I know I’ve been out of the loop for a while…

A friend today told me about an article on Yahoo.com.  It’s a regular blog done by a person calling herself “Hungry Girl”.  Today’s installment was about how caloric certain fast food restaurants food really are, and why one should resist eating those things.

She reviews hamburgers and says things like:

You may as well have an actual steak if you’re going to consume this many calories!


You know that annoying ad campaign with the surgeon who thinks about bourbon all day long? Yeah, it’s funny, but the idea of a medical professional (actor or not) chowing down this monster burger makes us cringe a little.

Why would that make anybody cringe?  Sometimes, a doctor may just want a burger.

If the thought of adding coffee syrup to a Wendy’s Frosty is enough to send you into a full-on swoon, brace yourself. And if your dreams are speckled with chocolate-covered toffee bits, prepare to pinch yourself. As good as this all sounds, it comes with a hefty price tag. This shake has more calories than the Triple Stack burger, which has three beef patties and three pieces of cheese. Fantasy OVER. 

Does anybody REALLY think that an ice cream shake with added syrup and candy is going to be less than 100 calories?  (Or 200, in the case of the book she wrote and is hawking on her blog?)

Being the glutton for punishment that I am, I went to a link for a different post she made, and read this (about making a sandwich out of low cal/low fat ingredients instead of full cal/full fat ingredients):

Now that meal will only cost you about 415 calories. MUCH BETTER!

In many places I’ve seen (and I’ve not really looked that deeply into her blog), I keep seeing the idea that eating “costs” a person.

Now, I know I’ve been off the diet cycle for a while, but I just have to wonder:  If you are invested so much in how much every bite of your food “costs” you, how do you even have the ability to enjoy what you are allowing yourself to eat?

Eating is not just about fuel.  If it was just about the fuel, we’d not have the taste buds like we do.  If food was just supposed to be about keeping us alive, why are there so many varieties, which all taste different, and of which we generally need a mixed amount of to keep our bodies healthy and running?

It just doesn’t make sense.

I mean, if it truly was just about fuel, we could plug ourselves in at night to recharge.  Or all of our “fuel” would grow in pellet form on pellet trees, and all of it would be uniform sizes, and each pellet would have all of the day’s requirement of vitamins, minerals, proteins, fat, carbohydrates, and calories.

You know, kind of like in that movie, Soylent Green.  Oh, right, I forgot, those daily crackers weren’t grown that way…


Busy week is not good for posting

It’s the week in between two trips, and it’s busy.  Last week was a nice hotel weekend, which only meant I had to get packed and out of the house.   This coming weekend is an SCA event, which means a LOT more planning and preparation.  I have to buy food so we can cook a couple of dinners at the event, but then also make stuff we can bring along that will be both quick to eat, and full of protein, carbs, and calories.  Oh yeah, and they have to be easily stored for three days in a cooler with ice.

Up til that last requirement, I could do just about anything.  But since I need to think about cooler with ice, it gets a bit harder.  So, things scheduled to be made this week (and are being made) are things like cinnamon rolls for breakfast and quick snacks.  Hard boiled eggs I can put, shelled, into a bag in the cooler when we need a protein pick-me-up.  I’m making hummus (a chick pea and tahini spread or dipping sauce) to go with veggies and flat bread.  Oh yeah, and I need to make a trail mix that all my friends affectionately call “crack”.  Because, it’s just so good when you need something fast, portable, and that has a good mix of carbs, protein, and fat.

In between all the getting ready for the event craziness that happens, there’s also the new Tai Chi class, as well as the usual every day stuff that needs to get done.  It would also be a good thing for me to make a veil too, if I can find the time before the weekend.  (I burnt my head, in the male pattern balding area this past weekend at the Renaissance Festival, and I really don’t want a sunburn on a sunburn.)

Tai Chi is going well, even for as few classes as I’ve had.  It’s helping my balence and my stability, especially on my left leg (the one that had the operation).  The only issue I had at all was today, when we were trying to find a Gi (Gee?) that fit me.  The sizes are not “normal” sizes, and so they started me out trying on a size 6.  It didn’t fit around the waist, not even coming close to closing, much less having the double breasted look it’s supposed to have.  So we tried the size 7.  Again, no dice.  Finally, we tried the size 8, the largest size they had.  It at least closes in the front, although the pants don’t fit me.

As I was trying the clothes on, the Sensei said something about how I shouldn’t become discouraged, as after a little bit of time, I’ll lose weight and the Gi will fit much better.  I looked at him and told him I doubted it, but that was okay, I have sewing skills and can get a pattern and make myself a Gi if I need to.  He insisted that regular exercise would help me tone up and lose weight.

