Midterms

It’s midterms week, so things are gonna be a little boring around the Double Chin Diary. But I promise a new blog will be up as soon as I’m done procrastinating on my media analysis report… (hopefully by Thursday). In the meantime, discuss: What’s the most strange comment about your body you’ve every received? For me it was that I had “childbearing hips”. Oh yeah, I was 14 when I was told that. By a teacher. LOL.

See you soon!

At least I’m not fat

I wasn’t always overweight – I arrived into this world at an average 7 pounds, 4 ounces or something like that. Through out my childhood I sported plump, apple cheeks, but didn’t tilt the scales until about the age of 10, around when my family moved to California. I remember wearing the girl’s size XL, and an unpleasant discussion at the doctor’s office about being overweight. “She needs to exercise,” the doctor had said, noting my ever-climbing weight. My mom replied, no doubt in protection, “She doesn’t love sports, but she does love to read.” I’ll never forget the doctor’s reply – “Reading is great exercise for the brain – but not the body!”

Age four - no chub yet!

As puberty crept up on me, my weight blossomed even more, morphing into fleshy hips and a soft, pudgy tummy. I was outgrowing the junior’s size 12s, having to squeeze my curvy waist into cheap L.E.I. jeans in women’s size 13s from Mervyns. My first devastating insult about my weight came from a boy I had a huge crush on, Patrick. We were friends and classmates and walked home from school together, crunching leaves and sucking the sap out of honeysuckles. He called me “Hey Arnold” after the cartoon, because we both had blonde hair. He was really tall and gangly, with small, narrow eyes and a deep, nerdy voice. In gym class one day we had to run a mile. As a fumbling klutz, running was something I despised, a special torture for a chubby girl with a propensity for words. I can even remember my outfit that day  -a purple Guess shirt and white cotton shorts.  As we lapped the dirt track together, he taunted me that he would win.  Adrenaline and ambition kicked in, and by some miracle, I propelled myself past him through the finish line, the victorious winner by a few seconds. As I applauded my own girls-against -boy victory, he hit me where he knew it would hurt – my emotions.

“Well – at least I’m not FAT!” he spat out, the friendly look in his eye replaced with macho venom.

Had I been the spunky girl I would have liked to imagine myself as, I would have replied, “Well – at least I’m not an ASSHOLE!” but instead, I slunk off like a guilty dog, reminded that once again, it didn’t matter what girls accomplished, but rather, what they looked like. I never wore those white shorts to school again. (He’s dead now, how’s that for Karma? I kid, I kid. Sadly, he is deceased of a drug overdose, which is a shame because despite this little sting, he was a nice, intelligent kid)

It’s so easy to remember the insults and the bad things that happen to you, even when you hear a lot of praise otherwise. I’d like to say comments like these didn’t affect me, but I guess they did if I’m blogging about them 14 years later – but hey, it fueled a blog post, so I guess that’s something.

Do you remember insults about your looks from days past? One of the worst I’ve ever heard is a guy who called my sister “Princess Fat Arms”. WTF! People can be so cruel.

Identity

We had our dear friends Jason and Juan over for dinner last night, and as we were finishing off the remains of a carrot bundt cake (there goes my ketosis (low-carb lifestyle)) (And I had been SO GOOD- we went out for mexican food and I didn’t have ONE chip. Do you know how hard that is to do?!?!?!) , I saw an article in the LA Times that caught my eye. It was called “The Fat Man Dreams of Running the LA Marathon“. I briefly skimmed over it and was enamored with this line: “If he does (finish the marathon), he says he will be sending a message to a society obsessed with being thin. “Big people,” he says, “can do the unimaginable.”

I read it out to my friends and made some sort of exclamation about how I loved that message, and our friend Juan, (a licensed therapist – a Ph. D.), said “You really identify as a fat person, don’t you?” The question set me back a little bit, but then as I thought about it, I thought, Yes, I do identify as a fat person.  He explained to me how most people he treat view being fat as a complete setback, and allow themselves to wallow in misery, but that he was surprised that I seemed to be so at terms with my weight. I definitely have my insecurities, but I’ve realized that in the past few years, I’ve really learned how to OWN who I am. My body, despite the excess weight, can do amazing things. My body wailed on a punching bag for 60 minutes yesterday in my impact kickboxing class. My body carries me through 45 hours of work a week, and then 15 hours of school. My body lives and breathes, and hurts and aches and comes back around and heals and does it all over again…. and it does this all despite the excess weight. My body is an amazing thing.

The boxing gloves I just ordered for my kickboxing class.

