Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Trouble With Being Fat

I'm fat.  We've established this.  I'm working on it.  It's a slow process.
I think what thinner people don't understand is how deep the fat can penetrate into the soul of a woman who doesn't feel like she looks the way she should.  I suppose this isn't just specific for women who struggle with weight, but since it's obviously my main struggle, that's what I'm going to focus on.
 
I feel like, on the inside, I am thin, energetic, lively, beautiful and compassionate.  On the outside, I sometimes feel the exact opposite of that.  Ugly, lazy, fat, grouchy and lethargic.  Don't get me wrong, occasionally I have that glimmer of hope where I see a little progress in the mirror, like my hard work is actually paying off.  I'll have a day where I put makeup on and step out of my workout clothes and I may feel somewhat pretty, but those days can be few and far between.
It's almost like having two selves, my real me and my perceived me.  The perceived me is what I assume people are thinking when they see me, critiquing every inch of me, but in all reality, I'm the one with the problem.  But being fat on the outside and feeling thin on the inside is a strange phenomenon.  It's not like I forget I'm fat and am surprised when I look in the mirror.  No.  It's more like I feel like a set of gorgeous diamond earrings (not perfect, a little dusty, but gorgeous nonetheless) hiding inside a giant, beat up, cardboard box that reads: Refrigerator, Color: Avocado.  I feel like my body is false advertisement, a misrepresentation, for who I really am.
It's not fun seeing cute styles in boutique windows but not being able to fit into any of it.  It stinks to have to immediately sift to the bottom of shelves or the back of the racks, searching for your size, only to find that this particular style, or store, doesn't go up to your size.  It's no fun to cry in a fitting room because your jeans only fit your thighs and make your muffin top look extra muffin-y.  It's hard to understand when people shop just for fun, because it's not fun when nothing flatters your flab.  It doesn't make sense to you when people buy expensive clothing, because it's hard to imagine loving the way you look enough in something to do the same.  It's no fun to always expect a huge pile of no's and may one or two yes's.
My temporary solution, in turn, is to avoid buying pants until it's absolutely necessary to get a new pair, and to find a shirt that is somewhat flattering, buy it in every color offered, and accessorize the crap out of it.  I particularly love scarfs and flashy costume necklaces (which, of course, draw the attention up and away from my gut area).  I always say that if a robber came to my house, he would be sorely disappointed in my jewelry box, since there is almost nothing in it of any real value.
Another problem with being fat is I think people assume that because I'm heavy, I don't try hard.  Granted I maybe don't always invest as much time in aerobic exercise as I should, I am at the gym at LEAST five days a week, working my booty off (unfortunately, more figuratively than literally).  I also wonder if anyone is ever judging me on my food choices.  I wonder if people see me eating a cheeseburger or ice cream and then think 'no wonder'.  Or if it just makes them roll their eyes when I complain about my body.  Maybe it should be a combination of trying to make better food choices and quit letting my mind run from food guilt to crazy town (after all, I'm not a mind reader).
This brings up another trouble with being fat... the 'help' that is offered from others.  I know that it's generally innocent, but when someone offers up calorie information or even a gentle 'maybe fruit would be better', it honestly makes my blood boil.  I know that it's only because I know they are right; fruit would  be better, the caloric content of this is probably out of this world, but I want to eat it.  It is irritating only because I already know, deep inside, the information they are telling me... I was just momentarily ignoring it.  Thus the inner struggle happens.  Should I back down and listen to their will meant advice, or should I deck them and eat what sounds and tastes good?  Maybe somewhere in the middle would be best; minus the assault, of course.
I think that's what life is about though, finding middle ground.  Achieving balance.  Not decking your well-meaning friends.  Because if I someday (hopefully soon) find myself at a place where I like what I see in the mirror and enjoy trying on clothes (and possible even walking into a fitting room expecting something to fit); will I find something else to pick at?  Will burning off all this fat solve all my problems?  Of course it will lower my risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, and hopefully lower the symptoms of my hormone imbalances; but will I ever be satisfied with how I look?  Chances are, probably not.  I feel like am programmed to compare and tear down.  But I do know that I can eventually become proud of myself, proud of my accomplishments, and more accepting of who I am on the inside.  Maybe eventually my inner self will shine through so much, I won't even care about the lumps and jiggle anymore.
I still want to be healthy.  I still need to lose that elusive 50 pounds.  I want to be able to respect my body.  Not feel obligated to hate it.  I don't need to or want to be perfect... I need to feel comfortable in my own skin... and someday I will.
Be healthy.  Love yourself.  And remember... you're In Good Company.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fat Girl Takes Vegas

