Fat in Florida: An Update

My weight loss journey started just ten months ago, when I woke up FAT in Florida.

This week I had the chance to be back in Sarasota, and I couldn’t help but feel nostalgic and PROUD of taking those emotions, feelings of disgust, depression and discontent with my physical self, and turning them into a major life change.

  

Yes, I have lost -96.6 pounds, but I’m as proud, if not a little more, of the emotional changes in my life. 

My weight loss made me more compassionate, as I let down my own guard and shared support and encouragement with others on the same journey.

My weight loss has made me more confident, which enables me to stand up for myself when others say or do things that are hurtful to me.

My weight loss has made me a better partner. Mr. Big will tell you I am more in tune with our relationship, and we take time to cook together and communicate more than we used to. We also actively seek out activities we can share. Biking, gym time, dancing, you name it. 

Losing the physical baggage removed any obstacle holding me back from chasing my dream of working in New York City. I still have no idea what I want to be when I grow up, but I was confident in my ability to work in a highly competitive market and was rewarded with a job far above where I thought I was! 

  

So my takeaway from this trip to Florida is that I am prepared to finish my weight loss in 2015. I need to buckle down on the weekend eating/drinking and get to work seriously in my core and circuit training. I can take off these last 23.4 pounds in four months, I know it. 

They say the hardest part is maintenance, but I’m telling you the emotional ramifications of losing nearly 100 lbs, of being perceived differently by others and even my own self-conscious, is HARD. I have some serious work do to on my emotional progress over the next four months just to get ready for maintenance. 

But I can, and I will! 

  

Say “Whaaaaaaaat?!” : How Getting Asked If I Got a Lapband (Again! Twice!) Has Made Me Lose My Mind

This weekend I was asked if I had gastric bypass/lapband twice in 24 hours. 
The first time, I confess, was after I’d had a couple cocktails so I thought, “I’m just gonna take it as a compliment and just roll with it, right?”

The second time I was in the middle of a hardcore two-hour cardio session at the gym, determined to make up for missing Saturday’s workout. 

This time I just smiled a little and said “Oh gosh, nooo!” before going back to my workout.

For a split second I wanted to make a snappier comeback, but I was sure “I think my sweating and pushing through a two-hour workout on a sunny Sunday should be a pretty clear sign that I’m working my ass off, literally,” was probably rude, right?

  
I wasn’t mad the first time, but I was hurt and annoyed and exasperated the second time. 

Couple that with a few insensitive remarks from friends and acquaintances lately, and I am feeling a little raw.

My weight loss is not a secret. I routinely get questions about it, I blog about it and I am more than happy to share encouragement, support and even recipes with those who ask. I’ve had colleagues from work, acquaintance friends and even complete strangers Facebook me about my weight loss, and I answer as openly and honestly as I can. 

But being open and honest doesn’t mean that those around me should be able to make unsolicited (and often disparaging) remarks about my size, my health or athleticism before. Or does it? 

I know I was fat! I know I was unhealthy! Trust me, I remember feeling heavy and uncomfortable and unattractive. And TimeHop reminds me daily, so I really do not think I need their help with that. 

  
And after all the work I have put in, I find myself more than a little offended by the idea that the only way I could lose nearly 100 pounds would be to go under the knife.

Being overweight does not exempt a person from being entitled to the same common courtesies everyone else. Just like I wouldn’t tell a friend I liked her previous haircut better, or that her new living room paint looks like baby poop, or that, try as they might my boyfriend’s friends just aren’t in their 20s anymore, I think we should limit comments about someone’s weight or weight loss, other than to be supportive and encouraging. 

I am still the same person. I still love wearing a scarf, eating eggs, rooting for the Buckeyes, and dancing until my feet ache. When you insult “fat me,” you insult “getting skinnier me.” And the comments don’t hurt any less, just because I don’t look like her anymore. 

  
Which brings me to the last point of what is becoming a full-fledged therapy session…

If I am being honest with you (as I always try to be), it kind of grosses me out that I seem to be getting quite a bit more male attention lately than ever before. Most women would be excited by a catcall or a flirty look, but I am finding myself a little grossed out that men I have known through thick and thin (see now, that’s funny) seem to find thinner me attractive. I’m bright, ambitious, I’m a great cook, I’m funny and yet, I was only worthy of a second look once I hit a certain size? Gross!

I normally try to end my blog posts with some kind of take away thought or closure, but I don’t know that I have any today. This is a problem that, God willing, is going to continue to be an issue, because I’m going to keep getting thinner (and probably cuter too! LOL) and I don’t yet know how to handle it all.

I guess if I have one take away for today, it would be:

  

Why Eating Clean Works for Me (and it’s not what you think!)

Whenever someone asks me about my weight loss, I tell them up front that I’m a clean eater. And most people have one of two reactions:

1. They assume I’m a crunchy-granola, hippie who doesn’t share her armpits. Or…

  
2. They assume I’m a judge-y beotch, snotty and pretentious.

  
And while I probably have some of both scenarios in me, neither is actually true (I shave my pits, I swear! 😉). 

I’m not a clean eater because I want to save the planet from pesticides, and I’m not a clean eater because it makes me feel morally superior. I’m a clean eater because it is the first weight loss plan that worked for me long-term, because it changed my relationship with food. 

Clean eating means different things to different people, but for me it means:

  • Limiting processed foods like crackers, chips, canned foods, frozen meals, soda, etc.
  • Limiting foods that are enhanced or contain dyes, chemicals, etc. 
  • Buying hormone-free meats and dairy whenever possible. 
  • Buying organic when available (and affordable) and buying seasonally-appropriate foods. Apples in the Fall, oranges in the winter, etc. 
  • I also love a good Farmer’s Market and buying my produce from people, not corporations. 

