Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Week that Was

Thanks to everyone who left the great, really positive and supportive comments to my last post on my first Weight Watchers meeting. They were really sweet and it was great to hear from everyone.

Unfortunately, I must admit that my first five days on Weight Watchers were a bust. I have not eaten this badly on a consistent basis in the past month and a half (excluding the night I "Fell off the Wagon". I had tortilla chips (evil!), I had McDonald's hamburgers (Sacrilege!), an Entenmanns' doughnut (!*@#!), I even had chili nachos (the shame!). What's more, I haven't been keeping track of it - not on and not in my Weight Watchers booklet.

It will come as no surprise that I've been crazy busy this week and that had a lot to do with the bad eating habits. I didn't have a lot of access to healthy foods and the one salad I bought to eat had a twig in it (!?!) and I had to return it. But in some ways the fact that I was busy was just an excuse. I could have made more of an effort. I didn't have to make the bad choices I did. I consider it self-sabotage.

Next week is going to be worse than last week (15 hour days Monday-Thursday). So, I am asking everyone for their advice and ideas. What do you do when you have a crazy schedule and you are running around and don't have the time or energy to cook? Do you prep and make food before hand? Do you cut yourself some slack and eat badly? What are your secrets?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Points vs. Calories

So tonight I went to my first Weight Watchers meeting. It was held in an American Legion hall, which tickled me because it reminded me of my grandfather who passed away years ago. When something reminds me of Grandpap, it has to be a good sign.

I got there early, as did a few other people. I figured out that you get there half an hour early to get weighed, and you can either stay for the meeting or leave. I did notice that not one other person who weighed-in was wearing jeans besides me. (Thanks for the posts advising against that, but since jeans are the only thing I'm comfortable in these days, I'm stickin' with 'em.)

I must say that I was a bit confused about how the Flex Points work with the Core Plan, but I figure I'll read up on that in the information they gave me and online. I asked a ton of questions during my orientation session after the meeting (I was the only new person), but I decided to hold some back because the leader stayed 45 minutes extra for me because the meeting ran over.

The meeting leader was energetic and nice, but I didn't really connect with her sense of humor. The other people in attendance at the meeting didn't seem all that warm and fuzzy. The only person who introduced herself to me was the receptionist who weighed me and gave me my initial packet of stuff. I must say that I feel more of a connection with all of you bloggers out there - whether you leave posts on my blog, or I'm reading and posting on yours - than I felt during this meeting.

The other thing that worries me is points vs. calories. I have been religiously filling out my online food journal for the past month. I like it, it works for me. I don't feel great about adding in an additional step of counting Flex Points for the crazy, strict Core Plan. I also like having the option of eating anything I want as long as I stay in my calorie/fat/carbohydrates/protein percentages for the day on It seems like I have to cut out EVERYTHING if I go to the Core Plan (No Cherrios? That's just crazy talk.)

I still like the idea of having to show up somewhere every week and be accountable for my weight loss. (I also abhor the idea of buying my own scale. I'd be weighing myself morning, noon and night if I had my own.) I guess the point of WW is that I can make the plan my own. I actually can't continue to go to the same meeting on Monday nights because I have a night class this semester at the same time. So, I am looking for other meetings in my area at more convenient times. Maybe I'll feel more at home at another meeting with a different group of people and leader.

I feel apprehension as I start this new journey, but I'm still taking a step, albeit tentative, in the right direction.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

From Pizza Hut take out to Weight Watchers meetings

I'm going to do it. I've made a plan. I've gone to the Weight Watchers website and found a meeting close to my apartment on Monday night. I don't know what to expect, but I'm actually kind of excited! I put the print out from the Weight Watchers website of the location of the meeting on the side of my refrigerator where I used to keep my Pizza Hut coupons (back in the day when I could/would eat a whole medium pizza myself in one night, with Diet Pepsi of course).

The meeting starts at 6:30pm, but they say to get there 30 minutes early. I wonder, should I bring a notebook to take notes? What happens at these meetings? Will I get weighed on my first day? Is it bad that I won't be able to go to this exact meeting again because I will have Monday night classes during the fall semester?

If you have any Weight Watchers knowledge or experience, let me know! I'll tell you how the meeting went next week!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

My Eyes are Bigger than my Stomach ... Literally

So, I went to the doctor this week. You know what that means ... I had to get on the scale.

