Assumptions: Why they’re usually never good.

This week, I saw my amazing friend Alan at Sweating Until Happy post this on his Facebook page:

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Do you know Alan? You should! He’s lost over 140 pounds, and is doing a triathalon soon! He’s an awesome athlete. It’s ironic that Alan posted this this week because I’ve also had several innocent assumptions this week come at me in the wrong way. I had a doctor’s appointment with a new practitioner, and after discussing my weight loss goals, he looked at me quizzically and said, “But do you exercise?” It was really hard for me not to pull out the sassy-snarky-sarcastic card that I play so well and be like “Nope. Not at all. In fact, I only move about 12 feet total each day, when I wake up in my bedroom and commute down the hall to my office for work.” However, my face probably showed some irritation as I patiently explained that yes, I hike, I do yoga, I run on the treadmill, I walk, I zumba… I am active. I know that it’s his job as a doctor to make sure I’m getting some physical activity, but I more resent the idea that just because I’m heavy, it’s assumed that I must not move. In the past, I’ve actually whipped out a business card for this blog at doctor’s appointments, just so I don’t have to explain the whole history of my ridiculous weight loss/gain/medical maladies. I may do that next week when I meet with a new endocrinologist… or maybe I’ll just get a t-shirt made that says “YES. I exercise at least three times a week for at least 30 minutes. YES, I am still obese.” (but I’d probably add a smiley face to the end of it, cuz that’s how I roll.) :) (This same doctor told me to lose 100 pounds. I actually did laugh (politely) in his face and said “Yeah, not gonna happen. I’m cool with just 55 more.”
(Underachiever? Nah. Realist? Yah.))

Big girls climb mountains!

Big girls climb mountains!

Then, as if once this week wasn’t enough, I also tried a new fitness class at a new studio. While this comment wasn’t so direct, I got more of the “Oh, have you ever done this before? Is this your first time trying it?” all the while being corrected about the moves. Innocent questions, but perhaps because I’m already sensitive about the whole weight/exercise thing, I felt a tad annoyed as I explained that I’d done this particular type of exercise several times for several years, but that I just like to try different classes. These things come up all the time for all kinds of different people. I know that my single friends hate how people always assume they’re lonely or unhappy. There are a million different assumptions we make about people at any given time, and that’s fine, because it’s human nature. But maybe if you’re going to assume something, pause for a moment before verbalizing. I have to work on this too. As a chronic sufferer of foot in mouth disease, I definitely have said things I shouldn’t have, or made assumptions, or reinforced stereotypes… and I’m workin’ on it. And that’s fine. We will never be perfect at never offending anyone or hurting feelings. But, we can work on an awareness, a type of “sympatico” that you gently roll around in your mind, reminding you that next time you want to blurt out something like “Good for you!” to the heavy person huffing and puffing around the block, they may not need those kudos. AND, those words of encouragement? Might actually be kind of a downer for the person on the receiving end. While the intentions are good, of course, remember what Alan said. You never know where someone is at in their journey.

Where have you experienced an assumption that didn’t quite jive with you? I know it happens with career types (like assuming because I’m a social media manager, I update my Facebook and watch YouTube videos all day), body types, ethnicities, hair color… you name it! I guess any trait could create an unwanted assumption, couldn’t it? :)

 

Weight Loss Surgery

Weight is always a tricky subject. When you talk about your efforts to lose weight, other people’s responses range from the kind-hearted but “yeah right” reaction of “You don’t need to lose weight!” to the “I have a product that will change your life!” to the “Have you considered gastric bypass?” As this little blog has grown, I’ve become less ashamed of telling people I want and need to lose weight, because hell, I write about it several times a week. I’m not embarrassed anymore. My weight is a big problem, and it’s a big problem that is not exclusive to just me. America is getting fatter, and the more we act ashamed and embarrassed, the less we’re thinking forward in terms of action. Fat happens. It sucks. Let’s try to fix it, you know?

