Sunday, February 28, 2010

Chili’s is the new golf course

Hey guys! I hope you’ve had (and are continuing to have) a fabulous weekend!

Yesterday Mom and I kicked off my birthday festivities by going to hang out with my grandmother for the day!

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She’s so awesome. We had some errands to run while we were there, and while we were out and about, we went to Chili’s for lunch (“’Chili's is the new golf course. It's where business happens.’ Small Businessman Magazine.”). I was really jonesing for a margarita on the rocks, but I resisted. Woo! I had the Monterey chicken – complete with cheese and bacon on top. Best choice on the menu? Nope. Better than the deep-fried dishes that my dates chose? Most probably.

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I got double broccoli instead of the mashed potatoes it came with. Also, because TODAY’S MY BIRTHDAY, we all split dessert – chocolate chip Paradise pie. My grandmother offered to hold the plate for me while I licked it clean, but I’m trying to soften my image a bit, so I turned her down.

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It’s definitely weird to be more in tune with my body now…years or even months ago, I would’ve eaten all this without batting an eye and kept eating the rest of the day without issue. However, I didn’t even need to eat dinner last night, I was still so (uncomfortably) full all evening long.

Today I’ll be doing something birthday-ish, but I don’t know what yet. I was going to drag Mom to see Avatar in 3D again and have been okay with those plans for the past couple of days, but suddenly this morning I had a change of heart. I’ve been sitting here catching up on Google Reader for the past…3 hours – holy crap – so I really need to get up and move and do something fun/productive/worthwhile, but I’m a little depressed (WHY is that a theme with me lately?!?! Arrrgh!!!) The older I get, the more sad I get on my birthday. I think if I were at another place in my life, I’d be super happy to celebrate, but I feel almost guilty and undeserving of a celebration these days. Oh god, that sounds terrible, and I’m starting with the “what if” and “could’ve” talk again, and I want to slap myself, so I’m just going to stop.

If you were in my shoes, what would you do on your birthday or a perfect day off? Shopping? Movie? Crafting? Booze-a-thon with your BFFs?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Dr. Strangebrew or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying about Fat Loss and Love Myself

This Society Series post comes from a surprise author.  Read on….

 

Think you’re comfortable in your skin? How many of the following fatty scenarios can you relate to?

  • After helping a friend one afternoon, he commented that it would be cheaper to repay me with cash than buying me lunch. I laughed it off.
  • My coworkers relentlessly tease me about my love of chocolate, especially cookies. I have playfully retorted that it is my “crack”.
  • The employees at the local chocolatier, who indirectly contributed to my weight gain, gave me a nickname after I returned day after day for goodies. I’ve lived up to my nickname.
  • At a party, a new acquaintance flattered me when he said I looked good for being able to eat so much, to which a long time friend teased, “Well, I don’t know about that,” while tapping my belly. I think I joked I was pregnant.

Being a realist and always open to self-depreciating humor, I have NEVER taken comments toward my weight personally. Obviously, others have picked up on that and openly poked fun at me. I was skinny as a rail when I was a kid, and my mom even teased that I had a tapeworm. I don’t think I was more that 115lbs when I graduated high school. Never would I have imagined that I would get as big as I did, ballooning up to 238 lbs on my five foot nine (and a very important three quarters of an inch) frame. But that was on purpose, or so I told myself. Though now in retrospect, there were some poor dieting choices involved. And those pictures weren’t as flattering as the mirror was telling me at the time. Whether I was that skinny little kid or the much bigger person I am now, I have always had a voracious appetite. I love food, especially chocolate sweets. While I’m currently 203, I’m struggling with my last few pounds to reach my goal of 190. My trainer wants me to try for 180, but I resist because I don’t think I’ll look good at so LIGHT a weight. That’s right; I won’t look good if I get any smaller! I’m proud being big; I worked very hard to get here. I love my body, how it looks, and I’m very comfortable in my skin. But like it or not, I have to shed my excess fat.

 

Oops, did I forget to mention that I’m a guy? That’s right, a male, and struggling with my weight. Despite regular exercise, my body holds on to the last bit of fat because of my diet. I cheat on it. That’s a big no-no because I’m trying to get down to 4% body fat from 11% in 16 weeks time. You see, I’m training for a bodybuilding competition. Think you have it tough trying to get into that bikini or bridesmaid dress? Any excess fat I display, wearing only skimpy posing trunks, on a stage in front of hundreds of people, risks getting booed, or even laughed, off stage. I used the phrase “struggling with my weight” cause it’s a make or break deal for me. If I don’t look like I’m making progress, my trainer calls me a failure. Even my friends level with me and tell me that I look like shit. Talk about pressure!

 

Being a guy losing weight isn’t much different from being a girl losing weight. I have the firm belief that there exist some very important tricks to successful weight loss, but there are even more important attitudes and realizations about losing weight (to losing, and not keeping it off, which is an entirely different goal and deserves a discussion of its own). Follow whatever diet and exercise program that you, or your physician and you have decided on. But what diets, doctors, trainers, friends, and family won’t tell you, but I’m going to share, I hope you will consider.

 

Losing weight is lonely. No one but you has anything to gain. Your husband, in honest discussion, may say it’s good for your health or a better sex life, and may even change his lifestyle to support you, but it comes back to you making the commitment to yourself. Your best friend may be sympathetic, but she doesn’t care whether or not you lose weight. That may sound mean. But it’s the truth. She may hope or pray that you reach YOUR goals or for you to be happy, but the only person with any vested interest in YOUR weight loss is you.

