Ebony’s Journey to ONEderland; “Gym Pimps”, “Acceptable Gains” and my first weigh in

 

                So, last week when I posted I had gone to my first weight watchers meeting, fully embarking on my weight loss journey. I have now been a week into it, and I am proud to report some positive results.  One full week into the program, combined with 5 days in the gym resulted in a weight loss of 7.2 pounds!! Considering this week I ate beef jerky and pickles (which have low values on the WW scale, but are LOADED with sodium) and Mother Nature decided to pay me a visit is I’m thrilled.  I honestly would have been thrilled with any weight loss, but 7 is a great start. I know I won’t always lose that much, but every pound and every ounce will add up until I am at my goal.

                As I said in the beginning, I went to the gym this week 5 times, 3 of which were to go to water aerobics. One of the things I like about LA Fitness is that they have great PM classes for the after work crowd, things like Zumba, Hip Hop, Belly Dancing, all different kinds of ways for a person to get fit so they don’t get in a rut. But,I’m starting out slowly and sticking to the pool until I get a better amount of resistance and stamina going. Anyway, as I was leaving the gym I asked one of the front desk receptionists about who they had in the NBA finals, I said OKC-even if they beat my beloved Lakers-in 6, he had OKC in 4. While we were making this small chatter, it happened. I was approached by a “gym pimp”. Now before any personal trainers or fitness advocates flood my blog with hatemail saying I must not be committed to weight loss if I got offended that I was approached, let me clarify. I have no problem with personal trainers, I actually am friends with one and think they provide a great service. The guy I am referring to is a specifically aggressive type of personal trainer who makes the immediate assumption that because I am overweight that A)I have no idea of how big I am B) My self esteem is in such a horrid state that I will gobble up any attention I receive from the opposite sex and C)He can capitalize on B and make money off of me. So in that attitude the gym pimp proceeded to tell me that he could “take me to the promised land” (I thought that’s why Jesus Christ came to earth)and “make me one of his before and after transformations and get me on the sexy tip” ( I do have my share of interested suitors sir, don’t get it twisted) and all I would have to do to begin this amazing transformation is pay him a starter fee of $140 and then $90 a month after that.  When I look at him like he was nuts, he went on and on and on about what he had done with a client and how he could get 150lb off me in about a year (funny, he’s a trainer who doubles as a bariatric surgeon?) and how I needed to get this weight off me because I was limiting the years off my life (NO SHIT Sherlock). But, the final straw was when he asked me what my weight was, on that note, I smiled sweetly, replied “A Lady Never tells” and walked out the door.  This was not the first time that I got hit up by a gym pimp, and surely won’t be the last. But it does help me resolve to show that I can achieve significant gains in fitness working solo. And if not, I’ll hit up a trainer, but TRUST and BELIEVE it won’t be that one.

                I think I’ll conclude this post with some of the patterns I have noticed changes in even in a week. For example, someone at my size is allowed a good amount of points to have daily and still achieve weight loss. Initially that may lead you to think that you can have indulgences in fast food and sweets and still be successful, but I find myself finding more acceptable ways to spend my points than blowing them on a trip to Stevi B’s or Papa John’s, and spend them on something more substantial. For example, Magnum Double Caramel Double Ice Cream bars are one of my favorite deserts, but with a value of 9 points a bar, they are a luxury item (to put that in perspective, I could have 1 cup of rice, a large salad and 1 3-4 oz grilled chicken breast and still not match the point value of the Magnum Bar), and I gotta tell you, there are things I would much rather enjoy, like an 8 oz strip steak, sirloin or ribeye and have a cup of sugar free Jello, so that when I really have to choose an ice cream or an actual meal, the choice will not be so difficult, because I’m already measuring acceptable losses and gains now.

                I thank you for stopping in and reading my tale in this week’s journey. I think from here my ONEderland posts will be when I reach weight loss milestones, or have a setback, but as always you’re welcome to take the journey with me. Until next time.

