Tuesday, May 31, 2016

What is this self-control you speak of?

Oh boy, where to start? When I started this blog back in 2012, it was primarily to document my upcoming skin removal surgery. I thought that maybe it might be useful for someone who was thinking of undergoing that surgery to follow a “real world” documentation.

Then it morphed into something else. It became more than just my surgery. It became about the success and struggles of someone who lost a lot of weight in keeping it off and making healthy choices.

In a million years I truly never thought that anyone would really give a shit about what I thought or did. I certainly never imagined that anyone would see me as an “inspiration”. I never thought anyone would actually be rooting for me when I struggled. And I never conceived that people would send me hate mail over my posts.

After all, it’s not exactly a controversial blog! I mean, I have given my views at times om other than weight issues, but largely have stayed away from issues like abortion and politics and gun control and the death penalty and religion and all those things that get people super wound up.

And now, as I’ve mentioned lately, I feel like I don’t have much to offer anyone. I mean, how many times can you read about me bitching, complaining and throwing a pity party for myself for being so fat and not want to punch me in the face when I admit that I’ve stuffed my face? Seriously.

I spent the weekend doing just that. This weekend was the 2nd “Global 5K” sponsored by Runkeeper where you could walk or run 5K any time during the weekend knowing that there were others out there - in different places around the world - running their own 5K.

We’ve had a heat wave here and Marc has been wanting to try running on the beach. We should have known that where we headed off to would be PACKED. So we walked only a short distance before heading back and instead went to the local park. It was so hot and humid that running only 5K was like torture for me. But we finished and Marc took a pic to send to social media. I looked at the pic and was absolutely HORRIFIED by how fat I looked.

global5k2 (2)

So, logically, I ate myself silly. In what universe does a SANE person do that?

The weekend wasn’t a total bust, though. Getting out of my head and trying to take a more sane approach to exercise is proving difficult for me, mentally. I spent HOURS this weekend weeding flower beds, planting and decorating. I didn’t lift weights - but I did lift and haul 50 pound bags of soil repeatedly. I washed and detailed both the inside and outside of my vehicle which was a DISASTER from the winter. We took the dogs to the beach and played. And we wedged in a 43 mile bike ride.

So those things are good. But any amount of sanity I have is NOT translating to my eating.

And - guess what? My birthday is this week. So I’ve been getting e-mails with food deals as a “gift” to me. Of COURSE I don’t HAVE to take advantage of any of these offers. But I WANT to! So far I’ve been offered deals or freebies at:


Ruby Tuesdays



Dunkin Donuts

Texas Roadhouse

Auntie Anne’s

Uno’s Pizza

Olive Garden

If I had any self-control, I wouldn’t take advantage of any of these offers. But we all know how it is going to turn out...

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

It’s not quantum mechanics…

I am totally not smart enough to understand most aspects of scientific experiments. There are these things called “thought experiments”. One of the most famous is Schrodinger’s Cat. It’s a horrible experiment from an animal lover’s perspective and I don’t like to think about whether the actual experiment occurred or whether it was purely hypothetical.

Are you guys familiar with the paradox of the experiment? Here’s the premise - if you lock a cat in a box with a small radioactive particle, and don’t open it for a while, the cat is both alive and dead until the box is opened and actual state is observed. It is apparently an important discussion on quantum mechanics for people like the characters on the Big Bang Theory and is wayyyyyy above my head!

Despite my lack of scientific intelligence, I am, in fact, practicing my own version of this experiment right now. We’ve had some warm days here and there, but for the most part the weather has been cool enough that I have not made the complete switch over to my warm weather outfits.

So I’ve worn a few short sleeve dresses and shirts over the past month or so. But I haven’t worn anything sleeveless and have not even ventured to try on some my tighter summer dresses - especially the ones that zip up and are made of less - forgiving shall we say - materials. You see - sitting there in my closet - they both FIT and DON’T FIT. Their actual state is unknown.

Denial is a wonderful state of being. I can see the dresses hanging there and imagine that they fit when in reality they probably won’t. If I attempt to put the dresses on, their state - actually MY state - will become KNOWN. And if a bunch of these dresses don’t fit? Well, yes, that will indeed send me into a fit of self-loathing and recrimination. So I let them hang there on their hangers with the illusion that they fit, I am just CHOOSING not to wear them on each given day.

