Five Former Fatties

Fat loss info from former fatties

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On The Rails

~Jenn

I’ve been mulling over this post for a while. Mainly because it’s hard to admit to everyone (including me) that, holy crap, I so do not feel like exercising right now.

Why?

Because I’m bored. Bored and depressed. And that’s NOT a good combo.

I’m bored with weights. I’m bored with going to the gym. I’m having trouble thinking up a new goal, and really, I just want to hang out on my couch and do nothing. I want to drink Riesling and watch bad TV.

There. I said it.

This will probably surprise a few people; last weekend I ran the Warrior Dash in Seattle (6K run + 10 obstacles) and am doing another WD next weekend on Mt Seymour; I’m making plans to do the Grouse Grind with various friends every week; I’m trying a new spin class Wednesdays at lunch; and I’m looking at starting either boxing or indoor rock climbing in the fall. I’ve even debated doing a Tough Mudder, a 15-ish km run with 20 obstacles. And anyone who knows me or reads this blog knows how much I fucking hate running.

When I was losing weight I had a goal. I reached that goal. I’ve had a few goals since then – roller-derby (derailed permanently by injury) then Warrior Dash last year, then injury again, then Warrior Dash again. But right now I’m goal-less. I honestly don’t really want to do Tough Mudder – if it was all obstacles sure, but it isn’t. I’m mildly interested in Boxing. I’m a bit more interested in Rock Climbing. But you know, they seem like a lot of work. And I’m not in the mood to do work right now. It has even crossed my mind more than a few times in my darker moments lately to say fuck it, cancel my gym membership, and let the chips fall where they may.

Seriously.

Am I going to do that?

No. No I’m not.

Intellectually I can recognize that I’m not in the best head space right now. That eating cheesecake and lazing about will make my clothes not fit, damage my physical and mental health, and destroy my hard-won self esteem. And I like looking good. Sue me.

But I’d be lying if I said it’s always easy-peasy and how awesome and super-motivated I am and how don’t you wish you were just like me? I’m as prone to lack of motivation and laziness and depression as anyone else is. But I’ve been successful because when I feel like saying fuck it, I don’t.  Right now I’m focusing on setting my life up to make it as easy as I can to keep it on the rails; coming up with new goals,making working out more fun, leaning on my friends a bit (they harass me mercilessly to do sometimes insane physical shite, thanks you guys 😛 ), getting motivation from the successes of other people I know, eating well, sleeping well, and just… doing it. There is no magic pill, and there is no Secret. I just suck it up and fucking do it, and wait for the fog to clear again, like I know it will.

But Arg. It sucks right now.

Posted July 30th, 2012.

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Overweight People Only Please

~Jenn

A fitness club here in Vancouver has banned fit people. Body Exchange only allows Plus Sized women to join. The idea is that overweight people are made fun of or made anxious by fit people in ‘regular’ gyms, and so should only have fellow overweight people in the group with them.

I have read a lot of articles on this lately, some pro, some con. As a Former Fattie, I’ll weigh in  (no pun intended) with my initial thoughts.

This doesn’t appear to be a standard gym, it looks like they do bootcamps, 4 weeks each (also personal training and “Adventures”, but I’ll discuss the bootcamp here). That’s actually exactly what I did to start when I began the big weight loss. At that time,Warren (my fellow blogger)  ran a bootcamp at my gym, the YWCA here in Vancouver. It was called ‘Fat Burning Camp’, but I referred to it semi-affectionately as Fat Camp. It started out with a relatively easy workout (although not easy for me at that point) and class by class got progressively more challenging. It was a good re-entry point for me to get back into fitness.

In that bootcamp there were people of both genders, and different sizes and fitness levels. I liked that there were people there at my fitness level (lower) and also people who were fitter than me so that I had a benchmark to work toward.  Over the eight or ten weeks of Fat Camp I lost 11 pounds and was significantly fitter, had gotten a trainer (hi Melanie!) and kept on going.

So, what do I think of the Body Exchange only allowing Plus Sized women to join?

