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Curds 'n' Weigh

Curds 'n' Weigh: June 2012

Friday, June 29, 2012


I have to tell you a secret.  But first, promise never to repeat it; you see this pen cuts deep and as I speak it my heart's bleeding.  Tried to pretend like it didn't happen, because if I don't remember it can't hurt me.  If I don't remember, I was just depressed.  If I don't remember, I was just sexual...even though...I don't know...what!  I was just six and yes I'm still pissed about that ish!  Why wasn't it my decision to give it up, when and who I wanted to give it up with!  And the sickness is sometimes I wonder if you still remember my name.  Because Lord knows yours is imprinted on my right brain.  This pain nearly drove me insane!  For years hating God's creation because you said it was just a game.  Told your brothers to go away as we sat in the stairwell.  Made me swear not to tell as you laid your  hand on my leg, played out scenes from shows too grown for me.  I should have begged you to stop when you always wanted to be alone with me.  When you laid me on your bed, STOP!  When you mother walked in, but you didn't STOP!  When your uncle was heavy on top of me, STOP!  Did I not because I wanted it?  I thought we were friends, back then when I believed in friends.  Stolen innocence with no recompense for lost time.  Dying inside, trying to hide a secret that never should have been mine.

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Disappearing Acts

Sad Statue
(All photo rights © 2009 Steve Topper Photography

The funny thing about exercise is that somewhere in the midst of gasping for air and sweating like a roasting pig, there is a deep solitude and stillness that allows me to hear my inner voice's whispered screams.  I took the puppies on a two mile hike through the woods after dinner last night.  The solitude of nature, the sweet melody of sparrows serenading, the wind caressing leaves high above my head...all contributed to a resonant tranquility and forced my conscious mind to rest from her endless worries. 

I reflected on the path that I've started towards a healthier life, pondered my destiny as a motivational speaker and writer...eventually my thoughts rested on what brought me to this point.  While obesity is a major epidemic in the developed world, "normal fat" is gaining more acceptance, while "super fat" people are forced into the shadows.  What triggered my progression from "normal fat" to "super-sized"?

To be perfectly fair, I was always destined to carry a bit more weight than my peers...from a family of large people steeped in southern tradition, there was little that I could have done to prevent wide hips and thick thighs.  There were, however, several more profound events that I can pinpoint, which led to my chronic depression and, in turn, my weight issues.  In many ways, being fat was a way for me to disappear.  Thin people are considered gorgeous, sought after, wanted; while their larger counterparts are often discarded, written off and devalued.  My whole life I felt discarded, written off, gaining weight was simply a reflection of my inner struggle with Self.

I previously alluded to the fact that I was discarded at birth.  I was the child of two too-young-for-parenthood teenagers: a 14-year-old father whose deeply religious parents shunned my mother and declared emphatically that I couldn't be their son's child...a mother who battled her own depression and often-harsh upbringing.  I have heard several variations of the story, but this I know to be true: in the mid-morning hours on March 30, 1984 my then 16-year-old mother delivered me...alone in her father's house.  I can only imagine the panic and fear that overwhelmed her!  Unsure of what to do, she placed me in a duffel bag and brought me to the bayou where she placed me in a hole.  I was in the hole for little more than a week before I was found by two best friends who happened to be crawfishing.  As the story was plastered across every newspaper and television in Louisiana, my mother became very ill because, due to her inexperience with childbirth, she failed to deliver the after-birth.  It wasn't hard to figure out I was the missing baby she claimed to have never had.  Somehow I was placed back with her--either because the Divine has a wonderful sense of humor, or because there was a greater plan for my life and this was simply the road I needed to travel. 

I've heard that my mom loved me very much when I was a baby.  I remember hearing her tell me those words on occasion, but honestly...I never felt loved or wanted.  I was a very smart child and excelled at most things I tried, so I never felt lacking for praise and recognition, though when I wasn't "perfect" there was never a shortage of insults and criticisms either.  It was the affectionate, quality-time, "I am happy you're in my life" love that was missing; perhaps she never received it to give. 

By the time my mother was 20 and I was 4 1/2 years old, she had four children.  As is often the case with young mothers, she worked more than she was home so by six years old, I became the default baby sitter.  When she was home, we were reminded how hard we made her much of a burden we were to her...her frustrations manifested as welts and bruises on delicate skin.

Beginning at six years old and lasting nearly a year, I was molested by a middle schooler in my apartment complex; one instance, she decided to include her uncle.  For years, I harbored guilt and resentment.  I thought she was my friend...why didn't I tell anyone...why didn't I make her stop???  Home alone with no supervision, food became a solace for me at a young age.  The feeling of being stuffed seemed to momentarily fill the void left by the gaping hole in my soul.

I started injuring myself at ten years old...the first time, literally attempting to erase myself (which of course only led to eraser burn).  I wore the facade of a 4.0 student, young violinist, talented writer...only to mask the reality that I was a lonely, unloved and discarded child.  "Erasing" led to trying to cut pieces of myself away with scissors, which led to burning myself with matches and eventually cutting with razor blades.  I tried to make myself vanish by any means necessary.

My younger brother was my best friend and he was heart broken to discover that I had been hurting myself.  I was always his protector...his confidante...until I couldn't be anymore.  He always got the worst end of my mother's wrath, so she felt it necessary for him to move across the country to live with his father, whom he had never met.  Overnight, I went from having a brother to only speaking with him on his birthday.  There were no pictures of him in our was as if he only existed when he visited every few years.  My heart shattered the day my brother left!  (Thankfully, we are both adults now and have reconnected.  We speak several times a week, which makes my heart smile!)

In middle school, I began to suffer from an eating disorder.  The food that was such a wonderful comfort for me, became the target of my self-hatred.  I starved myself all day, claiming that I wasn't hungry when in truth I just didn't want others to see me eating.  Nobody could know the great joy that eating gave me...a joy that nothing else had ever rivaled.  After school, I would go home and gorge myself on whatever was in reach (which was always a secret because we weren't allowed to eat anything without asking first)...I can remember secretly baking cakes and sharing it with my sisters before my mom came home...trips to the convenience store for chips and candy to be devoured without any evidence.  I would force myself to throw up all of the food and then say I wasn't hungry for dinner.  Eventually my mother and grandmother noticed that I rarely ate--their solution was to force me to sit and eat in front of them (which I would only throw up as soon as they left the room).  This went on through high school and stopped around the time I discovered razor blades.

