Diet: Spoke Too Soon

I was tickled pink by the 5 pound loss in my first week.  I was like, oh, this isn't so hard.  No problem.  I can do this.

So I didn't keep track of dinner.  If I got through the day on 15 Points, I'd just pig out at night and figure, whatever.  I need to eat 16 points anyway.


I got on the scale this morning, and it said 241 even.  WHAT????  How is that possible?  And I'm going to New York today.  I'm not planning on taking my laptop or my scale, and I KNOW I'm going to eat something that I reeeeeeallly shouldn't.  In fact, I'm probably going to eat a lot of things that I really shouldn't.  Solution?

Well, I don't have a solution.  I guess I'm just going to try to eek it out as best I can.  When I come back on Sunday, maybe the scale won't have jumped too terribly high.  But it's really shocking, that I have been consuming MUCH less than I used to, and I still gained a pound back!  I kind of think that I might start my period here pretty soon... I just "feel" it coming... so maybe I'm just retaining water...

No more excuses, though.  As soon as I get back from New York, I am putting my entire faith and trust in Weight Watchers and Slim Fast.  The Slim Fast plan keeps me within my points for the day, and it tells me what to put in my body.  I need that.  Obviously, I can't do this on my own.  I thought I had relinquished control, but I hadn't.  I was still bucking it.  I don't WANT to be this heavy, and I'm not going to stand for it anymore!

I'm not going to beat myself up about it.  I'm going to enjoy my vacation.  I'm going to try to make better choices than I would have, but I'm going to have fun.  And come Monday, I relinquish control.  Because my sense of control isn't hacking it.

Gusher: Eating Disorders

I've spent a lot of today reading anorexia and bulimia blogs, and it just breaks my friggin' heart.  It really does.  I mean, I found some inspiring words... inspiring, in their own twisted context.  Things about how no food tastes as good as being thin feels... I think I'm going to use that every time I'm thinking about shoving something bad in my face.

But the thing that just really irks me is that I see these people freaking out about their boyfriends and girlfriends, or potential boyfriends and girlfriends, not wanting them because they are "fat."  Now, I realize that sufferers of eating disorders experience intense body dysmorphia and see themselves as "fat" when they're on the brink of "skeleton."  But I just want to grab them by the shoulders and SHAKE THE SHIT OUT OF THEM!!!!

I am a fat girl.  I am also engaged.  I have been fat most of my life (there were brief periods of thinness, but they didn't last long).  I have had a lot of boyfriends.  And a couple of girlfriends (ooh la la!).  I have had a lot of sex.  And I'm not lying about my weight.  That is how much I weigh.  I am a big girl...  I flatter myself and tell myself that I carry it rather well, but that's beside the point.  I have a flabby belly and fat arms and thighs that touch and back fat...

But that all is relatively insignificant in the grand scheme of things.  It doesn't affect the kind of music that I listen to, the books I read, the perfume I wear, the bags I carry, the shoes on my feet, my ability to play the guitar, or my singing voice.  I think I have a pretty face, still, and I do my makeup every day, and I straighten my hair, and I go to work.  I have an eyebrow piercing, and I used to have my lip and my nose done, too.  I go to concerts and I go shopping.  I like tequila and I laugh my ass off at websites like  I like The Mighty Boosh, and I swap fart jokes with my fiancee, and I email my mother...  All of this I do, even though I'm fat.

Being fat doesn't make me a different person from what I would be thin.  I know I would be happier thin, but I'm still damned cool, no matter my size.  So if you think your significant other or your potential significant other wouldn't be interested if you were fat, I think it says more about THEM than it does YOU, doesn't it?  You're just assuming that these people are that shallow - that they wouldn't love you if you gained weight.  Maybe your body was what initially attracted them to you, but the reason they've stuck around is because there's something else going on there... like a shared passion for John Denver or something, I don't know.  But it's there.

Anyone struggling with an eating disorder (whether you're fat or thin) needs to realize that your size isn't the determining factor for who you are and what people see in you.  I hear a lot about exercising CONTROL in your life through controlling the calories you throw up or that you consume during the day.  Fantastic.  Why don't you take that energy - that need to control things - and become a mother?  They're fantastic at that.  Or why don't you control the onslaught of mold in your tub?  Why don't you take up baking, where a lack of control over the ingredients you put into it results in some pretty effed up cookies.