I didn’t want to get into it.  I just didn’t want to deal with discussing my history of exercise and how it never helped me lose any significant amount.  The discussion was starting to eat into my private class time, and I’m there to do Tai Chi, NOT to argue fat acceptance or how my body works.  So I finally told him that I was there for the mobility, flexibility, and strength benefits, not the possibility of weight loss.  If I lost weight by exercising the three days in class, kewl.  But if I didn’t, it was no skin off my nose, as I wanted the mobility, strength, and flexibility benefits of the exercise.

He started to say something else, then changed his mind.  He let the issue of weight drop, and respected the goals I set for myself.  I’m really glad he didn’t push it, as I would have had to ask for my money back then, and would have found a different dojo to learn Tai Chi.

I don’t know if there’ll be another post this week or not.  If not, I’ll see you all next week, and maybe have some pictures of what I do when I pretend to be from another century.  Or, knowing how I forget to take pictures, maybe not!

Leaving on a Jet Plane

Okay, not on a jet plane, but Conall and I will be gone for a few days this weekend and next.

It’s been a while since we’ve been able to take time for ourselves, and there’s been a lot of drama around here lately.  So these two mini-vacations are definitely needed and welcomed.

I might post tomorrow’s Saturday fluff, as I am taking the laptop this weekend.  It depends on where we end up and if the hotel has internet capabilities.  Next weekend, however, there won’t be any posts, as we will be all the way in the middle of the mountains, in a gorgeous campground, pretending to be lords and ladies in the middle ages.

Or pirates.  Whichever.

(Although since we regularly play lords and ladies, playing pirates will be way cooler!)

Tai Chi, Day Three

I’ve started taking a Tai Chi class, offered at a local Karate Dojo in town.  This Dojo offers two group classes and one individual class per week as part of it’s package.

I wasn’t so sure I was going to like it, when my friend (who’s going for the Kenpo lessons) invited me to go.  I’ve tried Tai Chi videos in the past (in the 1990’s when there still was videos), and just didn’t like how slow it was.  I have been looking for a way to introduce a bit more formal exercise in my life again, so thought I’d try it.

I love it.

Maybe because there’s other people, it doesn’t seem as slow as I remember it from way back in the 90’s.  Or maybe, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve slowed down a bit, so it seems about the correct tempo.  I don’t know.

What I know is that this is something that’s both fun and challenging for me.  My muscles let me know I’ve been working out after the hour long group sessions.  You wouldn’t think standing in “horse stance” for forty five minutes would be so hard.  Errr, yeah.  Just shows how out of shape I have allowed myself to become.

The other thing I noticed is that this exercise is having another, unforeseen benefit:  it’s grounding me more into my body.

With having to remember so many things at once — standing in horse stance, walking in half moon, then the arm movements, oh, and don’t forget the deep breathing — I’m having to be very aware of my body.  It’s a new and unusual experience for me.

I’ve spent a good part of my life trying not to feel my body.  I dissociated a lot, for many different reasons.  This is part of the reason I still don’t know when I’m hungry (or conversely, when I’m full).  I just am not that in tune with my own body.

Yesterday, during the private lesson, the instructor and I were working on my deep breathing, opening up the diaphragm.  The progression of sensations astonished me.  First, I never realized how shallow I normally breath.  Then, as I was breathing into the diaphragm, the muscles around it became sore.  I was able to use that as a metric for a little bit on if I was breathing deeply or not.  Until I just dissociated from my body again.

This is both frustrating and thrilling at the same time.  I had a part of the lesson where I could use my body to tell me if I was doing something correctly or not.  I had a part of the lesson I was able to actually feel the feedback my body was giving me.  This is definitely progress for me.

Being able to inhabit my body more fully and dissociate less is a good thing.  Even if I wasn’t getting any other benefits from Tai Chi, this would make it worth it.  Of course, the benefits from the exersizes, such as increased strength and balence, are nice too.

“I Envy You”

Thursday night is fighter practice and social night for my local SCA group.  I don’t fight, but I do socialize while Conall practices his fencing.  When we are at our winter site (indoors) I bring my lace or jewelry making supplies and do that.  When we are at our summer site (outdoors) I bring the puppy, which precludes bring lace or anything else to work on.