When someone used to whisper to me that they had gastric bypass, I’d always think, “Oh, wow. Good for you!”. Usually, these people are now super healthy and average weight, and I would have never known they’d had anything done other than them telling me. Back when my weight problem was more one of overeating and underactivity, I’d brush off weight loss surgery, thinking ‘Naaah, I don’t need that. I just need to try harder.” I even asked a doctor at one point, and he told me I was in a gray area, where I wasn’t *quite* heavy enough to need it. Back then, I thought weight loss surgery was the lazy person’s solution – get your stomach stapled, eat all ya want, lose weight. I now know that that was a very naive assumption. I’ve been lucky enough to make friends in the bariatric blog community, and I’ve even been added to some of their private groups. I know now, from these women and men, that weight loss surgery is NOT the easy way out. You still need to lose weight before you get the surgery, and then before the actual procedure, there’s physical and mental counseling. After, it’s all about portion control, vitamins, protein, reducing junk or suffering extreme side effects. And once you get past the physical baggage of extreme weight loss, there’s the mental side of things. Loose skin, new clothes, jealousy, dealing with overeating, etc.

I used to think weight loss surgery wasn’t an option for me, because I always wanted to do things the “natural” way, aka, not having somebody carve into me with a knife. However, as my weight has steadily crept up despite my improved habits, and especially now, knowing what I do about the conditions making my weight loss goals feel damn near impossible, I’m going to admit that the idea of weight loss surgery has crept into my head more than once. The reactions around me are mixed. Some of my family members don’t like the idea, for the obvious reason of it being a major surgery that can have profound negative side effects. Some of my friends are nonchalant, saying they want me to do whatever makes me happy. Some of my friends are downright against it, one who even reads this blog, who recently schooled me on how me getting weight loss surgery just didn’t match the whole tone and concept of this blog. I have a follow-up appointment with a new doctor tomorrow, and I’m dreading stepping on the scale. I’ve been eating well, exercising and on my new medication, but I’m so afraid the scale will do what it did last time – show a gain. I asked my doctor about weight loss surgery last time I saw her, and she said we consider that when no eating plan is working. I’m guessing if I haven’t seen results tomorrow, I’ll move from a low-carb diet to a no-carb diet. But then, if that doesn’t work, what’s next? I’m not saying I want to, but I am saying I’m giving it some thought.

Tell me what you think about weight loss surgery. Do you know about the different types? Do you know anybody with success stories, or horror stories? I know several people who have both, but for privacy reasons, I’m not going to link them here. What do you think?

2012 Turkey Trot – My First 10k

April and I about a mile in.

Hello! Yes, blog friends, I have FINALLY received the card reader I complained about not having several times this week. Which means… PICTURES! VOILA! (Did you know that word is “Wah-lah!” For the longest time I just wrote wahlah. Had no idea it was Voila. Anyways, random is me.) So! All week I had been pumping myself up to do the third annual Petaluma Turkey Trot. Sure, I’d need to wake up earlier than I do for work, and sure, it’d be 44 degrees when we started, and sure, a large portion of the trail was up a steep, rocky hill. But, SURE, I could do it!

I arrived in Petaluma the night before and my sister and I spent the night awake and giggling like we have too many times. Finally, we knocked out around 1:45 AM, and I awoke the next morning to the blaring alarm clock set 14 minutes too fast (I guess delinquency runs in the family). My sister had an ailment that could have prevented her from going, but I’ll let her tell you all about that tomorrow. (She’s a trooper! Go April!) We got dressed, got in the car, and were on our way!