The point I'm trying to make here is that self-love is so vital.  It's so important to understand that the love you receive from significant others, family, and friends is unconditional (in most circumstances).  It doesn't revolve around your size.  It revolves around who you are as a person, and if you think you have nothing to offer as a person... I hate to tell you this, but nobody else in your life feels the same way.


Phat Food: Commune for Foodies?

If you haven't already noticed, I'm kind of a New York Times fanatic. I read it online obsessively, every free moment I get, at work.

Another disclaimer: I love food. You hear a lot of people trying to lose weight talking about unhealthy relationships with food and how they need to beat their addiction, and I am more than ready to admit to the same behavior. But I also love food in a different way. I love unique food. I did tend to just shove whatever in my mouth when I was hungry, but I also know that there is nothing better than eating out and experiencing new and different things. I have a special place in my heart for tasting menus - meals that consist of several courses of mini portions of hot sellers or specials. These are usually pretty pricey, but totally worth it to just get a taste of everything. My favorite tasting menu in Chicago is at MK.

And one more clarification: while I am all about trying to lose the weight and counting calories and all of that, I think it is unfair to deprive yourself of the stuff you love. What are you going to do once you get down to your goal weight? Are you just going to give up those indulgences forever? I don't think so. Health is not about cutting all sugar, all carbs, all soda, all non-green vegetables, all white food. It's about learning to develop healthy relationships with those types of foods. What is the point of being healthy if all you're going to do is eat cardboard for every meal? Uh uh. Not for me. So while I track my points dilligently through the week, I don't freak out if one night, we go out and I eat something that's a little bit bad for me. That's part of living. As long as you eat that kind of food in moderation, you're ok in my book. I found that over the weekend, I ate two meals out... and I still lost almost five pounds in a week.

So, I'm going to start up another "series" called "Phat Food," in which I'll cover restaurant reviews, or other food-related news. If you're miserable on a diet, it's not a diet worth being on. The more you deprive yourself, the more likely you'll be to freak out and eat a baby or something...

So! For the first installment of "Phat Food," I'd like to draw your attention to an article posted in today's New York Times about a food movement in Brooklyn that bears a lot of resemblance to the artist/musician communes that we've heard about/taken part in/escaped from. I love how our culture has become so DIY -, by the way, is one of my favorite places to drool over on the web. Here is an inspiring story about a movement of young people who liked to cook, and were able to make money with it. Awesome, huh? I guess the reason I like this article isn't so much because of the food, but because of what the food represents: a reclamation of the American dream, where with a little creativity and gumption, you can achieve anything. This is a message that seems so fake in today's shriveling economy, so it's really heartening to see real live examples of young people doing what they love to do.

And by the way, we leave for our New York trip tomorrow. I might just have to hit up the pickle place. I love pickles.

Click here for the full article.

Diet: Already Doing it On My Own!

I'm exactly seven days into my diet.  This is the longest I've ever stuck with a weight-loss regimen.  No joke.  I think it's because, before, I was embarrassed to admit that I needed to diet.  I was embarrassed to admit to the world that I am fat.  Well, I have, and instead of being ridiculed for being fat (like no one could tell that already), I've been greeted with open arms.  What a feeling!  The diet is still not something that I really like to inject into everyday conversation, but it's not the source of shame it would have been for me six months ago.

So, that said, I'm already kind of working it on my own!  I'm still using the Slim Fast products, because they're convenient, and they actually do what they're supposed to, if utilized properly.  For example, a Slim Fast meal bar, in and of itself, isn't enough to fill me up.  But when paired with my morning coffee and a light yogurt, I actually feel stuffed, all for about 6 Points!  That's pretty good.

Being busy at work has ended up frustrating me, though.  I don't have enough time to eat the food I bring with me.  Today, I got my coffee, my meal bar, my yogurt... and then I made myself break to suck down a shake, a South Beach Diet bar, and some peach slices... but that was all I had time for.  By the time I got home, I discovered that I still had about half my points left!  I wasn't ravenous or anything, but I still had to cook for Jon.  I hadn't thawed any meat or anything, so I improvised a Mexi-style omelet, with carmelized onions, mushrooms, spinach, and chihuahua cheese, which I served up with fresh salsa, tortilla chips, and corn.  It ended up being a nice, easy dinner.  I really didn't feel like analyzing it with the Points Tracker.  I'm still getting used to it, especially since I'm kind of a sporadic cook - I tend to improvise, and not really keep track of how much of what I'm putting in something.  I should get better about that.

