Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Tuesday Weigh In

Weight: 238.8
BMI: 40.99

Well, I'm muddling through.

Last week I weighed in at 239.8, which means I lost exactly one pound this past week. I've been having a pretty rough time at work, to say the least. I've had a very mixed time with the diet, but I'm still managing to pull out more good days than bad ones.

Anyway, this is me checking in to say I'm alive, reasonably well, vaguely sticking with the plan, and will start regularly posting again as soon as I can. Here's to hoping things are better for the rest of you!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Tuesday Weigh In

Weight: 239.8
BMI: 41.16

First of all, YAY. Okay, I know it's actually not that great. It's a 1.2 pound loss week to week. That's far from fabulous. But, at the same time, YAY.

I'd been having a really rough time of late. I just wasn't all that motivated, and as a result, I wasn't putting the effort in to make me get big losses. And as I kept seeing the small losses, I kept getting more and more discouraged.

I spent 42 days in the 240s. That's a lot. In comparison, I spent only 30 days in the 250s and 25 days in the 260s. It means I was losing an average of only 1.67 pounds/week, which is okay, but not where I want the number to be.

It feels so, so nice to be in a new decade on the scale. In this decade, I will finally drop my morbid label. Right now, I feel motivated and inspired. I had a great day yesterday, burning 3000 calories, eating only 1200, and doing an Arabic class to boot. Today, I'll do the same. (Sans, you know, three hours of arabic.)

I've made great progress, and I can make more. Just watch, the 230s are going to fly by. I can feel it.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Scariness Ahead

One thing I occasionally do out of habit, even though I've been comfortably ensconced in my job for about 10 months, is check the employment opportunities at other places where I'd think of working later in my career. Since people typically stay at the job I have for only a year or a year and a half (sometimes 2 years, but that's rare), I had been planning on ramping up a job search come December.

On Friday, however, I saw something moderately close to a perfect job. It's a policy analyst position, in my field, and they're looking for someone with pretty much exactly my experience and education. (Although they do say a BA or MA in economics, and I only have a BA. So, I don't mean to suggest that I'm a slam dunk for it, but I do fit the requirements. This think tank is also one of the rare few that will hire policy analysts without Masters degrees, although there's sort of an understanding that you'll pick one up eventually.) I'd get to publish my own research, and self-direct my own projects. It's also not short term, and I wouldn't feel pressured to look for another job two years down the line. It would be perfect. It's the sort of job I've dreamed about, and it's the sort that doesn't come up all that often. After hemming and hawing a bit on whether it would be rude to apply when I've only been here less than a year--general consensus was that it would probably be close enough to the year by the time they actually finished the hiring process that I could go ahead--it seems like what I ought to do is apply for the job. And I will, probably tonight or tomorrow, assuming I can get over myself long enough to do it.

The issue is, basically, I'm petrified. I wasn't expecting to be looking at jobs when I was still this heavy. And yes, I'm less ridiculously fat than I was when I interviewed for my current job in December of 2008. But I'm still, well, ridiculously fat. I'm morbidly obese. I'm just not even close to where I wanted to be when I started doing interviews.

Being fat makes me less likely to get hired and more likely to get paid less even if I do get the job. That sucks. But honestly, there are so many ways in which I'm just not ready for this job yet. I don't want to be extremely fat in front a whole new group of colleagues, and colleagues I'll be around a while at that. If I were to get the job they'd likely take a picture of me to post on their website, and I'm so not ready for a photo of what I look like now to be the first thing someone who does a google search for me finds. There are so, so, so many ways I'm not ready for this.

But I think I should try to get over myself and apply anyway. It's likely I won't get the job, but if I do it would be great for my career. Sure, there will be fears and challenges and it will suck to start my next job fat, but it's worth it. I just need to face my fears and do it. There's no harm in trying.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

There was pasta . . .

Weight: 244


In yesterday's post, I remarked upon my completion of 100 successful days of weight loss. Last night, however, I found myself veering off course.

Mondays and Wednesdays are hectic days for me. I have Arabic classes immediately after work. Arabic gets out at 9pm, and if I'm good I head to the gym after, meaning I get home around 10:30. Because of this, I bring a second sandwich into work on those days, which I have at the end of the work day right before I leave.

