Wednesday, November 28, 2007

A Decision a Decade in the Making

I know that I am not unique in this, but I am schlumpy. Slobbish. I do not take the time to do my hair and makeup before I leave the house. I do not wear pretty clothes. I do not put my best foot forward. Because I am Fat.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve made plans to buy a whole new wardrobe (or make one, since I love to sew and can rock it) when I was Not Fat Anymore. The last time I was Not Fat was in 2001. Before I was married or had children. It was a pretty short period of time, and even then I was not Not Fat enough for myself. I did buy a few smaller items that were necessary, like jeans (slow down, don’t get crazy!), but I didn’t go balls out like I planned on doing when I got to that elusive goal weight. (Back then it was 135 for 5’10” me. I chose that number because I read in an issue of People that that was what Tyra Banks weighed, and that was enough for me.)

And now I have decided that this is pretty ridiculous behavior. The whole thing, not just the Tyra Banks goal weight. I never understood why, on What Not to Wear, they would tell people who said they were going to lose weight that they should look good whatever weight they were at. Not that those fat people didn’t deserve to look good, but what was the point of buying a whole new wardrobe since you knew, for reals, that in mere weeks or months or whatever you were going to be hott with two Ts?

Even if I were still dieting religiously, I would be changing my tune. I’m not sure exactly what precipitated this, but I think it might have something to do with a certain habit of mine.

You see, I am a prodigious collector of tear sheets. Pages torn out of magazines for parenting, web sites, clothes, home d├ęcor, whatever I think looks cool. These are all filed in a white file box, which I get out every month when I receive a new magazine. I take the old magazine and go through it, tearing out whatever I’ve marked or whatever looks good to me. And I file it. Sometimes I go through the things I’ve filed and throw stuff away, but not very often.

My clothing folder was bulging, as it always is. So I went through it and picked out some pages that I liked. Then I separated those pages into what I would make now, what I would make when I was halfway to goal, and what I would make when I was at goal. Guess how many things were in the “now” pile. Five. And two of those were shoes. One of them was a pair of pants, and the other two were fairly innocuous shirts—with sleeves, of course.

I am in possession of literally hundreds of pictures of clothes that I like, and yet I can only give my fat self permission to wear three of the pieces? Why? People don’t point and laugh at me now; do I think that if I stop wearing giant T-shirts and track pants that they’re going to start?

Some time ago, when my favorite jeans were dirty, and maybe starting to get a little tight, I don’t really remember, I went out in public in pajama pants. I didn’t care what anyone thought of me! I was going to wear my damn pajama pants if I wanted to and everyone else could suck up their mortification! And no one pointed and laughed. In fact, I’m pretty sure I wore fluffy gorilla slippers out once or twice and if there was no pointing and laughing about that I am hard pressed to believe it’s coming due to anything else. So why is me wearing the clothes I want to wear—even dresses!—any different than my rebellious pajama wearing? It’s not, that’s how.

I don’t guarantee that I will be brave enough to post pictures of me wearing said clothes. But I can guarantee that I will be brave enough to wear them in public. And for me, that’s a huge step.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

More bloggy goodness

I discovered Kate Harding's blog yesterday and I am shocked that I have lasted this long without it. This post is exactly what I want to say about my food issues, except a gajillion times more eloquent. You can definitely put me in the group of people afraid of what they will do if they have no restraints on their eating. It's like there's a gene that people who eat when they're hungry and stop when they're full got, and I'm missing it. Definitely read the comments on that post if you click on it.

Dealing with food is starting to get easier. I think my biggest issue right now is time/laziness. I really really love roasted broccoli and cauliflower, for example, but I usually make the stupid mistake of not starting dinner until it's time to eat. Roasting vegetables takes time that I don't want to take, so I skip it. And microwaved broccoli is just not the same thing. I don't like most prepared foods (see below for more on that) but they tend to be a go-to food here, because if the kids expect food at 6 and I get busy with other things until 5:50, they're not going to wait an extra hour so I can make something healthy. Frankly, I don't want to wait either.

There are some quote unquote "bad foods" that I used to love that now I'm not that into. I'm like a little kid--I eat something until I burn myself out on it and then it disgusts me. One example would be hot dogs and cheddarwurst, which are like bratwurst, but cheese-flavored. A year ago, when those were things we didn't eat very often because they were salty and full of junk, I could eat two cheddarwurst in a sitting, or three hot dogs. And half an hour later I wanted more because, you know, those aren't the most nutritionally dense foods. Then something happened and we started eating them a lot more, and now they gross me out. All I can taste when I eat them is salt and fat. That actually happened before, when I had my first son. I actually made a concerted effort to cook healthy foods and stuff that had previously been the norm--like Hamburger Helper or macaroni and cheese--was inedible. I hope to get to that point again. I just have to stop being lazy about cooking, I guess.