 

Do it for yourself. Not your hubby, the cute guy you’d like to impress, because your children said something, or you overheard a hurtful comment and decided to prove someone wrong. That can be your motivator, but do it for you. I once trained a girl whose husband was deployed in Afghanistan. He loved her for her. When she told him she had begun an exercising program, he told her, “Don’t lose MY muffin top!” She wanted to look her best cause she was going to meet his family, which was her motivation. But the reason why she came into the gym everyday was for herself. That’s why she exceeded her goals (and MINE!), even after I finished training her. And her husband, children and extended family loved the results.

 

Be confident in yourself that you’re doing well. You make progress; you have setbacks, but if you keep at it, pat yourself on the back. I can’t tell you the countless people I see in the gym who make dramatic changes in front of my eyes. You don’t see it because you see yourself every day. You are your own worst critic. I don’t notice that you slipped up on your diet or you skipped Monday’s workout, but I notice those sweatpants are looser, or that your face is looking slimmer. Keep at it, and soon you’ll notice that those pants are fitting looser, too!

 

I cheat on my diet all the time. But I tighten it to compensate, or increase my cardio when I need to, and other times button it down completely. I take it seriously, but I don’t let it consume me. Yes, I worry because I HAVE TO be a certain weight, but you shouldn’t just because you decide you deserve a double chocolate brownie sundae. When you beat yourself up for failing to stick rigidly to your expectations, the only thing you end up doing is beating yourself up with another double chocolate brownie sundae. Stay focused, remember your obligations to yourself, self-discipline yourself for your transgressions, and you’ll be okay.

 

Admit that you’re pretty. Let me be frank, fat can be brutally ugly. I’ve seen girls who physically look disheveled and emotionally are probably destroyed. What a horrible place to begin a diet from. But as you lose weight, that affects your outlook. You smile more. You feel better. You look better. But even if you haven’t lost as much as you would like, admit to yourself that you look good. Be a little cocky! If you look in the mirror and those size 14 jeans that you can now fit into makes you think that you look awesome, then you look awesome!

 

Whatever your weight loss goal, good luck! Work hard and help inspire others. By the way, the nickname the employees at the chocolate store gave me was “Smiley!” Just the attitude you need to reach your goals.

 


 

Did that make anyone else a little misty-eyed, too?  This post was written by Kevin who has recently started blogging at littleBIGkev.  Also, read his hilarious tweets @littleBIGkev.  We started to do this solely as a guest post over here to help with the initial “wow, the author’s a dude” shock factor, but if you’d like to leave a comment, please head over to Kevin’s blog where it’s also posted and leave him some love!

Sexy anti-itch sleeves

I’ve been posting too many serious/deeply psychological/Debbie Downer posts lately, so I’m going to attempt a fluffy happy one today.  Also, I just installed the Disqus commenting system, and I need to give it a whirl.  I like to respond to every single comment, even if it’s just something short like “nice pic,” so this way, I can use threaded comments (i.e., responding to each individually) instead of posting one massive lump response comment to everyone.

 

Yesterday I went to the doctor to check in, and I lost 3.5lbs last week.  I’m having a little reality check about it; I was hoping to lose close to 10lbs doing all-liquid like I did the first week I tried it, but there were some holes in my plan.  1) The first week I did it, half of the weight I lost was water.  It spoiled me to lose close to 10lbs and skewed my expectations.  2) I CHEATED.  3.5 pounds is a lot to lose in a week, especially after a beer binge, so I’m slapping myself in the face, patting myself on the back, and moving on.  Operation 13 by 26 was unrealistic, so I’m scrapping it.  My body will get below 200 when it’s good and ready.

 

By the way, my doc had some interesting insight into the relationship between alcohol and weight loss.  Insulin helps your body store glucose, and glucagon has the opposite effect – it helps your body take glucose out of storage and burn it.  Well, alcohol inhibits glucagon, so there are no glucose withdrawals, only deposits when you drink.  I’m sure I learned that in the endocrinology class I took a million years ago, but it really puts it into perspective when you think about it in terms of metabolism and weight loss.  She also estimated that for every alcoholic beverage you drink, you keep yourself from losing as much as a pound.  Now, I don’t know where she came up with that figure, but its enough to scare me into being a teetotaller (almost).

 

After my appointment, I met up with my cousin who works on that side of town.  He’s always kind of been the big brother I never had (and he’s got a pretty bitchin’ girlfriend – Hi, Susan!!), and he’s such a sweetheart, he paid for my lunch!  We went to Applebee’s, and I got the Grilled Chicken Dijon and Portobellos off the Under 550 Calorie menu; it usually comes with mashed potatoes and steamed veggies, but I got double veggies instead (by the way, it’s funny how their “seasonal” vegetables happen to always be the same everywhere at every time of the year.  “Seasonal,” my foot.)

 

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After finishing lunch, I had some errands to run.  I returned to Jewelry Warehouse to find something to put my birthday coupon toward, and I went to two of their locations before finally finding MY RING.  And I was told they didn’t make them big enough for my middle finger…psh.

 

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It sounds cheesy, but I got it so I could wear it all the time as a reminder of my long-term goal.  Hopefully as I reach for food/drink that are counterproductive to weight loss, I’ll take a split-second to look at my finger and think to myself, “is it really worth it?”  I’m hoping it will serve as a cue to action for me.  A few people in an old Weight Watchers group of mine utilized this strategy and it helped them make better decisions.

 

So back to eats; I had a couple of shakes yesterday, and last night, I got the munchies.  I need to plan better.  Maybe if I say it enough, I’ll magically wake up one day and start doing it.  I know, I know, that’s not how it works….  Last night I had a couple of potato chips with beer cheese dip (uggggh – at least it wasn’t a handful!) and turkey and cheese.