We showed up at the park at 8:38, where everyone was supposed to be meeting at 8:30. There were no turkey trotters in sight. Plenty of cars, but no people. Had we missed the turkey trot? Indeed we had! But, since we are super hardcore and were determined to come home with the glow of pre-feast fitness victory, we relied on our pal Melody’s trusty sense of navigation (and her phone) and created our own route. We were initially going to do the 5k track, but as we got going, catching up and BSing about life, the Sonoma Aroma filled our lungs and we were filled with motivation and inspiration, fueled by perspiration. We trudged forward, stopping to check out cows and compare manicures.

Reached the top of Helen Putnam Park without going into cardiac arrest. YAY!

Right before this picture was taken, I was sitting on a bench, breathing heavily, half wondering if I had overdone it on the huge, steep hill leading up to the nature trail called Helen Putnam Park. I had pushed myself forward, but it was a long, steep climb and all of a sudden I felt really out of breath and could tell I was having a pollen reaction, combined with hauling 50 extra pounds up a huge hill. (Long story short – when you have crazy allergies like I do, if you suddenly take in a lot of pollen or an inhalant, your body gets a little… fuzzy feeling. This can happen even with allergy meds ,and it sucks – it’s kind of like feeling super super tired all of a sudden yet panicky at the same time. It’s a big fat fail.) I sat on the bench, feeling frustrated and wondering why this all had to be so damn hard. Hadn’t I just said I was feeling more in shape? I said this aloud to my friend Melody (who has lost 70 pounds – SUPER STAR! She’s amazing!) – and she provided even more weight loss wisdom. “It’s hard, but you have to push through it. Just keep going. Just. keep. going.” She enunciated the last three words, and I realized, she’s right. Everything I’ve ever done that’s been worth doing has been HARD. Victory and success doesn’t come without major perseverance. I got off the bench… and I kept going.

The beautiful Petaluma, California

The rest of the trail was awesome, as we got on top of these hills which then took us through a beautiful wooded area, dappled with morning light and gently rolling fog. Once I made it past that hill, the rest of the hike was gravy. We were jolly and laughing the whole way down, proud that we had done something so good for ourselves on a day that’s usually good for the soul but bad for the arteries. By the time we got back to where we started, we had clocked 6.9 miles – just over a 10k, and according to MyFitnessPal, a 910 calorie burn. I think I need to make this a new Thanksgiving day tradition, because it made the rest of the day feel so rewarding. I felt great after my workout and I’m proud to say now that I can walk a 10k.

April, Melody and I after our Turkey Trot.

Have you or would you ever participate in a “turkey trot”?

A merry merry christmas

Hello everyone! Hope you had a fantastic Christmas (if ya celebrate). Matt and I celebrated Santa’s arrival by heading up to Petaluma, a little town north of San Francisco where both sets of parents live.

We woke up bright and early at 8 AM at Matt’s parents to open gifts. Santa generously gifted us with a beautiful Cuisinart juicer… which we’ve already used to make fresh orange juice, and my favorite, apple pear juice. This will be making frequent guest appearances on the blog in the next couple of weeks! Matt’s dad surprised Shirley, my mother in law, with a month long cruise to Tahiti and Fiji to kick off their retirement next year! Here she is after she opened up her gift – a mini cruise ship!

So cute!

After gifts at the Currans, we headed over to the Lofgrens to celebrate Christmas there, too. My dad made bacon egg cups – bacon cooked in a muffin pan, filled with a whole egg and baked with cheese on top. It was a protein-packed, heart attack of a breakfast – and an enjoyable one, at that. Here’s the recipe!

 After breakfast we opened gifts from the Lofgrens, and we scored all sorts of great things like a pair of calf-high boots, an adorable olive oil and vinegar cruet, underwear and cute sweaters. Everybody spoiled us – as they do every year – and despite the mountain of new stuff we got, I was reminded all day about the generosity and love that’s so abundant on both sides of our families. We are truly, truly lucky!

PRESENTS!

