Friday, April 8, 2011

Annnnnnnnd we're back!

Ten years ago, when I moved to LA to fulfill my dream of working for Disney, I arrived weighing no less than 365 pounds. Much of that weight was packed on with unholy stress eating before I moved. Let's just say that the mac N cheese and chicken finger diet wasn't exactly a magical journey to a healthy bod.

Shortly before I moved, I had come down to Anaheim to a preview of Disney's California Adventure. Upon having not been able to get on the Maliboomer (an attraction, I believe, is now gone), I swore that I would lose enough to ride that ride within the year and set upon that path. From February of 2001 to May of 2001, I worked out like a fiend, followed the Suzanne Sommers program of eating, and lost about 45 pounds. Suddenly I could fit on the ride and there was much rejoicing in the land. Oddly enough, however, I was still wearing the same size clothes and had hit a hell of a plateau at 313 that lasted for months and my post 911 depression didn't help much. I gained it all back. It wasn't until I fell in love with my ex “fiance” that I started dropping the weight again, seemingly effortlessly (effortlessly meaning that we ate really healthy, quality foods while we were together and also put each other through some of the most gut wrenching stress imaginable – its hard to know which was more effective). By the time I finally got him to move out, I was at the lowest weight I've seen since I was 21 ...285. The idea that I should hit that in a couple of months, at this rate, fully blows my mind and if you've been keeping up with my journey, it's not exactly been like skipping through a frickin' field of daisies.

When I got to that weight the last time, there was still a lot of crap rattling around in my emotional cache that I hadn't even begun to address, much less eradicate. When my relationship was ending, I made a decision to eat whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted and to hell with trying to get thin for some man. The last thing I wanted was a man to so much as LOOK at me, much less want to get together with me and dictate my eating habits by suggesting that his future and image were threatened by my flabby ass. Naturally the irony is that my ex completely changed careers toward the end of our relationship and is now enjoying the longest string of success he's probably had since he left college and his image means absolutely nothing to that success. But for me, living in LA and being largely attracted to more creative types, that bullshit coming back to bite me was just inevitable. And baby, it's been back time and again. There's nothing like getting to know an amazing man who happens to be in the entertainment industry and finding out that his major fatal flaw, is that he wouldn't date me because it could ruin his image. That is not to say they don't find me attractive. They do. They just wouldn't dare admit it to their friends, their agent, who the hell ever they feel like they need to impress.

Yes... this place really IS like that.

My plan backfired. I gained a shitload of weight, got super busy, got older, got wobbly and achy and subsequently heavier and heavier. I've made some really dumb decisions in my life. Some of them have cost me tons of money, jobs, friends, lovers... but deciding to gain weight to keep men away from me was not only totally ineffective, it was potentially fatal.

I may have a post on here that mentions all of this, but frankly... its worth RE-mentioning. Why? Because as we all know, the stuff of life is about a series of choices. I've been questioning this one, despite the positive results (just because it makes me feel craptastic). If I have one piece of advice that will keep you from ever having to get to the scary place I've been, it's this: “Act... don't react.” Before you do anything drastic out of emotional, mental, or any other kind of heightened distress, consider the consequences and the possibility that shit may go down in your life that will make it hard to take your choice back.

Twenty more pounds, and I'll never see the top side of 300 again. I can't flippin' WAIT!

Monday, April 4, 2011

What did I DO?

A month into the new journey or weight loss surgery, I have all kinds of crap rattling around in my head and my heart and I guess it was time that I get off my ass and share some of it. Here goes.

First, I just want to start off by saying that having the surgery was the right decision for me in a number of ways. It truly had to happen. I spent too much time losing a giant amount of weight, only to still be wearing the same clothes, unable to see any results other than what was on the scale, and feeling like I would never see the end of the struggling portion of the show. My usual cut off was about 70 pounds. Seventy pounds is a HELL of a lot of weight for ANYONE to lose! But for me, it barely scratched the surface. I would lose hope, then momentum, then interest. Part of the plan with this surgery, was to literally ensure that I couldn’t “give up.” I now have a bit of a failsafe, in that I will literally become violently ill if I try to eat craptastic food that’s no good for me. For chrissakes, I get sick even when I eat what’s GOOD for me!