From high school to college, I tried to commit suicide three times (my mother's response is that I should ask her how next time so I could do it right and stop putting her and my sisters through hell).  My last attempt was in my dorm room with a pint of tangueray and a dixie cup of sleeping pills...I didn't tell any of my family or friends about this.  Three days and a deep spiritual awakening later, I woke up and knew that something in my life had to change immediately!  From that moment forward, I have pursued a life of gratitude and purpose...trying even on my darkest days to find something worth living for.  I no longer cut or force myself to throw up, though many of the same, unresolved issues bubble beneath my surface.  This weight loss journey is forcing many of these problems up like an emetic on a full stomach. 

There, in the still quietness of the woods...the solitude of nature, the sweet melody of sparrows serenading, the wind caressing leaves high above my head...I pushed past the discomfort of aching muscles towards a future of endless possibilities.  A future with no limitations on my potential.  A future where I really love all of me...a future where instead of disappearing, I can actually SEE myself!

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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Weight is Over!

(Ernestine Shepherd is my fitness idol!!!  75 years old and looks AMAZING)

For the past couple of weeks, I have been nervously awaiting my gym membership to resume (I placed a freeze on it two months ago so that I didn't have to keep paying when I wasn't going) started back up Monday.  I thought that I would be excited, but found that I was filled with anxiety and apprehension.  Self-defeating thoughts filled my head like raspberry jelly in a powdered donut: what will I wear so that I don't look so do I work out when my joints are hurting so badly...will everyone be looking at do I perform exercise X without my fat rolls jiggling?

The gym has always been an intimidating place for me, though when I am going regularly I am fearless!  My mind plays tricks on me in an attempt to lull me back into the complacency of inactivity.  None of my fears are reality...when I am a regular at the gym, I find that there is endless support from staff and trainers...I see many of the same people and develop a sense of community...I may be the biggest person, but I'm also one of the hardest workers!  In reality, I quite enjoy my time at the gym (it's just the embarrassment that I don't look forward to).  I LOVE lifting weights and attending dance classes.

This morning, I packed my gym bag...once a daily seemed so foreign today!  I created a workout schedule for the next two weeks and will revise it after that according to my fitness level.

I have proposed the following challenges for myself for the next two weeks:
1.  Follow my workout schedule to the letter (Zumba T, Th, Saturday/Weight Circuit M, W, F)
2.  Attend at least one workout class that I've never tried (considering either kickboxing or Body Pump)
3.  Only take the elevator when going more than 3 flights up or 6 flights down

What is your favorite exercise?  Do you prefer to work out at the gym or outside?

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Breakfast of Champions

Greek Yogurt Parfait with blueberry, raspberry, kiwi, mango and oat flakes.

Total calories 291
Total Fat 3g
Saturated Fat 0.3g
Cholesterol 0g
Sodium 80mg
Potassium 505mg
Fiber 6.6g (26%)
Sugar 35g
Protein 15.3
Vitamin A 3,234IU (65%)
Vitamin C 108mg (144%)
Iron 1.2mg (7%)
Calcium 190mg (19%)

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Monday, June 25, 2012

Everything I need to know about weight loss...I learned from my puppies!

If you know anything about me, you know that I am IN LOVE with my puppies!!!  On a bad day, they are the right blend of calm and hilarity to bring me out of my funkiest mood...on a lazy day, their non-stop energy is infectious and forces me out of a sedentary couch potato position and engages me in a game of fetch, chase or "Keep the Sock Away from Mommy!" 

On our morning stroll yesterday, I realized that these two little buggers have the perfect formula for weight loss...

1.  Only eat what tastes great...everything else--examine it and leave it for brother to find later.

2.  Eat at set times in the day...because if I don't, brother will come and finish my food before I can get to it!

3.  Any waking moment is an opportunity for play...whether it's steal mommy's socks in the morning or hide under the bed until she stops looking for me!  Chasing brother is especially fun!!! 

4.  Drink lots and lots and lots of water...the big bowls that I can fit my head into are the best!  But don't put your paws in the water and splash...mommy will get mad!

5.  Play hard, but rest harder...don't fight sleep when the urge hits!

6.  If I do special tricks, it's okay to have a treat...if I jump really really high, I can even get a liver bite!

7.  If I eat too much, I'll have to play even harder...I can just run around the house like a maniac to burn off any excess calories before bed.

8.  On walks, keep up with the leader and pull the slow poke...even if the slow-poke is mommy--walk faster so she'll have to keep up!

9.  Candy and junk food gives me a tummy don't steal it from the pantry.  Even if it looks really good, I will only regret it later!

10.  When all else fails, accept my extra chubbiness...I'm still cute!

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Friday, June 22, 2012

Pan-Seared Salmon with Mango Kiwi Salsa

Pan-seared Atlantic salmon with mango kiwi salsa on a bed of field greens.  

1 VERY ripe mango
2 kiwis
1/4 cup cilantro
1/8 medium red onion
Fresh lemon juice to taste

Dice mango and kiwi.  Chop cilantro and red onion in food processor for 3 seconds.  Squeeze half lemon (to taste) over mixture.  Mix well; cover in fridge to allow flavors to blend.

1/4 cup Bragg's Liquid Aminos (or soy sauce)
1/4 cup brown sugar
Juice of 1 lemon
4 5oz Atlantic Salmon Filets
1T Olive Oil

Mix Bragg's, brown sugar and lemon juice.  Marinate salmon in mixture for 15-30 minutes.  Discard excess marinade.

In heavy skillet, heat olive oil over medium to medium-high heat.  Cook salmon filet on one side until well seared (about 1 minute).  Drain excess olive oil and flip salmon.  Lower heat to medium-low and cook for an additional 5 minutes (check for doneness).  Serve over mixed greens.  Top with salsa.