After gift opening was complete, we (the kids) saw the Muppets at the $3 theatre (WOCKA WOCKA!) and then we headed back to the Currans’ house for an amazing dinner of prime rib with Yorkshire pudding, creamed spinach, creamed corn and potato wedges. I made a pecan pie for dessert, and we also had some of my mom’s homemade fudge and kolacky, a Czech jam cookie. Matt’s dad is also quite the cook and I consider it a huge bonus that I married into such a food-loving family – now I’m surrounded by foodies on either side!

After dinner we headed back to the Lofgrens’ house where we had to play the annual game of Monopoly. The game started off slow for me, and I was bored within five minutes, assuming I’d be monopoly-less and broke after my second turn around the board. However… I scored $1200 from the free parking kitty, and before I knew it, I was rollin’ high – and claimed the official title of REIGNING MONOPOLY CHAMPION.

I woke up the next day with a raging stomach ache thanks to my celebratory feasting, and then it was back on the road to return to Los Angeles. I had a vacation day from work today but tomorrow it’s back to the grind. This was a wonderful Christmas holiday with both of our families, and now, with a few days left of work until the new year, I’m beginning to reflect on 2011 and think about small changes I can make in 2012. I hope you had a wonderful holiday, too – what was your favorite memory?

 

 

 

Chunky

One good thing about this blog, and one of the reasons that I started it, is I realized that I wanted to blog on a topic in which I would have a never-ending stream of things to write about. Not all of them are funny, like I had hoped, given my blog’s name and tagline, but all of them are honest and hopefully evoke a little emotion inside of your heart. Tonight’s post is kind of a bummer, and I apologize for that – but if I’m going to be completely honest in my little space on the internet about my weight loss quest, I need to be willing to bare some of these difficult details.

OMG! A bathing suit shot of me surfaces on the internet! Scandalous @ 11 years old.

I must have been 11, or maybe 12 years old. I was wearing the biggest size in the junior’s jeans – i think at the time, a 14 or a 15 depending on the brand. They didn’t make Junior Plus back then – it was just juniors, and if you were too fat for that, Misses. It was a precarious thing to try on jeans because I was burdened early on with blooming hips and often left dressing rooms in tears, cursing my full, changing body.

I recall after a particular shopping trip coming home from the store and craving a popsicle. My Nana was visiting from Tennessee and I remember her leaning back in the recliner as I came in the door. She was just the type of grandma you imagine in movies – heavy, but in the squishy old lady way, with tight gray curls and a never-ending supply of lifesavers and tic-tacs (for her diabetes). My Nana was a shocker because she looked like any sweet grandma on the outside, but when she opened her mouth, unexpected swear words would fly out of her pink-lipsticked mouth.

My beloved Nana and Uncle Larry in Georgia

“What are you doing, Lyss?” she called from her recliner, curious about the immediate opening of the refrigerator so soon after I arrived home. “I’m just getting a popsicle,” I replied, tearing the cold stick out of the waxy paper, happy that I had found an orange one amidst all the leftover red ones. My favorite flavor was green – for lime, but those always went fast in a house of three kids.

“Are you sure you want to do that?” she said.

I looked down at the popsicle, not sure why anyone WOULDN’T want to eat a popsicle – cold, refreshing, easy to carry, quick to eat. “Why?” I asked back, at this time licking the melting juice from the bottom of the stick.

“Well,” she said, her voice distinctively trailing off.  ”You’re getting kind of chunky.”

I froze. “Chunky” is a word reserved for a type of soup. Not pretty, 11-year-old girls with wavy blonde hair who win school-wide spelling bees and play flute in the concert band.

I felt the instant welling of hurt inside of me, churning upwards like vomit in my throat. I can’t remember what I did after this, but I’m pretty sure I went upstairs and cried – cried to my little 11 year old self for being a big fat failure and for not being able to resist a popsicle. Despite my Nana’s warning, I remained chunky.

