Oh ... Really?

Category: Fitness and Diet

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Why I got fat; And I what I am doing about it

I have been posting on Facebook about my weight loss efforts, and after having posted a before and work-in-progress pictures, I am sure there are some folks that are a bit surprised, shocked even, to see what has become of that little, teeny, skinny chick you used to know ... you know, ladies, the one you used to mentally hiss at as I swung by in my itty bitty size 2 jeans. I will be upfront - in the last 7 or 8 years, I put on about 60 pounds. Yup ... you got that right - SIXTY pounds of flabby blubber hangin' off my once incredibly hawt bod. It's OK, you can gloat. Now get over it and pay attention ... this is important.

OK, this is the me that used to be ... weighing probably about 110 - 115 pounds. Those are Guess jeans, waist size 24. I normally wore a size 2 and my waist measured 22 inches.

skinny me

That was on my 35th birthday - 1999. I stayed about that same size until sometime around 2003. By 2009, when I got married again, this is what I looked like ... my dress is a size 14, and only by the grace of God and Spanx was I able to squeeze into it that day.

fatty me

Ughhh ... I know, right?

So, what the heck happened? How in the world could a slender young woman who could eat anything she wanted without gaining an ounce get to look like a fat cow? Holy crap ... that's ME and I still can hardly believe it!

Well, in a nutshell, what happened to me is low fat diets. And what got me on that low fat diet was too much processed convenience foods, too much refined flours, too much sugar, and not enough fat. That's right ... NOT ENOUGH FAT. If you want the detailed explanation of that, check out this book, Why We Get Fat: And What to Do About It by Gary Taubes.

He could have written that book about me and my weight gain adventures. Seriously. And if you are avoiding natural fats in your diet to keep your weight down, or to lose weight, you really need to read that book too.

Long ago, when I would find that a few pounds creeping on, or my jeans getting a bit snug, my go-to eating plan would be chicken, rice and broccoli for dinner every night for a week or two, and I would skip the ice cream and other treats too. It worked. Then. But then a good bit of weight showed up, and I had to get serious about it. My parents had gone on the American Heart Association Heart Healthy diet and lost an amazing amount of weight. So, I sort of followed suit, but I had no idea what I was doing. I just went for low fat ... if it had no fat, it was all good. Rice, pasta, pretzels, even Tootsie Rolls were allowed. But no butter, oil, cheese, ice cream and the like. I would lose some weight, go back to my regular habits, then it would come back. Lather, rinse, repeat. Factor in also that my lifestyle changed - I was no longer working on the ambulance, burning hundreds of calories every call, every shift. I was sitting at a desk all day ... blithely munching away on Tootsie Rolls and Bit O' Honeys all day, then going home and cooking a meal fit for a teenage boy. Plus ice cream for dessert ... low fat ice cream, that is.

So, five ... ten ... fifteen pounds crept on. Then when it became 20, 25 I became mildly concerned. But not really ... at the same time, I completely lost interest in dating. No, that's not quite right ... I became downright hostile towards the idea of being involved with anyone romantically. So I was fat, that just kept the jerks away from me.

Well, times and attitudes change, and the good Lord led me to a good man and that's all been written about before. But at the same time, I found myself caring very much about my appearance again, now that I had someone to look good for. We were engaged, and I was 40 pounds overweight. I was having so much fun being in love, I scarcely noticed that another 20 pounds crept on! In the 3 months leading up to the wedding, I busted my ass in the gym three nights a week, and I counted each and every gram of fat that crossed my lips. It was a carb free for all though. And I weight exactly the same on my wedding night as I did 3 months before. When I got the wedding pictures back, I wanted to die. I could not believe how gross I had gotten to be.

Emotionally devastating ... oh yeah. But I plugged on, following the recommendations for a healthy diet that would lead to weight loss as promoted by the Department of Health, the USDA, WebMD, my personal physician and just about every Tom, Dick and Harry that I would ask. Eat less, eat low fat foods, exercise more. I did as instructed and the scale remained right where it was. Eventually, I nearly gave up.