Adventures in Ebony’s journey to ONEderland

Adventures in Ebony’s journey to ONEderland

                Nope, that is not a typo. I meant to spell the word “wonderland” with one in front of it. For those people who are not hip to the lingo in the diet blog world, “onederland” is the term use to describe the numbers on the scale under 200. For a lot of people who struggle with extensive weight loss, this is a huge milestone. Often meaning the cessation of medication, shopping in retail stores instead of specialty shops (or “fluffy girl fashion” as I call it on my pin board), and a BMI that-while still high-is probably close enough to normal to be considered healthy. This is my goal, and as my last blog stated, I began the journey to get there last week, and I have invited you, the readers of my blog to come along with me on my journey.  Along the way there will be triumphs and setbacks, moments of celebration and tears of frustration, but it is something I want you to be a part of with me because as my friends, you’ll cheer me on, laugh with me, cry with me, and pick me up when I stumble so it doesn’t become a fall.

                Some of you who know me know that I have been an overweight girl almost all my life. Even in that, I still was a relatively active child. I ran, played when I could, but I loved to eat sweet snacks and portions of food larger than I should have been eating. Case in point, when my 4th grade class went to Westville for a field trip, I ate a sausage biscuit, and one of the gingerbread cookies they were making. Then when we went to Burger King for lunch, I ordered a whopper with cheese instead of a kids’ meal. But despite that, and the occasional weight teasing I made it through childhood and adolescence. I had successes in my weight loss over the years, the most significant being my freshman year in college, and 6 years ago. I wasn’t consistent, so the pounds crept back up. Even still, I had dodged the bullets that come with obesity such as diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, and I was still relatively mobile so while I knew it was bad, I figured when it gone REALLY bad I would know it and fix it. So when my family, friends and coworkers began to express their concerns, I naturally wondered “They’ve seen me walking around here for years, why all the concern NOW?” “What’s their problem” or I dismissed it as nagging or trying to be mean. It wasn’t until I saw how much I weighed that everything came into place. The pain in my knees, lower back and hips, why it was harder to fit into restaurant booths.  They were saying something because-now more than ever- they saw me at the heaviest I have ever been. They were terrified that they were watching me die a painful slow death before their eyes.  My brother saw having to explain to his daughters that “Auntie Ebony” was in Heaven. My mom saw herself going to Catherine’s to buy my burial suit-none of my other dresses would have fit-and making sure there were enough pallbearers to carry me out, if they didn’t decide to just have a graveside service.  And my father, burying his baby. Even now I wonder how I let things get this out of hand. Was I really in that deep of a denial about things, did I not even want to try only to get disappointed again? Could I even lose that much weight without surgery anyway? Whatever the reason, reality and the scale have jolted me into action.  I am now on a journey, and ONEderland is my goal.

                Now my blog will still have posts about other things that I feel the need to write about (pop culture, music, life in general, current events), but from time to time I will post adventures that come on my weight loss journey; great weigh ins, NSV (non-scale victories), milestone losses (20, 30, lb losses),  maybe even a frustrating moment or two.  So, consider this your invitation to share the journey with me.

One More time…..one pound at a time…..one day at a time

Dear Food,

I think this is a conversation that is long overdue, and should have been had a long time ago. I think it’s time you and I evaluate our relationship, or more importantly, the role you play in my life. I was hesitant to admit this about myself, but frankly, my family, my friends, pictures, and the scale can’t all be wrong.  You and I have a problem, or I have a problem with you. First, let me say that I love you. For 31 years you’ve sustained me, and satisfied my taste buds and filled my belly with your charms. But the problem is that I have relied on you way too much. Instead of using you a fuel to my body, I have made you a companion, and emotional outlet, and that can be deadly. So, this week, I visited some of our favorite places, and enjoyed myself, because things between you and I are going to have to change. It won’t be easy for either one of us, but it’s something that has to be done. We’ll be happier in the long run. You have to admit, wouldn’t you like to there to be some space between us? I’m not saying this will be easy, it will probably be the hardest thing I have ever done, but it’s what I have to do.

                                                                Ebony

“The only difference between a thin person and an overweight person is the thin person just tried one more time”

                This was the quote the nurse at the weight loss clinic I attended in high school told me when I was feeling discouraged about beginning another chapter in a seemingly endless novel in my life; my battle with my weight.  She used it to remind me that failure in life only occurs when you don’t try or stop trying, and to encourage me not to get discouraged or give up. It is in that same vein that this week; I will make one more attempt to make the changes on my life to become healthier. And another…and another, and it’s scaring the shit out of me.