Total Calories 450, Fat 23g, Saturated Fat 5.4g, Cholesterol 70mg, Sodium 153mg, Fiber 4.6g, Sugar 8.8g, Protein 38g, Vitamin A 3,722IU (74%), Vitamin C 50mg (67%), Calcium 85mg (9%), Iron 2mg (11%), Potassium 1,129mg (24%)

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Calorie Inequality

I've been struggling the past few days trying to find a balance between meeting my daily calories while not going over on "bad" nutrients (fat, sodium, cholesterol) and getting enough "good" nutrients (vitamins, minerals, etc).  I'm generally able to stay well within my calorie allowance for the day, but either don't get enough of something or too much of something else...I feel like a tightrope artist practicing funambulism!

One important thing that I'm learning is how to select low-calorie, nutritionally dense foods so that I'm able to eat a large enough portion to feel satisfied.  I have a tendency to over restrict and then feel famished, which ruins the following day because I'm so hungry that I'm focusing on meeting calories and not getting enough nutrients.  Not all calories are created equally...while I could probably lose weight by consuming 1200 calories a day of junk food, I'd be starving...not to mention my health and energy levels would tank!  Conversely, I could gorge myself on 2000 calories of lettuce and, though full, would still have problems with my energy.  Balance.

Besides trying to find balance, I'm noticing that I feel great!  Less pain in my joints, much more energy...bouncing around the house and running up the stairs.  The scale, however, is an evil little mechanism...haven't lost any more weight, but I can feel the physical changes in my body.  I'm considering putting the scale away and only weighing on Saturday mornings to help with my preoccupation with the numbers.  That means still no first charm, but at least I'll be able to keep my sanity!

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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Fat Yoga

I had a great mid-day walk with Anna from Fat Yoga.  We talked about everything from self-esteem/body image issues, size-positive groups available in Portland, aloe vera juice...and of course yoga!  Anna started Fat Yoga after studying for some years and experiencing the discrimination towards "cushy" and otherwise less-abled people.  After searching unsuccessfully for a place that was accepting of her size and willing to teach modifications, she decided to study to become an instructor herself.  A bit eccentric and quite opinionated, Anna passionately detailed her story of how she came to start her business.  There was an instant openness and comfort that I don't often find.

As we started off on our walk, she turned to me and said "I don't think you see yourself the way that others do.  There's no way you have 200 pounds to lose!"  I chuckled a bit as I've heard this so many times since I began telling people my goal--you don't even look that're so pretty and at least you're proportionate...maybe you should just work on losing your stomach, but the rest of you is fine.  I don't know if it's because I'm so tall that people don't realize how large I am, but I am in no way content with myself at this size even if I am proportionately pudgy!  I explained to her that it was about me feeling good about myself, not because of society.  While the weight loss is completely incidental (I'm more focused on being able to reach my fitness goals...complete a cycling race, learn contemporary dance and a partner actually be able to lift me!), losing weight is a vital part in me being able to be the person that I want to be.  She did, however, bring up a great point about being able to completely love and embrace myself at any size.

She told me about a movement called "Health At Every Size" (H.A.E.S.), which encourages people to stop dieting and focus on making good food and fitness choices....for health, not for weight loss.  While this has been my approach, I must admit that I do obsess over the numbers more than my actual health.  In reality, I'm in excellent high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid or other issues commonly associated with people my mobility or other issues...I'm just FAT!  H.A.E.S. emphasizes that losing weight does not increase a person's are just as beautiful before or after the weight loss.  It also teaches the detriment of dieting (and yoyo weight loss/gain) and focuses on a lifestyle of healthy habits. 

I had to chuckle when we started talking about the many things that big people do to make thinner people more comfortable...I can name a million things that I do: walking more lightly, talking more softly, moving completely out of the way, making myself "smaller" so as not to impose on others...maybe I do see myself as much larger than I really am.  I can remember once being on the elevator with two other ladies and I accidentally backed against the fire alarm; I was mortified thinking that I brought the elevator over the weight limit (which was 3500!)...I guess my preoccupation with my weight and how big I am made me think that everyone else thinks the same thing when they see me.  Maybe this is why I'm always the "jolly" fat can't be mean or hurtful to someone who's like Santa Clause right?

Overall, the walk was a very nice break and it was wonderful meeting Anna.  I look forward to trying one of her classes. 

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

My Food Therapist

This evening I attended a dinner party for a hotel chain with whom my company has done business.  I was very nervous about going since I was feeling kind of blah today.  I had a rough day at work and thinking of the dinner automatically made me anxious: how do I stick to my plans without appearing "awkward" or turning down do I trust myself not to make bad decisions since I'm feeling emotional (especially since it's at one of my favorite restaurants!).  I had every intention of not going to the party, but my coworker wanted to go so, despite my reservations, I went along.

I am EXTREMELY proud of myself!!!  I had one drink (I'm not going to turn down a free drink!) and a few small tapas, but with 550 calories that I had left for dinner and already having met most of my nutrients for the day I am fairly confident that I stayed within my allowance.  I had a mango and some almonds before I arrived and drank about 4 glasses of water while there so that I would feel too full to eat or drink.  I know it's something small, but it seemed very big for me.  

I was speaking with my partner when I got home and explaining how when I'm feeling depressed, something sweet or greasy makes me feel better.  When I'm eating healthily, there is no emotion to it. I eat good foods because of the benefits that I feel in my body, not my emotions.  I eat bad foods because they make me smiling, mmm mmm mm mmm mmmmm, humming a negro spiritual while I lick my fingers happy!!!  

This will be the hardest part of this process...finding my happy without the help of Sour Patch Kids or mashed potatoes...really digging down deep and discovering what makes my soul shine.  I honestly can't say that I ever remember a time in my life being truly happy.  Food can be like a drug in that way...trick your psyche into accepting a sugar-fueled endorphin rush in place of true joy...chasing the next temporary high in the form of an ice cream sundae.  D.A.R.E. should have taught me to just say no to cheesecake!

The part of losing weight that has always scared me is the deep soul-searching, but I realize that without this necessary component, I'll never truly be free from the pounds; even if I get to my goal size, without the vital self-work, I'll simply be carrying my fat like dead weight (pun intended).  I found a place called Fat Yoga...I think that will be a good practice for me to learn so that I can find the answers that are locked deep within my cellulite.  I meet with the instructor, Anna, tomorrow... I'm so excited!  She was almost 300 pounds at her largest and says that yoga has transformed her life...I've always wanted to try yoga, but was afraid because of my size--the thought of doing a dashama scorpion pose...HA!  But Fat Yoga was developed for "extra cushioned" people with modified poses that still teach proper form and give a good workout.