I believe I am turning into one of those people. You know the type - the ones that have all kinds of clothes that don’t fit, but they keep them because SOME DAY - when they lose enough weight - those clothes will fit again.

But I’m not ready to face reality just yet, so I’ll let them hang there.


Because in something nothing short of a miracle - I stepped on the scale this morning and I am down 1 whole pound. Just think - if I can keep up at this rate - I’ll be able to fit into all my clothes again in about the year 2021!!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Life other than weight…

I have had very little luck trying to push worrying about my weight to the very back corner of my head. 

I am hoping that as the weather gets nicer and I have more REAL things that matter to do, it will help.  This weekend served as a trial run.

I got home Friday after thinking about what a late start I am getting on the garden.  Instead of doing a requisite formal exercise, I got out the rototiller and began working at getting our large garden ready. 

Since we’ve had the garden a few years now, the soil worked up quite nicely and I was able to get it all done.

So when Saturday dawned, Marc and I were able to take a long bike ride.  We came home and got lunch and then we were off again.

We hiked a trail along a large gorge.  Marc was less than enthusiastic, because he was so concerned that the dogs would fall or jump off the side.


This is one of the shots I took.

We then stopped to get soil and seeds for the garden.

Remember when Sunday used to be a day I did a “long run”?  Yeah, me neither.  That Jen seems to have disappeared from my life.  I had NO DESIRE to run at all, let alone do a long run.

After much internal debate, I made my way over to a walking/biking trail with Archer.  The trail is about 3.5 miles from one end to the other.  We did the 7, although not without the desire to quit. 

Are any of you out there true TRAIL runners?  Marc and I have been debating about trying trail running and he tried it last week. 

When I was fat, I fell frequently and have twisted my ankle more times than I can count – including hurting myself pretty badly during a dance class in college.  So I am a little afraid of trails with rocks and roots and holes.

But we went over to look and it is a very short trail – 1 mile total, so we ran that.  I managed not to fall or otherwise hurt myself.  So I might try a longer trail run in the future.

I came home and got to work on the garden.  First I ran the rototiller through again on the reverse setting which digs it up deeper.  I really hope that will help with inevitable weeds that have become the bane of my existence in the summer!

I then planted green beans, sugar snap peas, corn, watermelon, zucchini, butternut squash and cucumbers. In the greenhouse I planted seeds of things that I've had a hard time getting to grow in the past - hoping to get them started and have better luck - brussel sprouts, spinach and eggplant.


It doesn’t look like much now, but I’m hopeful it will produce well for me this year!

After this was done, I was ready to rest – but Archer – who you would THINK would be tired – had other ideas!


With all this you would think that I wouldn’t be obsessing about how many calories I had burned and if I had “earned enough” for dinner.  But NOOOOO that would be way too easy, right?

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Hope and self-belief…


I was talking to someone yesterday. He recently celebrated 18 months clean and sober. He told me that - sitting in jail - he, as so many addicts do, began to re-evaluate his life.

He said that he had lost all hope. He knew with absolute certainty that he was going to “be a junkie the rest of my life”. He knew of others who had gotten clean. He knew that there were programs and opportunities. But he also knew that they would not work for him.

And yet, some how, some way, he worked his way through the darkness and today does not just revel in the reality that he now has been clean for 18 months - when he hadn’t put 18 HOURS together in the past - but he is now certain that he can be clean the rest of his life.

Why does this miracle happen for some and not for others? He goes to Narcotics Anonymous meetings and tries to share his “experience, strength and hope” with others, knowing that there are those out there who feel as hopeless as he did at one time.

I could identify with this so strongly. I knew there were people out there who were obese and had lost weight. I knew that there were ways to change the trajectory of where I was going. I knew this intellectually but didn’t believe it.

I was absolutely certain that I would be fat my whole life. I knew that it was not in me to change. I didn’t have the willpower or the internal strength. This was my destiny. To be fat and, like my father, to die young.

So, what happened? How did I find the hope that things could be different? How did I take those first steps? Because without hope, there is no action.  I wish that there was an easy answer to this - a three word phrase that could make it all make sense.

I suppose that for some people a radical lifestyle changes comes with making drastic changes immediately. But for me, it was the little steps. I didn’t believe that I could lose 200 + pounds. But I did believe that if I wanted to, I could stop drinking Mountain Dew. So I did that.  And dropped a few pounds.