In order to keep us all from falling off the wagon (they really should put restraining devices on that thing), let's, for just a moment, forget that this blog is typically dedicated to my adventures in exercise, self-awareness, and attempting to eat better.  Forgotten?  Good.
From Wednesday to Saturday (and a bit of Sunday), I threw all caution to the wind and ate my way through Las Vegas.  My husband went to bet on the NCAA Tournament games and to play Craps.  I went so that I could forget that I'm trying to lose 50 pounds and that I gave up fried foods for Lent (I had to apologize to Jesus several times throughout the trip (and once on Sunday... and again at lunch today).
My adventure started in a small airport in Kansas with a half of an Almond Joy and a delicious Ham & Turkey on Asiago Cheese Bagel from the Great American Bagel Company.  I love that place.  Since we began by forgetting things, lets also forget that bagels are like 10,000 calories per each half, and who knows how bad they are when you load them up with entirely too much real mayonnaise, mustard, cold cuts, and a few veggies.

After the plane took off, all bets were off (because, as we all know, calories DO NOT count on vacation), so I enjoyed a King Size Snicker Bar.  Yes the whole thing.  It was fabulous.

We were starving when we landed so we picked up dinner #2 at the hotel (my husband opted out of dinner #1 because he has the will power of a steam roller on steroids), which was a Meat Cravers Pizza from California Pizza Kitchen.  I'll admit, I'm kind of partial to Pizza Hut, but it served it's purpose (that purpose being, feeding the growling beast in my belly and helping me turn back into 'Nice Kelsey' from 'Gozer the Gozarian', as my husband likes to call me).
The hotel in which we stayed was the Mirage.  The room was absolutely beautiful, very modern, with a comfortable king sized bed.  What I was most excited about was the refrigerator in the room.  I was busy telling my husband about all of the delicious cold-leftover-breakfasts we were going to be able to eat.  I was pumped.  I opened this door to heaven to put our leftover piece of pizza and almost shrieked with disappointment.  The little tiny fridge was already full of junk food.  You would think that I would have been happy. No no.  Each item in the refrigerator is setting atop a sensor, if you even so much as remove the item you will be charged an exhorbitant amount for it, plus a ridiculous restocking fee.  Thank the Good Lord that my lack of will power when it comes to junk food can be quickly suppressed by my frugality.  No moment of weakness can be given into for a absurdly priced pack of M&M's.
So no cold leftovers, bummer.  The next morning my immediate first stop was the Starbucks in the hotel lobby for a Grande Skinny Mocha Frapuccino.  Starbucks is overpriced, I know that; but I still love the cold frothy goodness of a Mocha Frap, really I do.  We headed to Denny's for a good hearty breakfast before we headed out exploring Sin City.  I enjoyed a French Toast Grand Slam (complete with two over-medium eggs, two sausage links, and two pieces of crispy bacon) and a Diet Coke.  Have I mentioned that I'm back on the hooch?  The last two weeks have been a complete failure as far as my vow to never drink soda again goes.  I'll start that again next week.  In the meantime, Dear Kidneys: I'm sorry.


My longtime friend Jennifer and I then headed to every outlet mall in the surrounding area while our husbands were busy gambling, betting, and spotting C-List celebrities.  We shopped, and shopped, and shopped, and shopped some more.  We shopped and browsed and bargain hunted until our ankles were swollen and our calves were aching.  We stopped for lunch at an Outback (I really enjoyed a Prime Rib Dip with French Fries).  And then we shopped some more.  I was excited to get back to the hotel and go through all my super cute new clothes, only to realize that I had hit the Osh Kosh, Gymboree, and Carters outlets much harder than I did Ann Taylor Loft and the Gap.  Oh well, I'm sure my son will be super thrilled with his new digs.


