Saturday, August 04, 2007

Weight and Body Issues (and other stuff, because I'm ADD-ish like that)

Well, I told Scott I'd address this in another post, so here I am.

Addressing it.

In another post.


First though, I've been visiting a ton of blogs by people who are much much better at this writing thing than I am. Like, say, Scott's blog. Or the Queen of Dysfunction, who is now totally my idol in blogging about family matters and such. That chick knows how to bring the funny. Seriously. And although I know it's difficult to contemplate, I think she has a better grasp on profanity than even I possess.

I have an English degree (which I've mentioned once or twenty times here). All I can think when I look at this blog is that my professors must have been on some serious crack.

And then there are all the clearly focused blogs, like Mostly True Stories (labor and delivery), or any one of Angel's blogs (chronic headaches, weight loss, hurricanes, quilting, and crafting, in that order), or Stan's blog, which chronicles his adventures in Chantix land and the aftermath thereof.

Me? I'm all over the place. Rants? Got 'em. Family silliness? Got it. Bleeding forever without dying? It's here. Smoking? Yep. And now the quitting smoking and Chantix stuff.

I'd link it, but, well... you can find it in the archives if you're interested.

And to all this mish-mash, I'm adding weight loss issues.


So if any of you come here hoping for some kind of consistency in the nature of the posts, I'm very sorry for disappointing you.

I mean that sincerely.

Hell, sometimes I wonder why I do this myself. I'll notice readership going up, get all freaked out, and wonder if I should even keep inflicting this mess on a small but slowly-increasing segment of the unsuspecting public.

But then I screw my head on straight and figure, well, I like blogging. I liked it before anyone even read this damn thing (I have two other ancient blogs to attest to this). And apparently, it's good enough for some folks to read.

I just question your judgment and mine in my more dark and introspective moments ;)


Anyway, on to weight issues!

I was always a very skinny little kid. Or slender. Whatever. When I was four I had my tonsils out and scared my parents out of about ten years' growth by my impersonation of an ambulatory skeleton for about six months after the surgery.

Mom was very conscious about feeding her family healthy food. I remember once in mid-elementary school we were learning about what happens when food goes bad. It must have been related to a book the teacher was reading us or something. But anyway, one night Mom was serving us meatloaf and I spied something, uhm, "off" in my slice of loaf.

"Mom! This meat is bad! It's... it's... green."

"That's just a spice, sweetie."

Uh-huh. But gullible child that I was, I swallowed her lie.

And the freaking peas that she'd ground up and put into my Holy and Sacred ketchup-drenched meatloaf.

I hate peas. Hate them with a passion unequalled. I came home from class one day to find my husband (who is well aware of my hatred of these particular legumes) feeding our precious-and-then-only son this vile vegetable.

The little ingrate was gulping them down with great relish.

Since that time, when the man cooks? He makes peas as the vegetable. And I, conscientious mother that I am (I will set a good example, dammit), shovel them into my mouth in HUGE spoonfuls, hold them carefully on my tongue, and then swallow them down whole with a huge gulp of whatever liquid I'm happening to drink that night.

If it's wine, I'm good and buzzed by the time I have to do the dishes.

When #2 son was born, I stared the nasty beast of engorgement dead in the eye. What was the solution to the agony of my breasts? Frozen. Freaking. Peas.

God, I can still smell them thawing/cooking on my chest. I saved them for after-care for my husband's vasectomy-that-has-yet-to-happen.

I probably should toss them, along with the frozen breastmilk that's been gathering dust for four years.

And then there's the placenta from Son #2's birth, which we really meant to plant/ bury somewhere. But we didn't, and as it's a biohazard we're supposed to take it back to the birth center to dispose of it. So there it sits, taking up room in my freezer... oish.


Brought up eating healthily, even if slightly against my will, skinny kid, blah blah blah... which brings me to high school.

I was in the high school orchestra with Angel's husband. Our director was an interesting individual. One time I was wearing a skirt that clearly showed my rather narrow waist (it was twenty-two inches back in the day), and our conductor said, "Do you ever eat?"

Uhm, yeah. Actually, I did. I had a rather healthy relationship with food. My parents had given up trying to serve me peas -- it helped that I ate just about any vegetable that wasn't a pea -- and when it came to hunger, I ate. When I wasn't hungry anymore, I didn't eat.

You know, reasonable stuff like that.

But with this being orchestra, and with various evening performances and eating afterward, it was like some sort of eagle eye was upon me.

We'd go to Pizza Hut and I'd eat a slice of pizza or two, and all I'd hear was, "Good lord, eat girl! You're going to waste away to nothing!"

No, no I wasn't. Yes, I had a very narrow waist, but that isn't where I gain my weight. First place any excess weight goes on me is to my thighs and butt (the song Baby Got Back was so written for me). Saddlebags are the bane of my existence. In a full skirt with a narrow waist, sure I looked like a toothpick. But put me in jeans, shorts, or a straight skirt and it was very VERY clear I wasn't skeletal.