Prepared food is easy, but cooking sometimes seems like a daunting exercise.  It takes a while to build a meal in WW so you can calculate the points... but I need to use it, so that I'm conscious of what I'm eating, and what these foods are doing for me (or to me, as the case may be).  But I'm not a WW freak.  I don't know if that will ever suit me.  I track diligently throughout the day, but in the evening, I'm either too tired or two lazy to sit down and calculate dinner out.  I figure I must be doing ok... I've lost almost five pounds in my first week, and I couldn't feel better about it.

But building day food for myself?  Not a problem.  I have such a crazy schedule while that I just generally throw in things I can munch on while I'm working, and overall, I know the points values for those types of foods, or can make some sort of educated guess.

Let's hope the luck continues, shall we?

Notes from the Blogosphere

Just want to say thank you to Jim at Hey! A New Day! linked off to Fat Girl Slim on Sunday, February 22nd.  Just want to say thank you, and to reiterate how wonderful I think it is how weight loss bloggers tend to band together in a community of support.

So good luck to everyone out there!  I'm with ya!

Fat News: The Economy of Obesity

On February 8, 2009, the New York Times interviewed health economist and author of the book, The Fattening of America, Eric Finkelstein, about the cost-benefit side of obesity.  Obesity is often correlated with lower socioeconomic status, so it surprised me to learn that the current "obesity epidemic" (a term which Finkelstein debunks in this interview) is a result of a complex and healthy economy.

Basically, it boils down to the fact that the development of certain technologies, such as convenience food, microwaves, even power windows in our cars, are all contributors to obesity in America.  And, Finkelstein says, obesity can often be explained away as a lifestyle choice, especially now that health care for obesity-related illnesses has become cheaper.  In fact, obese Americans are currently healthier than "normal weight" Americans were thirty years ago, and there is no significant relation between obesity and mortality in this country.

It's kind of interesting to look at this issue from an economic standpoint, especially since many of the arguments thin Americans like to make about how awful fat people are for wasting taxpayer moola (i.e. - I don't want my tax dollars going to pay for fatty's health care cost when fatty could just get on a treadmill and prevent it) are false.

We should feel no shame about our fatness, in essence, since there is apparently no significant cost inflicted upon the government/taxpayers to keep fat people alive and healthy (ironic, right? - healthy fat people... but it's true in a lot of cases that overweight and obese people can be healthy).  This is not to say that Finkelstein does not clearly intimate that people should be trying to lose weight, but he says that fiscally and rationally, it makes no sense to try to enact legislation to try to get obese adults to lose weight, since the cost inflicted upon the rest of America appears, at this point, to be negligible at best.  Thank God.  I had more Big Brother than I could stand in the form of the Patriot Act.

Weigh In: 2/22/2009

Weekly Weigh In: 240.4 lbs
Total Weight Lost: 4 lbs.

That's since Tuesday.  I was very happy that the number was lower than it was on Saturday when I weighed, in spite of the gnocchi and the cheesecake!

Which got me thinking... I will fail if I deprive myself.  Plain and simple.  In order to succeed, I HAVE to add exercise to the mix, and I will HAVE to eat some of the things that I like to eat.  If I deprive myself, I know I will fall apart when temptation hits.  And we know it will hit.  I mean, baseball season is coming up, and there is no possible way one can go to a game without munching on a bratwurst.  It's impossible.

So, I've decided that Sundays I should be allowed to eat whatever I want (within reason... as in I can have a good brunch, and then eat sensibly for the rest of the day, or have a good burger for lunch or something... nothing like a binge), without worrying about my points.  For the rest of the week, I should stick to my plan and place more of an emphasis on working out.  And here's the stupid part: my building has a workout room.  I would be stupid not to use it!  It's just across the parking lot!

I'm surprised it only took me a week on Weight Watchers to realize that the only way I'm going to see the best results is if I don't treat this like a diet.  I need to treat it like... this is my life.  And that's it.  And in my life, I am eating healthier, but sometimes there are going to be evenings where we go to Via Carducci and drink and eat pasta with friends or family... and that can't be something that I feel like makes me fail on my diet.  That's just a part of life.  That's what people do.  I just have to make sure that I'm doing it responsibly, fusing it into a healthier lifestyle and learning that moderation is the key.