Now all that said, I’ve spent the last week wondering, “WHAT THE HELL DID I DO TO MYSELF?!” Sure, I’ve lost quite a bit of weight so far. People who see me say it’s really noticeable. I guess it must be, since I can sit comfortably in my jeans for the first time since I purchased them six years ago. Oh yeah, I’ve not been comfy in these damned things for SIX YEARS! That’s a long time to wait to fit into one’s clothes. At any rate, yes… I’m noticing. Still, getting thinner wasn’t the ultimate goal. Getting healthy and literally lighter is the ultimate goal. Losing my taste for food was not the plan. Being unable to consume virtually anything at the moment, is pissing me off in the most profound ways. And right now, I have ALL THE TIME IN THE WORLD to think about how much that sucks. I try not to. I’m just sayin’…

I’m sure that there will be some who will read this and say, “What did you expect?!” Really… I didn’t expect water to make me nauseous. I love water! It shows in my gorgeous skin. Now, water makes me sick and actually hurts to drink. I know that will pass but having to get in 48 to 64 ounces is definitely not happening because of how drinking makes me feel. I expected to feel full fast, and considered that to be the ultimate plus side to this plan. Yup, I sure do feel full fast. That’s if I am able to stomach what food I actually manage to keep down. I’m not throwing up a lot, but just sitting here an trying to think of more than one thing I’ve eaten since the surgery that didn’t have a few moments of “uh oh” is difficult. While I am craving things like salads and steak (which I cannot have), the idea of eating virtually anything, no matter what, makes me nauseous.

The thing is, I truly enjoy eating delicious food. Flavor, to me, is worth living for. It’s not about eating copious amounts of fattening foods, or greasy crap, or even sweets. It thrills me that eating In N Out would make me vomit immediately! Keeps me from thinking I should EVER put it in my body again and that‘s super okay with me! In fact, I’d rather eat a light pasta dish over cheesecake any day of the week (both are off the menu for at least the next two years). My friend Stephanie makes this avocado and spinach salad that I’ve been craving since I had it a year ago, and I would blow chunks if I even attempted it! That blows!!! I’m craving salad like nobody’s business!

Lets face it, for most of the last 30 years, my eating habits haven’t been about focused on flavor and the consumption of “good” food (when I could and did eat “good food“ regularly, I lost weigh like a mad woman - finances have made that more than a little difficult). It’s been largely about eating what I could afford and filling the enormous hole in my gut. That’s a HUGE change and one that’s becoming excruciating to deal with at the moment.

But… one hurdle at a time, no?

Soothing myself has taken on a whole new unpleasant tone. Nothing soothes me right now. The sensation of flavor and texture in some foods used to be the only thing I had to do that (and have been using it for that reason since I was little). Just the sound of stirring macaroni was like a lullaby to my nerves. People see me as an extremely difficult person to console or comfort so I don‘t get a whole lot of it. So here I am going through one of the biggest changes of my life and I took away my only easy calmer. Every day, I have to talk myself out of thinking I screwed up my life by having this surgery. Last Friday I sat in my therapist’s office crying my eyes out and saying, “Every time I try to make a decision to make my life better, I end up making it ten times worse! I no longer trust my own decisions!”

His response was, “REALLY?! But you made the right decision for the right reason! That‘s the least screwed up thing you‘ve done since we met!” I’d love to say that makes me feel better. I’m positive it will and I will look back on this time and be glad I somehow made it through. Right now, I feel like beating myself up and several times a day, I spend all my energy stopping the urge.

On the plus side, I have certainly noticed is that I feel foolish for insisting on the full fat or full sodium versions of certain foods, now that I’ve become accustomed to them. Low Sodium V8... Frickin’ delicious! WTF?! Why didn’t I keep a bottle of this in the fridge at work ALL ALONG?! Tell you what, I’m gonna now! Texturally speaking, yes… lo-fat cream of chicken soup is funky. But my usual application for it is to make greek lemon chicken soup. Aside from the fact that I cannot have rice, I cannot imagine that the difference would be detectible now. Still… there’s not a whole lot of options right now for flavor. I’m in the “soft foods” phase of my post surgical diet. Mashed potatoes, refried beans, laughing cow cheese, scrambled eggs are largely what I’m living on right now. I’m gonna get REALLY CREATIVE before this is over! If I wasn’t sick to damned death of chicken broth I‘d make a kick ass chicken soup (the idea of it makes me want to barf right now, since I got so pumped full of IV fluids and broth the day after my surgery that it made me ill for a week and a half).