Still, I was at that whole "craving approval" stage, so I ate on command.

Over time, I got used to eating more than I should, just so no one would look at me with that "She's anorexic, we must feed and/or institutionalize her" expression in their eyes. Luckily, at that point my metabolism kicked all kinds of ass, and I stayed within the 122-127 range.

Unfortunately, over time my metabolism slowed. And over time my stress increased, and I dealt with stress by cramming more and more food down my gullet. After all, eating gained me approval. Approval felt good. Ergo, stress was relieved by eating!

Brilliant, eh?

Still, I managed to hold my weight around 140 or 150 up until I hit my early thirties. I wasn't totally happy at those weights, but my husband met me at 140 and thought I was the most beautiful creature he'd ever met (have I mentioned how insanely brilliant he is recently?), so I was content.

But then I went back to work. And although working was definitely a stress reliever in some ways (I didn't have to potty train my second son -- hah!), it brought stress in other ways, especially the whole "Dealing with clients who are getting divorced/ dealing with CPS/ looking at prison sentences" thing.

And so I ate, and ate more. Because it felt good.

Then I was out trying to buy something to wear for my brother's May 2006 wedding. Holy cow, everything I tried on made me look fat!

I was wearing my size 18 "immediately post-partum" jeans by then, but still, they were clothes I already owned, so I hadn't really paid attention to the increasing girth of my body.

The pictures came back from the wedding. Ouch. I'd weighed myself sometime within relatively recent memory and had seen that I was weighing about 180. Not good.

But that "recent memory" had been several months in the past.

Finally, in August of 2006, it happened. That "Eureka!" moment. The moment I knew I'd crossed the line from "rather curvier than usual" into "fat."

It was a Saturday. I was at Publix with my kids. My elder son got on the scale to weigh himself -- it's a hobby of his -- and then I figured I might as well see the bad news.

I didn't have to see it. The dear boy broadcast it for the entire store.

"Mommy, you weigh 200! Isn't that quite a lot?"


"Yes, honey, it is quite a lot."

My mother had noticed my weight gain more than I had up until that point, and had said that she'd pay for a month of NutriSystem for me if I wanted to try it out. She wasn't pushy (she's never pushy with stuff like that), but she let me know the offer was there.

I e-mailed her the following Monday and let her know I was ready.

I stayed on NutriSystem for three months, and lost 27 pounds on it. After that point, I decided to do it on my own. And besides, Lean Cuisine is really rather tasty, in a "good Lord, would they just give me MORE FOOD" kind of way.

So since that time I've been counting calories, and have attempted to keep my daily intake between 1200 and 1500. If I go over it, eh, it happens. And if I'm under 1200, I eat until I've made it to 1200. I don't want to totally freak my body into starvation mode or anything.

Besides, cheese is really really good at 10:00 at night. Hee.

So now, about a year later, I weigh between 159 and 160. It's hugely different from the 200, but it's still a far cry from the 150/140 I was accustomed to, and even farther from the 122-127 range I used to enjoy.

I don't need to ever hit the 120's again. But I wouldn't mind dipping into the 130's. So I keep going, keep counting, and keep hoping.

So anyway, that's my whole "Amanda Gains and Then Loses Massive Amounts of Weight" story. Yeah, it's "only" forty pounds, but folks, it's FORTY FREAKING POUNDS. That's EIGHT 5 lb. sacks of flour.

That's the weight of my four-year-old.

So hell yeah, it's an accomplishment. And I'll shout it to the rooftops.

And that, dear readers, is why I'm panicked about gaining weight while I quit smoking. It's not totally rational, but I hope this makes it a bit more understandable.


Mauigirl said...

Congratulations on losing 40 pounds! That's fantastic! I have a similar story to you - when I was little I was skinny; I was born with a slight heart defect so my parents always worried that I wasn't thriving properly. When I was little I had to sit at the table till I finished my meal. Well, now I never leave a thing on my plate and my body shows it. I've dieted before and lost weight but it always comes back.

Also, I identify with what you said about the blogging about various subjects! As you know, I'm in the same place - a little bit of everything. I figure as long as we mix it up, everyone will find something they tune into. I could start separate blogs for each type of subject matter but I've already discovered how hard it is to do 2 blogs let alone more...

maggie's mind said...

You are awesome, and reading your blog is going to be fun. And I think 40 pounds is incredible.

Like I said, walking has helped me at least maintain without really changing my diet much. The trick for me, though, is that because I can be incredibly lazy at home, yet I need no excuse to walk away from my desk of at work (and used to when I smoked, anyway), I walk with the ladies around the time I would previously have been smoking. On this walking issue, I seem to have more of a sense of commitment to women I barely know than to myself somehow (sad, but true), and I'm glad to take a break - perfect!

