Friday, October 22, 2010

Facing Reality and Changing Your Life

Well, okay. I am slightly annoyed. My body seems resistant to dropping that 100th pound. Looking at the dial scale this morning I'd say the pointer IS moving down a titch, ever so slowly, so I am slightly under 179 but not enough to even call it a half pound. Ah well, you know since I am staying on plan, it has to move SOMEtime! Maybe tomorrow? Yes... I bet it will be tomorrow. I will try and watch the sodium more closely today.

What do you think would happen if I stayed on plan, upped the exercise, and STILL stayed at 179 for another 2 weeks? What do you do when that happens? In the past, I used to give up. I'd think, "Heck, I am working so hard and missing out on all the yummy things I want to eat! I could have eaten anything I wanted and stayed within a couple pounds of this!" The effort would start to feel wasted and I'd end up at the buffet eating fried chicken strips dipped in Ranch and french fries covered in cheese sauce (yes, those were always favorites at the buffet). But although a buffet IS very tempting right now, I know my efforts are not wasted. I am building a healthier body, and eventually, weight loss will come with it... whether it's tomorrow or in two weeks. I am staying on plan regardless.

I was in a restaurant last week (Outback) and very close to me was a table where two men sat eating dinner. They came in after we did, and in fact were seated quite close and I was facing them. I don't generally pay much attention to other people's dining, but since it was right there in front of me and my little girl was busy coloring, I couldn't help but see and hear what was going on.

The two men looked to be in their mid 40's or so. One was of average size, and the other looked to weigh between 400-450 pounds. (I am a decent weight estimator of large men... I had a couple of very close friends who weighed 400-500 pounds at one point). The larger man was exclaiming about his diabetes, and how he needed to do something about it. When the Bloomin' Onion came, each man ate half, dipping the deep fried onion petals into the creamy sauce as they ate. "This is way better for me than french fries!" the man exclaimed. "Just a small plate of french fries has a whole lot of sugar. It's like eating donuts!" He continued eating the fried onion and sipping his soda. They started talking about weight, and the smaller man asked his friend about his overweight brother. "Oh yeah," said the larger man, "he is putting on some serious weight! He could wear some of MY clothes!" They laughed. Then got serious. "Hey, I know what I need to do. But it's hard. I have to make some changes. I gotta do something. But no one will take me seriously." He talked about his family and his doctors and how they were not helping him enough. He complained that they were doing NOTHING for his weight loss.

The waitress came, bringing the larger man a hefty plate which looked to be some kind of combo platter: deep fried shrimp, deep fried fish pieces, and french fries. The man went on about his weight and his diabetes, and how he can only drink one beer at a time now because it would spike his blood sugar, while he ate the contents of his platter, dipping everything in tartar sauce. He left half the fries on his plate and gestured at them, saying, "like donuts, I tell ya." Then he shoved the platter to the side and said, "save room for dessert!"

When the waitress came, she tried to reach around him and take the platter, but the edge must have been under part of his arm because as she lifted it, it caught and dumped all down his side. "Oh I am SO sorry!" she exclaimed, turning red and cleaning up the food. He tried to use his napkin to wipe the sauce that was spread from his armpit to his waist, but couldn't reach. So he held up his arm as the waitress cleaned him. "Desserts on the house!" she said. And with that, the men each ordered a slice of carrot cake.

I have long said I do not judge or look down or even feel pity for other people who *seem* to have a weight problem. It is not my business. But I take this kind of observation and I ponder it. Not directing these thoughts AT that man, who I am sure is a very nice man and is capable of making his own decisions about his life and health. I think about myself when I was suffering health issues because of my weight, and how I still went to the fair and ate deep fried zucchini dipped in Ranch, dripping it down the front of my shirt and not really caring what anyone else thought. At the time, I think the blatant disregard for my own health and the sense of not caring what others thought was a defense mechanism. I was in denial. I did not want to admit how big I was and that I was killing myself. Isn't that what it is when you are having heart irregularities yet pumping loads of fat and salt into your body? Isn't that what it is when you are suffering from diabetes yet eating slabs of cake? Isn't is a form of self harm.... self abuse? Even though I didn't think it was at the time, now, I think that's what I was doing. I remember sitting in my car with a 3pm "snack" of a supersized Big Mac meal before picking my kids up from school, and looking at that burger oozing with grease and salt and thick pink sauce dripping out of it, and thinking, "I wonder if eating this is going to kill me?" And I was serious. I felt unstable. My heart wasn't doing so great and I wondered... will this be the meal that puts me over the edge? But I'd still eat it.