Evening came and I absolutely could not wait for dinner.  This was going to be the highlight of the entire trip, this was what I was waiting for.... Serendipity 3.  If you haven't ever been to Vegas, or you haven't eaten at a Serendipity...  GO!  For the love of all that is good and holy, book your plane ticket and make a reservation.  I first heard about Serendipity 3 from this blog and it was love at first read.  I had been telling my husband and the other two couples who went with us (and anyone else who would listen, for that matter) about how amazing it was going to be.  I could not wait.
Jennifer and I decided to split a delicious Cheeseburger and French Fries so to be able to fully enjoy what we came for: DESSERT.  My husband suggested that we split a dessert but I kindly insisted we not do that, explaining to him that I only ate half of a giant cheeseburger in order to eat a ridiculous amount of dessert.  Rolling his eyes, he complied.  I decided on the Jackpot Sundae, which was a glorious combination of dark chocolate and strawberry ice creams, drenched in hot fudge and strawberry toppings topped with a whipped cream and a fresh strawberry.  More accurately, it was a bowl full of heaven.
 Jennifer and her husband shared the Broadway Sunday, which, if my sugar coated memory serves me correctly, it was chocolate cake, dark chocolate ice cream, hot fudge and whipped cream.  Also delicious.
 My husband chose the Oreo flavored version of the dessert that Serendipity 3 is famous for: The Frrrozen Hot Chocolate.  It has the taste of hot cocoa, but comes in the form of a cold thick shake.  As you may have guessed... delicious.
I had to sample all three desserts (for journalistic purposes, of course), and could only eat about a quarter of my own... I really should have listened to my husband and split a dessert with him, but I'll never tell him that.  Serendipity is, in one word, sweetlydeliciouslyamazinglydecadent (yes that's one word).  In fact, I had to change from my cute jeans to my mom jeans after dinner... next time I'll pack sweat pants, not even bother to order dinner and go straight to dessert.

The next morning I had a solo brunch while my husband hit the Craps tables.  It was peaceful and quiet, much different than this mom-of-a-toddler is used to.  I enjoyed the Pepperoni & Cheese Toasties at Onda, an Italian restaurant in the Mirage.
Lunch was a at quirky little restaurant, way of the strip called Chicken D'Lish.  It was, surprisingly, really yummy.  I ate the Walnut Chicken Salad Wrap which included chicken, lettuce, tomato, walnuts, grapes, and apples.  On the side were Garlic Roasted Seasoned Potatoes (garlic being the operative word).


Before our 7:30 show, we had Starbucks cookies for snacks so that Gozer the Gozarian wouldn't come out to visit.  We saw a Cirque Du Soliel show, and they never disappoint.  I can't even imagine the amount of training and rehearsal that goes into perfecting these performances.  I am always blown away when I see them.  I imagine that they probably would have been upset if they would have caught scent of my chewy chocolate chip cookie.


For dinner we traveled off the strip again, this time, to Bahama Breeze where we spotted another C-List Celebrity (we really should try to get jobs at TMZ).  I enjoyed the Coconut Shrimp with rice and broccoli.  I was quite impressed with the menu, food, drinks, and the reasonable price.  I felt like it was maybe a place that locals went, it felt super laid back and wasn't overflowing with tourists.
Our last morning in Vegas, all six of us were all ready to get back home, especially to our kids and dogs.  Three nights spent in Vegas are plenty.  Even for the most conditioned city-people.  Trudging through the concrete jungle of scantily clad woman in too tall of heels, and an endless amount of foreign travelers taking pictures of everything while dragging their exhausted children behind them (in cute flats that made my heels bleed nonetheless... seriously why can't I ever bring myself to pack tennis shoes) for a few days is almost more than a person can handle.  This is just a side note, but speaking of children in Vegas... don't bring them.  It's not a place for children, if you are going to vacation in Sin City, leave the babies at home.  Back to my bleeding heels... I was lucky enough in one of my shopping adventures to be able to find an adorable pair of sliver ballet slippers ON SALE that made my feet feel as if there was nothing between them and the ground (which is the way I prefer it).  It was the best $12.00 I have ever spent.  These shiny beauties took me all the way through the last evening of our trip and all the way home to the land of Oz.
Before leaving to head back to the airport, after stopping for my Mocha Frap and a blueberry muffin at Starbucks, I decided to stop at a store I had been admiring our last two visits in Vegas, but had never let myself go.  The Sugar Factory.  Yes, it's as fabulous as it sounds.  Wall to wall gummy, chocolaty, crunchy, jaw breaking, tooth rotting, diabetic coma inducing, drool making deliciousness.
I settled upon milk chocolate covered peanuts mixed with dark chocolate covered almonds.  They were just the perfect treat for the plane ride home, and the right kind of medicine for my husband's flared sinuses (as I've said before, I firmly believe that there is nothing that chocolate can't cure).