Anna wanted to meet for coffee, but as part of my commitment to myself, I suggested that we meet for a walk instead.  I know that I will not lose weight overnight, but I'm certainly learning a lot about myself in the process! 

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Failure to Launch

Feeling a bit blue today.  Losing weight is 99% mental; an introvert by nature, I find that I am lost in thought far more since I started this path than I ever have been.  Pondering how I got here, the long road I have to travel to be healthy...My weight has always held me back from being the person I want to be: I LOVE dance, but have always been too fat to make my movements look like more than a gyrating bowl of jello...I am very outgoing, but often appear to be a flake because I'm worried about what others will think so I sometimes cancel at the last minute out of embarassment and fear (I especially hate seeing people who I knew years ago for fear that they'll say....DAMN look how big she got!).

I feel alone, depressed, vulnerable...suffocating inside this shell that looks nothing like the person I am inside!  This should be enough motivation to have me running four hours a day, but the harder I work, the more I look ahead at the LONG path I have ahead.  200 pounds feels like it will take a lifetime to lose, but I know that if I don't start now I will never get there.  There are so many insecurities that I keep inside and I feel like this process is bringing them all to the forefront (probably for the best so that I won't be in a thin body with a fat girl's mentality)...I suppose instead of focusing on the negative, I should ponder and attract to myself the positive. 

My life will be completely changed when I lose weight:

1.  I'll be able to fit in stadium seats without feeling stuffed in!
2.  I'll be able to fit into plane seats without the armrest pinching into my thighs (or needing a seatbelt extender)
3.  I won't be afraid to go anywhere or do anything
4.  I'll be able to buy what I like because it's cute, not because it fits!!!
5.  I'll be able to dance freely without being self-conscious about what I look like to others.  (I will also be taking dance lessons to learn contemporary dance once I lose weight)
6.  I will be much more active...I want to compete in a cycling race and join a softball team.
7.  I'll be more self confident and not just pretending to be confident for the benefit of others
8.  Hopefully I won't shed as many tears or feel so alone...unless you've been this size, it's hard to understand even a fraction of the daily struggle.  Once I lose weight, it will be my mission to show others that they, too, can be free!
9.  I will be able to have children...actually, this should be the first item on the list!  I have always wanted to be a mother, but refused to have a child at this size...not only is it probably's extremely dangerous for both mother and baby...I need to lose weight so that I can be the wonderful mother that I know I will be.
10.  "I wish I could" will be removed from my vocabulary!!!  Once I lose weight, there is nothing that will be able to hold me back from living the life that I want to live.

My thirties MUST be better than my childhood and my weight has been the reason why I can't do things my entire life...I REFUSE to be that person for another decade in my life!

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Monday, June 18, 2012

Superwoman Juice!

I believe I can fly...too bad I'm afraid of heights :(

I was always a bit skeptical of fully green juices.  I have no problem adding kale and spinach to my juices, but a juice fully comprised of veggies was too much like a granola chained-to-a-tree-to-be-one-with-nature health nut for my liking!!!  But I felt brave today...and now I feel like superwoman!

I combined a cup of kale, a handful of spring mix, carrot, pear, half of a zucchini and a bit of lemon and ginger.  The end result looks like bug guts, but was pretty tasty.  The ginger made it a little spicy, but the tartness of the lemon and sweetness of the carrot and pear paired together very nicely.  I instantly got a boost of energy and felt revitalized.

Felt in a carroty type mood tonight, so I had tilapia with carrot rice and a side salad.  Total dinner with juice just under 550 calories...1781 calories for the day.  Today is the first day where I hit every nutritional requirement without going over (not even sodium....slightly under for Potassium though) an A for my report card :)

Report Card for the day:

1781 total calories
242g   Carbohydrates
104g   Protein
53g     Fat
11.7g  Saturated Fat
298g   Cholesterol
1189g Sodium
43g     Fiber (147% daily value!!!)
47,614mg    Vitamin A (952% daily value!!!)
1,142mg      Vitamin C (1523% daily value!!!)
1,126mg      Calcium
19.4mg        Iron
3111mg       Potassium (daily recommended is 4000)

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Note to self...

Hello Blessed...

This is just a friendly reminder before you fill yourself beyond satiety with fatty, heavy foods that don't even taste great.

You have been working so hard to change your habits. You've been doing well with exercising and eating healthily. When you eat wholesome foods, you are bouncing around with extra energy, running up the stairs, having to convince yourself that you've done enough exercise for the day. This is a great feeling.

Now look at that junk you're about to eat. It will make you feel lethargic and bloated. It will give you a migraine and make you feel malaise. You will obsess about how you've undone your progress and will spend at least 30 minutes trying to decide whether to throw it up or do a second trip to the gym for the day. You will wake up feeling sick to your stomach which will leave you unmotivated for the rest of the day.

This happens every time but somehow you forget on the weekends, in social moments where conformity means more than self-care. This is your reminder.

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Stop the pity party!

Yesterday I cried. Not the gut-wrenching, soul-bearing cry that cleanses and leaves you feeling revived; I cried the covert, escaping tears of too-full pots bubbling on too-hot burners...the kind that sneak out before you can secure the top.

Naked, sucking in my stomach to trick the scale into believing I did a moment of exercise yesterday only to see two days' worth of hard work flushed with middle of the night binges. This daily shame a reminder of what I've become: unmotivated, uncaring, unchanged.

So I cried. I cried because I'm forced to see what's always been there, but I didn't want to deal with. I cried because the scale forces to me to see the correlation between my actions and the results. I cried because every time I get dressed it slaps me in the face that no clothes can hide this monster I've become.

Today I decided. Not with the sure-footed, inerrant tread of hinds feet on high places; I decided with the trepidation of a woman who can't bear to fall...I think I can, I think I can, I think I can.

Naked, not bothering to hide my stomach I open one clenched eye to see the result of not caring yesterday. 6 days of hard work completely undone by a two-day pity party, quieting tears with sugar. I got back in the bed wanting to sleep the day away, continue my blow-out gala.