At some point I guess we all have to snap to reality and take stock of what we are doing to ourselves... good or bad. We have to stop blaming everyone else for us not being able to eat properly. We have to take *ourselves* seriously for anyone else to take us seriously. And honestly, I don't think I got my brain to that point until *after* I had lost a significant amount of weight. It wasn't until I got rid of the heart issues, the acid reflux, the choking on my own vomit in the night... it wasn't until I *experienced* the other side of life that I fully understood what I had been doing to myself, and how close to death or disability I really was.

I am very, very thankful that something in me came to life and pushed me to get serious and lose the weight. Part of it was my children, part was fear of leaving a baby alone without a mother. Part was being tired of being sad, and part was just a silly experiment with eating more fruits and veggies and blogging about it. And if I am honest, I'll also admit that if I did not have the accountability of blogging, I probably would have given up a year ago and gained all the weight back. Knowing that people were reading... people who CARE, people who are watching to see if I can do it and then taking that personally to believe THEY can or cannot do it... that kept me going. I care about you people. I did not want to just disappear and stop blogging and have everyone wonder whatever became of me, and leave you all thinking "well she failed, I don't think there is any hope for me either." Knowing people are waiting to hear how I did kept me going. And I truly thank you all for that. I couldn't have done this without you.

You CAN change your life. Please believe it, and just keep trying. Get some support: a local support group, or family members, or some friends who will join you. Try making some supportive friends online in various free forums like 3fatchicks, or try blogging and building up a few friendships. I didn't start out with any readers. I had no one. I was blogging for ME. And somehow it turned into this wonderful thing.

Thank you! And cross your fingers for that scale to move for me tomorrow!

29 comments:

Lori said...

Lynne,
I think the main word in the whole thing is "denial". I know I was in it until I got to the other side so to speak, just as you said.

I'll keep a good thought for you tomorrow. It will be so exciting!
Lori

Amy said...

It's hard for me to see people like that. I am the queen of knowing how to lose weight, what workouts are best, blah blah blah, but for a long time, I just stopped caring. I knew it was up to me to do something, but I didn't have it in me to do it. I also didn't really think I was as big as I was until I took a picture of myself with my first digital camera in January 2005, and saw that wow, I really do look like I am almost 300 pounds.

It didn't really hit me until I went for a walk that was once a breeze for me and felt like dying even less than a quarter of a mile down the road. I was always the fit chubby girl who could run circles around and kick higher than and last longer than my skinny girl friends, so to be that out of shape was startling.

My weight has wobbled over the past 5 years, but I have yet to be that out of shape again, and it scares me when I see people who are worse off than I was because I remember how horrible it felt and what I was doing to my body. I had chest pains, shortness of breath, and all sorts of problems, and I was only 23 years old.

My doctor also helped. She told me then that I need to take care of my body now, while I'm young, because if I do, I will appreciate it SO MUCH when I'm 40, 50, 60 and beyond. If not, I'm looking at Type 2 diabetes like my dad or heart disease like what has killed many of the women in my mom's family.

I still have about 60 pounds to get where you are, but watching you do it gives me hope. I know I can do it too even if it's hard for me to see that far ahead. I'm at 240 now. Like you were in the beginning, I can't see myself getting below 210 or even 220, but it's out there, just beyond the horizon.

I also go through the same cravings and issues when I'm on my period too.

Hang in there. You are doing so well and you're such an inspiration for me even if I rarely comment. :)

Amy

Anonymous said...

You are fighting for victory now. I am waiting with you to see that moment when you drop that next pound and all that it symbolizes for you.
You have been a serious inspiration and motivator for me and I thank you for sharing your journey with us, for caring to do that.
You can do it!!!!
~Anne

-J.Darling said...

Since you're on Medifast, I would suggest NOT upping the excersize! Just keep sticking to it. If you up the excersize, your body may hang on to EVERY little once. Medifast is very specifically designed to allow you just so much work-out every day. If you work out too much, you'll either retain water or not lose.

Just keep doing what you're doing! :) It'll fall off! Remember too - the week before the period you may be retaining some water anyway. I won't be surprised if you're down 4lbs after 2 weeks. ;)

FYT614 said...