 

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I must not have ever had swiss cheese by itself before, because it sucks!  Or maybe this was just a bad batch…I’m not a cheese connoisseur.  It was waxy in texture, not very flavorful, and therefore not worth it, so I ate a couple bites and gave the rest to the dog.

 

I’m so over this whole poison ivy nonsense.  It stings, it itches, and it makes me look like a leper.  The first night I realized what it was, I went to bed in these sexy gloves I got from Delia*s back in the day:

 

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and actually managed to keep them on all night!  They were kind of snuggly, and they kept me from scratching (I think).  Then last night, I kept wanting to scratch when I was doing stuff around the house, so I fashioned myself a pair of arm covers out of an old pair of tube socks.

 

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Sexy, right???  They did what I needed them to do, though! 

Thanks to all of you who have joined our iChange support group – I’m still trying to learn the ins and outs of how the site works, and it’s helping to realize that everyone will be able to see everything I eat, for better or worse.  I’ve already gotten some feedback about a little chocolate meltdown I had yesterday, so it’s helping me to be up front and honest about my setbacks and really analyze why the happen and how I can deal with them in the future.  Haven’t joined yet?  You still can!  Sign up – all the cool kids are doing it!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

iChange Support Group

Hi, everyone!  I hope your week is off to the right start!  I’m battling a wicked case of the itchies thanks to some poison ivy I picked up this weekend.  Bollocks.  I can’t believe I’ve NEVER gotten it before – I’m sure I’ve been in it, but I’ve never gotten a rash.  Too bad I can’t still say that.  Crying

 

Over the weekend, I was contacted by someone from iChange, a website founded on the idea that weight loss happens best when people have social supportsound familiar

 

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On this website, you can log your daily caloric intake and exercise; write journal entries; log your measurements, stress, energy, water, sleep, and mood; create and join groups based on interests; find support through other members; and read articles written by the experts on staff – all for free!  They also offer paid services – for $19 a month, you can work with a dietitian who will give you a plan, check in with you, and monitor your progress. 

 

This is where it gets cool…

 

They’ve set up a group for me and any of you who want to join in, and a dietitian, Diana, will be working with us!  Here’s what Diana says we should expect during our month-long challenge:

  • I will be your personal dietitian who will closely observe your health and habits. Based on my observations, I will recommend basic, but important, ways that you can manage your health and get your weight at the level you desire. 
  • I will coach you on how and what to eat over a 30 day period.
  • I will check on you regularly to make sure you are making progress and counsel you on how to get more out of the program
  • I have placed you in a group with other challenge members who will support you and look to you for support.  Click on the Group link on the lower right side of this page to check in on the group activity.

…and here’s what we will need to do during the challenge:

  • Follow the nutrition guidelines I send you.  They are included in one of the first five tasks in "My Checklist" on the upper right of the page.
  • Complete your online Nutrition Journal every day.  It is important for me to see what you are eating so that I can start to identify changes to your diet.  The Nutrition Journal is located on the right hand side of this page.  Remember to include EVERYTHING.  There is no judgment here.  I can’t do my job properly if you are not totally honest with me. 
  • Complete the Water Tracker so I know how much water you drink every day.  Water is vital to weight loss and wellness.
  • Complete the Activity Tracker to tell me how many minutes of activity you do every day. Your activity can be any form of activity, whether it is walking around the block, lifting weights in the gym or simply dancing in your living room. 
  • Send me or the other team members a message any time you have a question or just want to send some words of encouragement.  To send me a private note, just type my name, Diana, into the “To” box above, write a message and click send. I’ll respond as quickly as I can.

Now, I’m not sure exactly how this will go for me since I can’t follow her nutritional guidelines 100%, and I know some of you out there are on other diets or have dietary restrictions, but I’m interested to see how this pans out!  I know I’ve got some questions to ask her at least, and I’m pretty sure some of you would like to pick her brain as well.

 

When this month is over, we’ll still get to keep our little support group (it’s a free feature of the site that anyone can participate in) and any other groups we choose to join, and we can still use the tools.  And if you decide you really like being able to talk to a dietitian on a regular basis, you can pay to continue using their services!

 

Here’s the link to my group:

 

http://www.ichange.com/partners/lowfatKat

 

All of you are welcome and encouraged to join, and I hope it will be a worthwhile experience for all of us.  I’m not sure if you have to create an account before clicking that link…will someone try it and let me know how it works?

Please ask me any questions you might have – if I don’t have an answer, I can pass it along to someone who does!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Old habits die hard

This past weekend was our 2nd work weekend at the lakehouse (our 1st one was recapped here).  While I only worked one day last time, this time I stayed from Friday to Sunday (read: worked twice as hard as before).  Everything is still sore.

On Friday, my uncle cut down three trees on the property, and we all helped haul them down to the bank limb by limb

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First mistake – instead of drinking ALL my shakes that day like I should’ve and then supplementing as needed with proteins and veggies (not on the agenda this week, but I’d totally allow it after working hard), I only had my first morning shake and then subsisted on trail mix all day.  TRAIL. MIX.  With M&Ms.  Not the worst thing in the world, but it didn’t do me any favors.  And here’s the kicker - I planned well.  I set myself up for success.  I brought all my shakes along with me.  However, in the face of temptation, I go for the easiest, tastiest option – not the best.  Looking back, I should’ve set an alarm and stopped to take a shake break every 3 hours, no matter what.  That way, I would’ve had a slap-upside-the-head cue and might’ve been more likely to act.  [sigh]

That night, I made mistake #2 – getting the guys to pick up a 6 pack of Blue Moon for me at the store “because I’d earned it.”  Here I go again with my “I deserve a treat” thinking.  Waiting until this week to treat myself by getting a massage would’ve been a much healthier plan, but I had that “I need to unwind” feeling, and hard labor calls for beer.  So I had 2 on Friday night and might’ve participated in some Dreeting.  I purposefully DIDN’T bring beer for this reason.  I stopped at the store on the way to the house and totally could’ve gotten some, but I deliberately passed over the beer because I didn’t want to sabotage myself.  However, in the passion of the moment (i.e., after hurling logs for a few hours), I caved…as usual.