But instead, I decided. I decided to write how I was feeling in my journal. I decided to eat breakfast (though my normal response would be to starve myself all day and then binge in an emotional outpouring). I decided to take my vitamins. I decided to clean the house. Somewhere in all of this deciding, I decided I'm worth fighting for. I'm worth LIVING for!

This is unlike any other attempt at losing weight. I'm actually looking at myself, not just what the scales reflect, but my actions (and my body's reactions), my feelings, my motives. I don't know what's ahead, but I'm choosing to deal with decision at a time.

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Sunday, June 17, 2012

My Body

Nobody ever cared for my body.

My mother didn't know what to do when a baby body was budding in her belly.  She told nobody that she birthed a body.  She put my body in a duffel bag by the bayou.  A week later somebody found my baby body by the bayou and by the blueprint of a big God, I was brought back to the somebody who discarded my body.  I was named Blessed Love, but nobody ever made me feel blessed or loved.

My mother beat my body: when I was bad, when she was mad.  In kindergarten, the nurse saw my bruised body and asked what happened.  I said I was bad and she promised not to tell anybody.  She promised if I let her take pictures of my bruised body, she would make it not hurt anymore...she would save my body!  She sent somebody to my house and they showed my mother pictures of her baby's bruised back and she became belligerent and they never came back.  She beat my body after school and I learned never to tell anybody again.

Somebody touched me and said don't tell anybody.  I thought I finally found somebody who was my friend, but instead just wanted to use my body.  Every day my body was taught things a six year old should not learn, but I didn't tell anybody. 

At ten, I started to hate my body.  I tried to erase my body.  I cut my body to get out all of the secrets I couldn't tell anybody.  I starved my body to be beautiful and scarred it because it wasn't.  I didn't tell anybody.

Years passed with me abhorring my body, allowing any and everybody who wanted my body as long as they promised to love my body.  Nobody ever did.  I just wanted somebody, anybody!!!

I started using my body as a shield, that way nobody could hurt me again.  My body got bigger but I didn't care because nobody wanted it anyway.  I abused my body with butter and bacon and before I could blink I was big as a blimp.  So I hid my body and didn't talk to anybody.

I'm tired of dragging around this body.  I'm changing my body to prove everybody wrong.  I am somebody worth living for.  Instead of searching for somebody, I have to love my own body.  I'm learning to care for my own body.  I can't wait to see my body in a few months...years.  I probably won't even recognize my body, perhaps I'll be an inspiration to somebody.  And then I'll tell EVERYBODY!

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Enabling Inability

I'm starting today off right, with a fruit salad (mango, pineapple, blueberry, strawberry), yogurt and almond milk mixed with the Super Green Drink that I bought from Trader Joe's yesterday.  Yes...I said I was going to do a juice fast and last night that failed miserably!

I started off with the best intentions...juice fast for two days to do a proper bodily cleansing after my procedure yesterday.  The day began well enough...until I got hungry.  And then the monster within took control.  It started with a couple of strawberries, hungrily gobbled as I drove from the fruit stand home...innocent enough, right?  Not an hour after drinking my after-purge juice, I finished the leftovers from Friday night's Mexican.  Still not too bad since it was low-fat and moderate calories.  Then it was as if a switch flipped and I continued to munch, chomp, gobble for the remainder of the evening.  The whole time my brain was screaming "What the hell are you doing???  You've been working so hard"...gobble..."You're undoing everything you've been working for"...swallow..."You know you're going to have to BLOG this"...nom nom nom.

The accountability of knowing I'd have to tell the truth this morning on Curds 'n' Weigh was enough to stop the binge, but not after a late-night run to Famous Dave's because both my partner and I agreed that ribs sounded delicious.  I did, at least, just get us one meal to share instead of two separate entrees...small changes right?  While there's no justification for me sucking on a rib bone at almost midnight (don't judge me!) simply reminds me that I must want this for myself!!!

I have the most amazing, supportive partner; however, sometimes her support comes in the form of acquiescing to whatever I desire instead of being the voice of reason when my tongue gets the best of me.  Me: "Honey, don't ribs sound good right now?"  Honey:  "Yes love.  You've been working so deserve to treat yourself."  Me:  "True, but I know that's not what I need to eat."  Honey:  "Yes, but you can take a break and treat yourself.  What kind do you want? I'll call them."  UGH!!!

I woke up this morning feeling bloated, sick to my stomach and GUILTY!  But I'm so glad today is a new day...a new chance to do the right thing.  When I fall, I just get back up and keep walking.  This will not happen overnight.

Still no first charm, but I will work harder so that I can get it soon!!!

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Saturday, June 16, 2012

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Pain in the ass!

I have no idea what I was expecting for the colonic irrigation experience, but what happened was not at all what I imagined.

After starting my new life eating plan last week, I could feel my body beginning to purge and I intuitively knew that it was time to receive a colonic.  I'd heard about the procedure years ago, but was always nervous and never made it a priority to inquire about one.  I was drawn to this particular business after viewing their website and spiritually connection to the philosophy and beliefs expressed.  The company, a husband and wife team, has been in business for over seven years, focusing on total mind, body and spirit healing.  After a brief conversation with Alec, the husband, a few days ago, I knew I needed to take the plunge and get it done.

Colonic irrigation has a number of benefits, the most obvious of which is the fact that it cleanses your body of stagnant fecal matter.  In addition, colonics help remove toxins and undigested materials, which can help with weight loss, migraines, menstrual cramps, clearing skin of acne/blemishes, improving energy and circulation, increased mental clarity, reduction of gas/flatulence and relief of chronic constipation.  Obese people can often hold up to 25 pounds of stagnant waste in their bowels.

Alec and Kristen's business is located inside of their I walked with trepidation down to the basement I could barely stop the flutter of nervous wings in my belly.  Alec made a bit of small talk, which only increased my anxiety.  I was about to willingly let a stranger put a foreign object up my rear in the basement of a private home.  I wanted to cancel my appointment and run screaming back to my car, but upon entering I was relaxed, if only slightly.

