Porch in the City

I took a small little blog break because I was feeling a sorry for myself, so rather than blogging about it, I just took action. I went to the gym mid-week and did exercise B (lower body) along with a little cardio, but still had trouble managing my food. I had a long talk with josh that involved tears (on my part) because I was feeling down on myself on things like:
-not having a lot of friends in new york
-being tired of researching, calculating and tracking all of my points and calories
-maintaining the same weight for close to two months
-eating too much
-being lazy, etc.

After all of this I felt better and ready to make changes to continue with my weight loss journey. I’m finding ways to fill up my life that do not involve food.

Yesterday we went to the gym and did session A (upper body strength training) and then about 30 minutes of cardio, then we came home and ate shrimp cocktails on our make-shift porch (which is basically two chairs and a table in front of the fire escape window…welcome to new york) while listening to wilco, then we went for a walk that turned into a bigger walk from 72nd street to 86th, after we got to 86th we caught the bus to coney island and walked around and sat on the beach with some very strange people, then we took the train home, stopped at subway and then finished walking home.

It was a very fulfilling, active, happy day for both of us. I came home feeling relaxed, energized and the way I did when I was a kid coming home in the evening after spending the day outside.

It felt good to use my body and it felt even better that my body was able to keep up.

I started logging my food again on weightwatchers.com, which despite paying about 17$ a month is a helpful tool that doesn’t involve calculating or research on every morsel of food that is consumed. My first weigh in will be a week from today and I will update my food weekly instead of daily because I’m tracking it on the weight watchers website as well.

I feel like I’m learning a lot of lessons about being an adult and who I am and where I want to be. It seems that when I start questioning, the answers just sort of show up when I’m open and willing to act.

I am seeking happiness in moments, and activities rather than food. I know that the idea of sitting on a “porch” is silly to make someone happy, but I can honestly say I haven’t felt more calm lately than I have sitting in our chairs, listening to music, staring out the window. At night, it involves candles, possible drinks and soaking feet in water. It feels calm, a feeling that is hard to get in this city.

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Why am I fat?

It’s hard to watch/read/listen to the news and miss words about obesity. The kids are fat, the parents are fat, the celebrities are starving- people are eating too much, not enough, not cooking enough, consuming too many pieces of bread or cake, not eating enough vegetables…on and on. I’ve been thinking about the question that everyone seems to be asking “why are so many people fat?”. I wonder this for myself.

Why am I fat? I’ve been a hefty kid as long as I can remember. I weighed 80 lbs in second grade and 160 lbs in 6th grade. My mom’s side of the family is big and my dad’s side is thin. My sister grew up thin (but then began to gain after her teenage years) and I grew up fat. Both of us- in the same house with the same food and the same parents.

I can remember being five and finding honey roasted peanuts that my parents were eating while painting my room. When they were done they put the nuts in the closet for the next round of painting. I was so excited (they were honey roasted!) and sat in my closet chowing down on them. I also remember at a young age hiding extra food…toast, bananas, cookies etc.

It’s no mistake that my weight is directly correlated with my food consumption. I was relatively active, but often bored especially in the summer time. I can remember sitting at home eating and watching home décor shows. Food always excited me, and made anything better in my eyes.

A lot of researchers wonder if weight is genetic and if its harder for some to lose weight than others. For me, the struggle is something I seemingly (but difficulty) have control over. Its simple, less food+activity=weight loss. The struggle doesn’t feel genetic as far as my body resisting weight loss. If they suggested that the struggle was an internal need to eat more than most people then I would very much agree. I never felt that my weight was a result of mismanaged emotions, but more like my minds inability to manage my consumption of food.

There are people that can eat when they are hungry and stop when they are full and not think about food in-between. They can have foods they enjoy and not want to eat them until their buttons begin to snap off in order to fully enjoy it. There are people that can have desserts in their house and not even be tempted to eat it all in one sitting.

I don’t know what the answers are for other people or why it seems that the media and researchers feel that us fat people are crowding the streets, but I think it would be interesting to begin blogging what goes through my mind throughout the day when it comes to food. I have been slacking in my food and exercise recording efforts which is never really productive because I tend to be way more lenient with my food when I’m not plastering it on the internet. So, for the sake of experiments and research I’m going to continue posting my food intake as I normally do (under food journal), but I’m also going to keep track of my food thoughts to provide some insight into what its like to be someone who overeats, but is trying not to. I’m not sure if that makes any sense, but when I start writing it I think it will be self explanatory.