So, on an ideal day, I come home after Arabic and the gym, take a shower, and fall right to sleep. Last night was not ideal.

At work on Wednesday, I was more hungry than usual. I ate all my food relatively early, which I sometimes do and which isn't a problem if I can go right home for dinner. Only, this was a Wednesday, and I couldn't go right home for dinner. So instead I starved through Arabic, starved through my workout, and by the time I went home, I wanted cheese.

And cheese I ate.

A whole 800 calorie ball of fresh mozzarella, mixed in with half a box of pasta (another 800 calories), a box of cherry tomatoes and a good bit of marinara sauce. At the end, I felt sick to my stomach and wildly out of control.

So, yesterday I had a bad day. It showed up, quite visibly, on the scale this morning. I didn't really gain 3 pounds overnight, and I know that's mostly salt and bloat, but ouch.

Today's a new day, and today I'll do better. Enough messing around: I need to be back on track.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The First 100 Days

Today marks the 100th day of my journey. I've been doing this for 100 days. 24000ish hours. 14 weeks and a smidge. Three months and change.

And, I've been doing pretty well. I've lost exactly 37 pounds. That's 13.31% of my starting body weight, and 6.35 points of BMI. It means I've lost an average of 2.59 pounds week, or .37 pounds a day. In my most impressive week, I lost 7.5 pounds. In my least impressive, I lost only .2. I am yet to post a weekly gain.

Losing 37 pounds is equivalent to 129500 calories. That means each day, I've burned an average of 1295 calories more than I took in. When I began, I was a tight size 22, although I did have one suit that was a size 24. Today, I'm a size 18, and the suit jacket I wear to work every day is a size 16.

All that in 100 days.

I've come far, but I have a long way to go. 8 more pounds till I'm not morbidly obese, and 96 more pounds till I'm not overweight at all.

I've learned I'm stronger than I thought, and can walk farther than I might have imagined possible. I've found that there are few things as powerful as simply keeping going.

Each day I don't binge and each day I burn a bit more than I take in is a victory. Each step I walk, each minute I spend on the elliptical and each weight I lift is progress. I am constantly moving closer to my goal and farther from where I was.

The journey is long. It's difficult. I've been challenged. I've been overwhelmed. At times I've fallen. But thus far I've always gotten back up, dusted myself off, and kept going.

This is a numbers game. It's a game of emotion, too, of figuring out who you are, why you're doing this, and how you got this way. But more than that, I think, it's the numbers. Just day in, day out, slowly building up the deficits. There's nothing you can't do if you just keep going.

I've had a great 100 days. Here's to many, many more.

Also, Jenn of Watch My Butt Shrink gave me a Great Shrinking Butt award! Thanks Jenn!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Tuesday Weigh In (and handing out a few awards)

Weight: 241.0

That's a loss of .9 pounds week to week. Not great, but all things considered, I'll take it.

Sue from Did I Just Eat That Out Loud gave me the following:

Rules are: say six things about yourself that your readers wouldn't already know, and then pass it along. While I poured my heart out over the Honest Scrap award, today I'm going to do smaller things:

1. I use proper grammar and spelling in text messages. I did this even back in the day when phones didn't have keyboards and typing a single letter could take a few clicks. I also use language that has no business being in text messages. A few phrases I've recently texted, just to give you a feel for it: "pretending to rummage," "political disagreements aside," "very adept at spreadsheets."

2. I'm terrible at the difference between effect and affect. Every time I think I've finally got it down, I end up messing up.

3. I hate shaving my legs, and still end up accidentally cutting myself all the time. Having smaller legs, and thus less to shave, is one of the things I'm most looking forward to.

4. I'm not entirely on board with quantum physics. The idea that an electron moves from one place to another without moving in between doesn't really make sense, and the general concept of "these are the rules of physics until things get really small" seems a bit like nonsense to me. Now, I don't actually have any proof, but if this ended up being one part of science that later gets proved wrong, I wouldn't be surprised.

5. In that same vein, I'm pretty sure the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle is a cop out. Oh, I said it.

