One step forward, two steps back.

Yaaay, lost 6lbs, right?
Well it would be so much better if it had been a healthy way instead of it being because I've been sick since Tuesday.

The worst part will be getting back into my exercise routine and normal eating patterns only to have that weight come right back on.

If only it could just stay right there and that will be my new starting point.
This was not the start I wanted.
280 days to go.

Perception, truth, and creative truths

How many people do you know (especially at the beginning of a new year) that say "I'm on a diet." Many, right? New year, new resolutions, new goals.  Re-energized, reinvigorated, resolute.  We end the year as if in a frenzied Bacchanalian -- Thanksgiving turkeys, Christmas cookies, New Year's champagne toasts.  We start the year looking at ourselves in the mirror and can only come up with disdain, unable to recognize ourselves.  We only see the damage.  

I was talking to the coworker about the "40 in 40" plan -- and he looked at me with a puzzled look, as if I didn't have 40 lbs to lose.  I always love asking people how much they think I weigh, and thus the title of this entry -- "perception, truth, and creative truths."

Asking someone to guess your weight is like asking them to go to a war-torn country and walk through a known minefield.  Do they say "well, you're kinda fat, so I'm gonna guess 250"?  Never!  They don't want to insult you and I think that's compounded by most people not being good guessers.  It's not like everyone was trained to be a carnival sideshow person that can guess your age, your weight, and your occupation.

So he said 140lbs. I've heard people say everything from 150 to 170.  They never go above 175.  For some reason, numbers that high are strictly forbidden.  But I've never had anyone guess that low. 
I thanked him for his lying and/or gentle creative truth.   Most people are kinda shocked that I weigh this much (as am I, frankly).  I don't even know the last time I weighed 140, but I'm guessing it was in middle school.

Even my doctor was surprised the first time I met her.  She opened the door, asked me if I wanted to re-weigh myself.  I told her the nurse's numbers were accurate.  She said to me "So, you know you're fat, right?" Why yes, doctor.  How perceptive of you. She got my blood tests back and said that for a fat person, I was very healthy (my cholesterol is low, my blood sugars are fantastic, and my blood pressure could beat up your blood pressure in a dark alley).

I am and have always been very muscular and very strong, my legs especially.  I don't think I was ever meant to be a delicate waif-like woman.  I think a very different artist had me in mind.  Perhaps I've done a dishonor to the artist to treat my body so badly (I admit it, I ate a donut today. Quel dommage!), but that is not without its remedy.

The truth of the matter is that for me to ever be 140lbs, I would have to lose a significant amount of fat as well as muscle. I would lose what makes me strong, what makes me a force to be reckoned with. And quite truthfully, that saddens me.  For as much as the world and society tells me I'm fat, I'm obese, I'm undesirable, at least when I look in the mirror or touch my own body, I feel very connected to the great strength that resides in all women. 

Granted, it's not the bombshell that I imagine myself to be, but I feel very honest in my intentions to be the best representation of myself as I was meant to be, without the damage.

PS:  this is a very interesting site:  The Photographic Height-Weight Chart.

Ups and Downs

The one drawback to using the Wii Fit is that it wants to tell me my weight every day.
I don't want to know it every day, because I don't want to obsess about the daily ups and downs. I just want to know the number at the end of the week.

A goal?

Today's Weight: 211 lbs

I have 40 weeks until my friend's wedding.

If I can lose 1lb a week, that'd bring me to 171 lbs.

Doable, right?

I'm quite thankful...

I found two documentaries on YouTube about women in the UK trying to get down to a US size Zero, and another documentary about women in the UK with anorexia.

The first two documentaries were month-long journalistic studies about the effects of weight loss to achieve a  US Size 0 (30-22-32 inches). The women dealing with anorexia were both Pro-Anas.  I personally love how the program mentions that the two women profiled have long histories of mental illness (not just the anorexia, but other body dysmorphic disorders).

My whole struggle with my weight is not about losing weight, but about gaining health, strength, fitness.  My main struggle is keeping my back healthy, and the healthier my weight is, the less of a strain is put on my back (especially because i tend to carry much of the extra weight around my abdomen).  My cholesterol is good, and I do keep track of all my yearly blood tests in a nifty spreadsheet.

I look at these videos, especially the one about "Dying to be Anorexic," and I know how lucky I am.  Despite being overweight/obese, how I feel about my body is healthy (generally speaking) and how I feel about food is healthy (okay, I might love it too much).

I think it's important to watch these videos, not to gain tips about how to be thin, but to know what the grass does look like on the other side of the fence.  And then to be glad I'm not on the other side of the fence.

A reminder to myself...

I wrote before about how in late 2006-2007 I had begun going to the gym regularly, running (I know!), lifting weights, and generally getting my shit in order.  On March 10, 2007, I was injured at the Flogging Molly portion of the Shamrock Festival.

This photo is exactly one week before that happened.  It was the happiest and most confident I had been in the past decade.

I was ~200 lbs, still trying to break the barrier into being in the hundreds.  I was on the cusp.

Who knows where I'd be if I hadn't been injured.  Would I have had a few more good years to my back?


I have until November 6, 2010 to look good in this dress.
Or I will look like a fat juicy grape (the dress is amethyst).

So the battle plan is thus:
1. Tone arms.
2. Get rid of little fleshy bits under arms.
3. Find waist.
4. Thank the bride for motivation.