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I’ve been having a lot of thoughts lately about gratitude and appreciation. I feel like I have been on a journey trying to figure out who I am and I think the biggest part in figuring this out is facing a lot of truths that can be painful at times. The truth is, for a good portion of my life, I’ve found the easy way out of hard situations. Often times my interactions with other people have been out of fear, hate and anger. I struggle with feelings of guilt for not being a more positive and upbeat person. After taking a deeper look I know that being positive isn’t the easy road. Reacting to life’s twists and turns with anger is so easy and yet so unproductive. Sometimes I think “if I don’t get mad, then it didn’t matter” or “if I don’t react I didn’t make my point”.

I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about the Tao Te Ching lately and the philosophies are bringing me to a more thoughtful existence. I relate this to my issue of over eating- a lot of eastern philosophies believe that being excessive can throw off your health and wellness, it really makes sense to me. I feel like turning to food, anger, and negativity is easy, and ultimately unfulfilling. I think about my life and there really is so much to be grateful for.

I don’t want my biggest struggle to be that I had too much to eat, when there are so many people who have too little. The pain and voids that we feel are choices even if they do not present themselves that way. We teach people how to treat us, and allow others to bring us down. Isn’t it easier to frown instead of smile at people, face problems with anger and resentment, to eat food or watch TV instead of being active? I don’t want to go my whole life always looking for easy solutions, or avoiding situations and opportunities because of fear.

So, today I am grateful for self-awareness.

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Expecting too much out of Old Navy and the like

The other day I wondered into the overly crowded and disorganized Old Navy of Atlantic Ave to bid farewell to the plus size selection. I noticed that all the plus size clothes were marked 40% off, but couldn't find anything worth buying. I ended up purchasing a shirt and skirt from their regualr line of clothing which made me realize that I probably wouldn't miss the plus size section at all. I've read about a million blogs of those who are outraged by the disappearing large clothes and have threatened to stop shopping there. I think thats cute, but really the things that get me down about Old Navy run a little deeper than the disallowance of girthy clothing for my large bottom.

I have to say that I've bought shirts that have cost as low as 97 cents at Old Navy with a previous mark-up of 15.00 dollars. I wonder who is really paying the price of these mass produced clothes? Certainly not Old Navy. I would say it is more along the lines of cheap labor in various countries I will probably never see. I guess my point is, people are willing to get upset and boycott a store that is no longer selling clothes to the over fed, but never consider giving up their business to them because of the under fed sweat shop laborers that work for these huge campanies.

I don't expect much out of places like Old Navy, Wal-Mart, or Target and I know that on the surface they are shiny, cute and cheap. Expecting them to care about losing their plus size line due to lack of supposed business if like expecting Wal-Mart or UPS to suddenly care about letting their employees be eligiable for health care.

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May 2007 Progress Photo

Its hard to tell if there is a difference here with the other photos. I definantly feel a difference and see a difference in the fit of my clothing.
Anyhow, here is May 2007...

And this is from March:

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should I start stuffing my bras with oranges?

I’m still not weighing myself.

Okay, I’ve weighed myself once…or twice. But, it hasn’t been daily or weekly.

I know I’m slowly getting smaller because of how loose my pants are on me. I can actually fit both of my arms down either sides of my pants and I have to hike them up towards my boobs so they will stay up. I have a black pair of pants that I bought this time last year that were so tight I considered removing the button and moving it closer to where the pants fasten. Now they fit like very loose wide leg pants.

The boobs are sadly shrinking as well. When I mentioned this to my mom she had a really good laugh when I told her that I could fit an orange in my size D bras with me in them. I think she laughed more at the fact that I ever wore a size D, as the very big boob gene somehow skipped me in the family. So now I wear a C cup.

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yoga burns

Thursday went well with food and activity. It wasn't a gym day (we go every other day), but I did a little yoga in the morning. I am still pretty sore from Wednesdays gym outing.

I wanted to make note of what I saw at the gym on Wednesday. I saw women (mostly) and few men doing something in the weight room that made me wonder "how does that make you gain muscle?" I'm not an expert, but I saw so many people doing these fast continuous reps on the weight machine with a low amount of weight. It was almost like they were doing weight lifting aerobics. From what I've read in several places and what I've discussed with Josh, the best way to get muscle is to actually challenge your muscles. Fewer reps with more weight. And to increase the amount of weight you lift over time. Lifting at a slow pace and holding it for a few seconds where its hardest.