Thursday night has also started to be called “pie night” by Conall and me, and a few friends who know us.  After fighting for two hours Conall is usually ready for a snack so we go to a restaurant that sells desserts (among other things).  We don’t always get pie.  Sometimes we get soup.  Sometimes he gets a full dinner and I just sip my diet soda.  Sometimes, we get pie.  But we’ve made the habit of calling it pie night.

Last week, I was talking to a friend, and Conall was finally done with fighting.  He was hungry, and ready to go.  My friend said, “Oh, that’s right, it’s pie night, isn’t it?”  I replied it was, and then she said, “I envy you.”

My first thought was to invite her to come with us to the restaurant.  “I’d go, but I’m watching what I eat.  I want to lose a few pounds.  My pants have gotten too tight this week.”

I didn’t say anything then.  In fact, I didn’t know what to say.  She envies me because of the perception that I can go out and get pie every week, and not care about my pants becoming too tight.

There are so many things I’d wanted to say, but were inappropriate to the venue.  Also, I don’t even know where to start.  I started this whole journey to accepting myself because no matter what I did, I couldn’t lose weight.  I got tired of starving myself and exercising incredible amounts, and still being the object of scorn and ridicule.  I eventually started to accept myself at whatever size I am without being condemning of myself (much — hey, it still happens occasionally) because what’s the sense of hating myself?  If I’m going to be this size no matter what I do, no matter how much or little I eat, then why hate on myself and hide myself?

But to find out that somebody envies me because I can eat what I want, when I want?  That’s something I really have to adjust to.  And something I wish I could help my friend understand.

I Love My Doctor

Yesterday, I had to go to visit my doctor, and while the reason wasn’t a good reason, and the outcome is not as positive as I could wish, I have to say the experience was very good.

I’ve written in the past about my problems with doctors, how they look at me and attribute everything that is wrong with me to me being fat.  And how that’s made me reluctant to go to the doctor at all.

There are four doctors in this practice, and I’ve seen every single one of them since October of last year.  All the doctors are professional, competent, and best of all, compassionate.

The first thing the doctor said to me yesterday, trying to put me at ease (because the problem really is worrisome), was “You’ve not been back to see me in a while.  Don’t you like me anymore?”  She said it with a smile, and it was obvious she was teasing.   We talked a bit about my problem, and then she asked me when my last mammogram was.

I know I gave her the deer in the headlights look.  I admitted I never had one, and she took my chart (which she had in her hand) and proceeded to pretend to hit me over the head with it.  (No, she never touched me, and it was absolutely done in a teasing manner, and while maybe unprofessional, it was okay.)  I told her “hey!  Hitting the patient isn’t allowed!”

So, we discussed why I’ve not had a mammogram and my reluctance to even go to doctors.  I was totally honest with her, and told her that now that I’ve found a practice that doesn’t make everything about my weight, I’m finding I’m more willing to do what the doctors say about preventative practices (like the mammograms). 

She asked me what my experience had been, and I told her the truth.  I told her about how, in the past, when I’d go to doctors concerned about my amenorrhea, and stating I wanted to do what I could to become pregnant, how many doctors would just put me on the birth control pill to get me a bleeding every month.  About other doctors who, upon hearing that I couldn’t become pregnant no matter what, told me to lose weight, and when I didn’t, said I obviously didn’t want to have children.  I told her about how most times, everything I said about what I ate, how much exercise I did was was taken by the doctors to be a lie. 

As I talked to her, I watched her face.  There was anger in her eyes.  Genuine anger FOR me.  She asked when I was diagnosed with PCOS, and I told her 1998.  She asked when the amenorrhea started.  When I was 15 (1982).  She asked did nobody ever try and find out why there was amenorrhea when I young, married, and wanting children?  I told her no, they just all blamed my weight and said I wasn’t trying hard enough to lose weight.

She really was angry on my behalf on how I’d been treated all these years.  Especially when she found out that the first time I was told my weight was what caused my amenorrhea I only weighed 160lbs.  She confirmed something I’ve known for a long time:  being 40lbs over “ideal” weight wasn’t a cause of my amenorrhea, and the doctor (and subsequent doctors) should have looked harder for the real cause.

It was refreshing to hear a doctor say that. 

We then continued talking about why I went to see her yesterday, and we’ve discussed the next steps.  In that discussion, she talked “mean” to me (and even said, “I’m going to be mean now, if I scare you, good!  I want to scare you!”) but I could tell it came from her caring, from her compassion.  She’s one of the doctors who feels she is in a battle with death and disease.  She knows, eventually, death will win, but she absolutely hates it when death wins and it didn’t have to. 