I can't remember the last time I was weighed. I've been guessing at my weight. I know I've been over 200 pounds for years (I still remember the day the doctor told me. I walked around the block crying because I couldn't bear to go back to work. I was so heartbroken. I didn't see it coming. But I can't remember the date. Was it 5 years ago? 3? Was it Spring or Winter? I can't remember.) I also know I have been gaining weight and that some of the clothes I bought last year (only the expensive ones, like suits, of course) no longer fit me. In fact, over the past year I have even gone up a jean size - to 20 - at The Gap. (Surprisingly this event did not bring me to tears, probably because I have been conscious of my weight lately and I saw this coming.) Based on all the data I have gathered I have been guessing that I weigh 250. (Secretly I have been envisioning the scale saying 263. For some mysteriously significant reason, no doubt.) So, wasn't I surprised when I marched onto the scale on Monday and it said ... 220?!@? Just like that, I "lost" 30 lbs.

What should have taken me the better part of 6 months just happened in a split second. I've longed to lose all my weight overnight. But I didn't really lose anything. And I didn't feel any different after I saw 220 than I did before. My clothes don't feel looser. I don't feel more brazen, or more cocky or more confident. I haven't felt a quickness in my step or found it easier to smile. I have felt none of the things you feel when you embrace the rush of weight loss success.

What this whole episode really taught me is that It's Not About the Numbers! It's about how you feel. So, I am going to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and keep counting calories, keep trying to motivate myself to exercise, keep encouraging myself to join Weight Watchers "soon". And I'm going to let you all know when I actually feel different. Until then, I'm not about the numbers.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

I Fell Off the Wagon

Friday was a great day and a bad day. It was the last day of my summer internship and the interns had plans after work to celebrate. At first I planned to have "just one drink" and go home and make dinner. When we got to the bar/restaurant to celebrate I realized I was hungry, so I ordered a salad with my beer. I was proud of myself. After about an hour everyone decided they wanted to go into the city and I thought to myself, "Why am I going to go home and sit alone on my couch like I do every Friday night?" So, I went along.

We got to the bar, ordered pitchers of beer and water, and started looking at the menu. There weren't any healthy options. We were deciding between pizza and mozzarella sticks - we ended up getting both. The pizza wasn't very good, so I only had two pieces. (Why did I have the second slice?) The mozzarella sticks were good, so I had three. We were there for hours. More pitchers of beer followed, highlighted with jello shots. I felt like a kid again. It was fun. I didn't feel that fat.

Around 2am we decided we were done with the now crowded bar and went to a diner. At 2am, the last thing I wanted was a salad at a sketchy diner. I ended up getting a burger and fries. Not the best I've ever had, but it certainly hit the spot.

Yesterday I was doing well, even though I was out with different friends. But then they wanted to get ice cream after dinner and I rewarded myself by getting a double scoop cone. I kept telling myself that I hadn't eaten that much today, so the calories would balance out. Yeah, right.

Now its Sunday and I'm afraid of recording what I ate on Friday and Saturday at I know the calorie count is going to be high. I think I'm more worried about just putting it somewhere permanent, where I'll be reminded of it, where I can't push it out of my mind. I can rationalize that nights like that are a rarity. But still, no one was forcing me to eat that food. Making good food choices seems so hard when you are surrounded by other people who aren't concerned about the same things. I'm disappointed in myself. The guilt is awful. I was doing so well and now I wonder if I'll ever be able to handle social situations. Now I don't want to go to the pool today because I am so self-conscious, something that never bothered me before (well, there's a new group of guys who just moved into the complex, and that might have something to do with it, but that's for another post).

So, I'm just sitting in my living room, watching TV in my pajamas and staring out the window at a beautiful day I'm not enjoying because I feel fat.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Goin' to the Chapel ... What Am I Gonna Wear?

We're goin' to the chapel, and we're gonna get married. Okay, well I'm not getting married, my cousin is. I just got the invitation this week. I knew it was coming, I just didn't know it was going to arrive so soon. The date is Friday, October 13th. (My mother says they sent them out too early. Whatever.)

You, of course, know the first question I asked myself when I opened up the envelope ... WHAT AM I GOING TO WEAR?!?!

I have thought about it and I really have only three options:

1) Buy something new
2) Wear my old stand-by outfit (that may not fit anymore)
3) Don't go

Let's see... #3 is out because, regardless what I look like, or what I wear, this is going to be a fun wedding. Capital F-U-N. So, that leaves me with options #1 and #2. I don't have a lot of money and I just can't bear the idea of going shopping and having to cope with what size I may or may not be, so option #1 is out. That leaves us with option #2: the good ole stand-by. Guess what color it is? I'll give you one clue: it's black. I'll give you another clue: it's separates, because God knows I haven't been able to fit into a dress for quite some time (my breasts are too big, my waist is too small - in relation to everything else - my thighs are too big, my shoulders are too broad, my arms are too big ... the list goes on and on). It's actually quite nice, that is if I hadn't been wearing it for the last 7 years to every semi-formal or formal event I've had. The top is a silk twin set with tasteful flat sequins scattered on the edges. The bottom is a pair of black pants (I grew out of the skirt I originally bought to go with the twin set). And the shoes, of course, are black strappy high heeled sandals.

