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Archive for December, 2008

On the eve of both New Year’s, and my 26th Birthday (yep, I’m a New Year’s Baby), I’ve decided to share some progress pics.

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Mardi Gras, 2007

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Yesterday, from the side…

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Yesterday, from the front…

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I went onto MyVirtualModel.com and made a model of what I may look like at my goal weight of 120 lbs. Looks pretty reasonable to me.

My gym is closed until the 10th since it’s a college gym and the campus is closed for Winter break. Thusly, I’m still doing home workouts. But I cannot wait to get in there and go lap swimming and lift weights, among other activities and classes they offer. It’s going to be fun and fruitful! 🙂

Happy New Year, everyone! Be safe and have fun! Let’s hope 2009 is an awesome year!

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There seems to be a mentality that some weight gain in life is inevitable and completely unpreventable. For instance, when we age, or when women have children, they are almost expected to get fat. The thing is, becoming fat is not essential to having a healthy pregnancy. In fact, it can put a lot of undue strain on the pregnant woman to not only be carrying a child but also the excess weight. It’s one thing to put on about 10 – 20 lbs. during your pregnancy, and then lose it after. It’s another to get so fat you can’t move, then blame it on your kid. Also, getting older doesn’t mean that you should get fat. It’s better to maintain a high level of lean muscle mass for life, which can make the aging process be less hard on you. Being healthy in general can prevent a lot of problems.

Some people wonder why one would complain of being 10, 20, or 30 lbs. overweight. Why would one complain since being just a bit overweight doesn’t make you look hugely fat? Perhaps it’s because it’s common sense to want to prevent further weight gain by “nipping it in the bud” when it’s an easier thing to manage. Think about it, if a person consistently gains 10 lbs. a year, in 10 years they will be at least 100 lbs. overweight, which is debilitating. But our culture has adopted a mentality that we should wait until a problem is debilitating and out of control before we solve it. This is why we have these TV shows on certain cable networks that show a person so fat they can’t leave their house. We have a mentality that we should wait until it gets THAT BAD before we do anything to remedy it. It’s this lack of preventative measures mentality that leads to the majority of us being unwell, unfit, and unhappy. We’re all sick, fat, and tired.

Perhaps instead of thinking, “oh, I’m only 20 lbs. overweight, I’ll just eat whatever I want, after all, getting fat is just a part of getting old,” people should instead think, “uh-oh, I’m 20 lbs. heavier than I was a year ago. I’ve been eating all the wrong stuff and sitting around when I’m not working. Perhaps I should do something about that so that in 10 years I’m not too big to leave the house.” hmmmmm….

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Some people have a really hard time taking criticism. Some people get depressive and down on themselves if they receive even constructive and helpful criticism, and some people turn into a powderkeg and explode with defensive anger at those who criticize them. I used to be the former, I would never get mad and often would realize that the criticism had a place, but would get very sad and feel low about myself as a result, even if the criticism was meant to be a helpful thing. As I go further in my personal self-improvement goals (weight loss and fitness being just a part of the whole equation) I feel a little more confident and at peace with myself each day, and thus much more able to handle constructive criticism. I feel more secure than I generally used to. In fact, recently I’ve taken to actually heeding the advice of those who critique my performance in various areas of life and have found their advice to actually be helpful…go figure! It’s not always fun to hear, “you talk too much,” or, “I wish you wouldn’t do [insert undesirable/negative behavior here].” But sometimes you need to hear it because it’s the truth. Tough love is still LOVE. Criticism can be taken as a threat and an attack, or it can be taken as complimentary. Complimentary because the person who gave it to you obviously cares enough about you to try and help you out by pointing out the truth.