The space was very professional, though very low-tech.  Alec stepped out while I undressed from the bottom down and laid in fetal position on the bed (and sneaked these pictures lol).  Before he started, he laid his hand on my hip and prayed or "set an intention".  He set the intention forth that the cleansing would be total body, mind and spirit and would rid me of any stagnant, toxic or otherwise detrimental emotions, traumas and waste.  He told me to take a deep breath as he slid a speculum up my hind parts and I froze in place!  This was the most uncomfortable thing I have ever gone through...or so I thought until he turned on the water.  They use a closed system that allows water to simultaneously flow in and out of the body.  It felt like I was pooping in reverse...SOOOO uncomfortable!  BUT, Alec was very comforting and helped put me at ease.  We talked about my weight loss goals, the positive changes that I'm making in my life, ways to help support my health.  He had me get up and poop after about 45 minutes (which was mostly water).  He said that I was extremely impacted, so for the second half, he alternated between water in and water out, which helped increase the force and cleansed a bit deeper.  When it was all done, I felt a little more energy and my stomach felt MUCH emptier, but I'll have to see how I feel in the next couple of days to determine how helpful this was.  I did, however, already schedule my appointment for two weeks from now (he recommended every two weeks for the first two months and then twice a year thereafter).

He recommended that I drink fresh juice (as I planned) and get a dietary supplement called Super Green Drink from Trader Joe's.

I came home and immediately ran upstairs to weigh myself...thought I was going to lose at least a pound, but I actually gained a pound and a half (obviously water).  This was a very interesting experience...but I'm open to the process so we'll see what the future holds.

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All juiced up!

Today I have my colonic appointment and I must admit, I'm a bit nervous.  The thought of the whole procedure is freaking me out, but I'm excited about the results.  As part of the preparation (before and after care), I cannot eat solid foods.  I love juicing fruits and veggies so decided this weekend would be the perfect time for a juice fast.  This morning's breakfast: cucumber, pineapple, carrot, ginger, kale and blueberry juice mixed with protein powder.


Total calories came up as 382 including the protein powder, but I'm sure that's a bit high since it's only the juice and the pulp has been stripped away.  It's amazing how great fresh juice makes me feel...almost like a superhero lol.  Especially when I drink it immediately after juicing, while the enzymes are still living...I can literally feel the energy coursing through my veins.

I was a tad disappointed this morning...expected another two pound loss...thought I would hit my ten pound mark today.  But I realize that's extremely unrealistic...I mean 8 1/2 pounds in one week is AMAZING!!!  Curious how much I'll lose after this procedure :)

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Friday, June 15, 2012

Easy does it

One of my main problems with weight loss is often my black/white thinking: if I can't do it perfectly, why even try?  This is either good or bad.  Because I can't exercise full force, I won't do anything at all.  My perfectionist mindset has always been my greatest hindrance...I put far more pressure on myself than anyone else does.  I'm working on allowing myself room for error; I am human, after all.  This time, I vow that nothing will stop me.  Just because I fall does not mean that I failed...simply that I must get back up.  If I fall, I learn to stand on steadier feet.  To counter this tendency, I have set up a reward system for myself.  I bought myself a charm bracelet and will buy one new charm for every 10 pounds lost.  I'll post a picture tomorrow of the bracelet with the first charm as I should be hitting my first 10 pounds (8 down as of this morning...8 pounds in 6 days...WOW!!!).

I slept in today and started eating late so my calories were very low (slightly more than 1400 calories for the whole day).  Though I'm full and ate nutritiously, I'm feeling a bit light-headed and have a headache.  Had an energy bar and almond milk with protein powder for breakfast, a Clif bar as an afternoon snack and cooked fajitas and fat free refried beans for dinner.  I need to do much better with eating more calories earlier in the day because almost half of the day's calories (630 calories) came from dinner.  Made some home-made guacamole and used Greek yogurt instead of sour cream...absolutely AMAZING!!!

Normally when I have fajitas, I can probably devour at least four before I'm overstuffed and uncomfortable (not including the chips and salsa/bean dip that they serve at Mexican restaurants).  As I was eating, before I was even halfway done, I wanted to get more because I had only used half of the fajita mix I made. But I forced myself to slow down, TASTE my food, drink the time I finished my plate I was stuffed.  It's unbelievable how many calories I would normally consume without thinking twice.  I am working with being present and enjoying my food...slowing down to savor the taste, texture, consistency.

Still doing well with drinking water...averaging about 10-12 glasses a day (though I'm going to the bathroom nearly as often lol).  Speaking of water...I have a colonic hydrotherapy appointment tomorrow.  I'm so nervous, but I hear that there are tremendous physical, mental and spiritual benefits so I'm excited for the results.

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Thursday, June 14, 2012

Super-Sized Secrets

I was online reading weight loss success stories yesterday and there was a woman speaking about how she hid her obsession with foods for years. That got me thinking about all of the trips for a double cheeseburger and fries on the way home, being sure to throw away all of the fast food wrappers before someone got into my car. All the times I ordered food and pretended like I was ordering for myself AND someone else (you know, looking at a fake list of what "they" want) so that I wouldn't seem like a fat pig for ordering so much. Shrouded in secrecy, my gut kept getting bigger. I don't know what I was afraid of...maybe my partner would see how much I REALLY ate and leave me??? Maybe the drive-thru cashier would recognize me from the rest of my trips that week and talk about me after I left???

Thinking back, I really don't know what any of that was about.  I don't even care for fast food at all, I'd much rather have something delicious and healthy that I prepared was just always convenient, but never tasted good (yet I craved it and obsessed about when I could have another juicy, greasy, cheesy, burger). Amazing what we do when we aren't conscious and present with our thinking!

For me, one of the major things that will determine whether or not I'm successful at losing weight this time will be ridding myself of all of the years worth of secrets.  Opening my closets and letting the skeletons fall where they may.  This will require me to be vulnerable, which is scary but well worth it.  When I'm vulnerable, I realize that there are people who have felt (and still feel) the exact way that I do...people who can relate and want to support me.  When I'm vulnerable, I open myself up to the healing process.  Secrets got me to my current size...the truth will set me free.

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Tongue Tied

I was speaking with a close friend today about my blog and she said something that resonated deeply with me: "I let my little tongue control my whole body".

How often has my tongue gotten me into trouble:  devouring the sweet decadence of a rich, fattening slice of cheesecake leaving my stomach bloated and my mind guilt-ridden...tongue craving an extra-meat/extra-cheese pizza because it "tastes better that way" leading my waistline to expand and my stomach to stick out further than my butt.