I understand their point in the sense that in the ‘normal’ gym I initially felt self conscious and like I was so much less fit than everyone else, and that they all were looking at me and thinking ‘why is that fat girl here’.  I was so intimidated at my first spin class. I looked at this uber-fit girl on one of the bikes and thought “She’s effing hardcore, I could never do that, why am I even trying”.  But I did it anyway. I didn’t leave the class, I stuck with it. I did the best I could every class, and gradually came to the point where I lasted the whole class. Six months later when I was fit, a girl in the gym who wasn’t in the class commented to me as I was walking out “Wow, you’re hardcore, I could never do what you do.”  The irony was not lost on me. I was now the girl I had been intimidated by.

The fact is, most if not all of the people in the gym aren’t looking at you.  They aren’t laughing at you or thinking you’re fat or out of shape. They are either thinking about themselves and their workout, or are busy wondering who is looking at them and thinking they are fat or out of shape, or thinking that they themselves are fat or out of shape. When I’m in spin class, I have zero idea what anyone else is doing or how hard they are working. Seriously. I’m focused on survival and not throwing up and my form, the same as I was when I was fat. I spent far more time looking at people when I was overweight than I do now.

So, I get why this group wants only overweight people in it; a lot of overweight people really do think that fit people are looking at them negatively; I did. I also think that a bootcamp tailored to very overweight people would have limited value to a quite fit person; at my current fitness level I would find that camp easy enough that it wouldn’t be of much use to me.  Anyone who consistently challenges themselves and progresses fitness-wise would probably have a limited time that they would get results from that camp and would move on anyway. Doing the same activity/class over and over can also get boring and lower motivation, and your body would gradually adapt and limit your results if you’re consistent. I think this type of bootcamp can be a valid approach to getting very overweight people engaged in fitness. If it gets them in the door, hopefully they’ll keep going; it’s better than them never going at all because they are intimidated.

My main issue with the bootcamp is that it may be validating the perception of the participants that they are correct in thinking that gyms are full of douchebags who make fun of fat people, that it’s “Us vs Them”.   It isn’t. Fit and less-fit people are all just people, they are just at different places on the fitness continuum; unfit people can become more fit, and fit people can become less fit, it depends on what’s going on. Feeling like people are looking at you funny isn’t the same as it actually happening.

I also believe that in all facets of life there is value in surrounding yourself with people who are fitter/smarter/more talented/more successful than you are. That’s how you learn, and it can help you challenge yourself to be better at something than you are. Consistently surrounding yourself only with people at your level can lead to stagnation and complacency and boredom, none of which are good for people trying to grow.

So, I’m on the fence about this. My immediate reaction was that it’s a bad idea. But in the end, if the participants get value from it and it helps them progress fitness-wise and keeps them engaged in healthy activity, it’s a good thing. Hopefully they use it to move forward health-wise and not get complacent and stagnate.

Posted July 2nd, 2012.

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WTF Britain.

~Jenn

From the Telegraph and the Daily Mail in the UK:

Ridiculing someone as ‘fat’ or ‘obese’ could become a hate crime under an idea being floated by a group of MPs and a leading charity.

The Government should consider putting ‘appearance-based discrimination’ on a legal par with race and sexual discrimination, the report suggests.

Rosi Prescott, chief executive of Central YMCA, said if there was strong evidence that appearance-related discrimination was widespread, the Equalities Act should be broadened to include it.

That would make it a punishable offence to harass someone because of their appearance, for example by drawing attention to their weight.

 She said: “All the rules that apply under the Equalities Act now would also apply to appearance-related discrimination. They would be applied consistently.”

Society should be more accepting of overweight or obese people, said Ms Prescott, who even questioned whether they should be told [Jenn: By DOCTORS!!] if they were carrying too many pounds.

She said: “If they don’t feel overweight, and there are no health indications, what’s the problem?”

 

I think my head just exploded. For fuck’s sake, give your head a shake. If they don’t FEEL overweight???

