Tag Archives: obesity

Fat is a State of Mind

Standard

I have taken a bit of a hiatus from writing so I could gather my thoughts and re-set my state of mind.

Image courtesy of renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I am constantly in awe of how the river of life sometimes takes us in a completely different direction than what we expected. It seems as though no amount of planning can compete with what the Universe has in store for us. There have been plenty of occasions that I have come across a bridge which has been washed out and have had to find a way around it.

In my many hours of searching for the happiness that I felt would fall at my feet when if I had the perfect body I discovered that the only way to get where I want to be, I need to truly appreciate and love where I am. And in order to love where I am, I needed to understand how I got here.

Image courtesy of AKARAKINGDOMS / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”.

If there is anything I have learned in the past few years, it is that having fat and being fat are two different things. There are so many of us who go through life with the acceptance that they are fat. What is truly disturbing about that thought is that many are not carrying any extra weight at all. The extra weight is carried in the mind rather than on the body.

The human brain has amazing powers. Not only can thoughts convince someone that they are sick when they are not, but it can just as easily convince them that they are completely healthy when the opposite is true. I don’t need any studies or science to tell me this because I experience it myself on almost a daily basis.

There have been times when just the thought of something unpleasant has flipped my stomach upside down and I was convinced I was coming down with the flu just as the anticipation of something I am excited about has helped me forget that I am in the middle of an Asthma attack. While, admittedly, that might be a little drastic, it has happened to me.

What does this tell me? Being fat is nothing more than a state of mind. Do I have fat? Yes. Am I fat? I used to be, but not any more. There are many who would ask themselves how I can say that when I have almost 200 pounds of excess weight on my 5’2″ frame.

The way I see it is that I was fat for the first 40+ years of my life because in my mind I was defined only by the extra weight. Every day I would wake up focusing on just how fat I was and how perfect my life would be if I was not cursed to have the body I have. This became my obsession. No matter how hard I tried, I just had the hardest time losing weight. In fact, it seemed that I was actually fulfilling those thoughts because I gained weight. I was destined to be fat. At least that was until I learned the difference between being fat and having fat.

Why am I no longer fat? In stark contrast to the way I felt about myself before, I am also choosing to live my life even with the extra weight. How silly is it to think that I don’t deserve to experience all that life has to offer just because I am heavier than the average person? How unfair is it to my family that until recently I have not participated as much as I wanted to in family activities out of fear of judgement? Well, in the past year I have discovered that I have fat, but that does not mean I need to be fat.

I kicked the scale to the curb so I could stop putting so much importance on the fat. I don’t weight myself more than maybe once a month. When I do choose to weigh myself it is more of a benchmark than validation for me. I just don’t see the importance in how my body is in relation to gravity on any given day.  What is important is that I am finally living to the fullest of my capabilities and I am getting better daily. Oh, and about those extra pounds: They are slowly but surely leaving. I guess they don’t like the fact that they aren’t getting all my attention any more.

Advertisements

An Open Letter To The Woman In The Corner

Standard

To The Woman In The Corner.

You remember me, don’t you? My husband and I were having dinner about two tables over from you in that buffet last Friday night. I can’t imagine you have forgotten us since you watched us for over an hour with a look of disgust on your face. Was it difficult for you to see a couple out eating dinner who were actually enjoying each other’s company since the other five people you were with obviously were unable to keep your attention?

I am not sure why you were so fascinated with us that you felt the need to make eye contact with me then literally give me that look of absolute disgust. However, you were interested enough to watch us eat so there are a few things I feel compelled to say to you.

When two overweight people enter a buffet there are some common sense rules you can keep in mind.

  1. Don’t assume that they are there for your entertainment or judgement
  2. Do assume that they are human beings with eyes and feelings just like you
  3. You can also assume that their bodies need fuel just as yours does
  4. Consider that while someone may be overweight, you never know where that person is in their journey
  5. Another safe assumption would be that they are not interested in what is on your plate, so you do not need to feel as though we judge you or your food choices
  6. Just in case you wanted to see what some good food choices would be and that is why you were watching me eat so intently, most of the food you so carefully watched me consume was vegetables. Oh, I did have some rotisserie chicken AND I removed the skin
  7. Oh, for the record, I don’t drink soda often but when I do I drink it full strength. No diet stuff for me. That is a personal preference and one soda a month is not how I got fat
  8. Yes, I did have dessert and it was delicious. Thank you!
  9. Next time maybe if you pay a little more attention to the people you are dining with, others can actually eat without judgement.

One thing that may help you in the future is to close your eyes and think about going out on date night with your spouse and sitting down to eat when you notice a complete stranger sitting across the room from you. Then as the meal progresses that person, whom you have never met, made it a point to let you know that not only were they judging you based on the color of your hair, how tall you are, or maybe they just don’t like your clothes but that you actually disgusted them because of that physical trait. How would that make you feel? Yes, that is exactly how I felt when we left the restaurant.