The next day, we were joined by several more family members and participated in a few projects.  My team took the giant pile of tree limbs and trunks, cut them to manageable size, and burned them at the water’s edge, then we shoveled off dirt that had washed around our boathouse and boat ramp. 

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Lifting and carrying and throwing those limbs and shoveling all that dirt reeeeeally took a toll on me.  It wasn’t the most brilliant thing to go on an all-liquid diet when 2 of the 7 days on said diet would be filled with hard labor.  Confused

So on Saturday after a particularly hard bout of shovelling, I went inside to catch my breath only to beat the lunch crowd by about 5 minutes.  I snagged a breadless sandwich from the kitchen…

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…and had a 2nd unpictured one about half this size a short while afterward.  I’m not counting these as mistakes, because I truly needed more calories from healthy sources.  This was lean lunchmeat, a piece of cheese and lettuce, and mustardMistake #3 was following it up with…

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…one of these little cream-filled Little Debbie oatmeal cookie pie thingamagigs.  I used to go apeshit over these as a kid, and I learned this weekend that I haven’t grown out of it; I had a 2nd before the weekend was over.  Oh, and before I went back outside, I also had a brownie and slice of poundcake.  WTF, Katherine?!?!  Neither were particularly good, either – it so wasn’t worth it!  Yes, I was participating in some heavy physical activity and needed sustenance, but that doesn’t give me the excuse to reach for empty calories, simple carbs, and sugary sweets

I went back outside, got back to work, dog-sat a bit (or rather, he sat on me)…

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…and grabbed my first beer of the night at around 6pm when the bonfire got good.

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Over the next 5 hours, I had 3 more.

I get this way about quantity – when I lived alone, I’d make a HUGE batch of pasta + sauce + vegetables + cheese and eat it out of a ginormous bowl.  Now, lots of people say that’s the wrong thing to do because you have no visual cues about when to quit.  However, that’s the only time I’d get to practice listening to my stomach, and because I knew I couldn’t eat the whole thing, I’d stop when I was full.  If I served myself a certain amount, I’d most likely jump back up and get more, even if I wasn’t still hungry. 

This is the problem with the 6 pack – I wanted to finish it all.  If I had gotten a larger quantity, I probably would have stopped earlier because 1) there’s no way in hell I could drink all of them, and 2) I’d have lots of leftovers to take home.  For some reason, I thought “oh, I’d better finish it off.”  Why?  Because I couldn’t leave two in the fridge for next time I came up to the lakehouse?  It’s stupid to bring two home with me?  I’m the same way with chocolate – if it’s a HUGE quantity, I’m better about portioning it (ok, who am I kidding? I’m terrible at portioning it), but if I CAN finish it all in one sitting, I’ll probably succeed or get sick trying.

And because my inhibitions were lowered, I ate bread for dinner.  Just breadAngryThumbs-down

The next day was lower-key, labor-wise, but my aunt baked cookies.  Y’all know where this is going.  I had my breakfast shake, worked a bit outside, had some meat and cheese for lunch (instead of one of my lovely shakes packed in my cute little lunch bag), then followed it up with…4 cookies maybe? 

I’m trying not to beat myself up over this weekend, but it’s hard.  I put certain measures in place to help myself succeed, but I always stop short of making certain I DO succeed. 

I find loopholes. 
I make excuses. 
I fall into old patterns. 

I can pinpoint exactly what went wrong and the line of thinking that led to it.  Hell, I realize what’s going on AS IT’S HAPPENING, but it’s somewhat rare that I stop it in its tracks.  It’s been known to happen, but it doesn’t happen often.  This is probably leading to a post I’ve been mulling over for awhile on self-sabotage, so I’ll stop it there, lest I give away all my secrets early. 

Does anyone else have this issue with portioning and cues to quit?  What about rationalizing “I deserve this [treat/out-of-the-ordinary food] because…”?


**Editing to add that I bounced back today - I'm back on-point with my diet, and I haven't been a total Debbie Downer, despite what this post might suggest!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Guest post on Then Heather Said

I was honored that Heather at Then Heather Said asked me to write a guest post for her More Than Series.  She’s explaining through these guest posts what healthy living blogging is all about, even beyond what shows up in our Google Readers. (She can explain it a little more eloquently than I’m able to, so clicky the linky and read it in her words).

 

I’m copying and pasting her post here, so my post is bookended by Heather’s words.

 


More Than: Kat from LFK

20 02 2010

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Hi, THS readers!  I’m Kat from Low-Fat Kat, and am honored to be doing a guest post for Heather!  When I was working on my Master’s degree, I did my thesis on social networks and virtual communities and how they could benefit healthcare organizations and hospital systems.  At the time, I was focusing mostly on what I knew from Facebook, MySpace, and the networks our professors used in college – WebCT and Blackboard.  In my head, I was thinking of this ginormous network wherein patients could talk to each other, share information with their healthcare providers, schedule appointments, and retrieve information and resources. 