I didn’t ever think in a MILLION YEARS that I could run 13 miles. But I knew that I could take the dogs for a slow three mile walk.

Success breeds success.  Change doesn’t have to come all at once. You don’t have to have 100% confidence in yourself. But can you find little things, small decisions you can make to achieve your goals?

If it can happen for me, it can certainly happen for anyone.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Another Day Another Study…

When I think about the battle that I have had with my weight my entire life, it tends to feel like a lonely journey. But it’s not - unfortunately. The statistics are actually quite startling. These statistics are for people in the US, but as other countries have caught up to us in this realm, I suspect the numbers wouldn’t be that dramatically different.

At any one time in the United States, 51% of adults say that they are trying to lose weight. Over half the population! A full 70.7% of Americans are considered overweight and 37.9% are obese!!! Holy crap, right?

An article I read today based on a study done appears to contradict what we have been told lately and what I have been talking about saying things like “You can’t outrun your fork”. You can read the article here:


It indicates that the worldwide epidemic of obesity and all the related diseases can be largely combated by EXERCISE, not DIET.

The article points out that only 20% - 20 FREAKING PERCENT - of Americans get the recommended amount of exercise per week and even more incredibly, 64% never get any physical activity AT ALL.

No wonder so many people are dying from diseases - at younger and younger ages - like diabetes, stroke and cardiovascular disease.

Although many news outlets are headlining this as “Exercise is the key to losing weight” - if you read the article, I don’t think that this is what is says at all. If you are a sedentary person who starts to exercise, it obviously would lead to weight loss. BUT the authors of the study seem to focus more on the health benefits of exercise beyond weight loss.

It is the difference between health and aesthetics. I’ve talked before about people who are “skinny fat” - people whose weight is normal or even low normal, but who are terrible health - weak, no cardio stamina, eating like crap - these people are not healthy and often - percentage wise - have a high amount of body fat.

But then you take someone on the opposite side of the coin who is overweight by BMI standards but who is strong with good heart health.

I tend to be obsessed, at my detriment - with how I look. I see rolls of fat that I pull on and think how terrible I look. And there is no doubt that I could stand to lose weight. But if I look at myself purely from a health standpoint, I’m in good shape. My heart is extremely healthy, my resting heart rate is 47, my blood pressure is low normal, I have good muscle tone and bone health, my sugar levels are excellent, my kidney function tests show no problems. Overall I have a very healthy diet.

I try to keep this in mind when I’m really getting down on myself.

Once again, there is no magic bullet. Diet is not THE answer. Exercise is not THE answer. If you want to be healthy, live a longer life and not just longer but have a higher QUALITY to your life, it is a combination of eating, diet, stress levels, environmental exposure - I could go on.

The good news is - as the study points out - to make extreme improvements to your health, you don’t have to be incredibly obsessive with your exercise. (Don’t be like me, people!) You don’t have to run miles and miles - although if you can, it’s really good for you. You don’t have to spend hours at the gym lifting weights - although lifting some weights or at least doing body weight exercises is super good for you as well. You don’t have to spend hours a day working out.

You also don’t have to give up all treats and sweets and eat kale for every meal. You can instead eat healthy more days than not.

So - this message is to ME as well as you! Get some exercise every day - exercise that raises your heart rate. Walking briskly for 30 minutes - even if you are marching up and down while watching tv - works. Do some squats and some push-ups once and a while. Eat salads and other vegetables. Stick to lean meats and complex carbs Stay mostly away from processed food but then have a cookie sometimes. Be an example to others. Focus less on the scale and more on your health.

Are any of you guys really good at this already? I’d love to hear about it!



Monday, May 16, 2016

Like Pinocchio…

Saturday was Marc’s birthday. We had plans all set up for the weekend, but Mother Nature decided to interrupt those plans. We had planned to spend Sunday on a bike tour through Syracuse. But when we saw it was going to be rainy, 45 degrees and 20 MPH winds, we scrapped that idea!

I felt bad for Marc because he was not happy at all to be turning a year older and just wanted something to distract himself. So I tried to be unlike myself and just go with the flow - turn over all decision making to him and just do whatever he wanted for the whole weekend.

