Life is short. Break the rules, forgive quickly, kiss slowly, love deeply, laugh uncontrollably, and never regret anything that made you smile.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

To this day...

 To this day, a million years later, I think of her and wonder how she is. 



A few days ago my husband was reading my blog, reading the conversations between a friend of mine during which I was trying my hardest to help her and motivate her.  He called me a hypocrite.  I am not "practicing what I preach".  Which isn't entirely true, or untrue. 

Here's the thing, I'm not "dieting". I am/was working on changing my lifestyle.  The reason I was working on changing my lifestyle is because I am hoping in a few months to be having weight loss surgery.  So, truth's out. 

That is the secret that I've been choking on all of this time.  I have been afraid to say it out loud for fear of judgement.  For fear of being called weak, or a quitter.  For fear of being judged.  For fear of being called lazy or being told I am taking the "easy" way out.  But, tonight ... I don't care about fear I care about being called a hypocrite, so there ya have it.

I have tried so many things to lose weight.  Spent so much money, so much energy, so much time.  The only really successful weight loss program I found was pregnancy.  I am not jumping into anything lightly.  Having my guts rearranged is not something I am doing just because I am "lazy" which I *KNOW* I'm going to be called.  Right now, it hurts too much to exercise.  We try a workout plan with the kids but my knees swell and are excruciating for days afterward.  My back makes it so I can't sit or stand comfortably and we won't even talk about how awful the pain is in my hips and my sciatica.  These are not excuses, these are my reality.  When I do push ups, my feel like my wrists are going to break.  I haven't found a way to do them that doesn't kill my wrists.  I am working on it, daily I am working on it. 

But, back to the hypocrisy.  Part of why I am not changing up my lifestyle completely and immediately is because soon I am going to be giving up EVERYTHING.  So I need to take my transition slowly.  I am afraid if I just cut myself off entirely that I will backslide when it is dangerous to do so.

So I am not trying to be a hypocrite, I am trying to help. I am trying to offer guidance for what worked for me, helped me ... trying to be a support, an accountability partner.  Never a hypocrite. 

Here is the most difficult thing I will ever do in my life.  Let me show you why I am going in for weight loss surgery ... Let me assure you, next to actually telling my secret, this is the most difficult thing I have ever done:


 The purpose of the bottom picture is twofold:  One, these boots are specially made for large women with extra elastic in the tops, I cannot zip them up.  Two, I love these boots and one of my goals is to wear them comfortably and be able to zip them up.

Here's the thing about these pictures. I've been considering them since my Sweetheart took them and since I posted them ... I had absolutely NO idea I looked like this.  When I look at myself in the mirror, I am NOT this big.  I am not this FAT.  I had no idea. 

Someone I know is an inspiring individual who has lost huge amounts of weight the hard way. She's worked her butt off eating right, working out etc... But I noticed an up and down trend with her, she takes it off and puts it back on and takes it back off again.  I don't want that.  I do not want that roller coaster life.  She is an amazing self motivator and can keep herself on track and if/when the pounds creep back on, she has the fortitude and push to take it back off ... I don't.  I got down to 198 a couple of years ago, but over the last few years have gained it all back plus some ... and I can't go through what it took to lose it all again.  I do not want to spend my life focused on weight loss.  I do not want to spend my life counting calories and being miserable in my own skin.  So, there ya have it. 

Here I am ... completely raw.

Saturday, February 2, 2013


So, what IS my BMI?  What does BMI really mean?
I know the numbers are really tiny, but I believe if you actually click on the picture it will bring you up a bigger shot.

Your BMI is your Body Mass Index.  The Body mass index (BMI), estimates the ideal weight of a person based on its size and weight. The Body mass index is valid for an adult man or woman (18 to 65 years).

Using myself as an example, I am 5'5" and I currently weigh 251.  My BMI on this chart is: 41.6.  That puts me quite deeply into the Morbidly Obese range for my height.  To be at optimal health I would have to weigh 140lbs. That is 110lbs, unfortunately, I do not look at that number and see reality.  I'm fairly set on the fact that I will never weigh that much no matter how hard I try.  That might be exactly why I plateau at 250. 

Anyway, BMI.  Why is this important?  This is important because it tells you how much of your mass is extra fat.  I question the validity of some of the numbers around the borders of healthy vs. overweight or underweight because of muscle mass and the fact that muscle weighs more than fat, but I digress.