6. This Zoe Williams article on irony from 2003 is still one of my favorite pieces of writing ever. The article has a few typos in it, which bugs me to no end. When I send it to friends, I'll sometimes copy/paste it into the email and fix them.

I'm not going to give it back to Did I Just Eat That Out Loud, even though I'm sorely tempted to because I love her blog that much. Instead, I'm going to pass the award on to a few of my favorite folks who haven't gotten this particular award yet:

Monica at Confessions of a + Sized Girl - I love Monica's blog an inordinate amount. Like, I love it so much people would be like "your amount of love for Confessions is not within reasonable limits."

Jo at 282.5 - I may actually have been able to award this to her first! Seriously, though, I love Jo, and I love her blog, and there's no way I could not award this to her.

S. at Ethereal Endeavor - S. seems amazingly smart. She strikes me as someone who I would hit it off with in real life, and the sort of person who I could lose arguments to on a regular basis. Trust me when I say that's high praise.

Lynn at Actual Scale - Lynn is fabulous. She's given me so much information, so much good advice, so much help, and I just can't say enough how much I appreciate it. Her words of wisdom occasionally fill in as the big sister I never had and sorely need. Seriously, thank you Lynn.

Katie J from Katie J Is on Her Way - Some day, Katie's going to have to be like "Hadley stop copying me" and that will be a sad day indeed. She inspires me so much, and more than she probably knows. She inspired me to get out a bugg, clean out my closet, and do all sorts of great things.

Erin at The XXL Files - Erin is amazing, and her blog is too. Not that many people read it yet, and many more should. It's great, seriously, it's one of those blogs you discover and go "how the hell was I not reading this yet?" Her blog is smart, funny, and touching. You should read it.

This is tough, because honestly, this list could go on and on. There are so many people I'd like to give this to: HD, 266, Jenn, Learning To Be Less, F. McButter, the Kittehs, Jodikris, Jack, I could go on and on. But I'm only supposed to do 6, so 6 I shall do.

Also, the Kittehs hit me with a fabulous new (and super pretty) rule free blog award:

Thank you Orange Kitteh! Thank you Black Kitteh! You two are the bee's knees.

Monday, October 12, 2009

You Don't Eat Anymore, Anyway

What a weekend.


I decided before the weekend that, while I was going to keep control of my eating and obviously not binge, I was going to partake fully in the weekend. Not only was I not willing to announce "I'm on a diet," but I also didn't really want to spoil the mood. Food is important to my family. If I sat there, abstemiously picking at a salad, my parents would be some combination of offended and annoyed. So, I decided that family peace was worth a few extra calories, and hey, I'd get to eat some delicious food in the bargain.

Thursday night, I only saw my parents briefly. As reported, my Dad complimented me on how good I was looking, and my mom said nothing. On Friday, I came home for lunch, and we ate Greek food that my parents had bought at this great place called Greek Deli that I had told them about. We were eating family style, and I had a little bit of a whole bunch of things, and then some. I ate, really, a good plate of food. More than I'd normally eat these days, but certainly still less than I would have in June. It was a lot. If I had to guess, it was maybe 800 or 900 calories, but if you told me it was 1200 I would've believed you. Friday night, we took out dinner from a Southern soul food place called Oohhs and Aahhs. We again ate family style, splitting two entrees and supplementing it with a bit of leftovers from our Greek food earlier. I had about a cup (okay, maybe 1 1/2 cups) of very rich macaroni and cheese, a small bit of meat from the short ribs, and 5 seasoned shrimp. Not exactly starving myself.

As we sat watching the Yankee game (yes, this is why we did takeout), my mom commented that I looked so grown up in the jeans I was wearing. They're just a schlubby pair of size 20 gap jeans, but that wasn't really what she was saying. Essentially, when I started gaining weight for real I stopped wearing real pants. I just started wearing yoga pants and sweat pants and anything XL with a drawstring that let me avoid the fact that I should be shopping in plus size stores. I was a college kid, however, so this worked pretty okay. I picked up a pair of grey size 22 REI hiking pants at one point that I'd ordered online, but really, those were the only pants in my rotation that had the whole zipper/button thing going on. Slightly before I graduated, I did some plus size department store shopping to get an interview suit, and when I got hired for my job I bought several suits since I needed to wear one every day, but before recently I hadn't worn jeans since probably my senior year in high school. So when she said "You look so grown up in those jeans, Hadley," it felt like she meant more than she said.