I'm learning that instead of giving my tongue full control, my body needs to be in agreement with all decisions...what's good for my mouth must be good for my thighs, stomach, brain!  My tongue doesn't know what's best for me...I've gotten into trouble far too often for words spoken by my tongue.

So why is it that I've allowed such a small part of my body to control me for so long?  It seems like I have more weight to lose in my thought process than I do on my body...

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

What's for dinner?

I got home late tonight and was not motivated to cook dinner.  I went to a restaurant down the street and had a grilled salmon fruit and spinach salad.  Dinner was about 600 calories (I estimated portion sizes and tend to guess on the upside).  

Overall I did very well today.  Went over my calorie target by 90 calories for the day, but I was under by a few hundred last night so it balances out.  

I track my calories on and have found it to be a very useful tool in keeping an accurate depiction of what I'm consuming.  I also use to a kitchen scale to help measure when I'm cooking.

I'm feeling very motivated and excited about this journey.  Haven't started exercising much (other than walking the dogs a couple times)...with the pain in my joints caused by my size, it's often painful to walk.  But I will be starting back at the gym at the end of the month...trying to give my body a moment to get adjusted to my new eating.  One step at a time, right?

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Perfectly Flawed

I was always the shining star in my family, though secretly my shine had tarnished years ago. I was the first grandchild, the daughter of a too-young mother and absent father. I was discarded at birth (something that one day I'll talk about) and through God's sense of hilarity, ended up back with my mother.

I guess the expectations of me started early with my family's elation that the baby on the news was their kin; everything I did was golden. When my brother and sisters came along I became the protector and role-model, but inside secret sadness destroyed me. I had 4.0 throughout school, I played the violin for years, I spoke French, I was the editor-in-chief of my church's newsletter at 13, I started interning with Bank of America at 15, I played the violin, I went to Howard University on scholarship. I was always the smartest, the sweetest, friendliest...nobody could tell that I was the loneliest.

I started injuring myself at ten years old, a vice that consumed me for the better part of twelve years. In middle school, I developed body image issues and starting binging and purging. I'd go all day without eating, secretly not wanting to eat in front of other people. When I was all alone, I'd eat anything I could find. And then I felt guilty. I threw up trying to rid myself of the shame. This became a ritual and I started losing weight. It felt good to hear my mom compliment me, for ANYTHING let alone for how I looked, but she didn't know what I was doing.

Even though I've for years been "clean" from purging and self-injury, I guess my thought process has not changed. I notice that I'm still timid about eating in front of other people...going all day without eating and then overeating because I'm starving.

This process is helping me. For the first time I'm actually eating during the day (and I notice that if I eat when I'm hungry, not starving, I actually get full very quickly) and taking the emotion out of food. Eating because I need fuel instead of comfort.

I'm looking forward to my future! Looking forward to doing things for myself. Learning how to love myself. Learning that I'm not striving for perfection, but progress.

Until next time,

Blessed Love

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The Skinny Girl I Ate

There's a thin, healthy girl inside of me yearning to be free!

I see her every time I stare at my belly flab and wonder which roll will disappear first. Her bra straps don't hide between her underarm fat and her skinny jeans look like jeans instead of body paint. Her thighs don't rub together and she has a pouch for a stomach instead of a GUT. She doesn't hide behind other people in pictures or pose sideways to hide her wideness. She isn't concerned every moment with how she looks to others.

She is free to do whatever she wants without worrying if she'll break something...she even likes the little plastic chairs. She hikes, jogs, goes white water rafting, plays on a softball team and still has enough energy to be a vixen in the bedroom. In fact, she has quite a few sexy clothes that I would never think of wearing.

She respects herself and demands that everyone else do the same. While she cares for her family, she makes sure that her needs are met first so that she can be the best for them.

The skinny girl inside me has taught me that I have to love myself if I ever want to meet her. She said that if I believe in myself and accept who I am today, slowly but surely she will appear to me.

With every drink of water, every healthy food choice, every decision to work out...I am one step closer to meeting her and boy are we going to have fun!!!

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(Photo Copyright 2012 Sardonic Salad)

My name is Blessed Love and I'm a foodaholic.

Well, not really...I mean, I wouldn't steal my mom's television for a cheeseburger, but you get the point. I realize that food has always been the safety valve for my emotions...happy, have a slice of cake...sad, eat a bag of chips...bored, stuff your face with pizza!  I'll be seeing a counselor soon as an added component to my weight loss journey and while she might be able to help stop the compulsion that comes along with eating, I don't know that I'll ever stop LOVING eating.

So, how can a food addict like myself lose weight?  From previous attempts (twice losing over 40 pounds...and gaining it back as soon as I quit my program), I've learned that instead of trying to change me to fit a "diet", I need to change my diet to fit me.  Along the way, I've learned a few tips that help me lose weight without feeling deprived.  I've always heard, if you want to lose weight...ask a fat person! 

1.  Understand that this is a lifestyle change and not a diet:  The first step for a foodaholic to lose weight...know that this is not a temporary fix.  It took a lifetime to get to my size, so it will take a lifetime to reach and maintain my healthy weight.  It's not just about the numbers on the scale, but about nourishing my body with good foods that will help my body thrive.  Every day is a chance to do something positive for myself...even if I stumble, because this is a life change, there's no guilt for breaking my "diet".  I simply need to get back on the horse and keep riding.

2.  Eat 5-6 small meals instead of fewer large meals:  While eating more frequently will not guarantee weight loss alone, it does stop the mind tricks that come along with deciding to eat healthy.  One of my main problems was skipping breakfast, ignoring hunger pangs and going all day without eating and then binging on the first thing in sight because I was starving (obviously I was not cut out to be an anorexic).  This lead to overconsumption, in addition to poor food choices.  When I'm starving, my rational brain goes on vacation and is replaced by a monster like Audrey Jr. in Little Shop of Horrors...FEED ME Seymour!!!  Because I know this about myself, I have tried to set myself up for success this time.  I eat breakfast at 6:30am and eat small meals about every 3 hours thereafter (of course, being mindful of total calories).  This helps because I never get to the point of desperation for food; also, because I'm eating so often, a meal may sometimes be as small as an apple with a handful of almonds because it takes less to fill me up when I'm eating throughout the day.  After just one day of eating this way, I automatically get hungry after about 3 1/2 hours whereas before, I could go all day without eating.