One problem that I'm still having is that my brain is still remembering that I like these foods. I will see a package of hot dogs and go, "Ooh! Hot dogs! Those sound good!" Then I stop and remember that I don't even like hot dogs. How weird is that that I don't even know what foods I like and don't like? Perhaps I should start carrying a list with me.

E and I went for a walk today. He's at the point now where he prefers to walk rather than ride, which is great because I can get by with one stroller. The obvious drawback is that he's three and tires easily. Our walk today was four blocks each way. In winter that's fine, but in the summer it's nothing. I'd really like one of these but I don't want to spend more than $200 on something that we won't need in a year or two. I hope to make the walks a regular thing. It's November, maybe by spring or summer we'll have worked up to a longer distance.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

I was kind of shocked when I saw that I haven't posted for over a month. I'm going to try and be less negligent in the future, because I do feel like writing here is helpful to me.

So Thanksgiving was not bad as far as eating. Too many crackers and spinach dip, but I also ate raw broccoli. I was shocked because normally raw vegetables almost make me gag. Still can't stand raw carrots, but I'm getting closer. I only had one plate at dinner and I didn't finish the whole thing, and I had no dessert. In the interest of full disclosure, that was only because the apple crisp that was to be dessert was still cooking when E decided he was scared and wanted to go home. (That's his new thing. He's scared of everything. I think he uses the word scared to describe emotions that are not scared--like nervous, for example.)

I really don't expect that holidays are going to be that hard, besides the cookies. I love cookies, and my grandma always gives me a cookie platter. I should take that damn thing down to the homeless people that hang out around the library. My problem is usually night eating. I don't know if this is legit or not, but I always feel hungrier at night, and when there aren't kids to chase or things to be done that need immediate attention, I eat to keep busy or...whatever. If I could take care of that bad habit, I think I would be a heck of a lot further along in my loss.

I was cruising through some of the blogs that I've come across lately, courtesy of Delightful Blogs. Through one of those, Big Fat Deal, I stumbled across the blog First, Do No Harm. I wholly recommend all of these sites, especially if you are a person like me who likes black and white proof that other people are going through the same thing I am. The stories on First, Do No Harm were literally jaw-dropping. I knew that fat was the last acceptable prejudice, but I guess I've lived in a little bubble where I didn't realize how bad it was.

I am lucky in that I have never had a doctor tell me that I was fat, or that my problem was due to being fat. The closest I've ever come is, when taking a sports physical when I was younger I checked that I had irregular periods. When the doctor asked me about it, I said that yes, that was correct. He hemmed and hawed for a minute, then said "That might be due to your being slightly overweight." I'm pretty sure that I weigh more now than I did then, and I now have regular periods. My guess is that it was more due to age than weight.

On the one hand, my mouth was hanging open in horror at a lot of the women's stories in First, Do No Harm. I almost believe that if they had gone to the doctor with a compound fracture they would have been told to lose weight and it would go away. On the other hand, what if I had had a serious illness like PCOS or thyroid imbalance, where weight gain or inability to lose is a symptom? The doctor seemed almost scared to say anything about my weight, and said nothing about it besides that one sentence, but what if it was important? Is there really no middle ground here? Either don't bring up weight at all, or bring it up and rub the patient's face in it until the skin is gone off their nose?

I have had other weight-related testing. I had my thyroid tested once and I told the doctor I wanted it done because of my inability to lose weight despite dieting and exercising. All he said was OK and did the tests. Again, I really appreciate that he didn't lecture me about it, but when the tests came back normal there was no follow-up. Have things like this happened to anyone else? Are some doctors so afraid of offending fat women that things could be going undiagnosed?

Also, I can't remember if I've mentioned this book before, but I'm going to do it now, redundancy be damned! I absolutely love it. It's by Paul Campos, and it's called The Obesity Myth: Why America's Obsession With Weight is Hazardous to Your Health. It's awesome; I loved this book. Highly recommend it, it's relevant even if you're dieting to lose weight. I'm finding more and more that a key part of my success has to be acceptance of my body and what it can do, so that I can take seriously the task of getting healthy. This is helping me with that.