 

A mouthful, yes?  Well somewhere in my book (I’m calling a spade a spade here), I briefly touched on how virtual communities can improve the health of their members through social interaction – the topic I want to focus on for this post. 

 

One of my attention-grabbing examples was that of a girl who turned to the PostSecret Community forums for help.  She was in her early 20s and lived in a society where women had very few rights, especially those regarding sexuality.  She discovered she was pregnant, and she risked exile or even death (at the hands of her own family, mind you) for seeking an abortion or having a child out of wedlock; she was a literal case of “damned if you do, damned if you don’t.” 

 

She came to the PostSecret community looking for suggestions or any help that could be offered.  People from all over the world were researching women’s shelters and doctors in her area that might be willing to help her; they were researching chemical abortifacients she might be able to find nearby, and they were researching halfway houses for her, if she had been willing to carry the child.  Outside of helping her find physical resources, two of the biggest things the community offered her were “merely” a shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen.  When she was contemplating aborting the child by her own hand, people talked her out of it.  When she sought out an abortion from a reputable professional and took a few days off to recover, a virtual vigil was held on the forum – people praying for her, talking about her situation, offering nothing but well-wishes.  Her situation really struck me as unique but yet universal – we turn to virtual communities to gain support and to find like-minded people who help us find and establish our places in life.

When I was writing my thesis, I understood and appreciated the points I was making about virtual communities, but I wasn’t a “capital-B” Blogger at that point.  It wasn’t until a year or so ago when I started my blog and unknowingly created my own little social network (hi, guys!!) that I truly understood the impact virtual communities can have on their members.  Unlike some of my in-real-life (IRL) community members, the people who make up my virtual community were handpicked by me.  I follow people who struggle with the same things I struggle with (being a bit too addicted to chocolate and baked goods, for one), those who have succeeded where I intend to succeed (losing and keeping off large amounts of weight), and those who have stories different than my own but that intrigue me (being vegan, being gluten-intolerant, having kids, or recovering from bulimia to name a few).  I’ve surrounded myself with various positive influences and have thus shaped my own reality.

 

I’ve done every diet under the sun and have struggled with my weight for over 20 years (a fact that royally sucks when you realize I’m writing this post a week shy of my 26th birthday).  I’ve succeeded at many, but have always gained the weight back and then some.  The problem each time was the same – my lifestyle never changed.  A diet is like putting a Band-Aid over a severed artery.  It might temporarily fix the problem (very temporarily – this metaphor isn’t my best), but that Band-Aid won’t hold for long.  Each time, I’d lose 5, 20, 80 pounds, and go right back to the life I had previously been living.  Quelle surprise – it ain’t gonna work that way.

 

Now, I’m not saying that it’s anyone’s fault but my own that I gained the weight back, but it’s pretty common knowledge that people with social support are the most likely to succeed at changing their behaviors – I could get all nerdy on you and find some resources to cite, but this post is long-winded enough already and still has a way to go.  I’m also not saying that my IRL friends and family weren’t supportive; they just didn’t truly understand my plight and often didn’t know how to help me.

 

The #1 problem I had each time was failing to change my lifestyle – we’ve established that.  The #2 problem I had was not surrounding myself with the right kind of support.  I’ve never had a close IRL friend who has struggled with their weight like I have; my friends were always the type to eat whatever they wanted without gaining an ounce, and we never really engaged in physical activity when we hung out, so exercise was always a chore.   I’d like to think that if my social norms had changed early on – i.e., “everyone works out regularly” or “no, Katherine, it’s not normal to eat dessert after each of your three daily meals” – making those lifestyle changes would’ve been a helluva lot easier then than they are now that they’re so deeply ingrained.

 

So how am I wrapping all this up?  Through blogging and tweeting, my case is semi-parallel to that of the pregnant girl in Jordan – I had a problem, I knew I couldn’t face it alone, and I needed people who knew what they were talking about to help me. Even though I knew HOW to lose weight (calories in < calories out), it’s a very difficult thing to put into practice. Before I could succeed at it, I needed people who had lost weight to help me know how to change my lifestyle.  I needed people who were in the process of losing weight to show me I wasn’t alone and to lean on when it got hard.  I needed people who were losing weight in different ways so I could make informed decisions and figure out my best shot at success. I needed to tailor my own social network to suit my requirements, and blogging has allowed me to do that.

I have made friends from all over the world through blogging – people who are so like me, it’s scary (scarier for the audiences who read our Tweets and comments, I’m sure).  I’ve “met” people who annoy the crap out of me, but I still read their content because their viewpoints, while opposing my own, make my experience more well-rounded and better-informed.  I’ve created my own little virtual community because the one I physically inhabit was lacking something.  That sounds like a blow to my IRL friends and family, but it’s not – I was missing something in my life, the absence of which caused me to be unhealthy and left me feeling lost, despite years of health and weight loss education.  Through blogging and tweeting, conversing with people who truly understand me and have the same issues I do, I’m getting better at this healthy living thing day after day.  When I falter, I turn to them for support.  When I succeed, I turn to them for praise.  This healthy living blogger community is my “something missing” – they let me know what it truly means to live a healthy lifestyle by comparison and are helping me make the lifelong changes I need in order to become the health nut I so desperately need and want to be.

katlowfatkatherine

To learn more about Kat and her journey to lose at least 100 pounds, visit her blog.  You can follow Kat’s 140 character long thoughts by reading her twitter feed.

a few of Heather’s favorite posts by Kat can be found here, herehere, and here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

Thanks, Heather, for letting me be a part of this series!  I hope it sheds some light on how our little virtual community helps us take our healthy living efforts day by day.  Open-mouthed

Friday, February 19, 2010

Formspring sheep

I’m SUCH a sheep! I hate jumping on bandwagons, but I totally did today. That anonymous “ask me anything” website has me by the balls.

http://www.formspring.me/LowFatKat

Go. Do it. Ask away. But please be kind. I do cry easily. Crying

I thought I’d get emails alerting me when people had asked questions, but I didn’t (maybe I’m missing something in the settings?), so I was surprised when I logged in this evening to find two AWESOME questions waiting for me! Seriously, I was so scared of what I’d find at first, but I was so happy to get two very legitimate questions that I was very happy to answer! Pardon, but my answers got a little verbose. Nerd




What type of diet are you on? I would love to lose 40 pounds, I'm currently overweight and need to lose. What do you eat, what can't you eat?