You would probably suspect that my biggest souvenir of all was a few (dozen) extra pounds, but I was not so unlucky!  Thank goodness for all of the walking around and shopping-till-I-nearly-dropped (and double thanks for calories not counting on vacations), because I was able to work off all of the amazing meals and endless desserts almost as fast as I was inhaling them.


Take a vacation (and take walking shoes).  Love yourself.  And remember... you're In Good Company.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Updated Plan of Attack

I was so darn proud of myself a few weeks ago for coming up with my new workout routine that I would follow religiously come heck or high water, darnit.  However, my routine, that I carefully created so to be able to work each and every part of my body adequately, is going to have to change.  I am now teaching Yoga on Sundays and each morning Monday through Thursday (I am really excited about this).  On the weekdays, my classes are in the last time slot offered if you are keeping your kiddos in the on-site daycare.  The issue with this, is that if I want to participate in another type of workout, it has to be before my Yoga classes.
Because I need all my energy for my classes (believe me, because your instructor is working on doing every move, pose, lift, etc. absolutely perfect, she is getting a much more intense workout than you are), I am nervous about attending other cardio-intense classes prior to my own.  The other option would be to go again in the evenings or very early morning before my husband goes to work (those who know me personally are laughing at the thought of me trying to get up before the sun).  My workout-buddy and good friend Ashley suggested I leave the prior classes 15 minutes early so that I can cool off, drink some cold water, and prepare for Yoga.  I may take her advice and add to the list: remove raccoon eyes, eat a small snack, and reapply deodorant (no one likes a smelly instructor).
It may be hard at first, but I'm not going to get the physique I want unless I work hard.  I would just hate to run out of steam in the middle of teaching, although my pride probably wouldn't allow that to happen.  Yoga is an amazing workout, don't get me wrong, but I need to mix it up a bit, so I don't burn myself out.  Plus I love lifting weights, I need all the abdominal work I can get, and Zumba & Turbo Kick are just so darn fun (not to mention the only cardio I get... have I mentioned that I loathe the treadmill?).
So now that I've used your precious time to think out loud, or at least on your computer monitor.  I believe we have a new schedule.  Drum roll please (like you care enough to have to have to hear it with a drum roll)...  SundayPower Yoga.  Monday: Weights, Calisthenics and Yoga.  Tuesday: Zumba and Yoga.  Wednesday Weights, Calisthenics and Yoga.  Thursday: Turbo Kick and Yoga.  Friday: Weights and Calisthenics.  Saturday: Nap on the couch.  Each week I will alternate upper body and lower body weights and calisthenics.  I may alternate which side of my body I lay on for my Saturday naps as well.
Moving on to the next order of business... diet.  My very wise friend, Sarah (who manages a General Nutrition Center, is a fitness enthusiast, as well as an aspiring fitness model) gave me a kind, yet stern, lecture (via Facebook... which is quite lucky so I could copy and paste her words without worry of misquoting her) about my previous blog on gluttony.  I lean on Sarah's expert knowledge a lot, and I do mean a lot.  I thought I would share with you some of she said to me:

"Girl here it comes...  DON'T COUNT YOUR CALORIES EVER AGAIN!  Do you understand how many calories I eat per day?  It is definitely quality, not lack of quantity that makes weight loss work. You HAVE to quit playing the food games. It's about ...eating when your hungry and until you're satiated, not fully engorged. This is probably going to come across... strict, but I can't explain it any other way. When you exercise like you're doing, and you deprive your body of... less calories you need, you will never lose fat nor gain muscle. I am EXTREMELY proud of you for realizing your vices though...  I KNOW you are more disciplined than you're leading us to believe. You just haven't made it a priority to make the full lifestyle change. And you don't have to. You have a beautiful little boy and a loving husband....  With the amount of exercising you do, you have to fuel, put gas in the tank. Otherwise, your body will store everything..."