Scott said...

Very entertaining post!

Maybe it's just silly ol' me, but I was far mor horrified about the placenta and breast milk in your freezer than the peas. I actually like peas. They don't taste like a whole lot, so I'll nuke a bowl of them and then melt some butter and throw a spice or two on 'em and they taste great.

Yes, 40 pounds is a very nice accomplishment!

An old boss of mine--a tallskinny--used to wear 24x40 pants. That boggled my mind. Then I read your post. Just for the heck of it, I got a tape measure and arranged it in a section, so I could look down into the space where lots of stuff is supposed to be. You know, like L5, gut, aorta, a subcutaneous layer (which I suspect was missing in your case), etc. Anyway, looking into the tiny oval, I saw that there really wasn't much room.

I don't know your husband, but I suspect he'd rather have you curvy than emaciated!

Even if you gain a few pounds back, I think it is more important that you quit smoking. Once cigs are no longer a craving, then you can beat the weight back. Because losing pounds is probably much easier than kicking the cigs. How is that Chantix and your iron will going, by the way?

Nice! A degree in English! Mine's in Journalism, but I wish I had either done English or Nursing back then!

fishwithoutbicycle said...

I love random blogging. My posts have no thread either. A mish mash too. That's what life is like right :-)

No placentas in my freezer though. Only vodka ;-)

Amanda said...

Thanks, Maui! And you know, I briefly flirted with the idea of starting up a specific blog for the whole "quitting smoking" thing, but, nah...

Maggie, thank you, on both counts! I really should walk. My treadmill misses me.

In fact, I really should exercise, period. I'm not really into moving, though... sigh.

Gotta get over that. Hopefully I'll get more motivated with increased lung capacity?

Scott, thanks! And actually, in the 120's I wasn't emaciated. Bear in mind that even though I'm 5'7", I'm a very very small-boned person. Tiny wrists. Itty bitty bones. Meaning that even weighing 127, let alone 135 there's definitely "padding" on the body.

But you are correct in that my husband doesn't want me to look like I'm going to break if he touches me. And fortunately? He doesn't mind a prominent tushie.

Good thing, because this one isn't going anywhere. Back when I was 16 I had pneumonia. My weight dropped to 108 1/2 pounds. I was hollow cheeked, flat chested, and STILL I had these thighs and this butt.

There are some things Mother Nature intends me to have, obviously.

And fishwithoutbicycle, quite right!

Shoot, I'm still snickering over the "Gordon" mention in your blog. Hee!

AtYourCervix said...

Great job on your weight loss Amanda! ^5 girl!

Oh, to fishwithoutbicycle - can you share some of that vodka?

Dodi said...

I followed your link from a friend's blog. I think quitting smoking is something you should be so proud of! I have a harder time losing weight than I did quitting smoking - but my life was so different back then!!

Good luck, and I'll be back to look through your previous blogs. If this one was any indication, you're an entertaining writer.

Amanda said...

AYC, thanks! Oh, and I want some of fishwithoutbicycle's vodka too, LOL.

Dodi, thank you for dropping by and for those kind words! My posts vary from day to day on their tone. My basic standard for a blog post is that it be semi-coherent, have most of the words spelled correctly, and that it contain at least one sentence fragment.

You're welcome back anytime :)

Angel said...

YEAH!! 40 pounds is AWESOME!! And you should be damn proud of it.

I am sorry that people just wouldn't leave you alone. Reminds me of my household growing up. Extremely thin sister heard "eat more!" Curvier me heard "eat less!" And really, looking back of pictures of me then, I'm like "What the hell was everyone complaining about???" I looked good (heh, enough to catch a husband LOL)

And I love the content of your blog. Me, I'm so OCD, but my chronic fatigue keeps me from practicing it too much IRL. So I organize my blogs ;) You have a lovely way of keeping it all together and coherent (and you do TOO sound like an English major!)

I am here for you anytime of course. I know too well how the fear of regaining scares you (I'm down probably 40 lbs from my highest weight).

Oh yeah, and I did ditch the last of the breastmilk years ago, but still have the placenta in my freezer LMAO. Heh, packrat + OCD.

Mauigirl said...

If it helps at all, I lost 25 lbs. AND quit smoking at the same time. (I'm compulsive like that.) So it can be done! You don't have to gain weight if you quit smoking. If you think of it as a new healthy phase of your life you can make sure the food is healthy while your body clears out the smoke. Unfortunately my resolve didn't last in the food department; but the quitting smoking is not what made it come back. I kept it off for quite a long time after that.

Amanda said...

Maui, it is good to know :) The only thing I'm chowing down on more at this point is gum. Lots and LOTS of gum.

I need to exercise. I'm thinner, but I'm definitely not fit. Time to scrape off the treadmill and my exercise bands again...