

Next milestone in 0.7 lbs when I get under 210.

I credit preparation and determination for this one.


I brought 4 protein bars with me yesterday to the ribbon-cutting ceremony and boy, did I ever USE them!  They prevented me from eating the sweet starchy things available in the morning with the coffee, from eating the chips, creamy dressing, and cookie in my box lunch, and ESPECIALLY from eating the pepperoni and cheese and ranch dressing with veggies in the afternoon.  (I had ONE square of cheese and I counted it.)


I only had water to drink, even though there was good wine available (I was afraid of the carbs in the wine, but especially of the disinhibition it might encourage toward eating the pepperoni and cheeses).  We were gone so long that I missed spinning class, so when I got home I did an elliptical session.

July 19, 2009

Kayaking 9.75 miles on Lamoka Lake

Filed under: food,health,travel — origamifreak @ 9:50 pm

Today was my friend Ron’s birthday, so we had tea at Suzanne’s restaurant to celebrate

tea blowout

and then went kayaking on Lamoka Lake.


In the end it turned out that we paddled about 9 and 3/4 miles.  Which is more than I’ve ever gone in a yak, either by arms alone, or with my legs using the Hobie.

July 13, 2009

New BMI = 35.33

Filed under: food,health — origamifreak @ 4:27 am
Tags: ,

This morning I hit the 110-lbs off mark.

Next milestone in 1.87 lbs when I’ll have removed exactly one-third of my starting mass.  Next milestone after that in 2.2 lbs when I’ll drop down into Class I obesity.

Can’t wait until I’m “overweight.”  hehe.

Went out to lunch today to celebrate being done with the flaky contractor.  I really like the Greek salad with tuna at Parker’s.  I usually add chipotle Tabasco.  This time I think I might have added a bit too much because it was quite hot.

Also, I won the weigh-in at work today for the 4th straight week.  I’m now up $15.  Who knew losing weight would be so lucrative?  hehe.

Forgot to mention that the hand-me-down jeans I’ve been wearing are already too big so I had to move down into the size 20 pair.  There’s only one of them, so I’d better be able to wear the 18s soon – it’s tough only having one pair of pants!  😯

July 5, 2009

New BMI = 36.098

Filed under: food,health — origamifreak @ 11:01 am
Tags: , ,

A couple more milestones today:

  1. I’ve removed 60 lbs since joining SparkPeople
  2. I’ve removed 105 lbs total

Next milestone in 0.5 lbs when I’ll be under 230 lbs for the first time in recent recorded history.

I did well yesterday at the 4th of July BBQ in terms of staying under 2000 cal or so for the day.  Unfortunately those cal that I did get included an extremely high amount of fat (almost 40% of the total calories), which my digestive system is NOT used to…

So I spent half the night with uncomfortable indigestion and the wee hours of the morning praying to the porcelain god, if you know what I mean.  Lesson learned.  When used to a low-fat diet, do not challenge the system with high-fat meals.


June 25, 2009

People amaze me. (Have I turned into a food Nazi?)

Filed under: food,health — origamifreak @ 12:32 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

There’s a guy in my water aerobics class.  This fact, by itself, is commendable because he must feel isolated at times because at the moment he’s the only one.  He comes with his significant other, who is supposedly a retired(?) nurse.

He recently underwent bariatric surgery in January.  As of yesterday he’d lost 97 lbs (down from 400).  I’d lost 97.6 (down from 335.6).  So we’re in roughly comparable situations and we compare notes.

A few weeks ago when we first started chatting about long-term weight loss, he told me he’s losing weight so fast that he’s losing muscle too, and feeling weaker.  I asked how many grams of protein he’s eating per day?  He didn’t know.  He pointed to the SO and said, “she’s in charge of that.”  So later I asked her when they were together.  She said, “he eats protein at every meal.”  But how MUCH protein on average, per day?  She didn’t know, either.  I told him that he should probably look it up, and at minimum be getting 100g per day.

His weight loss has been slowing down in the past few weeks, to the point that I’ve caught up to him.  Yesterday I found out why.

While waiting for them to open the pool and class to start we were chatting and he divulged that he’s started being able to eat more lately, which he took as a sign that he’s recovering well from the surgery.  The item that he said he’d eaten?  A whole grilled cheese sandwich.  GRILLED CHEESE?  Did he mean broiled, or fried in butter?  He didn’t know.  The SO who probably served it to him was sitting on the other side of me and didn’t speak up.  “GRILLED CHEESE?!” I said.  “That is NOT a good food choice.  It is almost pure carbs and fat.  And if it was fried, it’s even worse.”

“They told me cheese is good,” he said.

“Cheese is loaded with fat.  If you want protein, go for lean poultry breast or a lean fish like hake, cod, or tilapia.”

“I love tilapia!,” another woman waiting with us said.

“Dude,” I said. “This is not what I want to be hearing.  I do not want to be hearing that you are now eating grilled cheese sandwiches.  After all the hard work and effort you’ve put into getting to this point, it will make me cry to hear you are eating things like that.  I love cheese.  But the only kind I’ve found that is OK is the Weight Watcher’s string cheese and the WW cheddar pieces.  They have the least fat and salt compared with the amount of protein.  But I can only eat them sparingly.”

“String cheese is good for snacks,” he said.

“Not just any string cheese.  You have to read the labels.  Weight watcher’s is the only kind I have.  And I do like it.”

Then they opened the doors.

About 220,000 people supposedly had bariatric surgery in 2008.  The number probably went up this year.  The more people having these surgeries, the more sloppy the places that do them are going to be.  And I’m sorry, but a place must be very sloppy indeed if they don’t educate their patients about nutrition.  I mean, COME ON.  This is INTERNAL elective SURGERY.  These people can’t put more than something like a tablespoon of food in their stomachs at a time, and they aren’t told that they need protein, and that eating whole grilled cheese sandwiches isn’t something to be proud of?  Or if they are told, they don’t pay attention?

Yikes.  I see a massive problem coming with the explosion of these procedures.  I mean, do we really know the long, long term effects of them?  Not with so many people.  And without proper coaching, nutritional education, and permanent lifestyle changes, how are they going to maintain their fitness?

Don’t get me wrong.  I think it’s fantastic that this guy has lost 100 lbs and that he’s in my water exercise class.  That is commendable.  However, having made similar strides without surgery or drugs, I can say for a fact that the nutrition is a key part of the process, if not the most important factor.  And without it he will fail, which I would hate to see.

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