3.  Trade out empty calories for less calorie-dense food:  Eating smaller, more frequent meals is not enough to lose weight; the key is selecting good food choices for those meals.  While a slice of pizza and a salad may both contain the same 500 calories, the salad has much more bulk and nutrients and will keep you fuller much longer.  Speaking of nutrients, it's amazing how many obese people are actually malnourished.  To be successful, it's important to choose nutrional options with more bulk: whole grains, fruit, vegetables.  These items also have less fat, which in turns lowers their calories since each gram of fat contains 9 calories!  It's important to note, however, that not all fat is bad and fat is a necessary component to our health.  Of course, fat from vegetable sources is much healthier than fat from animals.

4.  Be sure to include complex carbohydrates and protein with each meal:  Fiber-packed foods and protein help you feel satisfied and stay full longer.  Complex carbohydrates such as whole grains and apples (with skin), oranges, beans, etc. take longer to break down in the body, giving you sustained energy for a longer period of time, whereas simple carbs (white rice, white bread, sugar) give you short bursts of energy but leave you feeling lethargic.  Protein boosts your metabolism and helps you keep lean muscle (since you lose fat AND muscle when you lose weight).

5.  DRINK WATER:  Do you want to know the real secret to weight loss?  Increase your water intake!  Water is a magical liquid with a multitude of health benefits.  Not only does water help flush out toxins from our bodies allowing our organs to work more efficiently, water also aids digestion and helps keep your joints lubricated--when you're super obese like I am, you need something close to WD40 to keep the creaking joints at bay!  It has been suggested that we should drink up to half our body weight in water daily.  At my starting weight of 372, that would be 186 POUNDS of water...unless I'm putting a straw in the ocean, that's a bit unrealistic; however, I do try to consume at least 12 glasses (96 ounces) of water daily.  Thankfully, food consumed also counts towards the water intake, especially fruit and vegetables which are a staple in my eating plan.

A typical day of eating for me might look something like this:

6:30am  Breakfast: whole grain seed and fruit bar, 1 cup of almond milk, 1 scoop protein powder, 1 cup grapes

9:30am  Snack: 21-seed toast with 1 tablespoon peanut butter

12:30pm  Lunch:  Grilled chicken salad with a pear or apple on the side, handful of almonds

3:30pm  Snack:  Mango, 1/2 cup yogurt

6:30pm  Dinner:  Baked tilapia, 2 cups mixed vegetables, baked sweet potato

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Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Baked tilapia with cherry tomatoes and sauteed zucchini

Nutrition facts: Total calories 397, Fat 2.9g, Saturated fat 0.9g, Cholesterol 48mg (16%), Sodium 506mg (21%), Dietary fiber 13.1g (52%), Sugars 6.7g, Protein 29.1g, Vitamin A 56%, Vitamin C 66%, Calcium 11%, Iron 19%

Nice, quick meal.  Baked tilapia topped with cherry tomatoes and green onion; baked yam sprinkled with cinnamon and nutmeg; sauteed zucchini, mushroom and cherry tomatoes.  I set my calorie goal for 2000 per day, about a 450 calorie daily deficit (which would amount to about a pound a week if I laid in bed all day...of course I don't plan to lay in bed all day, so I'm aiming for at least 4 pounds per week).  With today's 500 calorie lunch, ~400 calorie dinner and a little under 550 calories consumed for breakfast and snacks, I still have about 550 calories left at the end of my day.

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Asparagus Summer Salad

As you will quickly learn...I love to cook, but even more...I love to eat!  Something about different textures and flavors exploding in my mouth is akin to something like a slice of Heaven!  I digress...

As part of my weight-loss journey, I am focusing on developing tasty, FILLING recipes that don't leave me feeling deprived.  Let me tell you...there is nothing worse than a fat girl being deprived of food...all will feel the wrath of my rumbling belly!  Thankfully, I love FOOD (healthy food included) so coming up with recipes to fit my new lifestyle hasn't been too difficult.  Today's lunch: Asparagus Summer Salad

3 oz spring mix
2 oz baby kale
1/3 oz homemade roasted almonds, roughly chopped
4 oz raw asparagus, ends discarded
4 oz grilled chicken breast
2-3 large strawberries, sliced
1 hard boiled egg, diced (optional)
2T homemade reduced fat honey mustard dressing (recipe below)

Nutrition Facts: 534 calories, 10g fat, 2g saturated fat, 200mg sodium, 7g fiber, 49 grams protein!!!, 121% Vitamin A, 174% Vitamin C, 29% Calcium, 41% Iron

This was a nutrient-packed lunch...very fulfilling.  A little bitter mixed with sweet with a nice crunch...super tasty!

Honey Mustard Dressing:
2T fat-free mayonnaise
2T mustard
2T organic honey
1tsp low-sodium Worcheshire sauce

Mix well until creamy.

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"Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet eating her curds and whey...along came a spider who sat down beside her and frightened Miss Muffet away!" Certainly, if this limerick were referring to me, it would say that though I was frightened, I waited until I finished eating to run (well, wobble) away!

Hello, my name is Blessed Love and I am obese! While there are many euphamisms that I use to try to make myself feel better (plump, pudgy, big-boned, fatabulous, Pretty Hot And Tempting, easy to see)...I can't escape the fact that at 28 years old, I am one of the nearly 90 million Americans who falls into the category of Obese. More accurately, my weight would classify me as MORBIDLY OBESE. Breaking the scale at over 370 pounds, I am much closer to death than I am to life...or at least what I consider really living.

This blog will chronicle my journey to find my healthy self...the version of me who doesn't need to turn sideways to enter a turnstyle and whose bra doesn't roll up like a cannoli between my fat rolls. My ultimate weight goal is 170 pounds, a 200 pound loss from my current size.  In other words, I plan to lose a pregnant woman or 14 bowling balls or 8 baby llamas...or $9,080,000 in $100 dollar bills!!!

Combining brutally honest accounts of my life-long struggle with my weight, along with tips that I've learned along the way, I hope that this journal is an inspiration for anyone who has dealt with the same issues.  I will share recipes, pictures, triumphs and shortcomings.

Welcome to Curds 'n' Weigh!

Until next time...
Blessed Love

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