I had planned to run Saturday morning, and thought I would be on the treadmill as the forecast was predicting rain starting early. But when Saturday morning arrived and the cold front hadn’t moved in yet, Marc decided he wanted to go for a walk.

Sounds simple, right? Not in my fucked up head! I had planned to run and deviation from plans is incredibly stessful for me. But I went with it and we walked with the dogs on a local trail. Then it was to decide what to do for the afternoon.

I imagine for most people, that’s a pretty easy call. But we spent far too long debating if we wanted to eat out or not - knowing that if we did we would eat too much, but also wanting to do something for Marc’s birthday. Marc finally decided and we headed out to lunch. As we sat in the restaurant, with lots of other people, I saw that they appeared to be just enjoying themselves. I thought that I must be the only one there who wanted to “cheat” - to eat whatever I wanted - without debating about whether I had burned enough calories that morning - without wondering what exercise I would have to do later to “make up” for what I was about to eat.

I continue to try to change the way I think and live like a “real live person”. I want to eat healthy and nutritious foods more days than not but then have days when I eat like shit and say that this is okay. Because it is okay once in a while, right?

I got my run in yesterday instead - 10 miles on the treadmill, which helped me beat myself up a little less for Saturday’s choices - and don’t get me wrong - I KNOW that they are choices. We got the baby chicks - who don’t look so baby like anymore - out of our basement and into the chicken coop. I began making a list of the seeds that I am going to buy for the garden this year and the thought of fresh veggies out the garden sounds pretty great. Despite this weekend’s “blip” spring is here and in some ways, it does feel like there is a “freshness” in the air.

I *think* that I am making progress in becoming “Jen” instead of “Jen the formerly obese woman who lost a ton of weight and worries every day about gaining it back”. But it is a slow journey.

I often joke when I am running urine tests on clients that this is the stuff they don’t teach you when you’re earning your Master’s. They don’t tell you about staring at someone when they pee to make sure it is really their pee going in the cup. They don’t tell you about putting on gloves and testing the urine and making sure you don’t spill it on yourself.

Well they don’t tell you about the after effects in “weight loss school”, either. When you see the TV advertisements of “I lost 54 pounds using [insert diet plan here] and I feel FANTASTIC!!!” It just ain’t that simple - at least for me it’s not.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Could it be magic?

This title refers to more than just my favorite song by the great Barry Manilow! By the way - did you guys know that the beginning of that song is copied from a Chopin prelude? Probably why I love it so much.


The last few days have been pretty great. My appetite is well under control. I’ve been eating well with no desire to stuff my face and - maybe more unusually - no feelings of being deprived.

So what’s going on? Well my foot is getting better and I’ve been running. It’s been sunny and warm.  Both positively correlated with good things.

I’ve been on my new lower dosage birth control pill for 1 month now. Is that making any difference? No idea.

And about 3 weeks ago I started taking a new herbal supplement - 5-HTP. I did some research and found that this is used by a lot of people for insomnia, as an appetite suppressant, and an anti-depressant. So I thought that I would give it a try. I discontinued the thyroid supplement after learning that my thyroid was completely normal and feeling that this supplement had very little positive effect on my eating or mood.

I know that it is somewhat pathetic to be looking for a “magic pill” that will somehow fix my issues. And I’m certainly not going to tell you that this is some miracle drug that has kissed me and made it all better.  But I’m… better.

I don’t know if it’s this pill or the birth control switch or a combination of everything falling into place. But I’m not going to argue with it. I have not seen a drop in the scale. So thus far it’s not a miracle in that realm. On the other hand, I am not gaining any weight and I feel WAY more in control of myself, and that is a good thing. I also feel hopeful and optimistic.

I know there are some of you out there that this is just in your nature - despite struggles and weight issues or hardships, you always seem to have a positive attitude. I know you are out there because I have met people like you. I totally envy those of you that have that in your nature because it’s not in mine! So we’ll see how long it lasts this time.

If only the scale would get with the fucking program - that would be AWESOME. LOL

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bathroom eating…

I know someone who has a child with a disability. I’m not exactly sure of the details, but it has to do with her leg being squished while she was just a fetus.  So when she was born that leg was twisted inward severely and a atrophied.  They did surgery shortly after her birth and have since done a couple more surgeries. Each time, they apparently have to break the bone and twist the leg towards being straight.  And then they cast her entire leg until it heals. There is a whole protocol and this poor little girl has to go through a few more surgeries, but the hope and plan is that it will  make her leg normal or close to normal by the time she is 10 or so.