Dinners out can't be avoided.  I have friends and family and soon-to-be in-laws.  We go to bars and we like good beer.  I am not willing to give up a lot of the things I enjoy, like an evening with my friend St. Bernardus at Hopleaf for a diet.  That will make me hate myself!

The key is moving.  I think I am going to start exercising sooner than I had planned.  This week is going to be crazy busy because we are going to New York for the weekend, and the other evenings of the week need to be devoted to getting my old apartment clean and tidy so I can turn over the keys (housework, by the way, is a pretty good way to get in some exercise).

So movement, I realize, is going to be the key.  Movement and moderation.  I love alliteration, don't you?

Diet: Setbacks in Perspective

I've been kind of busy since last night because the boyfriend's parents are in town... which translates to eating out... which translates to omfg, I'm blowing my diet!

Tonight wasn't as bad as last night...  I had gnocchi (Italian potato dumplings... delish), and skipped on the appetizers and split a piece of cheesecake with my boyfriend.  It was still more than I should have done, too.  And I drank.  I drank quite a bit.  I did last night, too.  Margaritas, shots of tequila, lemon drop shots, wine....  That's more drinking than I've done in a long time.

I think this is why they tell you to only weigh once a week.  Fluctuations happen.  I feel like when I get on that scale tomorrow to do my weekly weigh-in, I'll have lost weight overall, but I may have gained a little since I weighed this afternoon.  It kind of robs the sense of accomplishment one might feel by getting focused on a half of a pound that's there, or isn't...

But I'm not going to let this blow me off course.  I'm with this diet - er, lifestyle change - for good.  I don't want to be a fat bride one day... or a fat mom.  So I have a bad weekend here and there... it happens, and it shouldn't throw me off.  As long as I treat weekends like this as a treat, and not the norm, I'll be ok.

I realized that I don't need to lose it fast... I just need to lose it for good.  Any small success is a success, nonetheless.  So what if it takes me a year?  A year and a half?  Two years?  I don't care, as long as I feel more comfortable in my skin and can participate in the things that I used to love doing.  A lifetime of health is worth waiting a while to achieve.

The Skinny: Fat Acceptance Movement (combined with a Gusher)

As I mentioned earlier, I discovered Big Fat Blog last night. I was enthralled. I could not stop reading. I have long been aware of the Fat Acceptance Movement, but I had never dedicated a lot of thought to it... mostly because I never really took a good honest look at myself and said, "honey, you are fat."

I have been overweight all my life, but until recently, I never really minded it too much. You know, I felt like I would look better thin, sure. Clothes would look better on me, and I really hate my muffin top (which is odd... that's just the way my belly is shaped, not because I squeeze myself into clothes that are too tight), and I have severe issues with the way my body looks, sure. But I didn't hate myself enough, or feel like I was fat enough, to the point that I had to go on a diet and start counting calories. I always said that I would never consider myself FAT until I had to walk around my thighs. Well, that hasn't happened yet, but I have felt some restricted movement, and I don't like it. I honestly feel best at around a size 8 or 10. Now, I haven't been there since I was 19... but I sure remember it fondly... I canvassed every day for work in Seattle, so I walked all day, up and down steep hills. And I could do it. I partied pretty hard, and had a bunch of boys interested in me, and I was fine with myself. And I was ok with myself even as I packed on more pounds and sizes. Now... I'm not. I can't walk for far distances because I get winded easily. Hiking is out of the question. Backpacking, canoeing, kayaking... all of that stuff I used to do, I can't do anymore because it would make me feel like shit.

So there's my major motivation for losing weight. Societal pressure has probably had something to do with it - like I said, my mom always called me fat, and I was teased in elementary school - but it hasn't been until I've FELT uncomfortable in my own skin that I felt that something needed to be done about it. I was ok with being heavy... not ecstatic about it, but ok with it.

That said... being fat in a thin world effing sucks. I will be the first to acknowledge that being young loses its luster when you can't find anything but "fat clothes" to fit you (and we all know about the dreaded fat clothes...). Lane Bryant has gotten better. Old Navy has gotten better (although they took their Plus line out of stores and put it exclusively online, which kind of blows). Torrid is there. Things are getting better for fat people, slowly but surely. And I believe it when I hear that not as many fat people are as unhealthy as you think. The way fat people are treated by the fashion industry, the news industry, even the health sector of our society, is unfair. If you'll allow me to digress for a second, I actually have my own story on that one...