So to answer your question of “How are you doing?” That’s how I’m doing. I’m fine. I’m sad, I’m nervous, I’m excited, I’m impatient. I’m also broke, or I’d be in San Jose giving and receiving boatloads of love. And friends, friends, friends… as always you keep me sane, keep me from losing my hope, remind me that I am loved and cared for. Even if the darkest moments of doubt and fear, knowing you are there, backing me, keeps me going. Thank you! Thank you… THANK YOU!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The path gets a bit more clear…

It's officially the day before I am to have gastric bypass surgery. The thoughts going through my head right now are probably not what you'd imagine. Sure, some of them are the usual I hope nothing bad happens during the surgery, I hope I don't forget to pack my toothbrush, dear God I'm not looking forward to the Magnesium Citrate. Yet largely, I am thinking of how I've come to this place, the unknowns that lie beyond tomorrow and reeling over how much this will change my life.

Naturally the health aspect is going to change my life for the better. No arguing there, and that is the main reason for taking this risk. Tandem to that reason is that giving myself a healthy body to deal with is another giant step toward more empowering and profound self-respect. I genuinely love myself, and it took a lot of struggle to figure out how to make that more obvious to myself (and others). While I don't think of myself as unworthy of respect because I'm fat, at the end of the day, I wouldn't treat one of my beloved friends the way I've been treating my body. That's been circling around my mind for a few years. There was just a bit more to work out emotionally and mentally before I could take this step, and Dr. Dick (my therapist) has helped with that tremendously.

What's important for me to remember, and to point out here, is that the success of this undertaking is on me and it is NOT an easy fix. I honestly think that many of my co-workers (who are all aware of what I'm doing), think I'm going to come back thin. I've had to explain to many of them, that this isn't like a tummy tuck. I'm not on Extreme Makeover. I'm not going to walk back into work a month from now looking like a supermodel. There's work to be done and my doing this is not just to ensure that I lose weight, but the making of a permanent commitment to myself to make the rest of my life a healthy one.

I have never been thin in my mind. Never. Even when I was thin, I was being convinced by my mother that I was a disgusting monster. I will be treated differently. That isn't a guess. I believe I'm now in a place where I can withstand that emotionally and mentally without it effecting my commitment. But man… its going to bring some shit up! Just going to have to cross that bridge when it does and deal.

I'm worried I will be ugly once the weight is off. Seem strange? I'll bet it does.

I'm concerned about the financial strain this will put on me, when I already make next to nothing in the shittiest economy I've known. I'm sure I'll find a way to muddle through.

I'm excited.

I'm hopeful.

I'm ready.

Let it begin…

Wednesday, June 23, 2010


It’s been a while since I’ve posted about my weight loss program for a number of reasons, but not the least of which is that life – as usual – trumped this journey and frankly fucked with my momentum in the ugliest of all possible ways.

After having lost almost 50 pounds, and having done reasonably well not snarfing anything I could with the excuse of celebrating my birthday, I got word that I would have to move out of my home by the end of May. That word came to me while driving my cat to the first of four trips to the vet (which turned out to be an infection brought on by the festering nastiness that was growing in my roommate’s bedroom as it mysteriously vanished almost instantly once we moved). Money went from somewhat tight to downright unavailable and thus the first thing that had to go was the program. Now (especially after having seen this photo)
...I am chomping at the bit to get back on the horse and ride like hell.

How many dieters wouldn’t just love a good excuse to not stick to their program like that? I mean, you cannot dispute lack of funds. We’re talking about something that generally costs about $350 a month for the program products and then I’m supposed to find an additional budget for “real” food on top of it, for the one lean-green meal a day. To give you an idea of how realistic that is, my current food budget for the next month looks like this: 6/24-7/1 $10, 7/2-7/8 $10, 7/9-7/16 $30, 7/17-7/23 $40. In the meantime I’m going to be living off of Pasta and for the first time in my life, I am NOT happy to have to eat pasta. NOT HAPPY!

The good news (oh yes, I can still see a glimmer of silver lining to all this), is that my mindset is such that I WANT to be on program. I want to succeed and finish this goal. That is frustrating since I can’t right now, but it’s also hopeful in that I honestly don’t remember a time when I ever felt that way before; Where I had the chance to totally justify, in my mind, dropping the whole thing and going back to stress/boredom eating, and didn’t want to take it and run. Albeit I ate a couple of things this past weekend, at Disneyland, that I never ever eat, I know I won’t ever need to revisit one of the items and can easily live another year before I have the one I did like.

I said I would give this program a year. Since I had to take April, May and June off, that means the year will end almost literally on my 42nd birthday. Suddenly, I have something amazing to look forward to again!

Never give up, never surrender!

Friday, March 26, 2010


It’s been almost an entire month since my last posting, and ugh… what a month. I’ll spare you the gory details and any suspense of that which kept me from you, other than to say that the usual things that conspire to eviscerate my dreams of weight loss have NOT… I repeat… NOT overcome me.