Knowing that 41.6 percent of my body is fat means A LOT; not only to myself, but also to my health care provider.  Fat does not just accumulate on your butt, thighs, stomach or arms ... Those are just the places that SHOW.  Fat accumulates around your organs, limiting how well they can function. When you're losing weight, it is said that it takes 12 weeks for anyone else to notice a difference... I believe (and this is weight loss gospel according to me so it may or may not be true) that it is because you lose the bits on the inside long before you lose the stuff on the outside.  So all of those days of losing a pound here, a pound there but not noticing a difference right away in how your clothes fit ... trust me ... It matters. 

Here's one of the other reasons that I think knowing your BMI matters... If you, like myself, have over 100lbs to lose ... It is fairly reasonable to assume that losing that weight in 6 months to have a bikini body isn't a realistic goal and might lead you to a dead end and ultimate give up.  So figure out your BMI, figure out where you want to be, even if it's in the "yellow" area and then figure out if you lost weight healthily, losing up to 5-6lbs a week, what is a realistic end time for your goal? 

For me, my goal is a size 8.  I don't care if the scale says 180lbs, as long as I am in a size 8 I don't care.  8 is for some reason the number I am stuck on.  I also don't want my thighs to rub together anymore.

Interesting finds:  I was googling for images of "thighs that don't touch" ... You would be SHOCKED at the number of women feel exactly the same way ... I want thighs that don't touch.  I thought I was the only one ... But, here's the first image I found:
PROOF: That you can be adored by thousands of men, even when your thighs touch.

Here's something else I found ... someone else obsessed with their thighs not touching that lead them, at age 10 to eating disorders, the blog is called Living For Today ... She's very inspirational and honest.

Perhaps I need to re-evaluate both of my goals.  Take Marilyn Monroe for instance, she was a 12/14 her entire career.  She was voluptuous and beautiful.  Maybe my version of "beautiful and sexy" is based upon society rather than upon reality and true beauty.



That reads Portions, not POTIONS ... although I really wish I did have a magic potion, that'd be cool.

I suppose that losing weight is sort of a potion ... It's a mixture, a concoction of sorts, of a lot of different things. 

One of those "Main Ingredients" is portion control.  Portion control is a big thing for me.  When I was a single mom with 3 kids, I was very careful about how much I let my kids eat.  How much cereal was in their bowls, how big their cup of koolaide was etc...  When I married my husband and gained my other 6 kids I gained a new level of stress in trying to control portion sizes for them.  They'll eat 3-4 helpings of dinner if allowed.  The youngest, who is 5, will eat 3-4 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches if allowed.  If I limit them to one or possibly two helpings if there's a lot and I don't want it to go to waste, they spend the hour following dinner begging for food; complaining of hunger.  Our oldest daughter, who is 15, complains DAILY of how hungry she is.  On a previous post from about 18 months ago I was listing the things I was thankful for that day and the #1 thing on my list was "That Summer didn't ask me to stop and buy her food".  It hasn't changed.  When I pick her up to take her to therapy on Monday's she complains from the moment she gets into the car to therapy, the entire time we're at therapy she's stuffing her face with the therapists pretzels and all the way back she complains of just being so starving and begging me to stop and buy her something.  It is RIDICULOUS.  We have actually been turned into DCFS 3 times with complaints that we are starving the children. It's no freakin' wonder that their mother and grandparents think we're starving them to death if all 6 of them complain of crushing hunger the way Summer does.

Portion Sizes.  This isn't just a hot topic for my kids, it's a hot topic for me.  About a hundred years ago ... okay well, not an entire hundred, but a long time ago my mother had gastric bypass surgery.  I was a teenager at the time and very self-absorbed so her surgery seemed more like a massive inconvenience to my life than anything, but I recall her saying something along the lines of her stomach being like 3 liters.  3 liters!!  To put that into perspective here are some pictures:
The "normal" stomach that hasn't been stretched out by years of over-eating should only be about the size of one of your fists.

Oh, serving sizes, portion sizes ... fist sizes.

 Your stomach is the same size as your fist ... seriously folks.  That's not that much food!! Check this next picture out called Portion Distortion.  The plate on the left is the one that my kids would eat if given half a chance, twice.  We don't need anywhere CLOSE to as much food as we are consuming each day. 