Needless to say, I won't be counting my calories.  After thinking about Sarah's advice, I realized she was right.  It's ridiculous to count calories when you are exercising on a regular basis.  I may start a food log (calories not included), just to help keep myself accountable for the types of food I take in... (I tend to have selective memory loss when it comes to the foods I eat).  I'm not sure what my exact plan of action will be, although I will say that I am pretty proud of myself for the food choices I've made in the past week (minus that one ice cream treat).
Also, at risk of sounding conceded, I'm really proud of myself for successfully teaching the classes that I have taken over.  It takes a certain amount of courage to stand in front of a room full of people and show them how to twist themselves in to various Yoga poses.  It's hard to know how people would respond to me and my style of teaching.  But I've gotten a lot of really positive feedback and I am excited about it.  I love teaching Yoga, and I love helping other people meet their fitness goals, at the same time I am working on my own.
Be healthy, love yourself and remember... you're In Good Company.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Go In Peace

A few days ago, I lost a friend.  Not just a friend, but a mentor.  In the wee hours of Monday morning, Kathryn went to be with Jesus.  Kathryn and I became friends through Yoga classes at our gym.  She was my instructor, and I was trying to learn all I could from her wonderful classes.  Her strength never ceased to amaze me (in life situations, and in class).  Although I didn't have the privilege of knowing her for a very long time, I feel privileged to have gotten to know her at all.  She was an incredible encourager, and a true Christian woman.
Because of Kathryn's sudden and unexpected passing, this small community is in a state of deep sorrow, especially for her two young children (one of whom is special needs), who are now orphans.  The gym has felt somber all week, and the rooms in which she taught seem to be filled with her memories.  The only thing that has given anyone any peace in this situation is knowing that she had amazing faith.  At the end of every yoga class she wouldn't say the traditional "Namaste", but would say "Thank you for practicing with me today, go in peace".  She is definitely dancing in the arms of the Lord and at peace in her own heart.  I imagine her to still be leading yoga classes in the serenity of heaven.
I have learned quite a lot in the past few days, from the death of Kathryn (even though I still am having a hard time believing she is gone... she was only 43, after all).  Mostly what I am learning about is God's timing.  For years, I have pondered becoming a yoga instructor, but only felt confident enough to do so after beginning her classes in November.  She had the confidence in me to allow me to substitute her classes, far before I would have thought I was ready.  In the past few weeks, I subbed for her several times, and began feeling more and more ready to eventually take on my own class.  Since her passing, I have taken over her Yoga classes, with as smooth of a transition as possible.  It seems incredible that God provided me with so many opportunities to fill in for her, and more importantly to have learned from her.

What's also interesting is that, the book "Heaven" by Randy Alcorn, has been sitting on my nightstand for at least a month (this book is dedicated to describing heaven as the bible tells us it will be, what it tells us we have to look forward to), but I only picked it up to begin reading it the evening before she passed.  I had no knowledge, until the next morning, that she had been taken to the local hospital and life-watched to a larger one.  God's provisions, whether it be a book for comfort, lessons for preparation (even if we don't know exactly what we are preparing for), or friendship that will give lasting memories; never cease to amaze me.

Although I feel strange to be standing where Kathryn stood, teaching her students (I still feel like I'm subbing and that tomorrow she will be leading us in our Sun Salutations), I will take on the challenge, and make her proud.  I will work hard to quickly finish my certification course, and I will be lucky if I can show her students even half of the kindness and encouragement that she did.