On another note, if you do your laundry in a public place try not to leave your undies behind like I did. I was passing the clothing lost and found in my building and thought "those look like my underwear" and sure enough they were. I just stood there staring at them hoping that someone else in the building wore white Target Isaac Mizrahi undies with ruffles. I looked around to make sure no one was looking and quickly stuffed them in my pocket.

This is what I ate:
2 whole grain waffles- 3 points (180 calories)
1/8 cup light syrup- 1 point (50 calories)
1 tablespoon olivio- 1 point (40 calories)
1/8 cup white rice- 1 point (50 calories)
3oz teriyaki chicken and vegetables- 4 points (210 calories)
2 steamed dumplings- 2 points (140 calories)
1/2 california roll- 2 points (134 calories)
1/2 salad w/ 1 tsp ginger dressing- 1 point (70 calories)
1 tempura shrimp- 1 point (70 calories)
1/2 pre made (burtella?) pasta chicken meal- 8 points (410 calories)
1/3 whole wheat baguette- 3 points (150 calories)
1-2 tbsp olivio- 2 points (80 calories)
total points: 29
total calories: 1584

Happy Friday!

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Sowing my oats

I had a bit of a falling out with soy earlier this week. I bought myself some tasty Luna Bars and ate myself to sickness with them. Well, sort of. I'm slowly admitting that there are just foods that my seemingly sensitive interior cannot handle and sadly soy is one of them. Its not just soy that makes me nauseous and dizzy, dairy has the same effect especially before bed. I will wake up feeling horribly bloated, nauseous, and sick. Then there are the sugars, starches and other white goodies that give me the same reaction and zap me of any energy.

Its not that I cant have these foods ever, I just have to eat them with other things in very small amounts in order to not feel horrible.

I also get very tired shortly after eating a meal, so I'm trying to be more aware of what my meals consist of. I had oats today for breakfast (the low sugar variety) and find that they must be a miracle food. I was not tired or hungry all afternoon after eating of them.

Today’s meals:
2 packets of low sugar maple oatmeal- 4 points (220 calories)
2 servings Campbell’s chicken and dumplings soup- 8 points (380 calories)
1 granny smith apple- 1 point (80 calories)
Snapple raspberry white tea- 2 points (120 calories)
Grilled chicken chipotle wrap- (grilled chicken, onions, brown rice, avacado, sauce, whole wheat wrap)- 13 points (650 calories)
Total points: 28
Total calories: 1450

Today’s exercise:
45 minutes strength training
22 minutes cardio

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My choice

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Passionate about losing fat

For the last month, I’ve increased exercise (2-3 gym trips a week) and went back and forth on dieting methods. During this time, I kept thinking I need to mentally get into this full force. I had these ideas that this moderate (and at times, half-assed) way of losing weight, was clouding my mind with disillusions. I said to myself “this moderation is cute, but really I want to fight this fat head on”. I feel that moderation is key long-term, but I also feel like I need to be more invested. Every time I have these “crazy” notions of being totally passionate about being fit, I hear news and magazine articles ringing in my head “that’s crazy talk, take it slowly, otherwise you will fail”. I feel like my acceptance of a slow loss, is leaving me disappointed and distracted.

I was an avid follower of the art of fighting without fighting.

I’ve been looking for the easiest ways of beating a hard situation. I’ve been playing the lottery of weight-loss. I’ve been indecisive and the constant stop and start of this…isn’t working. One party here, pms there, and bi-weekly pity parties. I feel like I am running on a treadmill chasing after a carrot and the process is slowing to a halt. I’ve heard so many times, “in order to make change, you have to do what you haven’t done before”.

The truth is, this Token Fat Girl, has never truly been invested in losing weight.
Sure, I’ve dieted and worked out, but I was never invested mentally. I always knew that I would go back, fall down, and feel guilty. I would lose, and gain and lose what I gained again. It shouldn’t take 3 months to lose 5 or even 10 pounds. I should see weight loss every week.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I never have the desire to starve myself or work out 3+ hours a day and lose weight by beating myself down. But, really I need to work harder, become passionate and invested in my goals.

