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25 Extra Pounds Isn’t Just Fat, It’s HEAVY

2 Oct

Today I picked up a 25 lb. weight in the gym to see how heavy it was.  I lost 25 lbs. this year and wanted to see what it really felt like. I was astounded.  It was really heavy!  I have more than 50 lbs. to go in my weight loss journey, so I gave the 50 lb. weight a try. I could barely pick up up off the bench. 

This was a real wake up call as to how much the extra weight I’m carrying around actually feels like and what it’s doing to my joints. 

 I have to confess, my 25 lb. weight loss has not been  all that hard once I was able to start exercising after a year of a broken ankle followed by knee surgery.  No matter how little I eat, the weight  just doesn’t come off unless I exercise.

As I keep on keeping on,  I plan to lift that 50 lb. weight every time I go int to the gym just to remind myself that my extra weight truly is a ball and chain. On my body and my life.

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The Last Bastion of Acceptable Mockery

21 Sep

Take a look at this photo, and what is your response? 

I bet at least half of you laughed and a good number of you groaned and thought that the guy has no business on a plane.

This photo was shown recently in an informational meeting I attended about gastric banding.  I was the smallest person in the room except for the doctor, Michael Baptista, MD and his staff. When he showed this photo, not one person laughed.  We saw it from a different perspective; we knew that there was something very, very urgent that this man needed to tend to for him to fly instead of drive and subject himself to that much discomfort and humiliation.  He sure didn’t get on the plane thinking, “Oh boy, I get to hang half my ass into the aisle and get dirty looks from my seat mate, and get humiliated by the flight attendants. This will be a blast.”

Movie director Kevin Smith was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight recently after he had already been seated because of “safety concerns.” The guy is overweight, but not outrageously so.  Seems he usually bought two tickets for comfort, and when he flew standby that time and got only one seat, a red flag came up. Although he did not meet the Southwest guidelines for being too fat to fly, he had no recourse but to leave the airplane. As he got up to leave in humiliation, he eyed a guy a few rows back who was much larger than himself, and he said the guy’s eyes begged him not to give him away.

I will never fly Southwest Airlines again. Ever. I had already had my own embarrassing moment on Southwest when I read what happened to Smith. I was getting myself all buckled in and for some reason couldn’t get the seatbelt buckle to engage. So I asked the flight attendant for help and she announced very loudly that I obviously needed a seat extender.  As I looked at her with daggers, I said that, no, I simply couldn’t get the catch to engage. She  laughed and said off-handedly, “I just call ’em like I see them.”  The last thing I wanted to do was draw more attention to myself, so I just told her calmly to just go away. She seemed thrown that I was upset. Through my tears, I realized I had the seatbelt buckle backward, and when I turned it around, it indeed closed. Callous flight attendant returns and offers me a drink for hurting my feels, although she “didn’t mean to.” Again, I said through my gritted teeth, “Just. Go. Away.”  I waited until every single passenger was off the plane — didn’t want to get arrested — and then I let her have it.  She was still baffled what she did wrong.

A few days later I wrote a calm and thoughtful letter to Southwest and in due time received a thoughtful letter in return. But  Southwest employees keep giving this same kind of treatment to other passengers and it’s unacceptable.

So back to the photo. Did you laugh or feel sorry for the guy?  It probably made you a little mad that he would inconvenience everyone with his presence.  Am I right?

My message here isn’t about how hard it is to lose weight and therefore let’s all feel sorry for the guy. But rather, it’s that every person has some sort of cross to bear and some of ours are just more apparent than others. And, unfortunately, mocking obesity seems to be one of the last bastions of rudeness that isn’t considered politically incorrect.

Sure, there are many who feel that all fat people brought it on themselves, and it’s their total lack of willpower and self-control that got them where they are. No matter what they do now, however, it won’t come off.  So that means in a civilized society it’s perfectly acceptable to mock them, bring ridicule upon them and make them feel less than?  Evidently so.  People laugh every night at fat jokes told by comedians on late night TV. But why? Why is it funny?

Only you can answer that question for yourself, why you laughed at the photo above. Then ask yourself if you’re all right with the answer.

Princess Fat Butt

18 Sep

A friend referred me to another blog today – PrincessKnowItAll.com.  All I can say is – she stole my title! I aspire to be all things her blog is. And that title. Just ask my family, they’ll say she stole it from me too. I just hadn’t thought of it yet.   I’m still trying to come up with something appropriate to replace “Beach Journal,” as lovely as that is.

As a blogging neophyte, I’m still developing exactly what direction my blog will take. It’s easy enough to share one’s thoughts and observations as they bubble up, however, most people look for focus when deciding to whom to give their valuable online time.   My forte is the observation of life’s ironies. As PrincessKnowItAll says, life takes it toll and we find out that we indeed don’t know it all after all.