I am still on program… mostly. Bad planning on my part (or rather wishful thinking in terms of my ability to consume everything my kind friends gave me) left me with only inedible foods for the last week and half and I was forced to live mainly on “real” food.

Dear LORD! Wise choices this early in the game?! Absolutely! Despite some of the most ungodly stress, I managed to not go nuts (i.e. large pots of macaroni and cheese or loads of bread or pasta).

Have I always made the right ones? Nope. Sure haven’t. But even when I made a couple naughty decisions that I knew weren’t the best, a good result yielded from that choice. Either I realized that I don’t “need” whatever it was that I felt like I had to have; or not having had it in my system for a while meant that the experience of eating it, and it’s presence in my body, was a tremendously different feeling than it used to be. When you’re not consuming mountains of salt or sugar and you suddenly introduce something extremely high in either content back into your body, I guarantee, if you’re not in a coma… you’re going to notice the effect in a deeply significant way. Suffice it to say, I am officially over In-N-Out burgers. I wasn’t that big of a fan before. Now, they’re dead to me.

Little side tangent here… there’s a “Healthy Express” drive thu a couple of blocks from the pottery studio I belong to. I drive past it every time I go in and wonder how “healthy” their food really is and I fantasize of a truly healthy drive thru; a place where you can easily get a pint or quart of freshly steamed, herbed veggies (that’s not just broccoli and carrots), where you can get a freshly broiled chicken breast cut into small pieces to go with your veggies, and a freshly brewed iced tea. Or better yet, where you can get where you can get grilled, lean, marinated steak and Portobello mushrooms and a lightly dressed slaw wrapped in lettuce leaves (like a wrap), with a light pesto-esque dipping sauce. In my mind, there is a market. I’m sure that if I were to ask the people in my life, they would say the same. But on the whole? Not so much. I highly doubt the majority of the people in America would partake of such a thing. Fast food, in their mind, means greasy, salty indulgences. Not, “quick, healthy, nutritious and tasty.” So, I’m going to let that go-ahead and be a dream… for now.

My next food order arrives tomorrow, and not a moment too soon. I’m ready. Ready to take on the next few months of this project. Ready to get more weight off. Ready to feel lighter and more energetic. Ready to keep moving forward. That’s ultimately what this is all about… to keep moving forward.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

My first OMG moment of the program!

It's been a little over a month since I began the Take Shape For Life program. To say that it has not been an easy month would be a ridiculous understatement. Work was utter hell, was trying to deal with selling a property in New York (that we've been trying to sell for a year and a half), and lots of weird health issues meant making the transition into the year of this program a less than smooth one. Still I feel pretty aclimated to the food and routine on most levels. Here's what's been going on...

Health: I have a lot more energy. No bones about that! Sometimes, so much so, that I feel a little "high". I'll chalk that up to the drastic change from being so "Blah" I could barely move (and rarely wanted to). Now the downside, something's throwing off my hormones in a really unhappy way. I've seen the doctor but all we can come up with is a vitamin deficiency, but I've had what feels akin to major PMS for a month. Wrenched back, constant spotting, pressure/bloating, major mood swings. One minute the pain's there, the next it's gone, then it's back, then it's gone, etc. NOT fun. It seems to be subsiding now. We'll see.

Hunger: Not hungry. I'm still not wanting to eat as much as I need to. Even tho most of it is drinking since I ran out of anything crunchy a week or so ago. I will say this, when I don't eat on time (and it's rare that I don't), I actually FEEL hungry. I wasn't experiencing that before, because I think I'd slowed my metabolism down so severely that it no longer sent me true hunger triggers. I'm still going through the struggle of "food = bad, less food = good" in my head. Intellectually I get it, but I guess it's still so planted in my psyche that it's like a frickin' weed! I keep working on it tho.

Naughty: Yup, I've fallen off the wagon once or twice. I'm not going to get upset about it either. I've got a year of this program and I'm going to make it, even if it means "training wheels." Also, I'm not ready to get up at 7:30 in the morning on my weekends just to eat. Not. Not at all. Nope! But once I get my next shipment, I AM willing to keep bars by my bedside, wake up, eat my bar, and go back to sleep. THAT I can do. The important thing is that during my waking hours I follow it. Even after a concert, sitting in an IHOP, staring at my piece of garlic toast and thinking I could get away with it. There was talk of having it taken away. I said, "No. I need to be a big girl about not eating that. It's not worth it."