She is only 4 but recently had another surgery. I was talking with her father and he was telling me about sitting down with her explaining about why she needed the surgery.  How he knows that there is some pain and she will hate the cast but that the doctors want to make her leg normal so she can play sports and have a relatively normal leg. The parents and the doctors thought that it was important that she have it explained what was happening and why rather than just subjecting her to medical procedures.

It made me think of a recent blog post that one of my Facebook friends shared. It was from a woman who talked about sitting in the doctor’s office as a child and having him say to her that he knows that ice cream and chips taste good, but that they were making her “big and fat”. The doctor apparently poked her belly and told her that she needed to get “rid of this”. She recalls just feeling so humiliated and believes that this was the start of her life-long battle with food. There was no sensitivity displayed and no real discussion - just an “you eat too much” condemnation.

I, too, was put on a diet when I was young. No one sat me down and talked to me about weight or eating right. Instead, the doctor gave my mother a list of what to feed me. I remember feeling hungry all the time. And angry. And guilty. I began sneaking food and was berated when caught. Around that same time, in my life, I was in a meeting at school for a club I was in. There were donuts. Everyone was having one and I, of course, eagerly reached for one. I saw one of my peers lean over and whisper to another peer and they both snickered. I was so embarrassed.

It was then that I learned the art of bathroom eating. I know that some of you out there know exactly what that is. When you sneak food into the bathroom where you theoretically won’t be interrupted, lock the door, and chow down. Often while feeling ashamed, but you don’t stop. There are no witnesses - no one to condemn you in there as you eat forbidden foods.

Later in life, this can translate to car eating. Our vehicles become ideal places to hide and scarf down food we aren’t “supposed to” have. I talked to a woman not too long ago. She was telling me that she would call her husband and tell him that she was in a late meeting a work. She would drive to the grocery store and buy a large amount of sweets - usually donuts. And she would give the cashier this long story about why she was buying several items (like the cashier cared - right?). She would then drive to the far corner of the parking lot and eat the sweets. Afterwards, feeling sick and guilty she would make her way over to the dumpster and throw out the containers or wrappers and vow that she would never do it again.

Of course, disposing of wrappers, wiping up crumbs, checking your face to make sure there is no “evidence” - those become essential to making sure no one finds out your secret.  And, of course, pretending it didn’t happen, putting on a show for your loved ones afterwards? That is just as important.

I never quite reached the of level of sneaking food in parking lots, but I’ve thought about doing things along those lines. And even today, I sometimes don’t take a cookie or a candy because I don’t want anyone to see me take it and/or eat it.  I might take one later when no one is looking, but even if everyone else is having one, I can’t do it.  The feeling that I will be judged or mocked - that hasn’t gone away entirely with weight loss. 

There is still that battle with food.  One of the reasons for this is that unlike that little girl with the disability who has things explained to her with dignity and respect - obesity is not treated like a medical condition even though there is a TON of research out there that tells us it is! No, if you are fat, it is due to a defect of character.  You lack willpower. It is YOUR FAULT.  You need to be treated with contempt and disgust, right?  

So we address the issue in hushed tones or we don’t address it at all.  As a society we do this and even our medical professionals do this.  If we stopped linking obesity to a judgment on someone’s character and as solely a medical condition would that reduce the stigma? Make them feel less ashamed? Allow them to talk about it? Would it help people live a more healthy lifestyle?

I don’t know. I don’t have the answers. But I do know what it feels like to struggle and to feel like less than.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Taking what I can get..

The weekend went by in a flash – so what else is new?

My foot is getting better – slowly but surely.  There is still some pain and I’m sure any doctor would tell me that I still need to rest it.  But hey, what do doctors know??   After all, the last one DID tell me that 43 years old was too old to be running LOL


On Saturday, Marc and I took the dogs on what was meant to be a relatively short but  challenging hike.  Since it was so short, afterwards Marc asked if I wanted to check out a trail nearby that he has been wanting to look at for possible mountain biking in the future.  We ended  up walking quite a few miles.   