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Well, I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas! I sure did! I enjoyed some really fun times with my family and my housemate who came along for some of the celebration since his family lives pretty far away. Christmas eve I spent at an uncle’s house doing the family reunion bit, and Christmas day me and the housemate spent over at my folks’ with them and my sister, and one of her friends who came by for awhile. They got my sister a Wii, and those things are fun as hell! I thought it was funny that the person who played with it the most was my stepdad, who got really into the Wii sports, and was kicking butt at the boxing game! I’m thinking he’s going to be addicted to it enough to buy one for him and my mom to use, since my sister will be taking hers to school with her. He was actually joking, saying, “well, we’d better keep it here and not send it to school with her, she’ll never study if she takes it with her!” haha. The boxing game is actually a pretty good workout if you play it long enough – my stepdad was sweating after an hour or so of the boxing game. I liked the tennis and golf ones, too. I used to pretty much be annoyed with video games since I’m such a dirty hippie and like to run around outside all the time and I view video games as a lazy person’s recreation, but Wii is respectable because it gets you up off your butt out of your chair and actually physically engaged in the games. I could see how a person could have a lot of fun with a Wii.

I got some lovely gifts. My mom and sister gave me cute clothes and some much needed socks, underwear, and long underwear (I am outside a lot and need it to keep me warm in the winter, and my long underwear from last year was falling off me). My sister gave me this gorgeous, purple hippie skirt with a drawstring so I can keep wearing it as I shrink. The underwear my mom got me is the girly version of kids’ underoos but in women’s sizes. They’re very comfy but adorable at the same time. I work on my feet and walk everywhere so I wear through socks quickly, so the crew socks I got were much appreciated. I use a pre-paid cell phone and the folks got me the ultimate minutes card, which gives you 800 minutes, a year of airtime, plus double minutes for the life of your phone. I refuse to get a cell phone contract, so this is the best deal. I was grateful for that. Also, my mom and stepdad got me something really awesome: a gift certificate for a year long membership to the gym I like to go to! It’s close to work and it’s a really nice facility. I’d been going sporadically and buying day-passes, but this way I can get more bang for my buck and go more often. They have a really nice natatorium, and I LOVE to swim for cardio, so I win! In addition to that they have a running track, a lot of other really nice equipment, and a SAUNA! So I’ll be going in to redeem that ASAP. I can’t wait, it’s going to be fun 🙂

All that being said, it’s about the love, not the stuff. I feel truly blessed that I have an awesome family and set of friends who love me. While I love the gifts I got and appreciate it all, what I appreciate most is the people in my life, they are the real gifts 🙂

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Well, I won’t be as active here for the next 2 days or so because I have family stuff to attend for Christmas, so I hope everyone has a great holiday! Everyone take care of yourself and be safe if you’re out traveling! Enjoy your friends, families, or whoever you’re spending the holidays with! I look forward to posting after the festivities 🙂

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Losing weight has been great for me, in both major, life-altering ways and in those little ways that one doesn’t always take note of but appreciates anyway. Here is my list of those little things that make me happy that I’ve been losing weight:

* My thighs don’t rub together and chafe painfully as they used to. They still touch, but they’re not squished together as they used to be. Seriously, I used to have to use baby powder in the summer time to keep my inner thighs from becoming painfully chafed, and this was the first summer I didn’t have to do that.

* It’s easier to shave my legs – I live in an apartment with a small shower stall and no bathtub, and if I’d attempted the feat of shaving my legs in this shower even a year ago, it wouldn’t have worked out. My old place where I was very fat had a bathtub, and I know that without that tub I would have just had hairy legs. Not that there’s anything wrong with hairy legs, but I like to shave in the warm months.

* Positive attention from others has increased, but I don’t get as much “creepy” and unwanted attention from the random weirdos on the street that I used to get. I think the reason for this is that people assume a fat person has low self esteem and will take any attention they can get. While that’s not always true, that’s the general assumption people tend to make. Now that I’m thinner, I think people are a little more afraid to approach me. I used to get old farts hitting on me at the bus stop (creeeeepy), but now they don’t even talk to me unless they’re asking if I have spare change, lol.

* I can see my feet without bending over, I repeat, I can just look down and see my feet! Huzzah!

* I can more easily squat or stoop down to grab something off the floor instead of it being an Olympic event to bend over to pick something up.

* My balance has improved tenfold.

* I can do a cartwheel again – I haven’t been able to do one of those since high school!