If I could, would I snap my fingers and turn thin? Absolutely. But that’s not possible, and as Popeye says… I am who I am.  My capacity for joy or success is no less attainable than somebody who weighs 114 pounds. And who knows – maybe because of the challenges I’ve gone through with my size, I’m apt to appreciate the smaller things more. All I know is that identifying with myself as a larger person is not a bad thing. It took me awhile to be ok with who I was, and now, there’s a tremendous sense of freedom of being able to accept myself at any weight. I’ll continue to work towards my health, but I’m no less of a person (heh, that’s punny) at 200 pounds… or 100 pounds.

Do you feel that you identify with yourself based on a size? I know I have some naturally thin and petite readers too, so don’t feel that you have to be chubby to chime in. Have you embraced yourself, size and all?


Low-Carb Check In

I’m nearing day 3 of being off all sugar and breads/starches AND RUN FOR YOUR LIFE IF YOU HAVE BREAD BECAUSE I WILL HUNT YOU DOWN. No, actually, I’m good. I’m just all about the dramatic entry! I’m on day three and I feel good. No headaches, no weird cravings, no “flu” like symptoms – but I do feel satisfied! I’m one of those people that gets uncontrollable around carbohydrates. Put a basket of warm sourdough in front of me, and it’s gone. Even worse – put a basket of hot tortilla chips. I’ll be on my third basket before you know it. Give me a choice between a slice of chocolate cake or a slice of hot sourdough with butter – I’m all about the bread.

I've been eating a lot of eggs.

On my honeymoon, I was making random chitchat with a hippydippy lady in the hot tub (We’ll call her Crazy Hot Tub Lady) drinking wine out of a plastic hotel room cup. As she got more loose, she confessed that she was a “medical intuitive”. According to her, I needed to switch to sea salt (I did, for the hell of it), and I also needed to avoid Gluten, as it causes all of my weight gain and storage. She also said I’d have two kids and magically lose all of my weight after being pregnant… and that my first pregnancy would be rough, and that I’d end up teaching elementary-aged children. (Yep – All this after meeting for the first time in a resort hot tub)

Talking to Crazy Hot Tub Lady was made much easier by previous consumption of these.

Given that she wasn’t 1) A doctor 2) A nutritionist, I took this advice with a grain of (sea) salt (heh), but it did make me wonder some things. I always have had problems with carbohydrates – they set me off on a wild, bingey, uncontrollable feeling. Natural carbohydrates like fruit I’ve never had a problem with (but really – who gets fat from eating fruit? exactly.), but I need a BB Anonymous Meeting to keep me on track. (BB = Bread Binger) So yes. Me and carbs are like that married couple we all know, that really hates each other, but when they’re together, it hurts so good that they stay in it. Things like Weight Watchers didn’t work for me because I’d eat all my daily points in one serving of potato chips.

Day three – so far, so good. I am satisfied and I’m eating way less. What did I eat today? 2 eggs, a cup of edamame, a piece of cheese, one salad with grilled chicken, a sugar free jello, and some almonds. None of that is like “Ima stuff my face with bacon and lard for six days cuz its LOW CARB BABY! WHEEE”

Leafy Greens - YUM

I’m not getting on the scale until Friday, because I need to give my body some time to adjust. I’m also flexing induction a little bit by having natural carbs like almonds and carrots – but in very small amounts. I mainly just want to get off sugar, breads and starches – almonds and carrots aren’t going to be the ruin of me.

Have you ever gone low-carb – and if you have – flop or fantastic success?

New Noms, Day 1: Kale Chips

Hello bloggies! Hope you’re all enjoying a wonderful Sunday. I’m pooped from a crazy week, but looking forward to starting Phase 1 of the South Beach Diet tomorrow (Yeah, yeah, I know, spread all the controversy you like, but it works to get me back on track). I went to Costco today and loaded up on stuff like almonds, veggies, and cheese, and I’ll begin baking batches of my preferred foods tonight (like mini-fritatta for breakfast! yum!).

A few days ago a friend of mine sent me a recipe for Kale chips. I pretty much turned my nose up at it and thought, “Phooey – why would I eat baked spinach when I could eat CORN CHIPS?!”. As fate would have it, I was perusing the aisles of Whole Foods when I found myself drawn to bunches of bubbly, rough textured leaves that looked like Dinosaur food – and sure enough, it was called Lacinato Kale. I picked up a bundle for $2.49 and made the recipe today.

First, wash the leaves and then remove the ribs and stems.

I must really love you guys - No Make Up on the world wide web?!