Yesterday morning I got up and was a little sore - I had planned to run, but Lazy + Whiney   Jen initially decided that she had done enough exercise the day before and didn’t need to do    anything Sunday morning.  But after some more thought, Fit Jen won, and I decided to go to the place I’ve mentioned before.  It’s a trail covered in fine gravel which is easier on the body – including the foot - than running on blacktop.

Chakotay has had some hip problems as he’s gotten older.  A couple of months ago I started him on Glucosamine and Chondroitin and that has helped a TON, but after a long and somewhat hard hike, he was limping a bit and I didn’t want to push him, so I decided to take just Archer.

DAMN!!  Talk about feeling guilty!  As I put on Archer’s collar, Chakotay just stood there with his nub wagging and looking at me patiently waiting for me to put his collar on.  And then as I went to leave and told him to stay – the look just about broke my stinking cold heart!! 

The trail is 2 miles one way and I wanted to run it twice.  But let me tell you, when your motivation is not in tip top form, after completing the 4 miles and the car is right there –it takes a hell of a lot to turn around and run the whole thing again!!!!  But I did it.  I stopped at 6  - at the turnaround so that Archer could get a break.  Yeah, right - it was Archer that needed to  catch his breath.  NOT!   


Want to hear something funny?  Running on the way back, my legs were getting fatigued and I   wanted to stop and walk.  I remembered an article I read recently in Runner  World about this woman who wanted to quit while running her first marathon.  She said that for the last 4 miles with every single step she chanted in her head things like  “I am strong!”  “I am powerful!”  “I can do this!”  And she ended up finishing.  So I tried chanting inspirational things like this and no  dice - I still wanted to stop running.  So I began chanting  “BAGEL with PEANUT BUTTER” -which I planned to have for lunch.  And I finished the 8.  Pathetic, huh?!!?      


When it was over, I was happy that I got a run in and considered the weekend a success exercise wise.    However, there was a problem afterwards called entitlement!  When I exercise heavily, I seem to believe that this  entitles me to eat anything and everything I want the rest of the day -like the calories won’t count!  There is, of course, an actual physical hunger that comes from exercising.  But that  plays a    very small part.  In reality it is my mind telling me that I deserve whatever I desire since I worked so hard.

Unfortunately, I want to eat many many many more calories than I have burned.  That, my friends, is a problem!  And probably the reason that the scale stubbornly refuses to budge!  

Well, at least my sweet Chakotay forgave me for favoring one son over another on Mother  Day!!!   


Friday, May 6, 2016

Blissfully ignorant…

After work today I stopped at a local grocery store to pick up a couple of things for dinner.

I went over to the deli department and there was one employee there – a young kid – maybe 18 – who was cutting deli meat for the one customer there.

You could tell that he was new to the deli department.  He was slow with the meat cutter and kept having to pile the meat on the scale and would look carefully at the numbers.  When he saw me, he started looking around – somewhat desperately for another employee.

I resisted the urge to pace or cross my arms – I was in a hurry, but this kid was trying his best.  He finally got the meat to the right number and slowly put in the numbers, packaged it up and handed to the customer. 

He hurried over to me and I pointed in the case – “I need the Finlandia Swiss LIGHT cheese.” I said.  “Um… okay” he replied.  He looked at where I was pointing and I told him there were 2 Finlandia Swiss cheeses and I wanted the light kind.

He began searching through the deli case looking for an opened package to cut from.  All the while he kept glancing towards the back room – ever more desperately looking for a co-worker to come bail him out.  He continued rummaging and then held up a chunk of Swiss to show it to me.  We stared at each other – I was confused and he was expecting an answer.

“Light,” he said.  I then realized that when I said light he thought I was referring to the color of the cheese.  I told him gently that light meant the calorie count.  His eyes opened “OH!” he said and went back to looking.  He then pulled out another package and I could see that while part of the front packaging was gone, the nutritional label was intact.

I told him to look at that label and tell me what the calorie count was.  He began looking at the label the way I would instructions in Chinese – he had no clue.  He said hopefully “Um… Oh! There is calories from FAT!” “No, look an the top left and it should say calories.”

He finally got the number, it was the right cheese, he got it cut and packaged and I was chuckling a little as I walked away.

I found myself a little jealous though.  This 17 year old kid clearly knows nothing about nutritional labels.  He never thinks about calorie counts or protein numbers when he eats.  He doesn’t worry about if he’s eating too many carbs or if he eats this or that, how many calories will be “left” for the day.