* I can run to beat a dwindling traffic light and cross the street, or run to the bus stop if I’m running late and not miss the bus (this used to be a Herculean effort for me).

* Stairs? Hills? Bring ’em on! Never thought I’d actually enjoy stairs and hills! 🙂

* I have way more patience than I used to have. I can wait longer for things without getting anxious.

* The way I react to tricky and challenging situations is far more balanced and less emotional, and I tend not to let things “get to me” as much as I used to.

* I’m more assertive and less of a “people pleaser” than I used to be, it’s like I’m completely unafraid to stand up for myself and can do so in a diplomatic way without coming off being “bitchy” or overly emotional.

* I fall asleep faster and usually sleep through the night unless it’s “that time of month.”

* “That time of month” is still a pain in the ass, but it’s much LESS painful and a lot more manageable than it used to be.

I still have my funky weirdness around crowds. I’m working on that one, still. There have been times at the supermarket where I’m nearing a panic attack by the time I make it to the checkout lane, although I think it has something to do with the fact since I don’t have a car I often do those big, stock-up trips with my parents, and they tend to rush me, AND the store recently remodeled and the layout is ass-backwards now, so it’s confusing and I’m trying to complete my shopping list (often the housemate will hand me a couple 20’s and a list for him as well – gawd I can’t wait til he gets his car so he can do this himself, lol). So I think those are factors, but that is the one issue my weight hasn’t remedied. My mom gets the same thing in grocery stores, but since she’s with my stepdad, she has an easier time. I feel like if I had a “shopping buddy” to assist me I’d do better with those stock-up trips as well. Luckily I only do those once a month to get heavier things like kitty litter, bags of rice, gallons of water refilled, laundry items, etc. I manage to keep it together enough to get through it by trying to breathe deep, etc. but it’s HARD for me to be in a crowded situation like that, with a time limit. I do okay with other kinds of crowds, like at sporting events or concerts, but I guess it’s because those events tend to be fun, whereas shopping is a chore. Luckily there is a supermarket not too far from my place that I can grab my produce, meats, and other fresh items at, and I just do the thing with my folks to get the big, heavy items that would be nearly impossible to take on the bus or walk home with. When my housemate has his car, he said we can start doing that stuff later at night when the store is less crowded (yay!).

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Shame is a funny emotion. We feel shame usually when we’ve done something unethical to others, or when we’ve done something embarrassing. It seems that shame in our culture is now looked upon as something no one should have to feel for any reason and to be avoided at all costs. The thing is, feeling shame is often the first step towards making a positive change. If you feel shame about something you’ve done, you know that it’s something that should be corrected, and it can motivate you towards taking the first steps that’ll make it right.

Some people in the Fat Acceptance movement claim that anti-obesity, health-related ads are “shaming,” and that a doctor telling you that you should lose weight for your health is “shaming” and that pretty much anyone who claims that fat is a choice is “shaming” to fat people. Also, in our very politically correct society, shame in general is looked upon as something always to avoid. The thing is, anyone who’s personal choices leads them to be a burden to others should feel some amount of shame. You can compare it to someone so addicted to drugs, alcohol, shopping, or gambling that they’ve burned through the family savings accounts and fail to provide for their children because of their vices. If someone loves food so much that they’d let themselves get so bad that family or friends have to take care of them, they should feel some shame about it. FA will probably agree with the drug addict/alcoholic analogy, but if you include fat people in the equation they feel it’s unfair. But I tend to disagree because eating too much food for your body to use in your normal activity level is a choice. If the only person who has to live with the choice is the choice-maker, that’s fine. But if someone else has to somehow care for the person who makes the self-destructive choice, we’re crossing over into the territory where it becomes someone else’s problem as well. For one to allow that to happen, one should feel ashamed.

Instances where shame shouldn’t be a factor do exist. For instance, a child should never feel ashamed that their parents divorced, a victim of sexual or any other kind of abuse should never feel ashamed of the fact that they were a victim of said abuse. If anyone gives their 100% best effort at something and failed, they shouldn’t feel ashamed, but rather proud that they tried and be motivated to try harder for next time (nobody can be the BEST at anything at all times). But if someone makes a choice, and that choice yields bad results for not only the individual but those in the individuals life, then shame is warranted, and can be a positive emotion.