Saturday we went out to brunch. I got a sandwich that came with fries, and ate half the sandwich and maybe 1/3 of the fries. My parents picked another third. Throughout the day, my mom started making comments. "Well Hadley's the one who would be hungry, she didn't eat much." Things like that. At what my parents called a late lunch but what was, in my opinion, late enough that it was dinner, I had a salami sandwich on some fresh bread we'd just bought. After the movie, my parents wanted dinner, so we went to an afghan restaurant that's an old family favorite for dinner two. (I ate maybe 1/4 cup of rice, a few tablespoons of Dal, 1/3 of a piece of a naan-like afghan bread, and 3 pieces of chicken from a kebab that had maybe 7 pieces.) That night, as my mom and I were standing around after unpacking the bounty from the day and waiting for my dad to park the car, my mom said to me "Your pants are too big." It wasn't a complimentary tone. It felt harsh.

Essentially, here's where the weekend was at this point: I'd woken up and slaved an hour in the gym each morning so I could eat pretty darn close to normally. Granted, I wasn't eating quite as much as I used to, but there was no way I was much under 2000 calories a day. I burned over 3k, so I'm guessing I did all right-ish in terms of calorie deficits, but my god, I was trying.

Sunday morning, I again woke up and went to the gym (my parents were staying at a hotel and thus unaware that I'd been hitting the gym each morning). For brunch, we went to Brasserie Beck, which is a French/Belgian place and possibly my favorite restaurant in DC. The bread basket came out, and I had a piece because, well, the bread there is oh-so-delicious and I think it's okay to have a small piece of bread when the bread's that damn good. "Have another piece of bread, Hadley," my mom said. I did. She then started going on and on about how she wanted to order the petite croissants in addition to her meal but felt too embarrassed. I said some sort of "order them if you want them." She did order them, but she seriously kept talking about how she felt embarrassed to be eating them, and insisted my father and I each have one. (Four came on the platter.) When Brunch came, I ate about 1/3 of my croque monsieur and 1/3 of my fries. About another 1/3 of the sandwich went to my parents tastings, and 1/3 of the fries to my mother. I had enough food that I had to get it wrapped up--my Dad will never let you not wrap up extra food at restaurants, it's one of his things--but my parents had both cleaned their plates.

That afternoon, we did a grocery shopping trip. One of the traditions whenever my parents visit me, is that we go on a big grocery shopping trip and they pick up the bill at the end. We'd discussed the possibility of me making dinner for the family that night, since everyone wanted to stay in again to watch the Yankee game. Normally, I love getting to go grocery shopping with my parents, and stock up on all the $12 cheeses that I rarely buy on my own, as well as staples so I just don't have to buy them down the line. This, however, was different. If I bought too little, my mother would implore me to buy more, but I also didn't want to buy food I wouldn't eat, since that would just be wasteful.

Anyway, as we were wandering around the grocery store, I asked my mom if she wanted to pick out the desert for the night. She turned to me, with this tone, this horrible, horrible tone she uses sometimes and said "what's the point?"

"Well if I'm going to be making dinner at home--"

She cut my off: "You don't eat anymore, anyway, we don't need desert."

Ouch. Ouch. Just ouch ouch ouch. The way she said it, the look in her eyes. It was horrible. I wanted to cry. We split up so she could sit down in the grocery store's cafe while I shopped, and I just wanted to break down in one of the aisles and start crying my eyes out.

I don't get it. I don't get why she's doing this. I don't get why she's being so unsupportive, why it feels like she's trying to hurt me. I was honestly eating a perfectly reasonable amount of food for a non dieting person, and I probably hit close to (or possibly even broke) the 2000 calorie mark every single day. And I'm not even asking for support. I didn't bring it up once. I didn't make any comments. I didn't ask to go to healthy restaurants. I didn't even order particularly healthy dishes. All I'd like is for my mother to not be so incredibly hostile and seemingly angry at me for losing a bit of weight.