Nice: Having told co-workers about my program has actually worked to my advantage thus far. It's kept me honest. They're rooting for me. People are starting to notice the difference and tell me so. Are there those who are making "suggestions" that won't work with the program? Sure. Of course. But for once, they seem reasonable about backing down. Noticing that my pants are much looser has been pretty sweet too. But the thing that I am currently wild about... my inner thighs. For a while, they had gotten so big that I could feel them pushing my legs apart when I walked. It was killing my hips. Now, not so much. I can totally feel the difference. That's making me pretty happy. If that's where I am 30 pounds down, I can't wait to feel what it's like 180 pounds down!

Truth: This program is not cheap and I am not wealthy. Having to come up with an alternate food budget on top of the program budget has thrown off the rest of my finances in a truly unpleasant way. I'm having to constantly borrow from next week to pay for something I need this week. My entertainment budget (which is more necessary than ever, considering that food was my entertainment up until recently), has all but vanished. I'm still trying to work that out. It's not easy. But most of that is because I don't make enough money. That's another something I'm working on.

Forward: Now that I've gotten an idea of what tastes good, what I can sustain myself on, etc, I think month #2 is going to go a lot smoother. The next shipment is all stuff I like enough to want to eat five times a day. The food I have to consume until it comes... oh LORD! It's gonna be a tough couple weeks!!! LOL

Stay tuned... more to come!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Day 11: Well on my way

Since I received my food delivery on January 22, I did a bit of a “soft start” over that weekend with the intention of having the full start be the following Monday. As of February 2nd I have lost 12 program pounds. Not a bad start at all. Getting ready to begin the program I probably shot myself in the foot by going to all the places I believed I would miss and eating what I wanted. Even so, I know I had to have taken some of the “overage” from the last year off before my first weigh in. At my recent biggest, I was easily 380. Getting that close to 400 is terrifying and I felt the weight swallowing me up. Oh LORD, I felt it. Now, waving goodbye to 360 (I’m at 356 right now), I know I will never get on a scale and see those numbers again (unless I’m standing on a scale WITH someone! LOL) and there’s nothing sad about that.

Having been on MANY, many weight loss programs before, I know that at my size, caloric and sodium consumption, that water weight is the first to go. If you had seen my swollen feet and fingers a month ago, you’d probably wonder why I didn’t lose more weight in water. At night, I would pretty much be walking on balloons, after sitting all day, with little circulation. With my fingers, the change in that loss was so noticeable, that Tuesday they caught my eye while I was reaching for something and literally startled me into staring at them. They looked a bit as though they were recently popped balloons themselves; a little wrinkly and definitely slimmer.

How am I feeling? That’s a really good question. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what the feeling in my gut is. I find it hard to believe that it’s hunger all the time, since there’s so much stress and anxiety (about other, harder things in my life) occupying that space. Whatever that feeling is, it’s not compelling me to eat things I shouldn’t or even eat when I’m not scheduled to. In fact, I’m still having a hard time getting all the meals in per day. I’m making it more now than I was, but still… hard. Energy wise, I couldn’t be happier. I mean, I’m still waddling around in a 356 pound body, so it’s not like I’m signing up for marathons just yet, but I get around a lot easier. Again, I noticed on Tuesday that a trip up the ramp of the parking structure at work used to wind me, and I flew up with ease that night. Seeing where this is heading is so exciting, I can’t stand it!

Something that I find startling, is how BAD my post-work routine had gotten and how much I came to deeply depend on FLAVOR (not necessarily being naughty) to soothe me. I’ll admit now to having consumed in abundance, enjoying the sensation of taste, while not enjoying the effect the food was having on my body. All this because of how unhappy I was at work and then I became just as unhappy to be at home. Even now, I have a hard time getting out of the car when I get home, because I just don’t want to go in. I will also admit… that I was well aware of the choice I was making. It had just come to a point of deciding that food would be the lesser evil of abundant alcohol or some sort of drugs (neither of which are my thing). The further I get away from two serving meals, the more I seriously question THAT rationale. But I do remember one night thinking, “This has got to stop!” and my own mind answering, “I don’t have any physical contact with someone loving. Am I to deprive myself of EVERY physical pleasure?”

It’s difficult to detail how much life struggle is strangling my insides, especially my stomach (where I hold my stress) and how flavor seemed to make better. So there’ll be no “I have NO idea how I got here” quotes from me on this blog. I know exactly how I got here, and I know exactly how I’m getting out and not EVER getting back to this place.

This weekend I start working out again. Thrilled. Simply… thrilled.