Basically my main point is that shame can sometimes help a person get better. If an alcoholic feels intense shame that he let his alcohol abuse hurt his family, and it can motivate him to give up alcohol and make right those wrongs, then shame is a good thing. If a person who’s let themselves become disabled because of their weight and their spouse or parents have to care for them and they feel ashamed because of that, then maybe they’ll be motivated to lose enough weight to be independent again. I’m not saying one should feel ashamed for not looking hot in a bikini or speedo, here, but if one gets fat enough that they need assistance doing normal things, perhaps they should feel some modicum of shame.

While we’re on the topic of caring for a disabled loved one, I will say this: if your spouse is in an accident which renders them disabled, and you end up taking care of them, that’s understandable. If your spouse eats their way to a size which they become disabled at, and you end up taking care of them, that is unfair. The reason for that is getting fat was their choice, while an accident that makes a person have a disability was not a choice. The reason I bring this up is the “for better or worse” vows at most weddings. A lot of fat spouses will argue that their spouse vowed to love them unconditionally, but that’s unfair if the “condition” was brought on by choices. What the “for better or worse” vow was created for, was for cases like the first scenario, where something bad, outside of your spouse’s control, happens. It’s not an accident to eat too much, exercise too little, and get very fat. It can FEEL like an accident if you’re not watching yourself then one day wake up to realize how fat you’ve gotten. It’s an accident when you get in a car wreck and become a paraplegic and can no longer do certain things for yourself. Alcoholics and drug addicts are shamed for making life hard on their families, and their addictions are the results of choices. So if someone is FAT and is a burden on their family because of it, it’s wrong for them to be shamed, too? I don’t get it.

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Yeah, I know you’d probably have to be living under a rock not to have noticed Fail Blog by now, but it is essentially a series of videos and photos that showcase things going very, very wrong in a funny way. I usually take a look at it when I’m feeling down about something in my life and need to be cheered up. The simple definition of “schadenfreud” is essentially “sucks to be you.” Most of the fail photos are of things that have ineptly funny misprints, or are just plain silly and wrong, like this Santa Dreidel!

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The title of this article is amusing to me: “Sneaky ways to cut 100 calories…” click here to be sneaky! I found the tips to be more common sense than anything. Just like the 20 Worst Foods in America link from Men’s Health, you have to click on each item on the list to see the tips. Honestly, I prefer black coffee these days. I used to load mine down with cream and sugar until I acquired a taste to the unadulterated beans. Now I can’t stand sweetened or flavored coffee. Also, it’s nice to know that my daily cup of joe is good for me. 🙂

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I told myself I’d only do a post a day, but I’ve decided to discuss something more today which has been on my mind. I notice a lot of fat people will tell thin people that they don’t need to exercise because they’re thin, that they should “eat something” because they’re so skinny. I actually feel ashamed because back in high school before I knew anything about how this thing called the human body actually works, I would say stuff like that to my thinner friends. But the thing is, most thin people do not get that way by having a “fast metabolism.” Now, my housemate really does have that kind of metabolism, as does a previously mentioned very thin friend of mine who really can’t help her fast metabolism either. But not everyone has that, and those people are not the norm. Most of us have to move enough to create a caloric deficit from the food we eat in order to maintain a good ratio of muscle to body fat, or at least move enough to “break even” with our caloric intake. The FA says “Why bother?” to this and decides that if your metabolism isn’t fast, you shouldn’t even try to be lean and muscular because you have to work too hard at it! This attitude really annoys me. So if someone who doesn’t have a fast metabolism wants to work out regularly and eat a portion-controlled and balanced diet, they have something wrong with them?