I feel defeated. I feel emotionally drained. Not visiting my parents while I was getting my feet on this diet was absolutely the right call. I'd been planning on going home for the whole week of Thanksgiving so I could be home for my birthday as well, but now I'm less certain. I love my parents. I genuinely do. But I just can't deal with my mom being randomly mean to me because I've made the choice to take more responsibility for my health and body.

In other news, Sue (aka Mommy2Joe, who runs the excellent and extremely funny blog Did I Just Eat That Out Loud?) gave me the following:

Thank you Sue! Since I think not *too* many people have it just yet, I do want to make up a list of recipients, but I need to finish up this post before that can happen. So, thanks Sue, and I'll try to hand this one out tomorrow.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Amnesia Spell

I saw my parents last night, as well as today at lunch. The first words out of my Dad's mouth were "you look great, Hadley" and my mom, as expected, remained silent. I smiled, said thank you, and we moved to talking about other things. I missed them so much, and I really am incredibly glad to see them again.

Yesterday in the comments, S. (who by the way runs an awesome blog called Ethereal Endeavor that I'd highly encourage you to check out) said "I wish I could just have the results and then cast some sort of amnesia spell over everyone so they could just forget that I was ever fat." That sentiment, right there, captures exactly what I wanted to say.

For me (and I'd bet for her) it's not that were not willing and able to put the work in, we both are, and we both currently do. I'm okay with the occasional hunger, the workouts, and the slow and steady building of deficits over time. And I get that I spent quite a few years digging myself into this hole, and that it'll take me a reasonable while to get out. I'm okay with that: I accept that I can't get results now, no matter how much I want them. My issue is that even when I get there, the memory will remain.

Lynn (aka Actual Scale, whose eponymous and epicly good blog is here) and a few others rightfully commented that my "if she's on a diet she cares too much about her looks" sentiment evoked vanity, and I realize now that that wasn't the tone I meant to strike. Because if a fat person like me goes on a diet, they're more likely to think "about time" rather than "she must be vain."

Being on a diet doesn't say "I care excessively about my looks." It just doesn't, at least not for people who, like me, could indeed stand to lose a few pounds. But it does say something else, something intensely personal, and something that I'm not necessarily 100% comfortable shouting from the rooftops at any given moment.

What "I'm on a diet" says, essentially, is "I was wrong." It says somehow, along the way, I messed up. Maybe I thought I enjoyed food more than the idea of being thin, maybe I was stressed and let impulse get the better of me, maybe I was just plain lazy, but what I did, was wrong. Being fat was a wrong choice. I messed up. And right now, I'm fixing my error.

That's the knife. That's what I'm afraid to say, afraid for people to notice. But the thing is, it gets much worse.

Saying "I did something bad, but now I'm redeeming myself" isn't really that terrible. Sure, not something you'd necessarily want to inadvertently share with colleagues and casual acquaintances, but it's not the worst thing in the world. You're taking the right path now, you're on the road to redemption now. Sure, you fucked up, but people do, and that's okay, you're slowly picking yourself up.

But what happens if you fail? I don't think I will, but I'm also smart and honest enough to know that it's within the realm of possibility. One commonly heard statistic is that 95% of diets fail. Other times you hear 90%. Either way, those aren't good numbers. Want to be depressed for a bit? Scroll down to the bottom of my blog list and click "show all". What do you think happened to those people who haven't updated in a while? Chances are, they're not chugging along but not posting. And I've only been writing for a bit over three months! If you look at a blog that's been around a bit longer like Learning to Be Less (another great blog that I'd recommend for your reading list), practically the bottom half of her blog list hasn't checked in in over a week. And those are probably just the non-updated ones she couldn't bear to cut. Sometimes you'll stumble on a blog that hasn't been updated in a while, and find that neither have all the blogs in the blogroll. These things happen. Diets die. Blogs fade. Things fail.

So what you're saying, if you fail, to all those people who sort of know you, who you see from time to time and smile at and say hello is "There is something deeply wrong with me. I know it. I tried to change. But I failed. I failed, and I am failing every day." And that, that is what scares me.