 I rarely eat on a "regular" dinner plate.  I have always used the salad plate.  Let me show you why I use our salad plate:
11 inches vs. 8.5 inches 
If you consider "portion sizes" when you look at those two plates, the dinner plate is nearly TWICE the amount of food space.  In my post "Food Log" I actually showed pictures of my food, as gross as that is.  Part of the reason I did that was to make mention of the actual portion size.  Did you know that your average cereal bowl, the one you use for your kids, gives room enough for TWICE the suggested serving size on the side of the box?  Did you know that on your gallon of milk, it says your suggested serving size is only 3/4 of a cup unless it's Skim Milk and then it's a full cup?  How much are we overfeeding ourselves and our families?

Let's go back to the calorie counting thing from my post called "Calories"? 

In one 20oz bottle of soda (this is pretty much universal) there are 2.5 servings.  In this bottle of my particular brand of death there are 250 calories PER SERVING.  So, because I am a lushy DP-aholic, I do not split up the servings in my 20oz because seriously, I don't even do that with a 44oz!!  In my one bottle of my liquid love I consumed 2.5 servings and 750 calories!!  And not just ANY calories, they actually have a special name .. they're called EMPTY calories.   Serving size matters because just because it says on the label "250 calories", if you double your portion size, or serving size ... you're also doubling your calories.

What would your dinner plate look like each night if you only used your salad plate and you only served yourself the suggested serving size of each item?   Even if your dinner is strawberry shortcake smothered in strawberries and whipped cream w/ a side of ice cream ... each of those things has a suggested serving size on the container ... start with ONLY eating the serving size.  If lowering your portion sizes leaves you hungry in a couple of hours, eat an apple or a banana.  I'm working on researching the 3 solid meals a day vs. 5-6 meals a day debate.  I struggle w/ getting 3 solid meals, let alone 6.

Portion size has never been my problem although w/ the amount of soda I drank it wouldn't surprise me if I've stretched my stomach out as large as my mothers who would drink 2-3 32/44oz Cokes every day.  I am not/wasn't, fortunately, that bad, I could be satisfied w/ 10oz a day because it satisfied the sugar craving, but I could also drink 88oz in a day and be just as happy (and awake all night!)  Carbonation is a very, very bad thing for an organ that is suppose to only be the size of your fist.  What happens when you shake up a bottle of soda?  It expands, and expands and expands.  It does that in your stomach too.  Carbonation is a GAS.  Whenever I drink Dr. Pepper, it physically HURTS.  It feels like I've swallowed razorblades and they're cutting their way through my intestines.  It's uber pleasant, I promise.  You'd think with as much pain I get from it, I'd of stopped a lot sooner.  Not so much, I have a weak personality and a propensity for fulfilling my desires despite the damage they cause. 

Myth or Fact: If you cut down on your food intake, you'll eventually shrink your stomach so you won't be as hungry.

Answer: Myth.  Eating less won't shrink your stomach but it can help to reset your "appetite thermostat" so you won't feel as hungry, and it may be easier to stick with an eating plan.

HOWEVER, eating MORE can stretch the organ and thus making it take longer for you to feel full or satisfied.  We should always eat to satisfaction, never to "full".  If we hit the full mark we've overeaten.

So, what does all of this mean?  This means, stick with a salad plate and PORTION sizes only for a week.   See how that works for you.  See if you end up hungry between meals.  See if you notice a difference. 

Here's another suggestion, it's one I have done for years.  Weirdly, I cannot tell you why I've done this, or why I started doing it ... but it always works.  How many times when you go out to eat at a restaurant do you overeat, or overindulge?  How often do you take home the "Doggy Bag" only to throw it away in a couple of days because nothing is ever as good as it is fresh?  Well, you can do one of two things if you happen to go out to dinner at a restaurant. 
  1. You can request only half a portion.  I would make sure they'll only bill you for half a portion.  More often than not, they will accommodate you and charge you only half a portion.  If they don't, go to suggestion #2. 
  2. Ask for half of the meal in a To-Go box.  SOME restaurants/servers will actually bring it to you already in a To-Go box.
Oh, and here is a good reference to a Portion Size Plate from WebMD, they have one you can stick up on your fridge and one you can carry with you.  