Sometimes I think that you're in my head. In the last two weeks, I really feel like I have turned some kind of corner in my weight loss battle. I've been trying to remember what the hell I got out of the way I used to eat. I know that there was a sense of pleasure, I would feel a sense of relief maybe when I took that first bite of something that tasted good, but the guilt, the disappointment, the helplessness or despair that I felt the rest of the time...I just can't see how it was worth it to me. AT this point, 127 pounds gone from my body, I can't imagine wanting that pain again. I know that this has to be permanent. I know that my decisions have to be consistent with what will keep me healthy. Excuses lead to almost being 400 pounds, not being able to run and play with my son, not feeling amazing about myself.

I think that you're right that you need to get to a certain point, see how far you've come, in order to begin to move from dieting to changing your lifestyle. Great post. Thanks.

Olivia said...

Your entries have been so motivational lately. Well, they are always good, but really hitting close to home with me. Thank you so much for sharing.

Tricia @ Saving Room for Dessert said...

Thank you for your comments today. They really hit home! I think I am eating better now than I ever have and while I am not loosing any more than 1/2 pound a week or so, I KNOW I am eating better. Changes are sometimes slow - keep up the great work - you really are doing a tremendous job. Can't wait to see your 100 pound photos.

Mom to the Fourth Power said...

Amen!!!
And fingers are crossed for ya! ;)
~Margene

Anonymous said...

Great post ! You will make 100 pounds gone (and more in the future). It´s just matter of time.

gracies tough journey said...

What a wonderful post. I pray we all get to the point when it finally hits us that the time is now to start losing weight. Rock bottom. Gracie

danibabe2 said...

I found your blog about a week ago and have been reading your posts. I love them. It's inspiring. Thanks for sharing your experiences. I'll be back tomorrow to congratulate you on reaching the next pound gone!

mensa said...

I BELIEVE SISTER ... I believe in you and I believe in me and everyone that has found some new confidence in themselves. And Tricia ... those 1/2 pounds add up. I never was too happy with the fractions but now looking at 28 1/2 lbs gone ... well, I'll take it.

~Sheilah

spunkysuzi said...

I'm using my spidey senses on that scale and it had better listen :)

Vee said...

I'm sure you'll hit the mark tomorrow. But no matter, when it is, you'll hit it and keep on going down!

All of this comes down to being responsible for ourselves. We live in a world of convenience, and where many things are done for us. He didn't take responsibility for his health or his actions. When he's ready, he'll do it or die.

Same for us. That's why we blog. We want the honesty and accountability and responsibility. Well, maybe we don't WANT it but we're accepting it!

Vee at http://veegettinghealthy.blogspot.com

Jules said...

It's probably a terrible thing to say, but I have a *very* hard time with extremely overweight folks sitting there lamenting about their health problems while stuffing their faces with obviously poor food choices - and more specifically, those who are actually acknowledging in some fashion, as the man you saw did, that it is those same bad eating habits that is causing the health problems! Ignorance is one thing, willful ignorance is another.

IOW, if you want to keep eating yourself into an early grave while knowing full well you are killing yourself, that's really sad and it is your business - but don't you dare sit there and moan and groan at the same time about how poor your health is!

I am not trying to be flammatory and judgmental - really, I am not - but I am definitely at the point in my weight loss journey (and I've a long, long way to go still) where it has finally sunk into my *own* thick skull that personal responsibility is *key.* If ever there was a "magic bullet" for weight loss, it has to be taking responsibility for what you put into your mouth and how often you get yourself off the couch.

Seeing that silly man would have made me want to reach across the aisle and shake some sense into him - and it has *nothing* to do with feeling superior to him. It makes me insane that the writing can be on the wall in "bold 500 point font" if you will, but some just won't read it!!

Anonymous said...

I've been watching for you to lose that 100th pound and expecting it every day. Good for you for seeing the pattern on your weight chart. It may not be tomorrow, but when it happens, I'll bet you'll lose a "whoosh" of pounds, be well under 100 pounds lost - for good.

Thanks for all the inspiration.

WebRover

Rosie's Weight Loss Blog said...

This is a beautiful post. That story you told is a natural reaction coming from your background. Me too. Hearing that story made me feel sick inside as I remembered times when I had been in denial. Thank you for your beautiful words.

Amanda said...