I spent most of my life in this blissful ignorance.  But not anymore!!  I can’t look at any food ever and not know about how many calories it has.  It has almost even become a game at work – a security might say to me “Jen, I just ate 2 Hershey’s kisses with Almonds – how many calories is that?”  “Probably around 50…” I would reply.  They’ll pull out their phones and look it up – “She’s RIGHT!!” they’ll yell – like I had won a prize.

One thing that I never regret about this journey is learning more about healthy foods.  I am thrilled that I no longer drink the horrible poison that is soda.  I know that I’m doing right by myself and my health when I make mashed potatoes from real potatoes – not from a box.  I stay away from processed crap and my dinners are fresh, not from a box and not taken home in a fast food bag.  While sometimes I miss Keebler cookies for dessert, I know how much better for me a late night snack of Greek Yogurt is, and I’m happy to make that choice.

Having said that, I do wish that sometimes I could just turn my mind off and eat.  I don’t even eat the healthy stuff – like fresh broccoli or quinoa without knowing how many calories I just ate.  Or judging if I get in enough protein for the day.

This is one area of my life that I would like to go back to being like the deli kid – oblivious to what those stupid nutritional labels say and mean!!


Wednesday, May 4, 2016


I hopped on the scale this morning - OK well I didn't hop - glass scale and ceramic tile and me hopping would not end well.  Plus I don't exactly hop early in the morning...


Guess what?  My weight is EXACTLY what it was on April 5th.  One month ago and here we are.  Apparently I'm in maintenance - unfortunately I'm maintaining many many many pounds above where I should be!!!

Since I haven't been exactly angelic when it comes to my eating, maybe I should just be thrilled that I haven't p

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

I’m that kind of loser…

I happened to run across this new article today.


If you have lost weight or are in the process of losing weight, I HIGHLY recommend that you read it. It matters little to the rest of the world, I suppose, but for those of us who fight the daily battle, it means OH SO MUCH.

If you don’t have the time to read it, or will get to it later, read on for my thoughts. This discussion coincidentally coincides with a blog post I did recently about the challenges of maintaining massive weight loss and how the body fights against the loss and does everything in its power to make you regain. This recent study once again affirms that.

As I’ve mentioned many times, I don’t watch The Biggest Loser, but these researchers did a study on participants from Season 8. Why season 8 as opposed to other seasons? Who knows, but I’m sure the results would be the same whichever season they chose.

Almost everyone that they profiled from that season who had lost an amazing amount of weight, improved their health and got fit - well, they’ve gained at least some if not most of the weight back. But rather than look at this as a group of people who fell back into old behaviors or judging them for their regain, the researchers set out to find out the WHY.

Holy crap - I guess I knew a lot of what they were going to find, and the reasons for it, but reading what the actual evidence showed, what the researchers said and seeing testimonials from the people... I was totally not prepared for the way this article hit me emotionally. To the point where I started crying - could I be more pathetic LOL?

Like other research on the subject of obesity, the researchers found that the contestants who lost weight started out with “normal” metabolisms, but after their loss burned a startling less amount of calories than other people who are their same size and weight. The winner of that year - who lost 240 pounds and has regained about 100 pounds since - was found to burn burns 800 calories less per day!!

One of the women, who is much smaller and younger? She still burns 591 less calories per day than a “normal person” her size.

The researchers also found that the contestants “constantly battled hunger, cravings and binges.” While everyone at the start of the season had normal levels of the hunger hormone - leptin, by season’s end they had virtually NO LEPTIN AT ALL. Which, in theory, would make a person “ravenous all the time.” Weight gain allowed them to regain some leptin, but only to about HALF of what they started with!!

The doctors involved with the study indicated that this research shows that “for most people, the combination of incessant hunger and slowing metabolism is a recipe for weight regain — explaining why so few individuals can maintain weight loss for more than a few months.” and “The difficulty in keeping weight off reflects biology, not a pathological lack of willpower...”

Yeah, that’s where I started to lose it emotionally. So it’s not completely my lack of self-control?

And then I saw what some of these people went through. One participant said “I used to look at myself and think, ‘I am horrible, I am a monster, subhuman,’” When sent home from the show, he quit his job in order to work out incessantly, constantly monitored his calories burned versus consumed, and was physically and mentally exhausted. He knew in his heart that he could never maintain this lifestyle and eventually started regaining - especially when he returned to “real life”.