Then something happened that completely rocked my world (which is very private and personal, so don't ask ... ), and I knew that I had to do something and quickly. Everything I hold dear on this earth depended on my losing this gawd-awful blubber that had accumulated on my skinny self. Being somewhat OCD, I needed a highly structured plan that I could count on - today I will eat this, this and this. So, I got on the Medifast plan. It's like Nutrisystem - food is ordered and delivered to the house, five meals a day plus one "lean and green" meal that we cooked. Rich got on the plan too - as you can see from the wedding picture, he had a pound or two to lose too.

It worked, somewhat. My loss was very slow. The plan boasts an average of 3 to 5 pounds a week. I was losing less than 2. (Rich, on the other hand, was losing 5 to 8 pounds a week!) Though stressful, depressing and disheartening, I carried on. In 4 months, I have managed to lose about 30 pounds. That's still 30 more than I was in the first picture, but I was no longer obese, as classified by my BMI. My waist has gone from 38 inches to 30. I can wear size 8 jeans again, after being in 14s for the last couple of years. Light at the end of the tunnel, but still so far away ... and I was feeling like crap most days, with no energy, fighting the depression and general malaise. My skin broke out, hair is thinning, and other changes were taking place in various bodily systems that were disturbing at best, at times agonizing.

And then I came across Gary Taubes' book, and then another one, The Perfect 10 Diet: 10 Key Hormones That Hold the Secret to Losing Weight and Feeling Great-Fast!. Reading these, it finally all fell together and I figured out what had happened to me ... the low-fat diet, along with the processed, refined grains and carbs that acted together to wreck my metabolism and pile the weight on me. Even the Medifast diet is horrible, nutritionally speaking. Eating 800 calories a day, with less than 30 grams of fat, most of it engineered food and the majority of the protein coming from soy isolate protein is not good for any body. Mine is in full rebellion. The only good part is the weight I have lost, and that I have "detoxed" off of sugar and refined carbs.

I am going to start eating according to the information in these two books starting next week. Why wait until then, I don't know, other than I need time to plan and shop and reorganize my kitchen and life. I know now that what I have been doing has been all wrong ... totally wrong. I have been lucky in that I only put on weight. I could have become diabetic, developed cancer or serious heart disease. I already have heart arrhythmia and some blood imbalances with Vitamin D and iron. I hope it's not too late.

The Perfect 10 diet is one that I am familiar with ... eat whole, natural, unprocessed foods, including fats and oils. Carbs are not restricted, but eaten in moderation from vegetable, fruit and whole grain sources. Organic, preferably. Why familiar? Well, back when I was earth-mama with little babies, wearing Birkenstocks, keeping an organic garden, making all our bread myself from whole grain flours, buying our food from a whole-foods co-op, I lived that lifestyle ... and despite having one babe after another, eating as I pleased - from good, whole, natural foods - I lost pregnancy weight quickly and without even trying. And I stayed slim even after moving away from that way of eating for years ... until I started following the doctors and nutritionists recommendation to limit fats in my diet.

So here I am, 4 months ago and now ...
work in progress

Check back later to see what happens next. Oh, and Rich's weight loss? He's blogging about it at his site ... go check it out.

Please read those books ... most likely, what you think you know about good nutrition and weight loss diets is all wrong, especially if you got it from the government. Seriously, what you don't know could kill you.

Posted by LissaKay on 02/01/11 at 11:32 PM in ~ Fitness and Diet ~ Food ~ Matters of the Heart ~ Personal
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Friday, May 18, 2007

“Diet” is not a 4-letter word

Time for another update on the weight-loss/fitness progress - I am down another 5 pounds. That may not sound like much, but in the fat/muscle trade-off, it is adding up to, or rather, subtracting, a lot of inches.

imageUnfortunately, as every female knows, when weight is lost, the first thing to go is the rack. Dammit. My girls was gettin' to be kind of impressive. Impressive, that is, from the perspective of someone that used to wear a nearly-B, even after 3 kids. There's always a trade-off though, I had a back bumper that put table lamps in mortal danger every time I walked through the room.