Part of it also is, that I don't know if I'm really at the point where I'm ready to say something was deeply wrong, or even wrong at all, when I was choosing to get (and stay) fat. I don't want to say there's something wrong with someone who is fat and chooses to stay that way. If you want to make and eat delicious foods, and eat more of them then society says you should, I'm okay with that being your choice. Right now, I am choosing to not stay fat because there are currently things I find more compelling, with a big giant flashing CAREER being the one that tips the scales in favor of thinness. There are good, logical reasons why I'm changing my body, but I certainly do realize it's a trade-off. And if someone's preferences are slightly different than mine, and if for them the extra time from not working out and the extra cheesecake for deliciousness is worth a bit more, that's okay. I don't think there's something all that wrong with someone who chooses to stay fat.

But, the girl with the cubicle by the elevator, or the guy who works the front desk, they don't know that. And the sort of friends, the cousins, the social acquaintances, all the people who will pick up on my not-so-rapidly shrinking butt, they're not going to see that. All they're going to see is "guess she finally realized how fat she was, it's a good thing she's changing it." And if, just if, my butt ends up growing bigger again, they're going to see "well, I guess she lost control again."

And that's why I, too, really, really, really wish I had an amnesia spell.

What, for you, tipped the scale that made you want to lose weight now? Do you think you've implicitly judged your past actions (and past fatness) by losing weight? What do you think losing weight says about you? And if you were to fail, what do you think that would say?

Some business:

Per request, I've added a contact email up by about me. While comments will probably get my attention more quickly, I do check that email addy every day or two. If you ever have something private and need a relatively quick reply, an email and a "I sent you an email" comment will probably get you the rapidest response.

Lynn of Actual Scale, not too many days ago, gave me an Over the Top award. Thanks Lynn! I added it to my sidebar. I also finally got around to adding my Honest Scrap award. Quite a few of you bestowed that honor upon me (for which I'm quite thankful), and I apologize for the laziness in putting it up. I'll do my best to collect the names of all the people who gave it to me and add them to the sidebar.

And, last but not least, there were a higher than usual number of new folks who commented yesterday, so welcome! If I haven't already, I'll be stopping by your blog--if you have one--shortly.

Have a great weekend, all!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Parental Visit, Laced with Fear

I just wanted to thank you all for the wonderful get well soon wishes. I'm feeling much better, albeit still a bit blah.

So, my parents are coming into town tonight. They'll be here all weekend. It will be the first time I've seen them since mid-July, when I was hovering just under the 270 mark. And, I'm pretty damn nervous about it. Mostly, I have a lot of questions about what's going to happen.

First off, will they notice? If I'm honest with myself, my guess is there's a good chance they'll notice. I've lost 13% of my weight over all, and 10% since the time I last saw them. That 10% mark is supposed to be a visible one, and I'd say there's a better than even chance they'll pick up on it. After all, when I last saw them I was wearing a size 22. These days I'm wearing 18s and 16s. When I compare my size 22 jacket and size 16 jacket, the difference is pretty, well, sizable.

And, of course, if they do notice, will they say something? Well, there I'm just not sure. That's not entirely true. If he notices, my Dad will almost certainly say some sort of "You look so nice, Hadley." I don't think I'd get something as blunt as "Have you lost weight?" for which I'm quite grateful. My mom's less likely to comment, if she notices, but it's not entirely outside the realm of possibility.

Okay, so here's the thing: I love my parents. I'm very close to them. I haven't seen them since July, and generally I see them every month or six weeks. The not seeing them was entirely at my behest: I could've gone up to NYC at any point, or encouraged them to come down earlier. There's a reason I haven't seen them more recently, and it's because I didn't want to.

Again, let me emphasize, I love my parents. I've missed them a lot. I've felt quite a few times on this journey like I needed to just go home and see them for a weekend. But now, that I'm about to see them, I'm filled with dread.

I don't want them to know. I don't, don't, don't want them to know. I don't want them to notice. I don't want them to ask. I'm petrified. I am 36 pounds and 94 days into this journey, and I haven't told a single soul. I'm so, so, so terribly scared.