For years, I've had issues with amenorrhea, which for me is usually solved by an initial progesterine regimen followed by the pill. So, about two years ago, I went to the doctor to get a physical and renew my perscription to the pill. New doctor, whom I'd heard good things about. They took my height and weight (I was I think 208 back then), and then she came in, and before giving me my pap smear, proceeded to berate me about my weight and how unhealthy I was. She then told me what a high risk for cervical cancer I was, and listed out a couple of hormonal-related problems I might have that could be causing my obesity, my amenorrhea, and even my unibrow and the upper lip hair I have (which I wax... but she didn't even bother to check that I am POLISH, and my mother has a pretty mean moustache herself). I felt humiliated, abused, and walked out of the office without receiving my pelvic exam... and I had to pay $80.00 just for the visit. On the drive home, I cried hysterically. I knew the reason that she was cruel to me was because I am overweight. Instead of seeing me as a person, she saw me as fat, and didn't take into consideration that she was essentially giving a PERSON an unfounded cancer diagnosis. Who wouldn't be upset? A doctor takes one look at your height and weight, asks you if you've ever had sex, and immediately tells you that there is a distinct possibly that you have cervical cancer... unbelievable. And I'm sad to report that the experience so humiliated and shamed me that I haven't had a physical, or pelvic exam, since.

I'm sure that my experience isn't unique. I'm sure that there are many women out there who have been treated like sub-species because of their weight. It is HARD to be fat! I don't think anybody really chooses to be overweight or obese. For me, it's not comfortable. I don't like it. But it's not something like painting your nails black... it's not something that you can just stop doing.

But, I personally feel that obesity is NOT healthy, and that it just doesn't FEEL good to be fat. I want to be able to run and bike and go backpacking and kayaking again, like I did when I was in my teens. It was fun, and I miss it. I don't like being winded after walking up to the third floor of my apartment building. I really am scared that I'll have a heart attack, because according to my family history, I am at high risk. I don't want to develop diabetes. I want to be active and healthy. I think most overweight and obese people would like that, even if they are bell-ringers for the Fat Acceptance Movement.

I don't think guilt, shame, or discrimination is the way to make fat people thin. I don't think it's the public health crisis that it is cracked up to be. I don't think it's necessarily healthy, but mass hysteria is common in the U.S. (take, for example, the freakout so many parents had about Rainbow Parties... only to discover that they're extremely uncommon - more the stuff of urban legend than anything else), and so what is something that could be considered a blip on the public health radar gets blown up into an epidemic.

So the skinny on the Fat Acceptance Movement? I support it. I don't think it clashes with my desire to lose weight. I want to lose weight for me. I don't want to force anyone else to. And being a fat person in a thin world, I know how much psychological harm size-ism causes. No one should have to feel ashamed, humiliated, or discriminated against because of how they look.

Gusher: Almost a Setback

Calorie reduction works.  And it's the only thing that works.  I weighed this morning (I should only be doing it once a week, but I think the novelty of the diet is making me feel all excited), and the scale read 240.8.  That's 3.6 pounds I've lost since Tuesday.  It feels really good, especially because yesterday was hard.  I was so tempted to just do something easy...  It would have been really easy to shove a gyro with fries into my face.  Satisfying and delicious, too.  I would have loved it.

But I didn't.  I didn't feel like cooking when I got home, so I just nuked a Lean Cuisine.  It was sufficient.  I had a Skinny Cow bar for dessert.  I was satisfied.

But I did have a little bit of a scare yesterday... maybe I'm not doing the right thing?  I was following my plan rigidly, and I stood up from my desk at one point during the day and felt like I was going to pass out.  I got really worried.  I probably just got a head rush from standing up too fast, but all of these things started flashing through my head: is what I'm doing unhealthy?  Am I not giving myself enough calories to function?  Maybe my obesity has lead to Type 2 Diabetes, and I'm feeling the effects of low blood sugar.

These are all excuses to give up.  And I was tempted.  I panicked a little bit, and thought for a brief moment that everything would be ok if I shoved a cheeseburger down my throat.

But I thought about it again.  I thought about what the scale had read yesterday morning, and what it was going to read this morning.  I thought about being able to run again, about not having a hard time standing up, about not having my belly sitting in my lap all day at work.

So I stuck to my plan.  I ate my lunch (half a pb&j and some snow peas with salsa), I ate my snack later, I ate my Lean Cuisine and my Skinny Cow.  I was ok.  But I very nearly wasn't.