But, guess what! I actually like and accept myself. I know that I am doing everything I can to make myself a healthier version of me. Notice I did not say a skinnier or thinner version? That’s because it is not about size and you would do well to remember that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes.

Aging Does Not Have To Be Painful

Standard

I have been overweight for as long as I can remember and while I was growing up a lot of emphasis was put on my weight by many of my family members. As we all know, such attention tends to push a child in the direction which is the exact opposite of what you are trying to accomplish. To make a very long story short, I grew up and out to be the obese woman I am today.

One thing that was said to me over and over again that really stuck in my mind was that I needed to lose the weight while I was young because as we age it gets harder. I am not real sure where that mindset came from, or even if there is any validity to it. But, as an impressionable child and teenager I became so obsessed with losing weight that all I wanted to do was eat.

Anyway, back to the whole aging theory. Because I was told on a daily basis, and sometimes several times a day, that as I got older it would be harder I received the message that old equals impossible. Now, I know there will be some who will want to  jump in with all the comments about me being an adult and I cannot blame my childhood forever. I am not blaming anyone but myself for the physical state I am in. I am writing this because I am positive that there are others who have lived this and if I can help just one person to understand that they are not alone, then I am one happy person.

So, where was I? Oh, yes, the aging theory. Somewhere in the back of my head I think I gave up because I took that statement and decided that it was too late to even try. Well, I tried through the years and even lost significant amounts of weight at times. The problem is I made extreme temporary changes which I could not live with and did nothing to deal with my mental baggage. That is why I have this blog, so I can deal with the mental baggage. Right now, the bag I am unpacking is the aging bag. Aging does not have to be painful.

I have always bragged that I have perfect blood pressure, no high cholesterol, and no signs of diabetes. I am in perfect health except for my weight. Now, while it is true that I have none of those things, I have noticed that as I have progressed chronologically I have had so many changes in my body that I have attributed to aging: pain in my back, pain in my knees, asthma, constant sinus infections, eczema, psoriasis, rashes, numbness, etc. However, the more I read and research, I realize that about all of my “growing pains” are side effects of my weight and not my age.

Now, this is my lightbulb moment. You mean to tell me that I can treat and in some cases completely eliminate some of these ailments just by taking care of myself? That’s just crazy!

I have spoken before about baby steps and creating new good habits that I can live with for life. While I have created some great habits such as drinking my water, eating a healthy breakfast everyday, and eliminating a lot of the sugar out of my diet, I have realized that I never really got rid of any of the bad habits. So, where I need to start is getting rid of the bad habits I have, one at a time. I know I can do it!

The Holiday Blues

Standard

I survived Thanksgiving! I can’t say that I did not stuff myself, because I did. I also just barely survived my in-laws. I love my husband’s family very much, but sometimes they can be just a bit too much for me.

Now that Thanksgiving has passed I find myself in a slump. This is the time of year when I start to really miss those family members who have passed away. It is also the time of year when I become even more aware of my physical limitations, most of which are 100% treatable. How would they be treated? Oh, by me losing 180 pounds or so.

180 pounds! That is more than half my weight! The realization sets in that I am literally the size of 2 people.. or 3 super skinny people. Either way, the stress on my joints and heart is not going to take it forever. I am already feeling it. At 43 years of age I have difficulty with so many daily tasks that I should have no problems with:

  • Getting out of bed
  • Getting in and out of the car
  • Climbing stairs
  • Picking something up off the floor
  • Tying my shoes
  • Sleeping

The list is much more lengthy, but you get the picture. This is not a “poor me” blog. This is keeping it real and keeping my accountability.

There have been a few public figures who lost their lives at around my age lately and this is really hitting home for me. Specifically, Heavy D and, just yesterday, Patrice O’Neal. I know, they are both African-American men so what do they have in common with me? They were both around my age and both were obese. It is just a reality check for me is all.

Today, I am sticking to my original plan of not tracking everything and ignoring the scales; however, I will pay closer attention to what I am eating and the choices I make. I am determined to increase my chances that I will be here long enough to continue enjoying  my children and grandchildren. I also am determined to make my quality of life a little bit better. Like I have said before, I am so tired of existing and not living. Enough talking, it is time for action!

The first step is getting myself ready for February. You see, last April I signed up to participate in a 5K in February. At the time I figured it gave me enough time to train and get in better shape for it. Well, here I am in November, and I actually weigh about 15 pounds more than I did at the time. Every day I told myself “tomorrow” and tomorrow never arrived. So, I start today! Even if I finish dead last, I am determined that I will complete it.

I am adding a tab at the top of my page to track my 5K progress. Any suggestions from you on how a 300+ pound woman is going to get herself to the point where she can walk 3.1 miles by February 4th?