I hate the idea of people knowing I'm on a diet. HATE it.

Back in the day, I used to be incredibly into fashion. I used to be into shopping, being popular, being mean. All the superficial, the New York City, the money, the silly. That used to be my life. When I was 16, my picture was in TeenVogue. I cared so, so, so much about looks.

And then I stopped. I became serious, intellectual. I purposefully went to a college with the unofficial motto "where fun goes to die". Because I was an oh-so-serious person interested in saving the world and changing things and math and economics and serious things. I chose the college I chose specifically as a repudiation of all things New York. I hated what I was at 15, and I wanted to run away from that. (For the record, yes, with a bit more maturity I realize that there's room for some of the fun and that things don't have to be quite so serious. If you can't tell, I'm not quite as into being a super serious person as I was at 18.) And honestly, being fat was part of that. It was part of saying "I don't care about your superficial world. I don't want to be a part of it anymore."

And the thing is, I still don't, really. If you told me that I could lose weight with no one noticing, but still get the benefits of health and freedom of motion/fitting places, I'd do it. The thought of people commenting to each other on "Oh does it look like Hadley's lost some weight" drives me absolutely insane. Sometimes I'll say, oh it would be a nice bonus to be hot, but honestly, relative to everything else, I could care less. And half the days I don't even want it. I'm not doing this to be pretty. I'm not doing this to be beautiful. I'm not doing this to be noticed. I just want to be able to live and have the career I want with size not being an issue. I don't really care if I'm ugly as sin so long as it doesn't hold me back from the things I actually want to do.

I'm scared my family is going to notice. I don't want them to. I don't want anyone to. I am just so, so, so scared.

I have to accept that if I keep going along people are going to notice. They're probably going to comment, too. And I'm going to hate people looking at my body. And I'm going to hate people thinking that I must be on a diet because I care too much about how I look. But I need to keep reminding myself it's worth it.

And it is. Being fat puts me at a disadvantage applying to jobs. Being fat could cause me to fail the Foreign Service medical exam, and if I fail that my dream career is dead. There are also things I love (skiing! swimming! etc) that I either can't do or feel like I can't do because of my weight. My health and my career are worth it. Changing my life for the better is worth the fact that people are going to notice my body changes.


Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Tuesday Weigh In

Well, I'm sick as a dog and swamped at work, but I'd hate to miss a weigh in:

Weight: 241.9
BMI: 41.52

I'm down 1.6 pounds week to week.

I feel yucky, but I'm on the right track. I didn't put my all in this week, and it showed. On Friday, I ate almost 1500 calories, and on Saturday I was just under 1800. The other days I hewed closely to my 1200-1300 range, although I confess that yesterday I only hit the 1100 mark.

Tomorrow, I'm going to get back in the gym. I'm going to eat well. And for the love of god, I hope I'm feeling better.

Here's to hoping things are better for the rest of you.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Why are we obese?

So I do policy work in DC. Although most of my day is Stata and spreadsheets, staying up on the latest thinking is part of the job. Right now, there's a lot of very interesting thinking about obesity. I read so, so much of it, and I think about it a lot. I want to start working through a few of my thoughts about it. Essentially, my goal is to dig through some of the leading thinking about obesity, discuss whether it feels true to me, and hopefully hear back from you guys about whether these seem true in your life.

James Fallows of The Atlantic has recently had a really interesting series on obesity. (I can't find a unifying tag on his blog, but most of it is on the front page here.) I may talk about a few other of the letters at some point, but I wanted to start off with this one:

It is one thing for a successful, financially comfortable, socially accepted and respected person who has multiple things happening every day that are pleasurable (golf, driving a nice car, nice home, stylish clothing, success at work, interesting social events, kids doing well, planning vacations, etc) to take just one pleasurable aspect of life (overeating) and sacrifice some of that pleasure for the good result of losing weight.

Now, for people struggling financially and socially, trying to just get through the day and keep their lives together to varying degrees...their meals are often the only consistently happy and pleasurable events they can count on each day.

