Food and Weight: An Ongoing Journey

Archive for the ‘Questions’ Category

It’s a friend’s birthday party tonight, and I wasn’t sure I was going until about twenty minutes ago.

So, how to prepare, given that I know she has mostly junk foods at these things?  First, I’ve been drinking tea all afternoon, so I probably won’t want much soda (and she does usually have diet soda).  Second, I just ate a good, hearty dinner:  my Mediterranean chicken, with quinoa and some bok choy as side dishes.  Third, it’s my plan to have as little food as I can get away with at the party — if she has a birthday cake, I will only have a little bit (and I will track it), and give the rest to the friend who is driving me there.  I may have one or two chocolates (which I will also track).  I will avoid the chips and dips, since I know those are my downfall at parties.

So, that is my plan.  (If I get home early enough, I will update this post with a report on how I did.)

How do you prepare to stay on plan at parties without feeling deprived?  What is your favorite pre-party meal?

3-Jan-13, 12:08 am:  Update:  I did pretty good.  Had a couple of cracker with olive tapenade, 1 piece of chocolate, some Chinese vegetables, and some diet soda.  Hopefully, it won’t blow my weigh-in on Friday.


Over the last few weeks, I have been spending large chunks of time at my sister’s house, trying to get her computers to work together, and — in the case of the 23-year-old desktop, to work at all.

One of the challenges I have had, therefore, is eating at my sister’s.  She is an excellent cook, and has been trying to support me in losing weight.  She has made huge salads for me, measured out pasta so I have the correct portion, bought apples and cut them up or me to munch on while I worked, and generally been very thoughtful about what she offered me.

It’s been something of a major change in our relationship.  Prior to this time, her attitude has been that she was making what she was making and if it didn’t support my program that was my worry.

Now, I’m not faulting her.  Most people really don’t want to go out o their way to build a menu they are making for many people around one person’s food foibles, be they allergies, likes & dislikes, or food programs.

I am, in fact, praising her for being willing to change her habits to support my program.  It is one of the greatest feelings to know just how solidly she has my back this time around.  It is one of the most incredibly empowering feelings I have ever known around this issue.

And make no mistake about it, family support is a very powerful tool for success.

I was watching the news this morning, and heard about the case of Jennifer Livingston, a TV news anchor who some man — who admits to not even watching the show she anchors — took to task for being obese in public.  In part, the complainer said:

“Obesity is one of the worst choices a person can make and one of the most dangerous habits to maintain. I leave you this note hoping that you’ll reconsider your responsibility as a local public personality to present and promote a healthy lifestyle.”

Instead of letting this jerk shame her, she took it public, responding to his note on TV:

“The truth is I am overweight. You can call me fat and yes, even obese on a doctor’s chart. To the person who wrote me that letter, do you think I don’t know that? Your cruel words are pointing out something I don’t see? You don’t know me. You are not a friend of mine. You are not a part of my family, and you admitted that you don’t watch this show so you know nothing about me besides what you see on the outside — and I am much more than a number on a scale.”

As an obese person myself, I wanted to stand up and cheer!  For too damned long people assume that — under the guise of being helpful and concerned — they have the right to tell us how we should look, and how we should feel if we don’t look the way they think is appropriate.

Another aspect is that I know thin people who are totally sickly, and heavy people who can run marathons, or climb mountains.

What the thin fanatics do not seem to get is that people come in all shapes and sizes, as well as in all colors, and that is just fine.  Further, unless their opinion is sought (and there are people who we might ask opinions of), it is neither their business nor their place to offer them.

I do not know a single heavy person who is not acutely aware of their weight and of the stigma that this society places on them for no better reason than their size.  I have heard young women swear that they would not get pregnant because the don’t want to be fat.  And I wonder how twisted we have become, as a society, that if one carries extra poundage one is seen as lazy, stupid, oafish, undesirable, etc.

It was not so very long ago, if you remember, that extra pounds meant that you could afford to eat well, and therefore considered a good thing. One should also remember that some of the most memorable women in history had lush curves, instead of protruding bones.

Most importantly, all of us need to remember that weight does not equate to self-worth.  It is just one of a number of variables that make people what they are, and people who are intent on forcing others to conform to some set body image of their own are nothing more than bullies, no matter how politely they couch their prejudice.

So, today’s questions to look at are:  Have you ever been made to feel bad or worthless because of your weight?  Has someone tried to shame you into losing weight?  How did that feel?  Did you buy into being ashamed of yourself for being obese?  Did you ever speak back to those attempting to enforce their body stereotypes on you?  If so, how did that feel?  Even if you are trying to lose weight, would you stand up for the right of others to be who and what they are?

…Not with the program I’m on, but with my own body.

As some of you know, I have a couple of physical  issues.  This happens as one gets older.  However, two of these issues (and I won’t go into specifics here) can cause me to hold onto weight, or to show a gain even when I have been following my program to the absolute letter.

For the last few months, I have been in a medical trial for one of those two issues, and I must have been on the real medicine, because the problem was virtually eliminated.  The medicine part of that study ended a week ago (the study participation ended yesterday), and since then I have been dealing with a return of the issue.

What this means in terms of my weight loss is that it’s very likely that instead of the relatively large loss most folks experience their first week of program, I am likely to post a gain.

I know it’s not the end of the world.  I have dealt with, and gotten past this very issue (gaining weight when I am doing all the stuff to make myself lose it) over and over again the last time I lost weight.  I know that it’s a problem I just have to accept and deal with, and I will.  But it’s frustrating in the short term, and right now it just feels like it’s not fair that my own body does not function in a way that supports what I’m trying to do.

I do have coping strategies in order.  First, I know that if a gain occurs this week it will be a temporary thing, and that likely I will have a better loss the following week.  This has been what has happened again and again when the issue has risen before, so it’s likely it will continue to be the pattern for this issue.  Second, I can write out my frustration, both here and privately, and own the feelings, even as I take actions that will support my long term goal.  Third, I can just keep putting one foot in front of the other, and doing my program, no matter what the weigh-in number is, since this is a long-term program, not a short term miracle.  Four, I can remember that, while the scale numbers are what they are, they are only guideposts to where I am, not the goal in and of itself, and that there are all sorts of other things I can use to mark my progress.

Yesterday, for example, after my study appointment, I was able to walk a full block to a restaurant, have lunch, walk across the avenue, go to a store, and walk back to a car service without huffing and puffing.  A few weeks ago, I could barely make it from the study office to the car service (about half a block away).  That’s progress.  Real progress.

Anyway, here are the reasons I want to lose weight for the last two days:


  • Get off or lower blood pressure, asthma, and cholesterol medications
  • Be able to walk for fun again
  • Improve general health
  • Become a Weight Watchers leader
  • Get back into the great clothes I got when I last lost weight
  • Feel better about myself


  • Feel better about myself
  • Get off or lower medications
  • walk more, and without a cane
  • Stop further nerve damage from the weight
  • Become a Weight Watchers leader
  • Have a more professional image
  • Have my exterior properly represent who I am

So, my questions for today, raised with the hope of finding new tools for my own toolbox, are:  What are your best strategies for coping with frustration?  For keeping your eye on your goal even in the midst of what seem to be insurmountable obstacles?

Freelancers Union

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