It’s hard writing about this, because I know I WAS chunky. What was hard about it was the way it was presented. I know my Nana didn’t mean to hurt me, and this post isn’t about a “Mean Grandma”. She also battled her weight and had lots to lose. I try to put myself in her position, to think about what I’d say to my future daughter or granddaughter if their life was so quickly mirroring mine, one headed towards the grim and painful path of obesity. It’s things like this that make me so afraid for when I have children, because their worldview can be so easily melded depending on the lessons you teach them.

If I was my Nana, would I have said it a little differently? Would I have waited until there WASN’T food in my hand, albeit a 50-calorie popsicle? Would I have saved my concern for my parents, or rather had a frank discussion about exercising and healthy food? Might I have said, “Have an apple instead”? Would I keep the popsicles under a locked box with a key, and have only frozen grapes instead? I don’t know. I don’t know, I don’t know, I don’t know. She wasn’t saying it to hurt my feelings, she was saying it to try and prevent me from starting down the very path she herself struggled on so often.

If you have kids, or when you have kids, how would you handle it if they were getting a little chunky? Would you be so matter of fact and hope that bluntness would drive home the point, or would you approach it in a completely different manner? My father has always been very pragmatic and closed-mouth about his daughters’ weight, whereas my mother is quite a bit more blunt. Is a child’s perception of what a word means just that – THEIR individual perception, or is it the way the message is presented that carries the meaning?

Weekly Weigh In #2

No trumpet fanfare this time. :( Yup. I weighed in on Saturday and lost a massive…. .2 pound. Not even half of a pound. .2 of a pound. As Matt said, “That’s a fart.”

I ate healthy things like Greek salad this week.

I was pissed. Like “wailing on the punching bag so good that the teacher complimented on my super strong jabs in kickboxing class” pissed. I weigh in before my boxing class on Saturday mornings on my gym. I worked out and seethed about the fact that I tracked EVERYTHING, from the handful of Doritos to the dinner of nothing but popcorn the night I saw Harry Potter. I tracked the good, the bad, and the ugly, thanks to the little pop-up reminders on my iPhone. The temptation to cheat was strong, to lie and think that I really had 1.5 cups of pasta and track 1. But I knew cheating on tracking would only be cheating myself.

I love boxing.

How did I react to my lackluster weigh in? I ate. I pigged out. I didn’t track anything yesterday. I had an Indian dinner with my gal pals and we enjoyed a very rich meal. I scarfed a samosa, butter chicken, matar paneer, white rice, naan, a chai latte and a giant coconut frozen yogurt with dark chocolate chips. I did EXACTLY what I need to learn to avoid. I need to learn how to not let a small letdown turn into a big fat snowball avalanche of “Screw it, I’ve already messed up, might as well eat whatever I want.” Any tips?

I’m still disappointed about my lack of a loss but I think I’ve figured out what it could be. I tracked everything, and used my weekly points in addition to activity points. Even though I was within my points allotment, I made some bad choices this week, like salty, greasy things that didn’t pack as much of a punch as leafy greens or lean proteins would have. When I did lose weight on Weight Watchers the last time I tried it, I  didn’t usually use my flex points or activity points. I know my body just well enough to know that the tiniest little screw up can equal a disappointment at the scale. So next week, I’ll be measuring. I’ll be using the recipe builder. I’ll be staying away from the Doritos and movie theatre popcorn. I’m giving myself a fresh start tomorrow. I’m also going to step up my cardio, because I only made it to the gym twice last week.

I’m also going to avoid eating salty food the night before my weigh in. Because somewhere in the cavernous depths of my mind, I’d like to think that I really DID lose weight this week, but the loss was just… lost, among water retention and bloating. Next week, weight loss, you will be mine!!!!!!

***Please send prayers and thoughts to the families and victims of the Norway shooting, in addition to the families and victims of the Chinese train crash. Please also send healing thoughts for addicts around the world who are struggling like Amy Winehouse was. Even though her death was expected, a loss of  life is still profound and should be respected rather than ridiculed in its earliest moments.