Thank you for this post. I really related to it and I think I needed it today. Your constant determination and astute self reflection are always inspiring to me. Although right now I'm battling what would be considered a minor weight gain, I've been battling with compulsive eating habbits my entire life and it really is about winning the mental war first, last, and constantly.

I know blogging has helped me with staying present and not just "checking out", even though my blog "experiment" is only in it's infancy. Even though I have only a handful of readers right now, just having made the promise to myself to keep posting truthfully no matter what has made a huge impact on me.

Reading blogs like yours also helps beyond words. I really needed it today - my brain was starting down a dangerous self pitying Friday night path, and your entry really brought me back today.

Thank you. And I can't wait for your post very soon when the scale DOES move past the 100th lb lost! Have a great weekend...

Ice Queen said...

That scale will move. And I hope that it does it, tomorrow.

Whether tomorrow or not, tho, you have this handled and you will poser through.

Dora said...

I think this post is a bit sad.
While I think that you tried to avoid being judgmental, comments like Jules hold up a mirror and reflect what people actually hear and take away from posts like this. While we try not to be judgmental, it is judgmental when you estimate someones weight, and watch and discuss in detail every piece of food he put in his mouth, how his size prevented him from keeping his dignity, being unable cleaning himself off when covered in food. Sure, you may not be judging him, but you are painting us a picture hoping we will fill in the gaps. Isn't that what every fat person fears? Having someone beside them eavesdropping on their conversation and judging every bite they take?

You said it best when you said that that logically, you knew you were killing yourself, but could find the strength or resolve to stop. Fat people are not ignorant, most know what they're doing to themselves, they just may not have it in their power at this point in time to stop. How many times did you try to lose weight only to regain before it actually stuck, and a switch flipped in your head? Many I'm sure, but it happened eventually. I just wish that all of us that get his struggle would have the strength to look away, and truly stop ourselves from judging, rather than pretending we are not judging while itemizing his 'sloth'.

While I truly believe that you do not want to be judgmental, this post was judgmental, and please don't forget where you have come from. Don't pretend that it was as simple as one day waking up and deciding that life is worth living and starting to eat more fruit and veg. Fat people are no different than thin people, they just wear their struggles on the outside. Everyone has flaws, but only some of them are covered in tartar sauce for the world to see.

-Dora

Lyn said...

Dora~

there is a big difference between judgment and observation. Observing an event that unfolded 4 feet in front of my nose and recounting it is not any form of judgment. I do think readers such as yourself have the ability to feel judged or judgmental in response to my description if they so choose, but I felt neither and was absolutely not "itemizing his sloth." I have no way of knowing anything about him nor did I try to guess.

I try to be self reflective as well, and honestly feel you are way, way off the mark if you think I have *ever* "pretended that it was as simple as one day waking up and deciding that life is worth living and starting to eat more fruit and veg." I have never implied anything of the sort. This battle and its beginning has been anything but simple or easy. I battle every day, and honestly share it.

Beth at Obesity Strike said...

A poignant story, Lyn. And it's not judgemental, it is a statement of the truth. And eating oneself up to 400 to 500 pounds is some serious gravedigging, there is no way that can be denied. And that truth can be brutal and painful but that doesn't mean that it is excessively critical or judgemental. For me, it's difficult to hear echoes of my own justifications in the conversation that you overheard.

brighide said...

I remember the day I was diagnosed with diabetes. I had gone to the ER complaining of blurred vision, a sick all over feeling, severe stomach cramps, and nausea. After some initial blood work, the doctor on call admitted me because I was so sick. I released two days later and where did I go? To dunkin donuts for a large coffee and six donuts. I sat in the car eating it, thinking that I didn't care. To me, life was about having something sweet. My life had been so difficult that I felt I deserved those donuts.
I knew I was sick, but part of my brain refused to accept that because I felt that I was more powerful than the diabetes. I would get up each day and think to myself, "these two donuts are not going to hurt" and then I'd say to myself, "Monday I'm going to start over and no more bad stuff". My husband who felt powerless against my food addiction told me that he was not going to stand by and watch me kill myself with food.
And I believe that is what shook me out of my food induced haze. I understand people who are sick but want to keep living the lifestyle that got them there because they don't believe they are really THAT sick or they don't think what they eat will hurt them. My father in law who had a double bypass was told to go on a strict diet, but after his surgery, he went back home and ate his southern style cooking because he said no one was going to tell him how to eat. One year later we lost him.
This denial is a mechanism I think because underneath all of that I know that I was terrified, I just didn't know how to cope with that.
With that said Lyn, I stopped going to places like Outback, Chili's, and Chevy's. I haven't been in months because I know how strong my addiction is and I don't want to surround myself with what is there. And watching other people eat those things triggers me. I only go places that have a healthy menu and that leaves very little. Fresh Choice or a local health food shop that serves whole foods.