I was thinking about medical students, when this idea came up. A lot of these people are invested, they go to class, study and sacrifice their time and energy because they are invested, passionate and serious. Doesn’t it make sense this way…what if your doctor graduated with a C or D average and missed important seminars about spleen extraction or heart transplants? Ok, bad example. But, being totally into something is a sacrifice and up until now I’ve avoided this because of fear. I feared that it was unnatural to care so much (like, only superficial people care about their weight)…I believed what I was being told even when my instincts pointed me in another direction. When it comes to losing weight, its totally personal and individual, but the answers are there if we are willing to accept them. I would only accept a diet if it let me have a little bit of junk food, and an exercise plan if it allowed me to continue being lazy. Then I began to think that moderation should be after I lose weight.

I’m not sure where this journey will take me, but after reading this article about the hierarchy of fat loss, I’m convinced that what I’ve been feeling is correct. This is my pledge to be the former Token Fat Girl and there will be a lot of changes around here.

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Conflict of Interest and the Battle of the Fittest

My indecision about diets, food choices and exercise takes up more time and energy than it should. I wonder if the carbs, sugar, chemicals and hormones are all setting up a internal war with my body. I wonder if eating fresh produce that isn’t organic, chemically injected lean meats, or mercury riddled tuna has the same effects nutritionally as a diet full of Doritos and Twinkies. I worry that if I don’t peddle as fast as I can on the stationary bike with resistance that the workout didn’t count. Or if I don’t get my heart rate up to a certain speed, the workout wasn’t efficient and fat burning. I just wonder, how can I make sound nutritional advice when everything about diet and exercise is a contradiction?

First I hear that alcohol is bad and then I read a story where scientists say that the alcohol in fruity drinks make the absorbency and effectiveness of the fruit even more, uh special? I hear about pesticides and cancer causing chemicals in fresh fruits, meats and processed foods. I read that simple carbohydrates are the cause of obesity and then read that even white bread is a part of a balanced diet. What are the best possible answers and choices? Then I read that moderation is the key and then that a stricter diet is best. What do “they” consider moderation? Small bits of junk or fast food daily, weekly, monthly or yearly?

It seems that the answers to my questions depend on the person answering.

Sometimes I feel like everything is set up to prevent aging, cancer, disease and untimely death. I think of my Great Aunt Bob (aka: Valley) who is now 86, and in relatively good health considering her age. She spent a good deal of her life being moderately active with her garden and maintained a healthy weight for her height. She eats eggs, bacon, fruits, vegetables, butter (even margarine) meats, lard, jellies, and cheeses. She has been unprotected in the sun more than a few times in her life, she never had children, and she was into makeup (more chemicals-working as an Estee Lauder counter lady), nail polish, hair dye, and permanents for more than half of her life. Her parents died of old age, but she has two sisters that died of cancer (one of them my grandmother). So, my question is what is really the deciding factor here?


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Sweety Sweeterson

Things are chugging along nicely. My activity has improved a lot lately. I’ve been mixing walking and going to the gym. I ride the stationary bike on the fourth level on hill inclines for 45 minutes. Sometimes I wonder what people think of the fat girl riding along on the bike. I assume people associate fat people with people that can barely walk up a flight of steps. It feels great to know that I can peddle fast with resistance for 45 minutes without stopping and know that I could go for an hour if I really want to.

I am trying to keep depressive and anxious thoughts at bay as much as possible, as I am reaching that portion of the month that seems to send me into emotional over drive. I hope exercise will help with this.

I have been counting calories instead of points lately, not for any reason other than laziness. Can you tell how indecisive I am?

Also, have been avoiding the scale even though its tempting and calling out to me.

And finally, I wondered about my thoughts on sweets. There aren’t many days that go by that I don’t delve into something sweet. I wonder if other people are like this as well. When I did Atkins for that week, I would try to find something sweet to eat and end up with sugar free jello and whipped cream. Josh said “why not just accept that you can’t eat sweets on this diet?” That is something I don’t think I will even accept, the notion of not eating sweets. From my point of view, the reason why I am able to keep going is because I allow treats in my diet. If they fit in, I eat them. What’s wrong with fitting them in if it keeps me going long term? It is possible that I shouldn’t worry so much about eating them, but if I banned them, I feel like I would give up sooner and end up binging. But, I also know that having them around can be bad because they can trigger me to over eat. I suppose I’m rambling on the subject, but I stand by eating something sweet if I want it, rather it be low calorie or in small portions.

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