The diet that I'm on is essentially low-carb, [low-calorie, low-fat, higher protein]. The physician that I see has 4 different diet plans ranging from most restrictive (500 cals/day, all-shakes, what I'm currently doing this week as I need a kick in the pants) to least restrictive (eating in moderation, 1200-1400 calories).


I'll answer like I'm on my "normal" plan [edit – this is the 2nd most restrictive at about 800-900 calories/day]; I have 2 shakes a day and 2 meals a day [and I take vitamins and supplements]. My meals consist of lean protein and non-starchy vegetables. It's been hard for me because I was a vegetarian before doing this plan, and I feel like such a hypocrite, but I'll be going back to being a veg-head when I reach my goal weight.


I mix my morning shake with coffee (the shakes are actually good, by the way!) and usually have either a cold one (shake, not beer...boo) in the afternoon or a "hot chocolate" at night. Meals consist of a salad with chicken or chicken/pork/fish and veggies on the side. At this point, I can't eat any grains or starches (so no rice, beans, grains of any sort, potatoes, corn, legumes, etc.) and no dairy (I've been nibbling on cheese lately and got to where I was eating too much, hence me doing the kick-in-the-pants liquid diet for a week).


I'm not sure if I'll first reach my goal weight before switching plans to a less-restrictive diet, or if I'll switch when I'm close. When I went on a similar program before, lost a whole bunch of weight, then gained it all back, it was because I went straight from eating this restrictive diet and going right back to eating normally. I didn't "taper" back to less-restrictive diets and thus learn how to eat "normally."





What scares you the most about meeting your weightloss goal?


I LOVE this question, because I thought about it twice today, and it actually stopped me in my tracks both times. It's so weird you (whoever you are!!) asked it, because I hadn't really thought of it before today!


Today on a whim, I tried on one of my favorite dresses from "back in the day." It's a size 14 from a "normal" store - the Limited, and I was expecting to get my arms/shoulders stuck halfway through then have to tear it back off. Well, it FIT. And I looked damned good, I have to say (might take a picture soon!) I have a couple of other "goal" dresses from when I was thinner, and as I was admiring myself in that size-14 dress, I literally stopped in front of the mirror and thought "well what happens when I finally fit into the others?" Almost like a "well, now what?" sort of thing. I've had these dresses in mind for years, and I'll be so excited when I fit into them, but there are other dresses in the world, and other accomplishments beyond fitting into them. I guess my view has been so narrow regarding my weight loss goals, that I'm worrying what will happen when I get there.


When I had lost weight before, fashion got kind of scary. I know what silhouettes look best on me now; I know what fabrics to avoid and what styles to embrace in order to flatter (read: HIDE) my figure. When I lost weight, all of a sudden I didn't need to make those safe fashion choices anymore. I had an endless ocean of possibilities to choose from when it came to clothes (my wallet and closet were my only limiting factors, of course!) I do believe that I've gained a better sense of fashion since the last time I was slim, so I hope I won't feel as lost as I do this time around, but it's still scary to essentially realize that everything you know about dressing your body is suddenly wrong.


The OTHER thing I'm worried about is something that Jen (http://www.priorfatgirl.com/) Tweeted about tonight. Here's what she said:

"100 pounds lost and I can only admit to struggling more than I did 2 years ago. Seems to be no "final" destination."
All these years, I've always thought "when I lose the weight, I'll be fine, everything will be perfect, and I won't have any problems left." Well, I've known that's not *really* the truth, but weight loss seems to have this mystical "things will be better when..." attribute about it. I've just written a guest post for Heather (http://thenheathersaid.com) that will go live soon wherein I talk about how blogging has slapped me in the face with reality. All of these fit girls whose blogs I read have to work HARD to maintain their weight. You don't just shed it and that's it - that's why I'm back in this position after having lost weight a few times already. I'm not naive enough to think I can go back to sitting around eating entire boxes of macaroni and cheese after I reach my goal weight, but blogging has opened my eyes to the reality of just how hard you have to work to keep it off.


So, short story long here, the thing that scares me about reaching my goal is: what if that's the easy part? What if I reach it within the next year and spend the next 60 years working even harder to maintain it? It's a harsh reality I'll have to face, because I'm beginning to really realize it's the truth.




To whomever asked these questions – thank you! I really appreciate it! Ask away, guys!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Getting the hell off my laurels

I checked in at the doctor today and broke down in tears in front of her for the first time since I started going in November.

I lost 1 lb over the past two weeks. One measly, stupid pound.

Granted, I was wearing (heavy) jeans this time, and on my scale at home, I’ve lost 3lbs during that same timeframe, but enough excuses. I've been resting on my laurels lately, and that really sucks, especially considering my most recent goal. I’ve lost 40lbs on this plan so far, and I’ve been getting bored. I’m motivated by success, but I’ve started taking it for granted. I’ve done OK at my sugar detox, but I’ve still slipped up lately, and thus my addiction isn’t getting any better. I’ve been going to the gym about 3 times per week and taking fitness classes that I used to be too scared to take, but I’ve been drinking more wine lately, adding a serving of pasta here or cheese there. I’m falling back into old habits, and I need to slap myself in the face to stop. Metaphorically, of course.

