Monday, April 30, 2007

I Can Never Be Too Rich Or Too Thin

I was visiting with my family this weekend, and I was repeatedly reminded how I am the family failure. Even though I own my own successful business now and own a home now, they never let me forget that my first attempt at running a small business failed and I ended up having to file personal bankruptcy because I got divorced, and my business imploded several years later.

This weekend, my father was teasing me about my weight. It's definitely a case of the pot calling the kettle black, as my dad and stepmother are both obese. My stepmother is dieting, and I think she's joined Overeaters Anonymous. She's become weird about food, though, and has decided that there are certain foods she simply will not eat.

My skinny younger sister is in town. She's still in the post-pregnancy weight loss phase, and of course my parents had nothing but praises for her. Her youngest is 18 months old, and she's still nursing.

"You look so great!" they all exclaimed, while shooting me several eyefuls of disapproving looks.

I know, though, that I've always been too fat in their eyes. When I was on the high school swimming team and weighed 118 lbs, I was still too fat.

Yesterday, I ended up joining my family on a museum trip. I hadn't planned on going, but when they stopped by the house I changed by mind at the last minute. Because I wasn't planning to join them, I didn't get breakfast yet. I hadn't eaten since about 3:00 PM the previous day. We didn't eat while we were at the museum, and because of the long car trip I opted not to have a snack while everyone was eating in the car. I had my gallbladder removed a number of years ago, and sometimes eating on a very empty stomach will trigger horrible cramps and diarrhea. I didn't want to risk needing a toilet where none was available.

We ended up going out to dinner, and because of potty stops for the kids and snack stops for everyone else, we didn't eat until close to 5:30. I was starved, so I ordered an appetizer, as I'd had nothing except for water for more than 24 hours. I offered to share, but there were no takers, and I endured the disapproving stares when I started eating. I boxed half of my entree as soon as it arrived, and got more disapproving looks.

In their eyes, I'll never be too rich or too thin.

Saturday, April 28, 2007

To Tell or Not to Tell

The other day, my partner (who is also trying to lose weight) and I had a conversation about whether or not we should tell people we are dieting. I've expressed the opinion that I would rather not tell people we are working on a weight loss program. My reasoning is that, if I start telling people, then every time I eat I'll be under an additional layer of scrutiny.

Dieting, unfortunately, requires a certain level of obsession about food and exercise. It doesn't matter what program you are on, you have to track something, whether it be calories, exchanges, portion sizes, or points. Did you get your exercise in for the day? Did you drink enough water? Telling friends, family and co-workers means that every time you sit down to eat something, you'll inevitably have someone asking you, "should you be eating that?"

Ugh. It's bad enough that I have to track what I'm eating. I don't need everyone else nagging and giving advice. I'd rather everyone be oblivious until they start noticing I'm losing weight. I'd much rather someone say, "Wow, you look great, have you been dieting?" than have to listen to constant nagging about the food choices I make. The goal is, of course, to make healthier choices overall. I just don't want someone pestering me every time I've decided to have a bowl of ice cream or a slice of pie.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Weekly Weigh-In #1

Although I haven't been working at this for a full week, I've decided that I will weigh-in and record my measurements every Friday. Not surprisingly, I'm very out of shape. I have a scale that uses electrical impedance to estimate body fat and a whole other array of measurements, so I'll include them here:

Weight 254.2 lbs
Body Fat 49.8%
Body H20 35.6%
Bone Mass 8.1 lbs
Muscle Mass 49.1 lbs
Ideal Weight 172.4 lbs*

* I believe that the weight calculation being used here is the People's Choice Idea Weight formula and not the Metropolitan Life height and weight tables. According to the Met Life tables, I should weigh somewhere between 111-124 lbs. Based on BMI, a healthy weight range for me would be between 104-137 lbs.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Simple Math

1 lb of fat = 3,500 calories.

The Harris-Benedict Equation to find my BMR:

h = 655.0955 + (9.5634 * w) + (1.8496 * s) - (4.6756 * a)

Where h = calories, w = weight in kilograms, s = size in centimeters, and a = my current age.

My equation:

655.0955 + (9.5634 * 116.57) + (1.8496 * 157.478) - (4.6756 * 41) = 1869.4727468

1,869 calories * 7 days/week = 13,083

I'd like to lose 2 pounds a week.

13,083 calories/week - (3,500 * 2) = 6,083

6,083 / 7 days = 869 calories per day.

Oh forget it, an ant probably eats more than that.

Let's try again:

1,200 calories a day + exercise.

We'll see how it goes.


There are a lot of reasons why, after so long, I've decided to do something about my weight. For the longest time, it really didn't matter. It wasn't getting in my way, it wasn't stopping me from doing the things I wanted to do, and I really didn't care what other people thought.

Things have changed. The fat is starting to get in my way:
  • My left knee is starting to make a funny popping sound when I walk. It doesn't hurt, but I worry it is a sign of future painful problems.

  • A while back I took a long nature walk that involved climbing down a sandy hill with some friends. On the return trip, I wasn't sure I was going to make it back up the hill.

  • I want to go swimming, but I can't find a bathing suit that fits.

  • I want to go horseback riding, but I'm afraid I'll break the poor animal's back.

  • My butt doesn't fit in plastic lawn chairs very comfortably.

  • My stomach is getting so big that I can feel it just barely starting to touch my lap when I sit.

  • I know a woman who is hugely obese and has severe diabetes. She's barely able to walk, her legs are swollen to twice their normal size, and she's losing her sight. She has to live in a convalescent home in her mid-60s because she's in such bad shape. There, but for the grace of G-d, go I.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Starting Over

I have lost count of how many times I've been on a diet. I started when I was in high school. I wasn't fat, really, but my mother convinced me that I was. When I was 16, I weighed about 115 pounds. Mom thought I should weigh closer to 100, and so I dieted. I tried the Cambridge diet, the all-meat diet, and the grapefruit diet. I lost weight and put it back on like a yo-yo. I never got close to my desired weight, and my senior year in high school I had to wear the same three skirts and four tops left over from my junior year because my mother wouldn't buy me any new clothing, and I wasn't allowed to have a job (for fear my grades would dip) to earn my own money.

I wasn't fat. I wanted to weigh less, but I really wasn't fat.

In college, I dieted more. I tried Nutri-System, Weight Watchers, counting calories. I'd lose weight, then gain a few more points. I exercised like crazy -- I ran or swam every day of the week. I was hungry all the time. I would dream of eating ice cream drenched in caramel sauce.

I've dieted, on and off, for the majority of my adult life. Since college, I've been on Weight Watchers, Slim Fast, you name it. Each time, I'd lose weight and then gain it all back plus more.

By the time I was in my 20's I was a little bit overweight. By my 30's, I was fat. By my 40's, I was obese.

I weigh 257 pounds. I'm 5'2" tall.

So now I am starting over, again, hoping that somehow this time, things will be different. This time I'm counting calories and exercising. I've got a food diary/calorie counter in my PDA, and we'll see how things go. I'm not pretending to be overly optimistic, but this is something that really has to be done.

For the first time in my life, my weight is getting in my way and it's time to do something about it.