Friday, February 1, 2013

Mirror Mirror ...

I feel this way.  There's a store close by here called Tinderbox ... I love that store, but I hate to go there because I have absolutely no idea anymore how far out my backside hangs!!  I don't even like isles in Wal-Mart anymore.  I'm just simply too big anymore. 

5 women @ 150lbs

What would 150lbs look on you? 


So, here's a real life conversation that took place today :

Person A: Ok...I need some help! I really want to have a "swim suit" body (or close to it...) by July at the latest. But I just can not keep myself from eating... and eating stuff I should not eat :( so...those of you out there that are "dieting", besides exercise... what else are you doing to help lose weight??

Friend 1 you probably don't believe this but I have a SUPER slow metabolism and stuff, but I'm also a health nut. It's about moderation and discipline thats the sucky having the strength to stare at a cookie in the face and not eat it. but if you can, limit your "cheat " days to weekends only. then during the week be really strict with yourself. and print signs EVERYWHERE in your house and bathroom that say, "Nothing tastes as good as being thin feels." It helps some people.

Friend 2: Calorie counting and walking 30 min a day. Drinking lots of hot green tea lost 7lbs in 2 weeks. It is working for me and I have Hashimotos (under active Thyroid)

Friend 3: eat more vegies, stay away from fat and sugar, including soda. Decrease food intake little by little without starving yourself. make sure u r well hydrated, stay away from bread and meat, fish and some chicken are good, baked only, and of course exercise! we are designed to run, so run three times a week or walk 2x20 mins each day. others exercises u like are great too. like swimming! hope this helps...good luck! Ahhh...absolutely NO needs for medication! !!!! 

Friend 4: I just do little things...I eat whatever I want (within my celiac diet of course), I just watch my portions, that way I don't always crave what I "shouldn't have." For me, when I tell myself I can't eat certain foods, I just want them that much more, so I watch my portions. I also do things like take the stairs instead of an elevator and park my car in the furthest parking spot at the grocery store so I have to walk further....things like that. I also walk a lot during the day at work, so maybe take some time every day to walk around the block (I know it's cold right now), or if you have stairs in your house you could jog up and down those for so many minutes, etc. Just my two cents! You will find what works best for you and your body!

Person A: thanks guys!! i really appreciate all your comments:) i will try my not a very strong person when it comes to food, and exercise....but i have to do something!!

Friend 5 I've found it helps to go off sugar and starches for a week or 2 to get your cravings under control. South Beach diet ( check it out at the library ) has a great 2 week diet to get you started plus it jump starts your weight loss to get you motivated.

.... Uhhhh ... WHAT?!!  South Beach Diet, Water with Lemon, 2 week diet, sugar and starches,"stay away from bread and meat, fish and some chicken are good, baked only" ... maybe it's just the punctuation but am I suppose to be staying away from Bread and meat, fish and some chicken?  Or am I staying away from bread?  Fish and chicken ARE meat ... baked or otherwise ... and what's the matter with grilled chicken??   It's about discipline and moderation, calorie counting, having the strength to turn down a cookie. "We are designed to run" ... WHAT?! 

Okay ... This was not my conversation and these were not my friends.  Here's the conversation I had with Person A, in part:

I was wondering if I could talk to you a moment about your post earlier?
The one about dieting
Person A: I just need someone to kick my butt in gear. I really need to lose some weight, I'm just not very good at motivating myself  

Me: I'll also mention Do you know anything about how calories work? 

Person A: No I, have no idea how they work... at least I don't think I do..

So,  here's what went through my head when I read Person A's post: I really need/want to lose weight but I have absolutely NO IDEA where to start.  Can someone help me know what steps to take?  And Sweet Person A got bombarded by GREEK.  Person A is brilliant, and sweet and loving and barely needs to lose a pound (at least to ME, but I don't look at her naked in the mirror like she does) ... But brilliant, sweet and loving doesn't mean that you "get" how to lose weight.  I am the SAME way.  When people say, "read the labels", "Count your calories!" I think to myself ... I do not understand what you're even saying!  I DO read the labels, but I don't have any idea what I am looking for.  I can count my calories, I mean, of course I can count my calories, I do know how to add.  But now what?  What does "counting your calories" even mean.  What in the hell IS a Calorie and WHY am I counting it?!!  So, I end up saying, "Forget it, it's too complicated, it's too overwhelming" and I crack open a Dr. Pepper and whatever my high sugar food is for that moment and I quit.  I do it ALL the time, sometimes on a weekly basis. 