                A lot of times when a person is obese (or morbidly so in my case), the question they are asked by people is “do you want you really want to lose weight?” I always thought that was a stupid question, because most people would prefer the number on the scale to be lower than higher. But, better questions to ask would be “are you ready to make a total lifestyle change and commit?” “Have you ever looked at patterns in your eating, such as emotional binge eating as a source of your problem?” because then, you are causing a person to think about more than diet and exercise, and that’s always scary.  It’s a lot easier to eat than to examine who you are, and determine that you’re eating to avoid dealing with other issues.

                Now, it should be noted that not every overweight person has a hidden childhood trauma or internal conflict they are trying to swallow. For some, they eat too much, move too little and it all added up. For others, cultural conceptions and attitudes toward food and meals play a role into things. Whatever the reason, the US has a big problem on its hands, and I am one of the people dealing with it.

                In looking at myself, I think that I have a combo of emotional eating/food addiction/weight as a defense mechanism at work here. I eat when I am bored/sad/stressed, and my fluffiness has always been how I describe myself, mocking myself when the need arose (humor, the go to weapon for every fat girl). And I even wonder could I see myself at a healthy weight, and function there. I’ll never know until I get there.  And then, there’s fear. Fear of failure, as well as fear of success. 

                The fear of failure is easily explained. I don’t like to fail, and every time I go on the cycle of weight loss and weight gain, I feel like a failure every time I regain weight I manage to lose.  You can say to yourself that it’s a slip, not a fall, and you get back up again, but for someone my size, with so much weight to lose, gaining back feels like an even greater defeat. So much so, that you may even give up. Or the total number of pounds you have to lose is so high; you wonder how you’ll ever get it off.  I feel that way about myself, and I know others do as well.  But for a lot of people, the catalyst to make change was simple; a 15 minute walk around their block (all they could do when they started), subbing their sweet tea and coke with water, asking for a salad with dressing on the side instead of a loaded baked potato at Longhorn. In other words, they took it one pound at a time, making the changes drastically, doing more when they could, until over the span of months, or years, they reached their goal. This for me will probably be one of the hardest because I am a very impatient person, and I like most Western-Americans I am used to getting things done expeditiously, I want to see results, and I want them NOW!! And I think this is where many people veer off track in their WL journey because they have a set goal in mind for a number of pounds they want to lose in a certain time frame, and when they don’t reach THAT goal in THAT time frame, they feel like a failure. When instead, they should look at the progress they made.  So , instead of celebrating the fact that they are healthier, can run and walk without getting winded,  and get compliments on how they look, they get angry and discouraged that they went from an 18 to a 12 by their class reunion, instead of an 18 to an 8, and they give up. I have done this too. So, I am going to try and remind myself that the journey to improve my health is not a sprint, but it a marathon. A lifetime of making better choices, some which will cause drastic changes, others that will be subtle. I will have plateaus, I will have setbacks, but I cannot give up. I have been obese for almost 32 years; I can’t realistically expect to turn it around in 6 months. It is a process, and it will come, one day at a time. The journey of 1,000 miles begins with one step, and my journey begins with 20 minute walk, and pushing away from the dinner table.

                And when I reach my goal, the same process that I used to get there will be how I maintain. When I had a significant amount of success in my weight loss before, I remember being told what a good job I was doing, and not to get distracted and mess everything up. So, I became self-conscious, overly aware of what I ate, when I exercised, and ….screwed it up, gaining again. Wondering how I could diet the rest of my life. So, hopefully this time, I can say that just like I lost the weight one pound at a time, I can live a healthy life, one day at a time. One day of making better decisions after another. If I have a craving for something I want, have it in moderation, and then leave it there. A chic fil A salad with water instead of #1 with a large Arnold Palmer. One slice of Papa John’s veggie pizza on a whole wheat crust, instead of my spicy Italian large; a small coke instead of a 2 liter. Those moderations, day by day will keep me (hopefully) on track to a healthy lifestyle.

                Looking at myself in the mirror I even enter this journey with fear and trembling because I wonder how I let myself get this far, and if I can even do it. I am scared that I’ll fail; I’m scared that I’ll succeed and maintain. I’m even scared that it’s too late and the health problems I have avoided are already here. But even through my fears, my frustrations, my disappointing pasts, I am going to forge ahead. …One more time.