 

Let’s for a moment put aside the fact that these idiots want to make calling someone fat the same as a racial slur. What’s next, telling someone that they have terrible taste in shoes and possibly smell funny sends you to jail? Since when did being rude and a bit of a dink and hurting someone’s feelings become a criminal offense? Oh wait, maybe soon in Britain.

 

I wonder if I’d get arrested for calling myself a Former Fatty. Can I go to jail for hate-crime-ing myself?

 

My biggest issue though, is that these people would be ok with making it a criminal offense if a doctor tells their patient they are overweight. Almost two-thirds of British adults are now either overweight or obese. This isn’t just about people calling other people names and making them feel bad. This is about telling a medical professional they can’t tell their patient they are at risk of complications like diabetes and heart problems because they don’t want to MAKE THEM FEEL SAD. You know what makes people sad? When their loved ones die of something that they could have prevented. Telling someone they are at risk of illness or death if their lifestyle continues shouldn’t get a doctor put in a squad car. Telling a doctor to wait until a severely overweight person who doesn’t “feel fat” shows symptoms to bring up their weight as a risk factor is absolutely ridiculous.

As you all know, I was fat. And not just kinda. I even had fat deposits in my eyes. I was told by my doctor I was overweight, and that my weight was going to cause issues with my joints and my heart and my blood pressure. And she then offered to help me NOT be fat so my health would be ok. Because that’s her JOB. My doctor sent me to a nutritionist, and offered to meet with me weekly to check my progress. You know why she did that? So I wouldn’t get sick later. Prevention. If doctors are forced to wait until a person shows symptoms it might be too late. And purely from a practical standpoint, I can tell you from experience it would have been a lot easier to lose 20 pounds than it was to lose 65. Stop the gain earlier, and it’s better all around.

Political correctness is now at risk of hurting people’s health and shortening their lives. Unbelievable.

Posted May 30th, 2012.

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Of Mice and Men

~Jenn

This is a bit of a long one.

I met a guy a few months after I took my ‘After’ pic that you see here on FFF. I was happy, healthy, confident, and excited about life. He and I became serious pretty quickly.  I told him I had been overweight until fairly recently, but was committed to my new healthy lifestyle. He seemed to take that pretty well.

About a month into our relationship, we were discussing relationships, and how important it is to feel attracted to your partner. During that discussion he brought up my weight. He told me that it would be a good idea if I stay within ten pounds of my goal weight. That way he’d stay attracted to me, and we wouldn’t have to break up.

In retrospect, as soon as that came out of his mouth I should have told him to fuck right off, and never spoken to him again.

But did I?

No. I did not.

You see, at that time I was relatively freshly at goal. Inside, I had a fear that for some reason I might go back to where I had been, that I would screw this whole thing up. Did I? No, three years later I’m still five pounds below what I was in my ‘After’ photo. But at that time, the fear was very real. He was saying exactly what I was thinking; that I would get fat again, and he would leave. After all, I hadn’t loved myself at 220, so in a weird way, I thought I wouldn’t have blamed him for not loving me either.

So I agreed with him.

Fast forward to a year later. For some time I had been noticing him acting weirdly around me whenever I ate something not ‘on plan’. I didn’t do it a lot, but part of living a healthy normal life is sometimes eating or drinking things that aren’t awesome for you.  My weight was virtually the same as it had been since we met. We were on a road trip, and stopped at a Starbucks, so I thought I’d perform a test to see if I was imagining things. I went in with him, and ordered a small mocha chocolatey chip frappachino extravaganza.

He didn’t speak to me for twenty minutes. Even when spoken to.

After poking at him for miles, he finally broke down and admitted that he couldn’t handle me eating non-healthy things, and that he “felt a need to control everything that I ate”.  That I wasn’t fat, but he knew I had been, and was always on edge that I was going to snap and become the size of a beluga, and he’d have to break up with me, and he really didn’t want to have to break up with me.  He apologized and said he’d try to stop. But the damage was done.