The recipe says to tear into 3 inch pieces, but I’m a rebel and made them into strips. Then, toss with 1 tbsp olive oil and paprika. I deferred because sometimes Paprika tastes like cigarettes, so I sprinkled with 1 tsp Garlic Salt with Parsley.

Bumpy green kale, tossed with EVOO and Garlic Salt

Bake at 350 on a sprayed cookie sheet for 12-15 mins (mine took 20 minutes since my oven is lazy). The end result? Slightly charred, bubbly, brown leaves – that are YUMMY! They’re very light and have a surprisingly satisfying crunch. They’re not very flavorful, but the seasoning takes care of that.

The Finished Product

I’ll be a honest – I was a total skeptic, because usually, substituting baked veggies for something delicious (like corn chips or potato chips) is foul. (Ever heard of mashed cauliflower that *supposedly* tastes like mashed potatoes? It doesn’t. It’s freaking disgusting, and it will make you cry.)

For a new noms experiment, this wasn’t bad! Got any other funky recipe ideas for me? I’m all for trying new things… especially in the next few days when I’ll be salivating at the thought of bread. (But I can eat CHEEEEESE!)

Communication 2.0

Because I am lazy and don’t have the energy to write a post about my weight loss (or lack thereof), please enjoy this essay I just submitted to a communication research journal on campus. And then – DISCUSS!

Communication 2.0

Alyssa A. Lofgren Curran

Getting a hand-written letter in the mail is better than getting a text. Seeing someone smile in real life is better than a tiny, digital emoticon. Seeing your friend on your doorstep is better than hearing the phone ring – but as our world changes, we’re accepting these things as fundamental shifts in the way we communicate. The handwritten letters become less and less frequent, the emoticons replace smiles, and somewhere along the line, we became okay with that.  The way that we express ourselves, the way we show emotion – the way we live – has all changed.

Are these new forms of technology the ultimate evil? Some people would like you to believe they are. Throughout history, new technology has always been feared. When TV came out, people had the same concerns they have today: children would no longer know how to communicate, every word that came out of their mouths would be from a commercial or a poorly written sitcom. Now we worry that our kids won’t know how to talk to each other because they rely on short, badly spelled messages to do their talking – instead of actually, you know, talking. Seeing headlines about babies that drown while their mothers play Farmville doesn’t help new technology’s case either – nor do the countless suicides committed by bullied youth online. But I have hope. I have hope that with the right education, these new technologies don’t have to be considered evil. Anything new will always be kind of scary, because it’s unknown.

Some of us have become digital slaves, always at the beck and call of the electronic leash, forever waiting for the ping of a new message, the lure of a new follower. When your gmail is bursting and you have a friend request from that creepy guy from 5th grade, take a step back, turn off the computer, put down the iPhone. Take a deep breath. Go outside and feel the sun on your face. That overwhelming feeling is a creation of effective digital marketing – one that makes us feel that if we’re not always connected, we’re missing out.

Rather than working to keep up with technology, we need to make technology start to work for us.

In the weeks after the people of Egypt overthrew their government, social media was lauded as the hero of the revolution. What people don’t understand about social media, the Internet or new technology, is that they are tools to aid a revolution. They are not the revolution themselves. If we want to give all the credit to 140 characters or a popular Facebook page, fine, but I prefer to think that these revolutions are the result of groups of passionate people, fighting for what they believe, fighting to make change. While the power of networked technology is undeniably impressive, we can’t forget the power of the people.

I think these are people that would have made the revolution happen no matter what – with or without Google Talk, Twitter, or Facebook. These are people that are sick and tired of just standing by, of letting the corruption, the unfairness, the injustice continue to thrive and exist. Social media helped elevate their cause and spread awareness. It gave them a louder voice in a time when it was hard to hear above all the shouting – but they always had that voice, just like we all do.

We control our own destiny – and we need to stop letting the obsession with new technology control us. It will be there for us tomorrow. I have hope that with the right education and awareness, we can find a happy medium between being hyper- connected and being out of touch.

Technology isn’t something to be feared – it’s something to be educated about. It doesn’t have to control our lives. It can help us or hinder us. But by being aware of how important communication really is, we’ll know when it’s appropriate to go digital, and when it’s not. A face to face conversation will always be more meaningful than a few lines of text on an illuminated screen. By remembering that technology can serve as a convenient tool for communication rather than replace communication as a whole, we can better understand how to make it more effective and less misunderstood. The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by all of the needy technology in your life, remember that it’s a choice – not a requirement.