This did scare me in a very real way.  I don't want to be miserable on a diet, because to get where I "should" be, I'd need to lose over 100 pounds, and that is going to take a while (in reality, I probably shouldn't lose quite that much... I'm large-breasted and always have been, even in my brief moments of "thinness" throughout my life... if I weighed 135, which is what the BMI tells me I should weigh, I might be sick... but I'll see where I'm at once I get close).  Ok, even if I lost the 85 that I'm hoping for (160 would feel pretty good), it's still going to take a while.  I don't want to be miserable the whole way.  And once I get there, I don't want to feel like I get to reward myself with food that's just going to make me blow up again.  I need to find a happy medium, where I still get to eat some of the awful-for-me things that I like... just a little different.  The problem is I am not a fantastic cook, so it's hard for me to reproduce stuff in my own kitchen with substitutions and controlled portions.

If I had the money, I would go to a nutritionist and a personal trainer.  I am clueless about making good decisions for myself.  I really am.  So I'll just continue being persistent where I'm at.  It's working... but at what cost?  I have to do some heavy thinking about what kind of nutrients I'm putting into my body...  I might be reducing calories and losing weight, but I didn't feel so happy yesterday.  Not at all.

I also did some reading on fat acceptance last night.  That merits another blog post.  Stay tuned.

The Skinny: Low-Carb Diets

I KNEW this fad diet crap was a big, steaming pile of you-know-what. Discovery Health interviews nutrition expert and cancer-prevention specialist Dr. Moshe Shike about fad diets that require the reduction or elimination of carbohydrates. Here's what he has to say on the matter:

These "high-protein, low-carbohydrate" diets have not been proven to be safe or effective in the long run. We know, for example, that high-protein diets may be harmful to the kidneys, and are associated with calcium loss, which can result in bone problems...

Fad diets prohibit a lot of foods — in the case of high-protein diets, carbohydrate intake is severely restricted. And guess what? People lose weight not because of the altered food balance, but simply because they are restricting calories. Of course they will lose weight!
Now, if you are going to restrict calories — which is vital to losing weight — isn't it better to restrict them in a way that is consistent with a healthy diet?

So that's the skinny on low carb diets. They're a hoax, and bad for you, to boot! Click here for the full article.

Fat News: Nutrition Facts are on the Menu for Good in New York

An article in yesterday's Washington Post reported that, despite the wishes of certain fat-peddling vendors, caloric values of foods will remain on restaurant menu boards in the state of New York. Vendors like McDonalds claimed that the requirement was a violation of the restaurants' first amendment rights. Bullhockey! Not putting caloric values there is a violation of my right to know what the heck I'm putting in my body!

Check out the full article here.

Diet: It's Working!

I know I shouldn't have, but I just couldn't help it.  I weighed myself this morning.  After one day on the diet, the scale read 242.4 pounds.  In one day, I lost a full two pounds.  I mean, that's probably just normal fluctuation, but it still felt pretty awesome.

So yesterday wasn't so bad.  I was barely hungry at all.  I had a meal bar for breakfast, a yogurt and some graham crackers for a midmorning snack, a shake for lunch, a snack bar and a half banana for an afternoon snack, and I made black bean wraps for dinner (which actually turned out really good).  It didn't really feel like I was depriving myself.  Every other diet I've ever been on has felt like I'm starving, or I'm really missing something.  I really want this to work, and I hope it does!

Fat News: Artificial Sweetners: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The New York Times ran an article on artificial sweetners yesterday, which made me oh so happy (Brody, Jane E. "Sweeteners: Real Aid or Excuse to Indulge?" The New York Times. 16 February 2009.) I was delighted to discover that the vast majority of non-caloric sweeteners that we often use (for example, the high amounts of aspartame I consume in the form of Diet Coke) have not been linked to cancer (they reported on one study done in the 60s that found that the risk of developing bladder cancer increases when two non-caloric sweeteners are combined).

The article reported that people attempting to lose weight can use non-caloric sweeteners as an effective substitute for regular sugar, but one should be careful about using artificial sweeteners like Splenda in exchange for something high in calories (i.e. - putting Sweet & Low in your coffee doesn't make up for your apple pie and ice cream).

Good news for all of us Diet Coke fiends out there... I know I'm not alone. Those of you who are into regular soda - you can cut down on your caloric intake SO MUCH by simply switching from regular to Diet. I know that the taste is different... but if I can make myself go from 2% milk to skim, I know you can do it!

