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.


May 17, 2009

Be your own superhero

Filed under: quizzes — origamifreak @ 11:28 am


Courtesy of Lisa on Facebook.

November 21, 2008

Winter Solstice Quiz

Filed under: quizzes — origamifreak @ 5:15 pm
Tags: ,

Think you know your cultures and history? Are you good at Googling for information?

See if you can come up with the answers to this quiz I cooked up a few years ago.

Select the one BEST pairwise match between each culture and celebration. The clues are deliberately obscure, but there is always a single most appropriate answer.


  • Islam
  • Persia
  • Pagan Scandanavia
  • Pagan Slavs
  • Christianity
  • Ancient Incas
  • 20th Century Western Culture (NBC)
  • Ancient Greece
  • Ancient Rome
  • Judaism
  • Pan-Africa
  • Ancient Egypt
  • Druidism
  • China
  • Buddhism
  • Post-Gregorian Western Culture
  • Roman Empire, 274 ~ 400 AD


  1. “Feast of Dedication”
  2. Yule
  3. Eid-al-Adha
  4. Rohatsu
  5. Inti Raymi
  6. Festivus
  7. Shabe-Yalda
  8. Lenaea
  9. “First Fruits”
  10. Alban Arthuan
  11. Natalis Solis Invicti
  12. Saturnalia
  13. New Year’s Eve
  14. Cristes mæsse
  15. “The death of Wesir”
  16. Korochun
  17. “The Extreme of Winter”

Put your answer in the comments for this post. For bonus points, return your answers in chronological order (by century or year).

I will post the answers here on December 20 (which is the winter solstice).

Have fun! 😉

November 19, 2008

Water Footprint

Filed under: quizzes — origamifreak @ 8:37 pm

Your total household water use is approximately 1,143.67 gallons per day.

What’s your water footprint?

November 15, 2008

Six of Four

Filed under: quizzes — origamifreak @ 7:33 am

In response to Lisa.

  1. Four places I frequently go: the bathroom, Geneva, Ithaca, Seneca Falls
  2. Four people who email me (regularly): CelebritySmile (Whiten your teeth 5 shades in only 1 hour!), Hot New Laptop (Tired of being tied to your desk? Get a new Laptop), AcaiCleanse (Acai Berry Boom! is here to boost your energy levels!), Smart Promotions (Congratulations: Claim Ur Sony Vaio aw series Titanuim Noteb k)
  3. Four of my favorite places to eat: Japan, Asolo, Ithaca Bakery, my house
  4. Four places I would rather be right now: asleep in bed, NZ, in my right mind, Cambridge
  5. Four people I think will respond: Deb, Deborah, Mrs. Miller, Isaac & Isabelle’s mom
  6. Four TV shows I like to watch: The Office, Firefly, Blackadder, Star Trek

November 10, 2008

Patchwork Nation

Filed under: quizzes — origamifreak @ 11:42 am

I’m posting this for those of my friends who live in counties that might not match their demographics…  🙂

Patchwork Nation consists of America’s 3,142 counties, divided into 11 community types on the basis of certain demographic characteristics, such as income level or racial composition. Learn which one best describes where you live.

Your zip code puts you in a county, which we’ve identified as Campus and Careers community type.

Based on your responses, you have a 97 % match with other people in your community type.

Which group is your best match?

Updated countries map

Filed under: quizzes,travel — origamifreak @ 12:08 am

It occurred to me, after reading a post from last year, that I needed to update this map.

July 5, 2008

The Ubiquitous Google Image Meme

Filed under: quizzes — origamifreak @ 1:46 am

Got this from darksideofthefridge.

Type the answer into Google Images and pick 1 image from the first page. For some of these I had to turn on Google’s SafeSearch to get anything I wanted to pick. Pervs.

1. Your age on your next birthday.

2. A place you’d like to travel.

3. Your favorite place.

4. Your favorite object.

5. Your favorite food.

6. Your favorite animal.

7. Your favorite color.

8. The town where you were born.

9. The town where you live.

10. Name of a past pet.

11. Name of a past love.

12. Best friend’s nickname.

13. Your screen name.

14. Your first name.

15. Your middle name.

16. Your last name.

17. Bad habit of yours.

18. Your first job.

19. Name of grandmother.

20. College/grad major(s.)

April 15, 2008


Filed under: cats,quizzes — origamifreak @ 8:51 pm

Chris sent me this quiz today. I got 17 out of the 25 right.

Also, today Sunny turned 1. It’s kind-of strange to think that my spider-chomping little pest is exactly the same number of years younger than Miaumoto as I am to my closest sister Rose. We were both born when the older one was 15.

Somehow the age gap seems bigger between humans than between cats. Perhaps because the size and mentality are closer for cats? Perhaps because I’m a human, so I know exactly what it feels like, while I’ve never been a cat (not that I recall, anyway), so I don’t identify with their experience as closely?

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