Now remember, kids ... I used to be a size 2. My waist was 24 inches. When I graduated from high school, I weighed 95 pounds. When I attended my 10 year reunion, I weighed 105. That was after 3 kids, too. (Speaking of reunions, my class's 25th is coming up. Even more incentive to lose this junk in the trunk!)

So what happened? I kept that trim figure until about 5 years ago. That was when I went from a physically active job to a desk job. About ten pounds crept on, and just never got around to doing anything about it. I wasn't dating, or even interested in doing so ... my son was very ill, and that was taking up all my attention. Then about three years ago, it really hit hard. I went through a huge nightmare of a battle with my Ex over my daughter and my right to be her mother. Big stress, lots of eating. Shortly after that resolved, I injured my back and what little activity I was still doing went to nothing. I moved slowly, and as little as possible. Then I quit smoking. Right after that, I got laid off from my job. For two months, I sat around, feeling sorry for myself, stressing out, my back was still killing me, my kids' issues were still needing attention ... and all I did was eat. I was hugely fat and I just did not care. Not at all.

It was really my back that finally got me motivated to do something. It got better, to a point, but I know that the extra weight was not doing me any good and neither was the lack of exercise and activity. I was tired of being in pain all the time. It still gives me trouble and I can move to a point of pain at any time, but it's not a constant stabbing pain anymore.

So here I am. Better than halfway to my first goal. The slacks I wear to work are hilariously too big now. I treated myself to a new pair of jeans three weeks ago when I hit the halfway mark ... they are already a little loose. I treated "the girls" to a couple of new outfits too, but that also a necessity due to their previous trappings falling apart. But I am not ready to go all out for a new wardrobe yet. I will get smaller! I will!

imageA big part of this plan involves taking control of my food intake. I do love all the things that are fattening ... ice cream, pizza, cookies, and I have never met a chocolate I didn't like. I cannot and will not restrict carbs ... I joke that this is because I am Italian and Irish, and a girl needs her pasta and potatoes. But it just does nothing for me. I tried it once before, and gained 5 pounds in 3 days. I was also bit cranky ... if I'd had enough energy, I would have bitch-slapped anyone that got close enough. Total carb elimination is also dangerous. It really messes with hormones, electrolytes and enzymes ... all the good stuff that keeps us keepin' on and our little bods in tune. When I get the fat content in my diet down to bare minimums is when the weight really starts dropping off. I am following no real regimen, just trying to keep the daily fat intake below 30-35 grams. With reasonable food choices, it's really rather easy, and I don't feel too deprived. I can even "cheat" and make up for it later.

For instance, here's what I ate today:
Breakfast: Cinnamon-raisin bagel and a cup of yogurt - Fat: 1 gram, calories, 230
Lunch: Lean Cuisine (today was shrimp and chicken rice jambalaya) Fat: 5 grams, Calories: 270
Afternoon: (Company luncheon table scraps*) 2 chocolate chip cookies - Fat: 5 grams, Calories: 100
Dinner: Poached salmon, salad with vidalia onion dressing, french bread - Fat: 12 grams, Calories: 425
Dessert: Fresh strawberries on angel food cake slices, topped with fat-free cool whip: Fat: 1 (ONE!) gram, Calories: 200

Totals: Fat - 24 grams, Calories - 1225

(*When the corporate big-wigs have a meeting or luncheon, they leave the leftovers in the lunch room for us peons. We refer to these leavings as table-scraps. Thank you, sir. May I have another?)