I’m scaling back my diet to all-shakes this week. I went in there today knowing not to expect as big a loss as usual, and I was planning on asking my doctor what she thought about me doing the all-liquid plan for a week (this is the same plan I did my first week on the diet back in late November, just to get the ball rolling). She thought it was a great idea and said she sometimes suggests people in my position try that.

I’m feeling two things here – one, I’m glad that I’ve decided to put my foot down and wipe the slate clean, so to speak. Much like a New Year or Lent affords an opportunity to start anew, I’m using this week to springboard back into progress like some people use a cleanse or juice fast (neither of which I’ve done, by the way). On the other hand, I’m worried that I’m using it as an easy way out; should I have stuck with my regular plan and just dealt with my issues head-on? Is my decision the equivalent of tucking my tail and running? Not to say that an all-liquid diet is an easy fix, though, because it definitely sucks balls. But I’m a bit worried that this might contribute to my trend of “all-or-nothing” thinking. Either I’m cheating left and right or I’m restricting totally and drinking my meals. Hopefully this week will just give me that metaphorical slap I need and I’ll emerge disciplined and motivated on the other side.

I’m sure this might open up some very opinionated comments, but I wanted y’all to at least know where I’m at for the next week and to know that it’s not a decision I came to lightly.

Because I haven’t done a traditional “look at my food” post in awhile, I’ll share a couple of pictures from today. First off, I thought I looked effing cute this morning on my way to my appointment. This picture was taken in the bathroom about 30 minutes before I turned into a huge sobbing mess of a puddle (PS – I HATE crying in front of people; not because I feel weak, but because I CAN’T TALK. It’s so awkward to sit there crying, trying to control yourself, when someone’s watching you, waiting for you to calm down so you can continue talking. Grr.)

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When I went to step on the scale, I took off my (favorite) scarf, and it got stuck on my necklace, breaking the necklace, and pulling some threads in the scarf. I think I got the fibers all back where they needed to be, but it set the tone for the rest of the day. Bollocks.

I had tentative plans to meet up with one of my cousins for lunch (he’s like the brother I never had), but he was busy at work (we’ve rescheduled for next week!) so I went to Mom’s hospital to eat with her. Another awkward anecdote: cafeterias make me feel like I’m back in middle school again. Every cafeteria has a different protocol, and everyone knows it except for me. I never know where to start, who to ask, what to grab, how to pay, and it’s usually wicked crowded which sets me off in a tizzy anyway. My best friend Catherine and I got our lunch from the cafeteria on our first day of middle school, and we were scarred for life – I took my lunch to school every day after that for the next 7 years. So today Mommy held my hand (again, metaphorically), and I got meatloaf and squash for lunch. Don’t hate – I’ve been craving meatloaf lately.

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When I left the hospital, I went to Jewelry Warehouse because I got a $10 off coupon for my birthday month – wahoo!! They didn’t have exactly what I wanted, so I left empty-handed…boo. Hopefully I’ll find it in the next 10 days; I want a simple ring I can wear on my left middle finger all the time as a visual reminder of my dedication to weight loss. I’ve got lots of Mafia wife cocktail rings, but I want something simple and understated. They had really nice sterling silver micro-pave CZ bands that I really wanted, but they don’t make them big enough. The search continues. Sad

All day I’ve been feeling kind of sickly, and super-depressed. I hate to be such a Debbie Downer, but on the way home from downtown Columbia, I listened to “Show Me What I’m Looking For” by Carolina Liar on repeat and just sobbed, only to come home and PTFO for a few hours. The bright spot in my evening was chatting with Rachel, Chandra, and Dori on g-chat like a circa-1997 AOL chat room. Nerd I did eat dinner, but I didn’t take a picture of it…I was feeling too blah, if that’s any excuse.

So wow, this post started out depressing and ended up depressing. The great thing about going to sleep is that tomorrow is a new day and a fresh start. Open-mouthed

How do you shake things up when you start getting sloppy in your eating habits? Have you ever done an all-liquid diet? Do you have any visual reminders of your commitment to your health, i.e., jewelry or a tattoo? What’s your favorite “turn it on and sob” song? (I’m also partial to “Let Go” by Frou Frou for that purpose!) Do you use g-chat? Hit me up any time! My email address is lowfatkatherine at gmail dot com

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

NSV: Bridesmaid dress

(NSV = non-scale victory)

On August 11, 2007, my friends Deidra and Arthur got married, and I was honored to be a bridesmaid in the wedding! I remember crash dieting beforehand to fit into my size 20 dress, and even then it was a really tight fit.

I’m really sucking it in in this picture, hence my boobs crushing my throat. I’m trying to point out that I’m an inverse of the chairs, but the dress was so tight, you can barely see my sash because my fat rolls were trying to eat it. (Sidenote: I NEVER go without sleeves – it pains me to share these pictures)

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See how the waist is SUPPOSED to look on the other gals versus how it looks on me? (More on my big-as-Texas hair in a sec)

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Just UGH.