I was talking with my sister today who has in the last year had shed most of the unwanted weight she held for many, many years. She did it all by herself in a way that none of us would ever believed.  She ate right and exercised.  Her refrigerator and pantry look like a Whole Foods aisle.

A number of years ago when her daughter was trying to lose weight, and also doing it the right way, my sister was beside herself that her daughter might be anorexic. “She doesn’t even put salad dressing on her salad! And she won’t even touch a french fry!” she lamented. Well, yeah. She was not then and hasn’t ever been anorexic. She was just doing what her mother didn’t know how to help her do.

So I was talking to my sister today about possibly getting a gastric band – you know those bands they put on your stomach that simply limit how much can go in.  Her first remark was, “Well don’t tell anyone if you do it because that’s all anyone will talk about, that you got a band.”  Before, I would have agreed with her wholeheartedly, but today – who cares. It’s not like no one knows I’m fat. They probably know it more than I do. I feel one way and then look at photos and think, “Holy moly, who is that woman?”  It’s like I felt when I finally succumbed this year to a babydoll bathing suit, with the empire waisted skirt. I spent all those years with sarongs and swim shorts  trying to hide life’s insults. I went with my babydoll suit this year and I feel free for the first time in years. This is me and I’m representing.

My sister echoed the feeling many people still have – that losing weight with any “assistance” is paramount to admitting defeat.   Well let me make this loud, clear and simply – I have been defeated.  After 45 years of dieting, I am willing to admit defeat.

I was always a big girl and  looked older than my sister who is 18 months older. It was when I was 8 years old and my mother died that I first acquired a real weight problem. It wasn’t eating from depression; it was from having no one watching what I was eating. We had a morning maid and an afternoon maid.  While they went about their business, I was collecting Coke bottles with friends to cash in during multiple trips to the neighorhood 7-Eleven for all sorts of pure sugar sweets. I was addicted, to be sure. And it showed.

I had a decent figure as the years went on, but was alway just a bit bigger than all my willowy friends. When I went into the Marine Corps in 1974, I was

Circa 1975 and at my maximum weight allowed by the USMC

 

 5’8″ and 150 lbs.  And I was over my maximum weight allowed of 144.  The drill instructor threatened us with being held back if we didn’t drop the weight. We were put on the “diet line” in the mess hall and had no choices over the food we ate. 

What was interesting, however, is that the drill instructors would let me off the diet line when I hit my maximum weight, but they made all the other women get ten pounds below their maximums.  As soon as I went back on the regular line — boom, I’d gain a couple of pounds. All sixty of my fellow women marines were eating the same quantities of food and doing the same exercise and drills every day. And while little tiny girls lost weight, I would gain weight.

This was one of those life defeating moments when I realized that life was certainly not fair.

About eight years ago, I lost 80 lbs all on my own, the very same way my sister did. I’m not one to follow plans and measurements. I’m more of a concept girl, and then just get on with life and pay attention. I read Dr. Bob Arnot’s Revolutionary Weight Control Program (which I highly recommend) and applied all the principles in it to my food choices. And I walked on the beach at least five times a week for an hour. Within nine months it came off. And I kept it off for more than a year. My cholesterol went from 270 to 195 without drugs.

But when my children both became very ill, and my life became chaotic times ten, it all went out the window. It started with a medication a physician gave me that put on 30-40 pounds, and then it was Katie bar the door.

My cholesterol is back up to 270. My physician recommended statins to me, and I told her definitely not because they put weight on you. I said that I would rather be dead than be any fatter than I am now. And that’s the truth.

Today I met a bariatric physician while doing a cover photo shoot for MD News MagazineMichael Baptista, MD,  has the sultry voice of Antonio Banderas mixed with all the adorable charm of Hugh Jackman.  What he told me was: “You don’t need me to lose weight; you need me to help you keep the weight off.”  Bingo.  That’s what every woman knows who has ever felt victorious over her weight battle only to see it creep back on. Keeping it off is often harder than losing it. 

What we also know is that once we’ve been  defeated by weight for a period of time, we’ve got the fat cells that always want us to be that weight. We’ve also got the leptin levels that scream at our bodies like drill instructors, “You’re hungry maggot. Dammit do something about it. Eat. EAT NOW!”

All the corn syrup is gone from my house, I don’t often eat meat, except fish, few dairy products, yada, yada, yada. I know how to do it because I’ve done it. And I have managed to lose 25 lbs after finally recovering from a broken ankle followed by knee surgery. At least I’m walking now. I can’t, however, exercise like I used to. The pain in my legs and hips makes it difficult sometimes to simply walk the dog. I try to get in the pool when I can and ride the recumbant bike in the gym.

So this Princess Fat Butt – hey there’s a name — continues on so that she doesn’t give up, as they say, before the miracle happens.

Princess Fat Butt has a plan.