Did I leave? No again. Facepalm.

I thought it would lower his stress if I just didn’t eat bad things around him, and he’d see over time I was doing ok.  So I started hiding food and eating when he wasn’t around. Slowly this behavior grew until I actually couldn’t eat anything at all when he was around, so I made sure I wasn’t home for dinner when he was. Shortly after that, I couldn’t eat anything around anyone, even my friends, because I was afraid they would think I was a failure for some reason.

And then I could barely eat alone.

I ended that relationship for various reasons shortly thereafter. One of his parting comments to me was a sincerely meant thank you, for making him see that he could be attracted to women “with more to them.”

I was five pounds below my goal picture then too.

Would this happen to me now? Absolutely not. But I learned a lot from that experience. I will never again have a relationship with a non-supportive partner who loves me in SPITE of the fact that I lost a lot of weight. I will only be with someone who sees and loves my personality and my strengths, and who loves me for more than just my appearance.  I can only imagine what he would have done if I’d gotten cancer. I dodged a bullet there, I’ll tell ya.

And will I ever be overweight again?

Well, I can definitely say with confidence that I won’t be carrying 180 pounds of douchebag with me ever again.

That’s a great start.

 

Posted April 10th, 2012.

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Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves – Part 2

~Jenn

Last week I posted Part 1 of my discussion with my sister Sharon about her weight loss, and similarities and differences with mine.  She has lost over 40 pounds in just over a year, and is a big source of inspiration and motivation for me. This is Part 2 of our conversation.

 

Jenn: Do you like your healthier lifestyle? Why or why not?

Sharon: Absolutely!  I feel like I’m in control of my eating habits now and I can’t see myself ever going back to the unhealthy lifestyle I was living.  I have way more energy, and shopping for clothes is now a treat instead of a depressing chore.  I’m a much happier person because of it 😀

[Jenn: Clothes shopping has definitely been a huge and awesome change since my weight loss. It’s a lot more fun buying clothes when you like how you look in them. I can’t imagine living like I used to, again. Physically alone the lack of energy and carrying that amount of weight around with me again would be not good, much less the mental/emotional ramifications.]

J: What motivates you to continue?

 S: I love being full of energy and the whole thing is now routine for me.  It gets much easier with time.  I’ve lost a little over 40 lbs now and am constantly getting complimented on what a good job I’m doing.  I have great support from everyone in my life, especially you, and that is a wonderful thing.

[Jenn: Awwww! Thanks!! 😀 Energy is a big difference for me too. You would think doing nothing on the couch would leave you lots of energy to do things. Turns out working out gives you five times more energy than doing zero does. It’s counterintuitive, but I’m not complaining! The support I received from you then, and still do now, keeps me going when I want to sit on the couch and eat guacamole. Thanks kiddo.]

J: What challenges do you face, and how do you deal with them?

S: There’s always the challenge of eating out at restaurants.  Now I pre-plan what I am going to eat before I get there.  When I am feeling blah and don’t want to exercise I just tell myself that it is only an hour and it will fly by.  Even if I only do 30 minutes of exercise, it’s better than sitting on the couch doing nothing.  I get nagged at work to eat junk that people bring in but I don’t give in and think that one cookie is an extra 30 minutes of exercise I don’t want to do, so that makes my decision not to eat it come very easily lol

[Jenn: My motto when losing weight was ‘That won’t get me where I want to go.’ I had always though that saying no to bad food involved willpower, but it really didn’t when I was losing. It’s a decision I made, and re-made every time I was offered something. That’s a good viewpoint about food and exercise, and I like that you follow through – if you eat crap, you exercise more. Awesome! 😀 ]

J: What do you think about this whole healthy thing anyway? Glad you did it?

S: For one, I can’t believe I did it.  But yeah, I love it!  I got rid of all of my old clothes and continue to have to buy smaller sizes.  That’s a feeling I wouldn’t trade for the world.  I promised myself that I would never buy clothing in bigger sizes ever again.

