Spousal Weigh-off Champion!

You guys, this is huge! After a little lover’s romp this morning, I challenged Lee to a weigh-off on the bathroom scale.

You guys?

I WEIGH LESS THAN MY HUSBAND.

For the first time ever. He weighed 190-something when we started dating seven and a half years ago, I weighed probably 220. Ever since then, both of our weights have climbed (mine exponentially).

This morning?

Lee: 237.8

Meg: 234.4

He looks like he’s made of muscle (with a belly), I look like I’m made of flabbiness, but whatever… I WEIGH LESS THAN MY HUSBAND! WOOT!!

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Traumatized Girly Bits

My gym was closed this past Saturday, Sunday and Monday for maintenance. Three days without working out.

So come Tuesday, you bet I was looking forward to getting back in the saddle. Except? The floors weren’t quite done, and the front desk person said, “Good morning, Meghan! The only thing open right now is the group cycling class” and that I could come back in a couple of hours.

Except I couldn’t. I had to go to work. So I said, “I’ve been wanting to give that class a try anyway, so I’ll just do it!” Thinking I would have an excellent experience. That this gym-closed business was somehow fortuitous in getting me to try something I’d absolutely love.

Um, no. I walked into the cycling class. About 7 women. 1 male instructor. Twenty or so stationary bikes. One kind soul explained how to adjust the seat, how to get situated, etc.

Once I got up on that bike, my girly bits started hurting immediately. The seat? Very narrow. Like a couple of inches, maybe. I thought the discomfort would pass as soon as I was properly numbed to the pain. I went through the warm up. The first two tracks of music.

I looked around, wondering how all these women looked so comfortable on their bikes. They were pedaling faster and faster, and there I was, just trying to shift my weight to ease the pain. I couldn’t take any more. After two songs, I quit.

I went to the elliptical machine, which by then was in service, and did my thang.

After class, the lady who had helped me get started came up to me. I explained that it hurt to sit on the bikes, and I didn’t know how everyone else could do it. She said to come back, and try to last a few minutes longer each time. That eventually I’d build up a tolerance for it.

Um,  no thanks! I don’t want a hard-as-nails crotch area, thankyouverymuch!

I’m still in pain from my ten minutes on the bike. Today I was on the weight machines and almost cried when I sat on one of the narrow benches. It’s as if the bones of my ass(ish) area are bruised. Freakin’ Ow!!

I don’t know what my deal is. Loss of padding? Too heavy for the narrow seat? Either way, cycling class is out. Not gonna happen.

In Memorium

Memorial Day hot dog = Freakin’ OW!!

I carefully chose my hot dog too. 100% beef, no fillers or additives. 120 calories. 12 grams of fat. No bun of course.

Still? OW!

But once it passed through my pouch, all was well. No sickness or anything, just discomfort as it was moving through. And though it wasn’t an entirely pleasant experience, the darn thing tasted so good!

In Defense of Food

Yesterday, I read Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food: An Eater’s Manifesto and it rocked my world. Pollan’s more famous for his previous books on the industrial food chain, but this one focuses on the Western diet and its ailments: obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and cancer.

By studying indigenous groups around the world with their own particular diets, we know that a great many diets work: Japanese diets with all that fish, Mediterranean diets with all those leaves, and French diets with all that pasta and wine.

Humans can live on a great many different diets. But not the Western one, which Pollan reveals as mostly corn and soy based and way, way too over-processed.

We’ve heard all that before. So what do we do? Grow our own vegetables? Buy a farm and slaughter our own meat? Not gonna happen.

So this book is less about the principles of healthy eating, and more about how to do it in the midst of the super-industrialized food chain of the modern West. The mantra? “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

The simple instruction to “eat food” is broken down in a way that truly changed how I think about food. Pollan teaches readers to differentiate between true food and “foodlike substances.” Natural plain yogurt is food. Go-gurt Berrylicious flavor is a foodlike substance, but it is not food.

Sadly? My protein bars and protein drinks? Foodlike substances. Not food. The ingredients are somewhat frightening. That sugar-free jello I mixed this morning? Not food. Splenda-sweetened anything? Not food.

I totally get where this argument comes from, and I’d love to eat more natural, whole foods. I’ll start small. I can’t give up protein bars just yet, but even as a WLS patient, I know I could get my protein from more natural sources.

Anyhow, a rundown of Pollan’s guidelines for eating healthy:

  • Don’t eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize as food. Bye, bye protein bars.
  • Avoid food products containing ingredients that are A) unfamiliar, B) unpronounceable, C) more than five in number, or that include D) high-fructose corn syrup. (goodbye, any bread on the shelf)
  • Avoid food products that make health claims. (goodbye, whole grain cocoa krispies)
  • Shop the peripheries of the supermarket and stay out of the middle. (You don’t want anything in your body that could last months on a supermarket shelf)
  • Get out of the supermarket whenever possible. (Buy locally grown produce at farmer’s markets)
  • Eat mostly plants, especially leaves.
  • You are what you eat eats too. (Buy grass-fed beef. Otherwise we’re just eating MORE corn).
  • Eat like an omnivore. (Variety. Just do it.)
  • Eat well-grown food from healthy soils. (Locally grown trumps organic. Buy local.)
  • Eat wild foods when you can. (um, never.)
  • Be the kind of person who takes supplements. (They don’t work, but the KIND of person who takes them… affluent, educated, active… is generally more healthy than the average joe. Be that kind of person.)
  • Pay more, eat less.
  • Eat meals. (Snacking is the devil.)
  • Do all your eating at a table.
  • Don’t get full from the same place your car does. (Do not, do not, do not buy food from a convenience store).
  • Do not eat alone. (Eating is as much about culture and tradition as nutrition. Eat with people).
  • Cook and, if you can, plant a garden.