Look, I love being active. I love what working out has done for me. I get sick less often and for a lesser amount of time, I have way more energy to get everything done that I need to, I have almost no more back pain and I’ve become strong enough to lift things I couldn’t even dream of lifting a short year ago. I enjoy everything about being thinner, except for the fact that I have to drop money on new clothes every few months when I drop a size (if they were free, that would be a different story, lol!). But I have to work to maintain a thinner shape. And that’s fine. I actually enjoy intense exercise! It’s fun, it’s a great way to blow off steam and release stress, and quite frankly I think more people should do it! I love especially the fact that it’s time to myself, and I listen to music I love and get some time by myself to let my mind wander while also moving my body. I’m not talking a little walk around your block or taking the stairs instead of the elevator or playing with your cats, I’m talking intense workouts! The human body was made to be a machine, and if you put the right fuel in it (like a car) it can run so well! Oh, did I mention I sleep better? Like anyone I battle with the occasional night of restless tossing and turning, but these days I’m getting way more rest than I used to! So why should I submit to the philosophy of “my genes make me fat, so I shouldn’t even try!” when I could enjoy my high level of activity and clean, healthy diet? It feels GOOD! I will NEVER go back to being fat, because it sucks!

That brings me back to “it’s not worth the effort.” It bothers me that people think this way in general, not only about body weight, but also pretty much everything. I mean, if one is very depressed I can understand, people go through these low-points sometimes, but I would hope that the vast majority of humanity could muster the ability to take inventory of their blessings, realize it is worth it, get off their ass, and change things up for the better. But I guess I’m wrong. A common theme in my obesity was the fact that I was generally unsatisfied with life and grew apathetic. I’m so relieved that I got my head out of my ass! I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and realized that changing my life for the better in ALL ways would be the best path to take. Emotional, Mental, and yes, even PHYSICAL. It’s all important and all ties in together. Your body is your vehicle to get you around life, why wouldn’t you want to take the best, possible care of it? And why should I, as a health-conscious person, be accused of having a disorder because of it? That’s just nonsense! No, I don’t have orthorexia, damnit!

Of course, FA followers swear up and down that they do try really hard, they exercise and eat healthy, but they’re still fat! So what do I say to that? I say, to 99.9% of obese people, it is your fault. There are a rare few that have specific disorders and ailments that make it impossible to be thin. But they are so, very few of our population. It’s easy to get stuck in that cycle of denial and think you’re doing the right things, or just have a lack of knowledge about how the body works and think you’re doing the right things. I was initially guilty of that myself. I was also in intense denial of my weight gain and how bad I’d gotten. Look, practicing self-discipline and control around food does not make you a candidate for an eating disorder, and it does not mean you hate yourself or your body, and it does not make you feeding into the diet industry! Neither does working out, even pushing and challenging your body. Getting sore muscles will not kill you. Most of us sit on our ass at a desk for 8 hours a day, when our bodies are capable of such a higher output of energy, so running every day is not going to hurt anyone! In fact, it can help rid you of ills and prevent them as well! Lifting weights won’t make you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger unless you take ‘roids and spend hours a day lifting! Women who lift weights have an easier time with everything, including menstruation and childbearing. Having a body fat percentage on the lower end of the spectrum (not to the point where you’re a stick, mind you) will also help prevent a myriad of disease. Having a highly nutritious AND portion-controlled diet is the best way to fuel yourself. “Intuitive Eating” is not an entirely invalid concept, as recovering anorexics and the like can employ it for good, but for those of us without an eating disorder, it’s a recipe for a lot of weight gain. Following my “feelings” and “intuitions” I became pretty obese! Nobody’s body “needs” any kind of processed food. Whole foods are what our bodies work best on. Eating something that has more than a few ingredients in it on a regular basis is not generally good, even if your “intuition” says it’s what you “need.” Wants and needs are very different. Now, I definitely want to eat my mom’s Christmas cookies, and her version of my grandma’s persimmon pudding. And yes, I will have SOME. But it’s a rarity and a special treat (the rareness of these goodies is what makes them special). But some in the FA would say that I’m being too “strict” with myself. Well, I’m sorry people, but if I’m not a little strict and I don’t practice some restraint, I turn into fucking SHAMU. And as I’ve made it abundantly clear, being fat is not an option anymore! 🙂

Peace and love! ❤

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