Obviously, a generalization. But, if one gets up and faces a day with a tedious and unfulfilling job, not much money to spend on anything but necessities, and no "fun" things ahead, how much more difficult it is for that person to also think ahead to a day of denying themselves the pleasure of their mealtimes....

(All the ellipses are original.) Another Atlantic blogger, Ta-Nehisi Coates, expounded on the idea, and his experience with it. I'm not going to block quote the post, but it's an interesting read. Coates picked up the attention of the Washington Post's Ezra Klein, who brought the situation away from the personal to the academically grounded:

This reminds me of Charles Karelis's "The Persistence of Poverty." The basic argument is that the wealthy misunderstand the mental state of the poor, which leads them to make conceptual errors when creating policies to address poverty, or, in this case, obesity. Think of a bee sting, he advises. If you have a single bee sting, you'll go buy some salve to take away the pain. Now imagine three bee stings, a sprained ankle, a burn, a cut, a crick in your neck, a sore throat, and arthritis. Does the bee sting matter anymore?

Karelis argues that this is more the situation of someone in poverty. Obesity is bad, but it may be just one of many bad things. Overdue bills. A horrible part-time job. Endless commuting time on the bus. A mother with diabetes. A child running with the wrong crowd. A leaking roof. In that scenario, slowly reversing your weight gain might be a good idea, but it hardly makes a dent in the overall crumminess of the conditions. It won't replace pain with pleasure. So you do things that are surer to replace pain with pleasure, like have a delicious, filling, satisfying, salty, fatty meal. That may make your overall situation more unpleasant, but then, making that situation pleasant didn't seem like an option in the first place.

And this, to me, screamed true, true true. Not just about poverty (which I've been fortunate enough not to experience) but with the other stresses in life. When I was in college, terribly stressed, depressed and constantly freaking out about what I was going to do for a career, losing weight just didn't make sense. I had all those other terrible things, and it just made so much more sense to do the things that made me happy now, that helped get me through the day. Even when I started my job in DC and was just getting set up here, I don't think I could've done it. There was too much else to stress about. Now, though, my little world is relatively under control, and I have the mental energy and willpower to devote to fixing my weight. I can work on curing this.

How do you guys feel about this theory? Do you think the success you're having now or failures you've had in the past are related to all the other things going on in your life? Or do you think this theory is a bit namby pamby, and feel like weight loss success or failure is independent of other things?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Boredom and the Excitement

As I sat this morning thinking of post topics, I found myself circling back to something Mommy2Joe brought up a few days ago. Namely, that losing weight is incredibly, incredibly boring. She aptly described it as a "huge, slow, pain in the ass." And, honestly, she's right. Losing weight is one of the most boring things I've ever done. I've conquered the basics, the eating less and the moving more. I'm consistently dropping pounds. I've got it down. But, when you consider how fat I am, how far I've got to go, we're looking at almost a year just to get down to a normal weight range. And that's if I keep dropping 2 pounds a week. I've just got week in, week out of denying myself treats, pushing myself to the gym, and just slowly, slowly, slowly building up calorie deficits. My Tuesday weigh in was 243.5. That means I have 98.5 pounds to go till a normal weight. That means I need to build up a 344,750 calories deficit. Like, holy shit. That's a LOT. This is going to take a long time. A long, very boring, very same, very challenging time.


The flip side to this, of course, is that losing weight can be so amazingly awesome at times. Going to the scale in the morning and seeing the drops? Seriously, there are few feelings as good as a well deserved bigger than expected loss. The concept, itself, is epic. We're battling metaphorical demons and literally saving our own lives.

And everywhere you go, there are milestones, gigantic monuments to your accomplishments. Each pound, each point of BMI, each percent of body weight. The smaller pants, the smaller shirts, the smaller everything. The not getting winded walking up stairs, and walking and running and moving faster than you ever have before. Honestly, at this point if you told my rather critical mind that I'd be able to fly by the end of this journey, part of me would half believe you. I'm doing things I'd never thought I'd be able to do so much sooner than I thought I'd be able to do them. Where else do you get to accomplish so much?

Losing weight is a fabulous, exhilarating, exciting and awe inspiring journey. It's also one of the most boring things I've ever done.