Jenna said...

While reading this I thought, " When was the last time I went to the outback?" and I have no idea, I do know that I could taste that bloomin onion as you described it and I did not crave it~ Something has changed for me, along the way, as I can tell you a few months into this weight loss journey, I craved everything. I went into the journey trusting that if others could do it so could I. I did not actually feel, like I could, I knew I needed to lose the weight and went through the motions. Today 45 pounds lighter I actually think about what I want to put in my body, and what I am willing to sacrifice. I feel healthier and remember how awful I felt after meals of an abusive nature( I had GERD). I still have 75 pounds to lose and I will and I am certain you will lose that 100th pound and be around for a long time sharing your lessons and journey...No luck needed you are putting in the effort, luck has nothing to do with weight loss. :)

Kimberly said...

All of what you've been through have led you to this point - knowing that a daily blip on a scale is meaningless as long as you don't give up.

You will get there. I have faith in that.

Glenn, Fat at Fifty-five said...

It's difficult to watch but there's no one who can help someone who is fat but themselves. I crammed a lot of bad things in with full knowledge that they were bad for me and that I was endangering my health without being able or willing to put a stop to it.

Steelers6 said...

I found this to be a very interesting chat with you once again Lyn, and all the commenters. (I usually read all the comments, bc they are also thought provoking.)

A big part of my health & WL journey/recovery has been reading blogs. They are very helpful, and cause me to really think about all things related to a health and WL journey.

I am glad your readers could be of some help to you, knowing we were going to read, comment and care. Might be weird to know how much YOU have helped so many of your readers in return. It's a great thing!

I DO think about WL, food intake, healthy choices, etc frequently (constantly??) now, and part of that is due to reading insightful blog posts. I think due to my history I would have had to notice what the gentleman was saying about wellness also; I just think it is my focus right now. The scales have fallen from my eyes. I used to watch the Joy Fit Club on the Today show and gather inspiration from those ppl. They so often said "If *I* can do it [lose lots of weight, get fit and healthy] anyone can", and I can see that they would say that. I would really have felt that way for the fellow in the restaurant, and probably feel like I wish I could sit and chat with him, help him 'flip his switch' so to speak. The sad thing is, it is quite unusual to be able to do that for someone else. Imo. Must be very frustrating to health care professionals. How to inspire someone to get it for themselves? I know for me I just had to get there on my own. It makes me think about all the ppl around ME back then that were probably viewing ME from the sidelines feeling sad for ME and wishing there was something they could do.

Sure I wish I had 'gotten it' sooner, but I think it has to come from ME.

Brighide's post is sad but true. In several ways. Glad the switch flipped for her. But sad about FIL. I lost my FIL too to diabetes; he chose not to heed advice of specialists. :( It IS their body their choice as far as health goes. Sad that that is what he chose, bc I know he didn't really WANT to die. But he chose to make very little effort and changes, and there isn't a whole lot you can do.

I think like Brighide, me, Lyn, and maybe all of us here, we came from a point where we thought we could eat what we want and it won't matter. Or we just wanted it too badly to think about it very much. We thought we could operate like that, but we never really stopped to look it in the face til for some reason, we had our switch flip. Not sure if it was denial, just ignoring, uneducated, whatever, but those of us who are now striving toward better health & nutrition have a lot to be thankful for. :) I wish I knew the secret for what 'clicks' with a person eventually. It isn't that simple.

Lyn -WTG on 99 pounds!!!!!!! Did you ever think you would see your commenters writing that here? Wow! Lyn lost 99 pouunds, Lyn lost 99 pounnndsss...wahooooo!!!
Chrissy

Karen said...

WHERE ARE THE PHOTOS???? I know today (Saturday) will be the day and I cannot keep waiting by my computer clicking on your blog like a maniac for hours...LOL!!! Come on, Girl...we are waiting! It would be great if you had some new jeans or something for the photos too!!!!! So, WHERE ARE THE PHOTOS????

Spaghetti Cat said...

Great post lyn :)