 So, where exactly DO we start?  I think we should start with defining a Calorie and why we need to count it: 

What exactly is a calorie? A calorie, as commonly referred to on food nutrition labels, is a unit of energy. 

What does a calorie do?  "When you eat food, you are consuming the energy that is stored within the protein, carbohydrate, and fat molecules of that food. The total amount of the energy stored in the food you are eating is represented by the calorie content of the food as indicated on its nutritional label."  

Say what, now? 

Everything on the earth has energy.  The energy is harnessed in different ways.  We are made up of energy.  The food we eat, is also made up of energy.  So when we eat, "we are consuming the energy that is stored within" the food.  So if I eat, say a 100 calorie candy bar, (that would be barely enough of a bite to make my mouth water), then the contents of the candy bar equal 100 "units" of energy.  (More specifically, a calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of 1 litre of water by 1 degree Celsius.)  Does that make sense?  When I eat, I am eating energy, I need energy to run by body, to walk, eat, breathe, have a heartbeat and thoughts ... It all requires energy, which is what I need to eat.  The big question is: Do I eat as much energy as my body uses ... or do I eat more?

Your body is capable of doing only two things with the calorie energy that it absorbs; it must either burn it or store it. When we eat food the calories that are in it can never disappear or be destroyed, they can only change form.  When we eat them, calories do not disappear but rather are eventually transformed, or "burned," into the different types of energy that your body utilizes or produces each day, like heat energy, electrical energy, sound energy, and kinetic (movement) energy, OR, if they aren't burned, they are stored again as more chemical energy. "Therefore, according to the first law of thermodynamics, any calories that you consume and do not burn must be stored on your body." And, unfortunately, the primary storage mechanism for the excess calories you consume is fat, rather than muscle.

What we've learned so far leads us to some very simple rules about calories by which weight loss and weight gain can be explained. These rules are absolutely fundamental to determining how much you weigh, and it is impossible to contravene them. They are the following:
  1. If you eat more calories than you burn you will gain weight.
  2. If you burn more calories than you eat you will lose weight.
  3. If you eat the same amount of calories that you burn your weight will not change.
To keep itself alive your body is always burning at least some minimum amount of calories that are used to support the function of vital organs like your heart, brain, nervous system, lungs, kidneys, liver, muscles, and skin. This rate of calorie burn is called your "basal metabolic rate". If you want to accomplish anything beyond simply staying alive, such as moving your body for example, you will have to burn extra calories to do it. "Therefore, on any given day the total number of calories you burn is the sum of your basal metabolic rate plus all the additional calories burned from the activities you do."

As an example, let's pretend that you've determined you burn 2,000 calories a day and eat 2,500 calories a day. Therefore, you are eating 500 calories more each day than you burn and you are gaining weight.

For another example, let's pretend that you've calculated that you burn 2,000 calories a day and eat 1,800 calories a day. Therefore, you are burning 200 calories more each day than you eat and you are losing weight.

If you want to lose weight, all you need to do is make sure that you consume fewer calories each day than you burn and you will be GUARANTEED to lose weight. Of course, that being said, you want to make sure that you lose weight in a healthy manner. 

Okay, THAT is why we count calories.  But counting calories doesn't mean jack if you don't know what exactly you're counting them for.  I can count up to a trillion, but that doesn't do me any good now does it?  I need to know what my caloric intake should be before counting them will do anything for me. 

How do I know what my caloric intake should be everyday?  The best way I have found is  but a calorie calculator works too.  Your calorie intake depends on your lifestyle as well.  Are you sedentary, do you do a lot of walking or standing, are you a workout fiend?  All of that determines how many calories you need to take in each day.  If you do very little moving around, like me for instance, then my caloric intake should be very low vs. if I work out for two hours a day and I burn 5,000 calories, I'd best eat at least 4,500 or I'm going to pass out. 

So ... let's start there.  How many calories should I be eating every day? According to, my calorie intake should be 1780.  

What's yours?