I also had a few more calories in the creamer for my coffee, maybe 30 or so and a couple fat grams. A couple of diet cokes and 3 liters of water adds nothing calorie wise, but are good also.

imageI put in a solid cardio work-out tonight, doing step-aerobics for an hour. Last night I did kick-boxing with 3 lbs weights. Tuesday, I did a 30 minute ab work-out following by an hour of weight lifting. Monday, I did an hour of step, followed by an hour of yoga. Tomorrow morning is power yoga. Lovin' that yoga! I am really beginning to see improvement in my physical fitness, strength and flexibility. I am quite pleased.

My daughter has been quite the little cheerleader. "Dang Mom! You're getting so small!" she will say. Then she'll try to dress me up in her clothes (right!) and she says I look cute. What a riot. She has lost a lot of weight herself and is looking quite hot. Hot enough that I want to lock her in her room until she is 35.

Some of the guys at work have been quite encouraging. They work-out also, and frequently tell me I am looking good, giving me thumbs-up when I say I'm on my way to go work-out. One young fellow in particular has been very supportive, and damn if he isn't just as buff and cute as can be. If I was 20-something, I would be most interested.

The guys are great. The one other female in my office is being a petty bitch. She talks a lot about her weight-loss efforts and is quick to criticize my non-diet diet. Then she goes and gets breakfast of French toast and bacon, and eats it right under my nose. She gets all miffed when I ask her to move it to the other side of the desk because the temptation is killing me. Then, when I come in with my lunch, she remarks that it smells like burning rubber. And it's not just a single remark, she goes on and on and on. I ran into her at the store one evening, while I was getting something from the frozen foods. She loudly said, "Getting more rubber to burn?"

I've kept quiet about her bitchiness and hypocrisy ... until today, when she made a snide remark about the cookies I treated myself to. I ripped into her pretty good ... I told her that I had enough of her crap about my food, and preaching to me about what I should and should not eat, at the same time she was having a daily feeding frenzy. I said she should put her money where her mouth is, rather than all that food, and she might be able to lose weight like I have. As I said that, I yanked on the waist band of my pants to show the three inch gap. But I paid for that: she whined and carried on how it wasn't her fault she was fat, she can't help herself from eating, that she was quitting smoking, that she went off of birth control and back on, that she had a migraine, had allergies, blah blah blah. As I left for the day, after an hour of this whining, I said, "I got two words for you: Personal Responsibility. Try it."

Bah! Petty people are a waste of time.

Now, it's time for some strawberries and cream. Yum!

Posted by LissaKay on 05/18/07 at 10:42 PM in ~ Fitness and Diet
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Thursday, April 19, 2007

Let’s Go Shopping!

As of this morning, I have lost half the weight that I set out to lose. While I am not quite back to being Little Miss Hardbody, I could be called Ms Saggy Britches. Damn this feels good! Except that my pants look kinda silly now ... time to go shopping!

My workout routine could be a little better. I am doing step aerobics twice a week, trying to get in two sculpting/weight lifting classes a week, and an abs class. I have also gotten back into yoga, which I am trying to do a couple times a week. But it's a bit of a challenge, since the time I have available for this is a bit limited. But it is better than nothing! I hope to really be able to devote more time to working out next month during semester break. Maybe I will even dare to wear shorts this summer!

Posted by LissaKay on 04/19/07 at 05:37 PM in ~ Fitness and Diet
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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Burn, baby burn!

Not having health insurance sucks. I am currently employed through a contractor for my company. They do offer insurance, or rather a pale facsimile of insurance, for an obscene price - one that I cannot afford. So I have been sailing along, hoping and praying that I don't get sick (and trying like hell to forget that funky mammogram last year that I never got to follow up on before I got laid off), counting on the odds that I won't get sick ...