[Jenn: I got rid of my old clothes too, as I ‘under-grew’ them. Keeping them would have been like subconsciously saying I would need them again. I will NEVER need them again.  I can believe you did it. You’ve always been a stubborn one. 😛 I’m so glad you did it, you inspire me every day!]

 

 

Posted April 6th, 2012.

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Sisters Are Doin’ It For Themselves

~Jenn

I was on the phone with my younger sister Sharon a couple of weeks ago, and we were discussing her weight loss process. She has lost over 40 pounds in a bit over a year, and I couldn’t be more proud of her! I was worried about her for a few years, just as she was about me, I’m sure.  I thought I would ask her some questions about what she did to lose weight, and see how it compares to what I did. There are similarities and differences. This is Part 1 of our conversation.

Jenn: When did you decide to change your lifestyle to a healthier one, and why?

Sharon: I joined Weight Watchers on February 23, 2011.  A month earlier, before I made the decision to join Weight Watchers, I started things off by quitting diet pop (a habit I had for over 20 years :O) and quit eating McDonalds at the same time.  Then one day, not long after, I was lying on the couch and it took me a few rocks to even sit up.  I knew then that I had to make some serious changes.  I also had high cholesterol.  I thought to myself that by June I could do this; four months.  I thought about how quickly four months flies by and that I could either be fit in four months or trying to roll off of the couch in four months.  I chose to make a change.  Following you on your weight loss journey was a huge inspiration to me as well and helped convince me that I would be able to do this and succeed.

 [Jenn: What she said about 4 months was exactly what I said to myself when I decided to lose weight. I tried Weight Watchers, but it wasn’t my thing, I generally do everything better alone, but as I said in a previous post, people need to do what works for them – it’s all abut YOU.]

J: What about your lifestyle is different than it was before?

 S: I haven’t touched Diet Pepsi or McDonalds since January 2011.  I measured my portions until it became ingrained in me, so now it is habit.  I exercise 3-4 times/week, and I know so much more about nutrition.  I learned that you don’t have to change your lifestyle completely.  I still eat pizza, hamburgers or whatever else I feel like eating that maybe aren’t the BEST choices, but it’s my treat once or twice a week and that’s fine by me.  I still have a drink with my friends and go out to dinner, only I make healthier choices.  If I do overdo it by eating an extra piece of pizza, I make sure to throw in an extra hour of exercise during the week to balance things out.  You don’t have to deprive yourself, just pace yourself and exercise.  If you go off track always remember that tomorrow is a new day and you can start fresh.  Don’t ever beat yourself up for going off track; pick up the pieces and move on.

[Jenn: Moderation worked for her, I actually gave up all junk completely until I hit goal, then started to integrate less healthy food in, in moderation. Maintenance for me though is moderation, not zero tolerance. So that we have in common.]

J: How’s the weight loss/living healthier thing going?

S: It’s been a bit over a year now since I started this journey and I had peaked at 10 lbs to my goal.  It has taken me 9 months to lose five of the 10 lbs but I persevered! Trying new exercise techniques and shaking things up a bit has kept it interesting for me.  I’ve gone to spin classes, walked on the indoor walking track we have here in our community, walked on the beautiful trails we have outside, bought a treadmill (I got teased about it being a clothes rack for over a year but it probably turned out to be my best investment ever), teamed up with great friends who had similar, if not exact same goals as me and whom are still my support group to this day and are doing awesome.  And within two months my cholesterol was within normal limits, so that rocked.

[Jenn: YAY she likes spin!! 😀 I too plateaued for almost a year after I hit goal, then my body let a bunch more weight go for seemingly no reason. :S Shaking it up is key, I agree. I need to shake things up more… And the cholesterol thing is HUGE, given our family’s propensity for dropping dead of massive heart failure with little warning. That was a worry of mine also.]

It’s really motivating for me to hear Sharon’s successes and her perspective, I’ll continue this next week, when we discuss what she thinks about this whole healthy living thing.  Tune in!

Posted March 28th, 2012.

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