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So why bring it up now? I was cleaning out my closet of all my fat clothes, and I decided to try the dress on (with no makeup – brace yourselves)…

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I’m the smallest I’ve been in 2.5 years! It’s not photographing well, but the dress is loose now! Now, about those arms… Crying

Oh – my Texas hair!! At the time, my hair was this short:

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(I guess I’m telling a very animated story about boobs to another ‘maid while I should’ve been paying attention during the rehearsal.) The hairstylist didn’t have much to work with (short + fine = not a good combo for an updo), so she curled, pinned, and sprayed the bejezus out of it:

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And it stayed up even after the pins came out

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A pretty cool miracle, right?

PS - I've lost 60lbs since my highest weight and have 60lbs more until I reach my goal - officially halfway there!!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Society Series: To compliment or not compliment?

That is a tough question!

 

Recently I whined opened up to Twitter about getting my first real compliment on my weight loss from a friend I hadn’t seen in a couple of months.  I had been bummed when I saw her (and other friends I see even more infrequently) at Christmas/New Year’s and nobody commented on the weight I had already lost at that point.  I assumed since I had already lost ~30lbs when I saw everyone at the holidays, I’d get compliments left and right.

 

No dice.

 

So, I thought, maybe those 30lbs were just a drop in the bucket?  Maybe it’s not as huge a difference to others as it is to myself?  I got over it and went about my business.

 

Nearly two months and 20 more pounds went by, and I finally got my first compliment on Sunday night (aside from my parents).  Now here’s where Kelsey’s Society Series post - “When they STOP mentioning it” – comes into play.  Why was I so bothered that nobody had said anything?  Some people on Twitter said “maybe people see you so often that they can’t tell small differences every time they see you” – but I’m talking about people I hadn’t seen in months.  I’m losing this weight for myself and my own health, but there’s some vanity there, too; I can’t escape it.  I want some validation that I’m making myself look better on the outside while improving my longevity.  However, I’m realizing that weight is SUCH a taboo topic that even those who you feel close to are hesitant to mention it.  It’s been THE foremost topic in my brain for 20 years, so I kinda want everyone to pat me on the back when I lose it, and shut the hell up when I gain it.

 

Compliments can totally backfire, though, and make even the best intentions look horrible.  Saying “wow, you look so amazing now!” could imply you looked like crap before.  “What are you doing? You look great!” might give way to a less-than-savory answer (“it’s a tapeworm, man…thanks for mentioning it”).  Unless they’re your best friend or parent, some people are just too afraid of somehow hurting your feelings in a backhanded way, and I need to accept that.  Just because they don’t compliment you doesn’t mean they don’t notice.  As someone who has wrestled with weight her whole life, I know how much I appreciate compliments, and I like to address others’ hard work when I notice their weight loss.  However, someone who hasn’t seen the world through fat-colored glasses might not know how to approach it.  [And maybe others who are losing weight are embarrassed and don’t want comments – are you that way?]

 

The funny thing is, the day after Kaycee complimented me, our neighbor gave me a compliment by way of my mom (while I was out at a new Zumba class – go me!).  She admitted she didn’t feel comfortable saying something to me, and I (am beginning to) understand that. 

 

Again, I refer to Kelsey’s post: since I’ve gotten both of those compliments, I’ve been dressing a little snazzier. 

I’ve been checking myself out a little bit more. 

I’ve been carrying myself differently. 

 

I don’t want to be THAT GIRL who thrives on compliments and validation, because then the motivation becomes external and the reasons for losing weight are wrong.  However, like sprinkles on a cupcake (mmm….cuuuupcaaaaake), compliments add a little something extra to an already sweet victory. 

 

Do you have a policy on complimenting others’ weight loss?  How do you feel when people say (hopefully positive) things about your weight loss?  Do you agree with me that weight is too taboo to comment on unless you’re really close to the person?

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Snowmageddon!!

I can hardly contain myself – we got about 6” of snow here last night!  The airport (about 30 min away) got 8.5” – this is the 5th highest snowfall in recorded history for Columbia, SC!  I’m a freak when it comes to snow…it is ALWAYS welcome when I’m around, so I’m a pretty happy camper at the moment!

 

It started around 3:30pm as teeny tiny little icy flakes – no actual flakes were seen this snowfall.  Sad

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Then the tiny ice shards started clumping together

 

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…and pretty soon, it was coming down hard!

 

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We still have our Christmas tree on our deck (long story), so we decided to pull it out in the open so it could get some snow.

 

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Maddy was starting to get excited! (this was about 4:30pm)

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Sophie is camera-shy.

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Here we are at 5pm

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And an hour later, around 6:15

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And here’s the snow at 8pm!!

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3.5 inches!

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We ate dinner in there somewhere – the dill/horseradish/panko-crusted salmon we tried last week, and one of my favorite concoctions – squash simmered in consomm√© or broth, then topped with sour cream and parmesan and baked.  Oh, and there was wine.  A few glasses…

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…and then a little sliver of cheesecake.  I’ve been doing well with my “no sugar” rules, so I’m (semi-) happy to report that the cheesecake gave me a sore throat!

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This was a little over 5.5” a bit after midnight. We waited until after the Opening Ceremony of the Olympics to take the dogs out.

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I put Maddy on her retractable leash so she’d have some slack (i.e., not knock my tipsy ass down)

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(that’s our driveway!)

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Obligatory snow angel.

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I made a snow-Jabba (it was too powdery to form into balls).

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And I totally wiped out when walking from the road to the yard.  But I stayed down.  And wallowed in the snow. Literally.  Don’t worry – I got back up! (In my Christmas PJs.  Don’t hate.)

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And it’s still gorgeous as ever this morning, even though it’s starting to melt away

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And since I love you guys, I’m letting you hear my uber-annoying voice.  Gah, do I really sound like this in real life?  Crying At least you know I say things in real life like I do on the blog – crude jokes and sartorial mistakes and all.