Check out the full article here.

Diet: Today is the Day

Last night, I had one last hurrah with some chicken alfredo from Leona's. It was delicious, by the way. And today starts my hardcore diet. So far, it's not so bad. I'm halfway through the day, and I feel satisfied with the food I have eaten.

I've always had a problem making good choices when it comes to food. When I decided that something needs to be done, I really didn't know where to begin. So, to start off, I'm tooling my own combined plan. First, I've got an account at Weight Watchers. I'm doing it online first, because my busy schedule at the moment kind of makes meetings impossible. Maybe I'll be able to attend meetings once I'm a little more settled down into my "new" life (i.e. new apartment).

In addition, I'm actually following the SlimFast plan. The benefit here is that everything is planned. I don't trust myself to make choices at all. I need to have someone to tell me what to eat, and this tells me exactly what to put into my body. I'm going to continue for a couple of weeks in this vein until I feel a little more comfortable making my own choices, at which point I'll start fusing in my own recipes... on condition that they fit into my Weight Watchers plan, of course.

By putting the two together, I have someone telling me what to eat, while still being able to track it myself. It tells me what to do, but makes me conscious of what I am doing. Hopefully, I'll be learning what types of choices are good, and I can start to wean myself away from detailed instructions and can stretch my creativity in the kitchen again.

I weighed myself this morning before I got into the shower, before I had eaten anything. The official weight is at 244.4. I will weigh myself again on Sunday morning and see if I have made any progress. I'm hoping to see results. I've known a lot of people who have been successful on Weight Watchers, so I have high hopes for myself as well.

Gusher: Always Fat?

I have been fat all my life. It sucks.

Aside from the not wanting to walk anywhere, the general feelings of tiredness, the fear that anytime something hurts it's diabetes or heart disease, or any other obesity-related illness... being fat just sucks the life, and the self-esteem, right out of you.

From the time I was very young, my mom told me I was fat. Well, I knew this... but it hurt to have it acknowledged by someone else. Being fat is not a problem that you can closet like say, I don't know... a drinking problem, or a coke habit (not to say that these problems don't manifest themselves into everyday life, but wiping up your nose after you toot is considerably easier than trying to hide too-wide hips and lumpy back fat). That awareness from when I was very young - I am fat, and everybody knows it - really messed with me. I had little to no confidence with boys, I dressed myself (and continue to dress myself) in plain, lifeless clothing that hopefully keeps people from noticing me. Nobody likes to hide from the world like that, especially because of something that is so hard to change.

We work on crash diets, we kill ourselves at the gym, we go balls to the wall for short spurts of time, and then something happens that just makes us fail every time. We don't see results quick enough... we receive another affirmation of our fatness... something not even connected to our diet makes us fall off the wagon entirely...

While I agree that obesity is a danger to one's health, fat people get treated differently from smokers, from risk-takers, from people who drive recklessly... all of these things can be dangerous, and yet it's fat people who get kicked around in society, portrayed as wobbly torsos on the evening news and dorky asexual sidekicks in Hollywood movies.

This blog is not about how wrong society may be (and is). One of the mantras from Alcoholic Anonymous is to ask for the strength to accept the things that one cannot change. Well, I can't change society, but I can change myself. I can change the way I look, I can change the way I react. I can choose to do something healthy for myself. I can choose to not allow societal pressures and "bad days" to blow my diet. I can choose to not beat myself up over small failures and to keep pushing, even if I gain a pound one week when I had expected to lose two.

I'm on a mission to take it off. At 240 pounds, I am the fattest I have ever been in my entire life, and I feel it. I'm winded after walking up to the third floor of my apartment building. My clothes are tighter, and it doesn't feel good. I want it to change. So, for the first time in my life, I am taking charge. I am not expecting to do anything dramatic at first... I am hoping to ease myself into subtle lifestyle changes. I am trusting someone else to tell me what to eat. I am tracking my meals and my weight. After a month, I'm hoping to have lost ten to fifteen pounds, and will gradually work my way into an exercise regimen (both so that it doesn't feel like a drastic change, and to try to avoid injury). I hope to lose a full 100 pounds, and for the first time in my life, I'm not giving myself a time limit. It's not so I can look good at the beach, or fit into a dress for a wedding... it's so that I feel good about myself.

So, from this blog, should you choose to read it, expect trial and error. Expect pontification. Expect acceptance, and failure, and sometimes it should be funny... hopefully...