Children Learn What They Live

From 2005 to 2009, one item remained on my wish list. My father finally showed why he didn't want to buy it for me.

Him: So what are you going to do with that?
Me: Cook, bake, mix cement.
Him: Are you sure you need the extra calories?

Aroo? What?
The whole reason you avoided getting it for me in the past is because you thought it'd make me fat?

I think to explain the cognitive dissonance, I need to take a step back and explain that growing up my mom had a very complex relationship with her body and her weight (growing up a fat child, pregnancies, getting fat on anti-anxiety meds, and having some serious control issues and finally being thin) and my father was pretty much always closer to obese than overweight.

As a baby, I was normal sized. My mother didn't breast feed me. When I started to eat real food, I wasn't overly impressed with any of it. I was thin until I was 8. That's when my grandma died. I don't really know what broke at that point -- whether it was my mom or me. But I started packing on the pounds. I went from a normal-sized girl to not being able to find age-appropriate clothing. Mom wasn't the best cook, and often we ate lots of processed food, or when mom cooked she wasn't terribly good with the idea of balance--favoring a starch & meat diet.

Then my mom died when I was 13. And I know what broke at that point: everything. There wasn't any regularity in my diet, and my activities in sports slowly ebbed off because I didn't have a parent to chauffeur me to practices and games. Dad couldn't put together a meal plan and considered Entenmann's Raspberry Danishes to be healthy because they had raspberry in the ingredients. My brother and I were unregulated when it came to food and I often ate because I was bored out of my mind (not because I was depressed, or because I was angry, just because I didn't have the life of a normal teenager, playing with friends and socializing). I almost always bought school lunch. I ate more McDonalds than I'd like to admit to.

I know at this time in my life it's pointless to point blame, but it is important to understand the past. And among those important realizations is that I never learned how to be healthy (in this instance, physically, though in almost every way) from my parents. I see parents who exercise with and play with their kids. Unless you call yard work playing, I didn't really have that. I wasn't really taught how to have a balanced diet or a healthy attitude towards food. My teenage years were mostly fueled by sugar. And my weight showed it. I think at my highest, I was 240lbs.

When I got to college I saw how everyone else ate and was shocked. I was even more shocked by the food court at GW -- everything was fast food, ridiculously proportioned, or so pre-processed that it probably had seen more of the world than I had. As a freshman I didn't have much of a choice, but I knew that the sooner I got a kitchen, the sooner I'd be able to turn the ship around.

Okay, so let's get back to the original story: the Kitchen Aid Stand Mixer.
It just so wonderfully demonstrated the disconnect for some people. A person is capable of picking and choosing what he or she eats, and how much of it. My father assumes that just because I have the equipment to feed myself, that I will gorge myself. I wonder if he has sleepless nights worrying about me spending all my money in a grocery store buying all sorts of cheap comforts. I doubt it.

With this beautiful machine (that I bought for myself with holiday money from my bosses), I am actively investing in my health. It's a vow to myself to create beautiful, delicious, healthy food. It's a promise that I will know what I put in my mouth and how much of it. And that I'll clean everything when I'm done.

I will get thinner with this baby on my counter.

I just wish I could explain to my father that a fat person's salvation is through food -- actual, straight from the ground, unadulterated, sensuous, glorious food -- honoring that food, and honoring the body we put the food in.

A Familiar Situation

When I was in the 6th grade, the 8th graders at the dances would make fun of me by getting me to dance with them--as in what charity that these cool kids would invite a dumpy fat girl to dance with them. It didn't help that my hair was permed (fro) and I didn't know how to dress (I don't even know how describe that hideousness I thought was pretty). The thing is that I knew the deal. And I'd rather people make fun of me and still have people to dance with than to cling to a wall all alone.

Last night a bunch of guys did something similar -- pushed their friend to dance with me. They wanted their friend to make a spectacle. I leaned in to the friend and said "I'm sure you're a nice guy, but your friends are douchebags and trying to make us a punchline." I turned to the friends and said "It's okay, I know you're douchebags." The stunned look on their face was priceless.

The difference is that now I'm okay with being alone, because I have my integrity to keep me warm.

For every nickel there's a five-cent fare...

I wonder when, as a fat woman, when I'll be at the weight that men actually see me as anything other than a punchline. Like if I'm 200 lbs, will being 180 lbs make me datable, or is it 150 lbs? Will getting rid of 25% of who I am make me more worthy of being loved?

RuPaul used to say "If you don't love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?" But what if you grow weary of loving yourself, feeling like you're the only one who loves yourself, or actually the only one who loves yourself?

I mean, it's great to have friends and family that love you, but the love of a person who sees you naked and vulnerable is different. It fills a different void. It snuffs out the loneliness that most people never get to see because you're too busy putting on a brave face, loving yourself, protecting yourself from the world.

I've been celibate for 3 years, and haven't had a steady boyfriend in 8 years or so (even that was dubious at best). A large part of this is because I lost my mom when I was so young that I don't want to willingly open myself up to losing someone I love. The other part of it is that when I close my eyes and put on my bravado, I'm not some fat girl, I'm a vixen. I am someone's dream girl. I am the woman in every man's fantasy.

It's really hard to live up to even my own hype.

I think one day I'll be thin, and realize that woman will have been with me the whole time. But instead of having to make the men notice me, the men will just gravitate towards her. She's been waiting.