I wore this outfit to an event for my graduate school in April and it was passable. I say passable because the tank part of the sweater set would show my belly button if I raised my arms up too high. The pants fit, but they were tight. It was difficult to give myself a pedicure with my extra pudge around the middle.

As of tomorrow, August 10th, I have 65 days until the wedding (9 weeks starting Monday, August 14th). So here are my goals:

1) Have some breathing room in the pants
2) Have the tank part of the sweater set cover more of my stomach
3) Be able to bend over and put nail polish on my own toes
4) Get a hair cut (I just put that one in there because I need one desperately. I think the last time I had my hair cut was January.)

I think its doable. I don't think my goals are too grand. I've been doing well on my "diet" (I don't like calling it a diet. I prefer "healthy eating plan"). Now I just have to start exercising on a regular basis.

I'll keep you posted on how its going.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

BMI = "Body Mass Identity"

Used one of those BMI calculators this week. My BMI is 42.9.

According to, "if your BMI is over 40: This indicates an individual suffering from extreme obesity, and is in a very unhealthy condition. The excess body fat will put the individual at risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, gall bladder disease and some cancers. It is definitely time to change to a healthy diet and undertake a fitness program."

It is really scary to read those words, but some how its easier hearing it from a website than from an insensitive doctor who doesn't understand what being overweight is all about. (That's a whole other story for another post.) I guess its easier because I didn't have to look anyone in the eyes to hear the news.

I don't feel extremely obese. I mean I don't fit through small spaces any more (must turn sideways) and I have to catch my breath after I climb the three flights of stairs to my apartment, but I just thought I was overweight. "Extremely obese" is a whole new ballgame.

I haven't been to the doctor in the past few years, mainly to avoid having to look anyone in the eyes. In the past my blood pressure and cholesterol have been fine, even though my weight has been climbing. I guess its time to hold my head up high and march into a new doctor's office and demand some respect, along with some test results.

I was telling my sister my weight loss goal (52 pounds in 52 weeks) and then I told her how much I'd need to lose in order to be at the top of the range for my height - 115 pounds. That really got to her. That's how much she weighs. I need to lose an entire person in order to be healthy. What I want to know is how did I gain this entire person? How did I not notice this was happening?

I have a feeling that being extremely obese is going to start to define me. I'm going to start hearing that in my head when I read about the "fattening of America", I'm going to think about it when my friend complains about wanting to lose her 10 lbs. of baby weight so she can be "skinny again". I've always felt different, now I have a title for it. Instead of being known as "Miss Congeniality" or "Vice President", I'll have a satin sash made with the words "Extremely Obese" spelled out in fancy cursive lettering with sequins.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Attention and the Fat Girl

Attention. That's not something fat girls are supposed to have to deal with. We are supposed to be invisible. Ignored. Passed over. Passed by.

Lately I have been feeling very visible and it is a bit unnerving. Doors are being opened for me. People are allowing me to cut in front of them in line. Boys are asking me for my phone number. They are asking me to dance. It feels strange.

I know what I look like. I've seen enough photographic proof lately to scar any slightly insecure person. I'm the biggest girl in the room. I check. I admit it. When I walk into a room, or walk past people on the street, I am constantly checking to see if I'm bigger or smaller than they are. For the past year or so I am invariably the bigger person. Every once in a while I see someone bigger and I say to myself - I won't get that big. But I'm sure just as I'm thinking that someone behind me is looking at my ass and saying the same thing to themselves.

But at the same time as I have been hyper-aware of what I look like, I have been getting all this polite, respectful attention from men. It seems incongruous to me. I have been thinner and I have felt more invisible than I do now. Is it because I no longer live in New York - the one place I feel both at home and like an outcast because it is filled with the vapid and the vacuous? Is it because I am surrounded by more mature men? Which I doubt because I go to school with 27-year olds who have created 'hot lists' of the women in our class. (And please don't say I have been attracting those kind of men - the kind that 'like' fat women - or I will have to do you personal bodily harm.)

This kind of attention makes me forget what I look like, if for just a moment. I don't feel fat when it is happening. And then I catch a glimpse of myself and I remember my place in the world. In the back, behind the crowd, out of sight, not too proud, part of the scenery. That's where I tell myself I belong. That's where I feel comfortable. That's where I feel safe. Attention just casts a strong light that I'm not ready to handle for more than a fleeting moment. And thank God they are only fleeting moments.