That’s a lot of rules. But they make sense, right? To me, they represent an entirely different paradigm of eating. Pollan differentiates too between eating whole foods and eating “nutrients.” We’re taught to eat this for calcium, that for iron, something else for protein. His philosophy? Modern science knows SO little about food, you can forget all that nonsense. Just eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.

Of all the books I’ve read and blogged about, this one is by far my favorite. It’s sensible, it’s funny, it resonates. Three thumbs up.

Bye, bye LB!

I met my mom, aunt, and a family friend for lunch and shopping yesterday. We started at The Avenue. Let me first say: I’ve always hated that store. In my many, many travels there, I’ve purchased several pairs of jeans and a bathing suit. Nothing else has ever appealed to me, even when Lane Bryant’s size 28’s were too snug and The Avenue’s 30’s were about all I could manage. Even then, I hated their clothes. (At that time, I lived in Old Navy’s 4x’s from online).

So anyway: yesterday. Mom bought an awesomely cute bathing suit, a few pairs of shoes, and 3 shirts. That’s what I call a successful shopping venture. The aunt and friend weren’t much in the mood for shopping after all, and didn’t try anything on.

Then lunch.

Then… Old Navy. By then, it was just me and my mom. I was looking for some black pants for work. The pair I have now is a size 22 from Lane Bryant and they’re just too big. As much as I hate wasting money on clothes I won’t wear long, I figure I’m going to need a few things in every size along the way: jeans, black pants, a few shirts. The bare basics.

I knew Old Navy goes up to size 20 in their regular department. Wearing my size 20 women’s plus jeans that were pretty loose, I figured a regular non-plus women’s 20 might fit. Maybe.

You guys? The 20’s were too big.

I bought black pants in a size 18. 18 regular women’s, not 18 in the plus-size section. I bought 3 shirts: the XXL’s were too big. I bought XL’s in a regular women’s department. I bought some workout pants: size XL. XL in a regular women’s department.

No, most regular women’s stores don’t sell 18’s. No, I’m not under the illusion this is a small size. And no, I’m no longer trapped in the LaneBryant/TheAvenue duo from hades.

I can hop into a regular store! I can spend $14.50 on a shirt and it’s not even 2 seasons old! I can choose between an entire WALL of jeans styles! For like twenty-something bucks a pair! Even better? If something in my size fits weird or runs small? I CAN GET A BIGGER ONE. In a regular women’s department.

Can I get a “heck yeah?”

Woo!!

4 Months

Total lost: 127.2

Since surgery: 61.2

Lost this month: 13.8

Left to lose: 96.8

I’ve been feeling off track, like I’m losing weight slowly. I’ve been eating carbs and feeling sick and just not right. I’ve been off my routine. I made it to the gym 3 times last week and 3 times this week, slacking off of my 5-day workout routine. It’s just been a funk.

I’ve still been weighing every day, and it seems like the weight isn’t moving. I’ve avoided logging it on my profile at OH or in fitday, trying to wait until I had a loss to show.

Today, I plugged in the number: 236.8.

Guess what? I’m still on track. Still 3.07 pounds per week to weigh 140 by Christmas.

Despite The Funk, despite the slipping, I’m still on track.

I’m still on track!

I heart Frances Kuffel

I’ve been working seriously on weight loss for a little over a year now. There was the big build up to surgery (doctors, scheduling, insurance approval…). Then there was Surgery Day, adjusting to life, learning how this works, starting to exercise.

I feel like I’m in some weird no man’s land phase now. This isn’t new any more, it’s my life. There’s nothing unusual or weird about it, nothing out of the ordinary.

I’ve adjusted.

So now what? What do I do about the fact that while I’ve lost 127 pounds, I still have this overwhelming urge to eat that is not associated with physical hunger. What do I do about the fact that it takes just ONE wrong meal, and I’m on a cycle of de-carbing for the next 3 days? These problems haven’t gone anywhere. Not with surgery, not with counseling, not with exercise. I’m aware of them, and that’s important. Being aware means not letting the urge to eat control my eating behavior. But it’s still there.

A good book arrived just in time to help me deal with that funk I was getting into. Frances Kuffel’s Passing for Thin was delivered by my county’s Books by Mail system. In 3 hours, I’d nearly finished the book.

I related to young Frances. Losing weight Frances. But somewhere in those last 50 pages, I’ve lost my connection with the character. Maybe because I’m not thin yet. Maybe because I’m still halfway through the process.

Even so, the beginnings of Passing for Thin reminded me of some things I’ve known but neglected. Losing weight requires connecting to people. It cannot be done in a vacuum. It means asking for help. Support groups, meetings, whatever.

Frances used a 12-step program to lose weight. I’ve been to OA meetings before, and I’ve been very uncomfortable with the program, the precepts, the meeting format, everything.

First, I do not feel powerless over food. Maybe I am. But I have the power to make decisions for change. I chose surgery. I choose the gym. No, that doesn’t solve everything, but dammit, I am not powerless. (Or am I?)

Second, I don’t want a sponsor and all that crap. I don’t want to call somebody about my food every day. I don’t want to have to keep that kind of contact with anybody. I’m busy. In fact, I’m too busy for meetings period!

See the resistance?

I’ve submitted to everything else in this journey: the doctors. the surgery. the message boards. the vitamins. the blog. the therapist. the protein. the water. why not this?

why not add one more tool? Can OA hurt?

Who knows. I feel off track. After reading Frances’ story, I feel like I should give it a shot. Maybe I’d meet someone I could actually enjoy talking to. Maybe I’d meet people that don’t scare me off. Maybe it will be one more building block for this process. Or maybe it would be one more exercise in futility.

I won’t commit to anything now. Except that I might try another meeting some time if Lee’s working late. We’ll see.