Live each day as if it were your last.  Remember... you're In Good Company.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Gluttony

Gluttony \ˈglət-nē, ˈglə-tə-nē\  2. excess in eating or drinking  3. greedy or excessive indulgence
I feel like Gluttony is more accurately defined as the SERIOUS failure in self-discipline.  I am a master of gluttony.  Because I, apparently, love feeling like crap, I decided to add up my caloric intake for the day.  I knew it wouldn't be good.  Normally I don't allow myself to count calories (I can get out of control pretty easily), but I was kind of feeling like I needed a reality check.  I have been gorging myself on cookies the past few days, and for some reason I thought that my lunch should be double the recommended serving size and that dinner should be Chinese food, followed by a peanut butter cup 'Mix' (made with chocolate ice cream, of course) from Braum's.  What is wrong with me?!?!  Don't answer that.
I know a while back I started a sugar detox.  I lasted two days.  Count 'em... two days.  This was supposed to be a process of a seven days, minimum.  If my math is correct, and I believe it is (although math isn't my strong suit), two is quite a bit less than seven.  I can blame it on cookies, or ice cream, or whatever else I managed to scrounge up (believe me, by the end of day two, even my son's Flintstones vitamins were looking pretty good).  But if I'm being honest, the blame should fall on me.  I have no will-power.  But I don't push the limits of my will-power either.  I say I want to lose weight and to be fit and healthy, but I have been pouring buckets of self-defeat all over myself.  I can't expect to ever be satisfied with my body if I continue this type of behavior.  I have almost become okay with being fat, joking about it to make it not seem so bad.  I've settled for a 50 pound weight loss, even though I still need to shed another 50-70.  I don't want to be stay fat all my life.  I still don't want to be skinny, but I do want to be healthy.
I am forever going to be a fat girl if I don't make some changes.  I think one of my biggest stumbling blocks is that I am terrified of failure.  Sometimes, I get it stuck in my head that I won't succeed, then I don't try as hard as I should (or at all), because I have already failed in my mind.  Another stumbling block I have is that I am stubborn as a mule, and that is an enormous understatement.  If someone gives me advice on what not to eat, my attitude automatically becomes 'I can eat what I want, I'll show them'.  Instead of taking well-meant advice, I try to 'show them' by making myself fatter?  It doesn't even make any sense.  I heard a speaker a few years ago who asked us to raise our hand if we felt we were stubborn.  He then told us to replace the word 'stubborn' with the word 'unwilling'.  Isn't my behavior screaming that I am unwilling to get healthy?  Aren't I saying to those around me that I love food more than I love life?  After all, won't continuing to overindulge eventually give me high blood pressure, heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, etc.?
I know that I am being a little dramatic.  I have a tendency to do that sometimes (my close friends and family members are likely smirking right now).  I know I'm not crazy fat and I exercise plenty.  But I'm certainly not healthy.  I don't drink enough water (which is a whole other issue), I eat too much, and the food I eat is generally unhealthy.  I was planning on starting a new sugar detox tomorrow, with new focus and drive, but then I thought about my leftover sweet and sour chicken in the fridge (that sauce sure is sugary, and cold Chinese makes for an amazing breakfast).  Again, what is wrong with me?!?!  Again, please don't answer that.  I truly think I am addicted to eating crap (not literal crap, figurative crap - in case you weren't sure).  I will never be able obtain my next weight loss goals this way.
So the final count of my calorie intake for today?  2145.  Yep.  945 calories more than the recommended intake for weight loss (please pick your jaw up off the floor).  And I had to guess on a few items, so it's very likely more than 2145.  I'm a little embarrassed to share that with you, but I have got to start holding myself accountable when it comes to making decisions regarding food.  I was up a pound last time I weighed in, and instead of making wiser decisions, I made stupid ones.  I felt like I failed, so I was trying to fail more?  That makes a whole heck of a lot of sense.

I'm not exactly sure what my plan of action is from this point.  I may start a food journal, and I may start working on counting calories (there are tons of great websites to help with this), I may just start measuring all my portions, I'm not sure yet, but I've got to do something.  I can't expect to get healthy while not eating healthily.  It's just not good logic.
Get motivated.  Get healthy.  Love yourself.  And remember... you're In Good Company.