I was born fat and I grew up fat.
I always fantasized what life would be like if I wasn't fat. I always knew it wasn't my "glands" or a "thyroid problem". I ate like a pig and didn't exercise. If there was anything I wished my parents had done differently in raising us it would have been to make eating right and exercising a priority in life. But it wasn't. TV and fast food was. We were creatures of comfort. Hedonists, really. Food was love. It helped you to celebrate life's accomplishments and comfort you when you were sad. I never had a mood that couldn't be enhanced or alleviated by food.
Growing up fat was hard. Especially as a girl. In the 70's when I was a girl, fat was the absolute last thing that was acceptable. Fat is way more accepted societally now than it was then. Names? I got called all kinds of names. Don't think there is one name or fat insult I haven't heard. "Bertha Butt", "Wide Load", "Fat Albert", "Fatty, fatty two by four", "You'd have to roll her in flour and look for the wet spot".....you know, nice things like that. I still cringe when I hear someone use the old saying "like a bull in a china shop", because I remember hearing that about myself in about third or fourth grade. Talk about crushing a girl's hope that she could ever be feminine or, God forbid, pretty. Dressing out for P.E.? Not going to happen. In middle school, my P.E. teachers finally finagled a way for me to get a passing grade in that class because even at the age of twelve, I knew there was something very cruel and almost barbaric about making a child take their clothes off in front of a group of strangers, and I refused. There. Was. No . Fucking. Way. But I was a straight-A student otherwise and they hated to flunk me because of that, so they let me help out with the girls basketball team in lieu of changing my clothes.
I think I was in third grade the first time I was put on a "diet". My Gramma decided one summer when I went to stay with her and Grampa that she would help me lose weight, and she did. I lost thirty pounds that summer. I gained it all back by the next summer.
The next time I lost any real weight was in my early twenties when I discovered Weight Watchers. I had read a book about the life of the lady who "invented" Weight Watchers, Jean Nidetch. I found it so inspirational. I found some meetings locally and dragged my little sister along with me. I think I started at about 290 and lost down to 220. Then I gained it back. A few years later Phen-Fen came out. When I started that I was up to about 300 even, and lost 90 pounds back down to 210 which was the lowest I had ever been as an adult. Then that got taken off the market and depression and weight gain crept back into my life. The more weight I gained, the more depressed I got. The more depressed I got, the more I ate. Chicken/egg. Vicious, vicious circle. I vicious circled myself up to a high of 317. My weight stabillized there for a few years.
One day, I went to see my doctor. She was a new doctor that I had chosen because the doctor I had been going to was in the same floor of the same medical building my Mom worked in and that doctor had known my Mom really well, and it was just too painful and emotional for me to go to appoinments after Mom passed away. Anyway, Miss New Doctor was trying very hard to get me to lose weight. She cajoled and prodded me. She suggested weight loss surgery. I was against it. Even at the size and in the shape I was in, I was against it. I felt it was too drastic and was afraid of going under general anesthesia and of having someone cut into my abdomen again. (I had already had two abdominal surgeries.) But one day my doctor said to me, "If you don't do something about your weight, the best thing that can happen to you is you will have a heart attack and die. The worst thing is you will have a stroke and live." Whoa.
So I agreed grudgingly to go see a surgeon. I went and still wasn't convinced it was the best thing for me. I went to a seminar. I did research. LOTS of research. I went into this thing not wanting it, wanting to find a reason not to do it. Looking for horror stories. But after all that, I considered my options and found that if I didn't do this, I would never know for sure. I knew a couple of people in real life who had the surgery and were doing fine. They said they would do it all over again.
I had the surgery on May 2, 2005. I was scared shitless, but I did fine. I had one small complication about a month after surgery, but it was cleared up with a course of antibiotics. It was ironic because the complication was caused by antibiotics. Anyway...
I know this surgery isn't the answer for everyone. I didn't want it to be the answer for me, but it was. There are some people who have a real hard time with complications after surgery. I wasn't one of them. There are some people who find it hard to live a normal life after surgery, I am not one of them either. I eat what I want, I just eat tiny portions. I don't make a big deal going out to restaurants. I just order what looks good, and take most of it home. What used to be one meal is now three meals. I do try and eat my protein first, veggies second, and if there is room left for starches then I will have some whole wheat bread or half a potato or something. I do find that I get hungry about once every three hours and I have several small meals a day. Here is what a typical days worth of food is for me on a workday:
Breakfast: coffee and a slice of cheese toasted on whole wheat bread.
Snack: A South Beach High Protein Cereal Bar
Lunch: some beef jerky or a cup of soup. Sometimes both if I am really hungry.
Dinner: A frozen entree with at least 15 grams of protein in it. My favorite is the Weight Watchers Smart Ones Salisbury Steak with Asparagus on the side.
Snack: a cup of cottage cheese with pineapple.
And sometimes one more slice of cheese toast before bed.
It's a little different on my days off. I eat more "real food" on my days off when John and I are more likely to cook for ourselves. But we try to keep it healthy, like the grilled steaks and spinach salad we had the other night.
I always keep beef jerky and South Beach bars in my backpack. I constantly drink water. Aquafina FlavorSplash is my favorite. I take a big handful of vitamins every day.
I am not supposed to drink soda, but sometimes I do. Diet soda of course. I just pour it over ice and stir it up and blow bubbles in it with a straw so it goes as flat as possible. I don't do it every day.
I admit I still have issues with exercise. I'm working on it.
I do still eat fast food. Burger King mostly. But I order off the kids menu, and I still can't eat it all. I can eat about half a kids cheeseburger, and a handful of fries. I can have one Taco Supreme from Taco Bell. KFC is a no go. MUCH too greasy, makes me ill. Same with Mickey D's. Pizza still rocks my world. But one slice at a time. LOL!
Things I have to be careful with are things like chips and salty snacks. I love them and can still eat them. They don't fill me up like real food does. I can eat a little bit of candy too, so I try to stay away from that. But I will get ill if I eat too much of it, so I just have to stick to one piece of really good chocolate or something. I take tiny bites and let it melt in my mouth to savor it. Dove Dark is the best. One thing that I use in my favor is that vegetables and fruit don't fill me up too much either, so I try to eat as much of those as I can. I can only eat about half a sandwich, but I can eat a big salad.
I don't really have any advice for anyone who is trying to lose weight. It is such a personal and individual endeavor. For me it was mostly mental. I was lucky enough to have accepted and somewhat addressed my emotional eating. Overeaters Anonymous helped me alot some years before I had surgery. Also the "When Food Is Love" books by Geneen Roth. In my opinion the most effective weight loss program starts in your head. All I can say is that the wisest thing I ever heard anyone say about weight loss came from, of all people, Richard Simmons. I know he is a total goofball but he once said, "You haven't failed until you have stopped trying." That stuck with me.
Here are the pics:
Best before pic EVER!
About halfway through the process:
At my wedding. I was 210 in this pic.
A few months after getting married. I think was about 180 here.
On our first wedding anniversary and weighing in at 175:
Thanks for reading all that. It has been a long time coming.