I have doctors now who I can talk to, who listen to me and believe me when I tell them things.  Who value my input as the person who lives in the body.  Who see our relationship as a partnership:  they have the medical knowledge to figure out what my symptoms mean, I have the intimate relationship with my body to know that this or that thing is wrong for me.  And who know that keeping death or disease at bay for as long as possible takes both of us doing our jobs.

These people are definitely keepers. 

And I can absolutely say that I will be much more likely to listen to them, and follow any advice they give me.  After all, I know they are working with me to try and help me be as healthy as I can. 

I am so lucky I found this practice.  It only took my whole adult life to find them.

Two unrelated things today

First off, fat acceptance is getting into my dreams, and so are the statistics that I read on the web.

Last night I had a strange dream where I was at a combination Society for Creative Anachronism event and SciFi Convention (really, not a far stretch as a lot of SCAdians are Fen, and vice versa).  I was attending a panel which was led by somebody I fangrrrrrrl over a bunch (but who was a composite of a bunch of different people in the dream) and this celebrity started a lot on fat hating.  So, I started answering back.  To somebody I fangrrrrrrl a bunch over. 

She, of course, tried to take control back from me, while I was still working on my points.  I let her say whatever she was saying, then, my final shot (before time for the panel was up) was this bit of statistic I saw on Living ~400LBS.  Only in the dream I had the statistics at 33% of obese children growing up to be obese if neither parent was obese, and 66% of obese children growing up to be obese if at least one parent was obese, when the actual stats are 37% and 71% respectively.  But hey, it was a dream, I think I’m allowed to have things a little off in a dream.

After the panel ended, I was looking for the Queen of our SCA kingdom for some reason, and had found some trash/dirty dishes in the path that needed to be taken care of.  So I threw the styrofoam bowl away, yet still carried a metal fork around, intending to put it where ever dirty dishes go in my dreams, when a Knight saw me and made some rude remarks about me being so fat I shouldn’t be eating.  (You know, the typical remarks trolls make on blogs like this.)  I found the place to put dirty dishes and took care of the fork, then went back to where the Knight was now chillin’ with his peeps, and confronted him about what he said.

He was rude and obnoxious, but I really took him to task for violating everything a Knight was supposed to be, exemplars of chivalry, and how ragging on anybody, whether he thought they were beautiful or not, was the antithesis of chivalry.

I never did find the Queen in that dream.

Weird that Fat Acceptance has found it’s way into my dreams like that.


The other thing (totally unrelated to my dream) I wanted to write about is a show I recently had the displeasure of watching a bit of. 

MiL loves watching dancing shows.  Before her major stroke 12 years ago, she was very active in non-professional dancing.  She did ballroom dancing and square dancing and a few other type of dancing.  She was just always moving and dancing, and loved it.  The thing she seems to regret the most about the major stroke she had is that she can no longer dance.  So, dancing shows are absolute must be watched shows here.

I happened to come home while she was watching Dance Your Ass Off.  Now, first of all, that name?  They couldn’t figure out a better name than that?

I only watched for two dancing segments, that was all I could stomach.  Yes, the women (and all the contestants “needing” to lose weight were women) were having to dance.  They were being scored on their dancing ability, given critiques on their dance, and told how they could make their dancing better.  The judges scored them.  And that’s when things went downhill.

The first person I watched was asked what she missed eating the most.  Then they had her walk onto a scale, and everybody was able to see how much she weighed.  The amount she lost in the week was made into a percentage of body fat, and that was added to her score.  So she lost something like 5% of her body fat in the one week, and that brought her score to 11.

To me, it seemed like it completely negated all the fun the dancing was.

The first woman was extremely big, what would easily be called “morbidly obese”, but she was so vivacious.  Her dance was hopping.  She was all over the floor, kicking, doing almost back bends, etc.  The judges even commented on her flexibility (of course, saying how much more flexible she would be when she lost all the weight).  Why did she even subject herself to that kind of humiliation?  She was beautiful, appeared to have such a love for life, and she didn’t even know it.

The second woman I watched wasn’t as big to start with.  Her dance was a lot more conservative, and the scores she recieved from the judges reflected that.  It was hard for me to watch her get on the scale.  You could tell she just really wanted the numbers to come out right.  The look of disappointment on her face when she “only” lost 3% of her body weight that week …  Yeah, it reminded me so much of my obsessive weighing days.

I stopped watching at that point.

The thing is, all the ladies on the show were beautiful.  Some were very fat, some not so fat.  And yet, they were all willing to go on tv, endure the humiliation of millions of people seeing their weight on the scale multiple times, for what?

Really, for what?