But why? Isn’t is more expensive, more time consuming, and isn’t it just easier to microwave a Lean Cuisine and go about your day? 

Sure it is, but here’s what I learned substituting low-fat chips, lean cuisine pastas and 100-calorie packs of cookies: Those “diet” foods were never as satisfying as the real thing! So I’d end up eating two portions instead of one, or end up “cheating” and eating the real food anyway. Total fail. 

And all my efforts at “moderation” changed completely when I stopped trying to substitute diet food for what I wanted, and just ordered a sensible portion of what I really wanted. 

I’ve learned that when I want pasta for dinner, I need to eat a lighter breakfast and lunch, skip my English muffin or eat a vegetarian plate instead of chicken at lunch. By bulking up my meals with healthy greens like kale or protein-packed veggies like mushrooms, I give myself greater latitude to enjoy a portion of the food I really want at dinner! 

Through clean eating I’ve actually noticed my cravings changed completely, and my taste buds, too! I use way less salt than ever before, and I find myself choosing spicier foods now, too! 

And I’m not just saying this, but I would much rather have an apple than a fast-food snack wrap. And on the rare occasion when I reeeeeeally want something that’s not healthy (usually chocolate), I have a portion and move on. 

So clean eating and keeping up with Weight Watchers’ Simply Filling plan have made me a clean eater, and have taught me moderation. And that’s worth a whole lotta “points” with me! 😎

“Making Good Choices” Is Not a Total Bummer. Really. 

We all have that friend (in my case an 85-year old great aunt) who knows you’re losing weight and says “Is that in your diet?” Or “I can’t believe you can eat THAT?!” 

So this post is for them.

Yes, darling loved one, I can actually eat anything I want, *in moderation*  and with some planning .

Coming off my big birthday weekend, I snapped out of bed this morning thinking three things:

1. I had so much fun, but I have some serious laundry to do.

2. Time to get my eating back on my routine.

3. Look out, Planet Fitness! Here I come! 

So I made myself a Morning-After Egg White Omelette, using half an ounce of chorizo and three ounces of potatoes leftover from last night’s dinner, with a cup of kale and half a yellow onion. 

  

I know you want to say, “But chorizo is SO high in points!” And I will say Chorizo is higher in points than chicken sausage, so I used half an ounce and I skipped the cheese. And since I wanted the potatoes, I skipped my usual English muffin. Delicious, satisfying and the same caloric/Points Plus intake as my normal breakfast. Moderation! 

And then I set to work at working off the weekend. A double espresso and a full two-hours of cardio at the gym: 10 miles biking, an hour of interval training on the elliptical and either some stair climbing or a half-hour walk to cool off! 

  
So I give you these examples as a way to say “Go to the beach and have cocktails. Eat the birthday cake (or the chorizo)!” As long as you are prepared to make good choices regarding portion size or gym time, there is nothing you can’t eat on your way to being a smaller, healthier you! 

“The Day Sarah’s Big Cojones Pushed Me Out of My Comfort Zone!”

So this blog post is all about pushing your limits. One of the thing I often hear from fellow weight watcher devotees is that they got very stuck in a routine, be it food or exercise, then they get bored, and then they give it up. People like Sarah (who is pictured below) should be inspiration to all of us to step out of our comfort zone and embrace our big cojones!

  

You see, Sarah is a fellow weight watcher devotee, having lost more than 30 pounds and kept it all! She is also about to embark on a life-changing trip to Thailand, where she will teach English for six months and then backpack solo through Southeast Asia for another six months, at least.

Sarah is embracing the concept of traveling the world in a backpack, seeing sites and having experiences we could not otherwise imagine. And she’s inspiring me to do the same, though from the comfort of the United States!

I recently took a Bikram yoga class with Sarah. Bikram yoga, otherwise known as hot yoga, is 26 yoga poses over 90 minutes, in a room that is heated to 104 degrees and 40% humidity.

I don’t care what kind of shape you think you’re in, Bikram yoga is no joke. But I want to have new experiences in this new body, and continue to push myself to do more physical activity, no matter what that is. 

So, with some serious apprehension, I went. I wore tiny little bike shorts I would not normally wear out of the house, and brought a huge bottle of water and a headband and a towel. And when I left, the water bottle was empty and everything else was soaking wet with my sweat.

But it felt incredible. It felt incredible to stretch my muscles, push my body farther than it has gone in many years and strive to achieve the poses. 

Please don’t be confused. I was absolutely terrible, but I pushed through and managed to work on 25 out of the 26 poses over the 90 minutes. And it raised my competitive nature, and now I want to go back and do better.

It’s just like when we start exercise, or start a new exercise, on our weight-loss journey. You’re not exactly sure what you’re doing, you can’t do it very well or for very long, but you get that fire in the belly and you push through. 

When I started out on my weight loss journey, I would bike for 20 minutes, then 25 and then 30. And then I added resistance, the treadmill and finally the elliptical. It’s that idea that you don’t have to be great at it automatically, but you have to try and add and change to continue to push yourself and your new (old) body! 

So I was prepared to call this blog post “I Tried Bikram Yoga So You Don’t Have To,” but instead I’m calling it “The Day Sarah’s Big Cojones Pushed Me Out of My Comfort Zone!”

How is your weight loss journey pushing you out of your comfort zone?