So what sucks even worse ... is getting a UTI. Worse yet ... none of my doctors will help me. One (the Gyn) because I have not been seen by him since 2002 ... I got pissed at his staff of office retards, and just had my internist do all that stuff. She won't see anyone without insurance. Her office retards are hardly any better. Their only suggestion was to go to the ER. Right, sure ... I got $300 just sittin' right here doing nothing ... except waiting to pay the rent, or buy groceries! And we haven't even bought the medicine yet!

UPDATE 2/1 9pm: God bless the Doc in the Box! I called the ER and the Gyn to see what they would charge for a visit. The Gyn was only slightly less than the ER, but the office retards pissed me off again with their attitude. So, I went to the walk-in clinic, Park Med. Nice people, no hassle, no 'tude. The Doc used the Walmart $4 generic drug list, which he had all printed out in the office already, and made sure what he was prescribing was on there. I was in and out of there in 45 minutes. Now I can go back to work tomorrow and apologize for snarling at everyone all day.

'Nuff bitching ...

School is sailing along just fine. I just turned in my first programming assignment. I hope my mad web design skillz will help with this class. C++ is a bit boring though. I wrote a killer essay on Oedipus the King. Got a 92 on my first Int'l Politics quiz. I wonder if I should admit that I can't get my home LAN working right in my Data Communications and Networking class? Maybe I can find a solution!

I had an awesome work-out the last two nights. Monday I did a Step class where the instructor teaches a long routine of different steps to do. I did OK ... physically. But I guess the early onset dementia was what made it hard to keep up with the routine. I am also apparently missing the spring-loaded knees and ankles like the instructor has. Then I did the yoga class ... and very nearly did not make it through without busting out laughing for apparently no reason. Oh, the stretching and poses and all went great ... but I kept thinking about this post by Crazy Aunt Purl (who is, BTW, seriously the funniest damn blogger I have ever read ... she has cats, she knits, she's divinely neurotic and could quite possibly be my long lost soul-sister! If you aren't reading her, you should be!)

Anyway, Tuesday I did Abs Fabulous ... this is my target zone because of my back problems. Gotta strengthen that core! Then I stayed on for Max Muscle - an hour long, non-stop cardio/weights toning class. This instructor is older! Older than me! And she puts me to immortal shame ... so I take that as a challenge! In less than a year, my goal is to be in as good condition that this 52 year old lady is in.

But for now, I must deal with this battery acid pee ... mutha-fuggin burn til my eyes water it does!

(I am treating with cranberry concentrate, AZO, tylenol and boat-loads of water ... any other suggestions are more than welcome!)

Posted by LissaKay on 01/31/07 at 11:43 PM in ~ Fitness and Diet
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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Ow. Ow. Ow.

Things I learned today: I have sore muscles that didn't even know I had. I am not as young as I was. And it takes very little time to go from being little Miss Hardbody McHotpants to being an out of shape blob. Ugghhh ...

We had our first visit at the fitness club tonight, which included baseline measurements and weight. I haven't weighed myself in a long, long time ... since the weight really started piling on when I was laid off last year. (Stress? Check. Depression? Check. Unlimited time to nosh? Check!) I was truly floored at what the scale said. And the tape measure. Holy crap. Call me Cleopatra cause I am surely the Queen of Denial!

And then we actually had to, you know, exercise. Like make a concerted effort to move parts of the body and, like, work at it. I am seriously disappointed in myself. I think back to the energy and fitness I used to have, and this is just sad. I knew this wasn't going to be easy, and I wouldn't be able to just go in there, jump on the machines and go to town, but two minutes and I was dying on the gazelle stepper thingy ... I think I will start with a nice yoga class, and work up from there.

My daughter, on the other hand, was all over it. Kinda like I was 15 years ago ... gee, go figure. She wants to get in shape to be a wrestler. Yes, a wrestler ... like Hulk Hogan kinda wrestler. Uh huh ... yes, I am thinking pretty much the same thing you are ...


School is T-minus one week and counting ... Yikes! :gulp:

Posted by LissaKay on 01/09/07 at 12:29 AM in ~ Fitness and Diet
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