The doctors that were involved in the study think that the answer to helping people both lose weight as well as preventing regain after loss will be finding a safe and effective way to introduce hormones that control hunger and also restore the body to a more normal state of being. To make us like “normal people”.

So what now? Like I said, this isn’t going to matter to most of the world who will continue to see fat people as lacking willpower and anyone who loses weight and regains as a failure. I WISH that I was strong enough of a person that I don’t care what other people think. But I’m not. Some of you out there certainly are, and I totally admire that!

While I can’t change what other people think, I have been working - with some success - on what I think of myself, and I think that I need to keep this article in mind. That seeing the amount that I’ve regained as not inevitable, but understandable, and what I’m fighting against is not just in my mind, but is a physical, biological reality. So if are like me and you get angry and beat yourself up, I hope that you will remember that, too.

What do you guys think about this article?


Monday, May 2, 2016

Not quite like dancing…


I’ve mentioned it here before - I feel like my choices have become a series of 1 step forward and 2 steps back. Maybe that’s life - you sometimes win and you sometimes lose. But in this “game” it’s not CHANCE, it’s CHOICE. And while I make good choices at times, I then sabotage it.

This weekend Marc and I were out of the area and we wanted to to get something to eat while we were waiting on Marc’s new bike getting adjusted at the bike shop. Fat Jen screamed “FIND A PONDEROSA, FIND A CHINESE BUFFET, EAT ALL THE FOODZ!!!!” But we settled on Ruby Tuesday’s.

I ordered water with lemon to drink - good job! Then I ordered the salad bar - oh yeah good job again! I went up and covered my plate with veggies - fresh lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, broccoli, mushrooms - oh, you are so on a role, Jen!! No fattening salad dressing - you go girl! On my second trip I once again avoided the heavy salads, like the pasta salad and potato salad - I did have some cottage cheese - not a bad choice! And then? I proceeded to eat my body weight in croutons and sunflower seeds.

Sigh. Fucked it up, didn’t you, Jen?

In my recent attempts to change the way I think about things, I’ve realize that I have certain demands - part of this involves my food obsessions, but part of it is just my OCD and general inflexibility. If you have kids, I think that it is probably very important to establish routine more days than not - but Marc and I don’t have kids and we have the luxury of “winging it”. But I have gotten it into my head that we have to eat dinner between 6:45-7:00PM every night -period. There is no real reason that we have to - other than that it has become my rule.

So Saturday we went to the memorial service I talked about. It was emotional - to hear her sister - my best friend for most of my life - talk about seeing her shortly before her death - when she couldn’t really talk - and trying to say everything she wanted to knowing that this was likely the last time she would see her alive??? I can’t imagine and I hope I never have to be in that position.

We got home late afternoon and both Marc and I were sad and also hyped up so we took a quick bike ride and then Marc asked if I wanted to take the dogs to a local trail he had been wanting to explore. It was late but still quite warm and we headed out. I wasn’t hungry, but had a lot of anxiety that we weren’t going to eat “on time”. It was so ridiculous and I recognized the absurdity of it intellectually, but not emotionally. We did have dinner that night - around 8PM and - GASP - the world did not spin off its axis because of this!! Who knew?

In good news - stepping forward (no pun intended)- my foot is on the mend. There is still some pain, but it is getting slowly better. Yesterday morning it was cold and rainy, so I decided to try running some on the treadmill. I ran slow and was able to get 8 miles in for the most part pain free. Yay, right? Having accomplished that, and having burned a whole 625 ish calories, I felt entitled to make some healthy no bake sugar free cookies from a recipe I’ve been wanting to try. Yes, the cookies were made with healthy ingredients - oats, peanut butter, honey, coconut oil and dark cocoa powder. To my surprise they were delicious. But healthy ingredients DOES NOT mean that it is okay to eat a shit-ton of them, does it?? Oh, yeah - healthy foods have calories too, don’t they??

As you guys know, making the right choice - it’s not as simple as black and white. It’s not simple and it’s not easy.

So I don’t think that I can declare victory this weekend. But I don’t know that I’ve failed either. That’s what living in shades of grey is all about. That challenge for me is both the physical as well as the mental.

How about you guys? Am I the only one with the inflexible “rules” that serve no real purpose?