Monday, March 31, 2008

A fresh new start!

Wow. It's been almost a year since I last posted here, and I know how pathetic that makes me look. I'm pretty ashamed of that, but don't we all need a fresh start every once in a while?

Here I am, March, 2008...on a new diet.

But somehow, this is different. I've tried (and failed) Weight Watchers six times now. I gave LA Weight Loss more money than I care to think about, and it worked, but it was so terribly strict that just living like a normal human made me gain back all the pounds I lost, plus many more. I couldn't possibly enumerate all the magazine diets, book diets, tv diets, and other things I've tried. It's insane.

This time, I went right to the doctor. I'm going to a bariatric specialist in Charlotte who knows what he's doing. It's a combination of diet, exercise, and medication that has me on the road to beating this issue about the head and neck and coming out the victor. I've already seen the results.

I began on February 13th, when I first went there. The number on the scale was enough to make my blood run cold, and I almost cried right there. But my sassy side took over, and I made the nurse laugh, then the doctor as well. He gave me my plan, my pills, and a "prescription" for a pedometer.

I went away that weekend to Tennessee to visit my friend Crystal, and I ate like a pig. That was she called it, my "last meal and testament". It was all delicious, but of course, there's something more satisfying out there, and I knew that in my mind as I ate my last decadent meal.

So, I began on Monday morning, February 17th. I recounted the tale on my blog of how I didn't quite follow the diet instructions (always eat protein at breakfast), and the pills made me high as a kite. It was craziness. But I ate the way I was supposed to on Tuesday, Wednesday, and on through the weekend.

The next Monday when I got on the scale, I cried: I'd lost six pounds.

It continued into the next week, a few more pounds here, a few more there...until finally it came time to go back for my monthly appointment, which was on the 13th, and their scale read a number that made the nurse whoop with joy for me, and made me cry happy tears: I was 18 pounds lighter than at my last visit.

The doctor opened the door to my room yelling "Congratulations!", and expressed his pride at my hard work and the way it had paid off. I can't tell you how much that means to me.

He discussed the results of the blood tests that were taken the week before, and told me what I knew years ago, and was told by another doctor that I was crazy - I have Polycystic Ovary Syndrome. No wonder I have horrible pain every wonder I have a friggin' wonder my acne is worse than it's ever been in my entire life. No wonder I haven't been able to lose weight no matter how hard I tried. Everything made sense.

He put me on a medication for that (it's called Yaz, and it rules), and gave me my new lifetime diet plan, which made me so happy. Instead of "bad" and "good" foods, he has it separated into "choose" and "avoid". That's real to me...this is not a "never" and "always" world, and we aren't programmed to live our entire lives without things we love and desire. Cookies aren't going to help my diet, but if I want one so badly I can't stand it, even after I've tried other routes to get rid of that hunger, darn it, I can eat that cookie. I just have to restrict my calories somewhere else. That's how it works...that's how I'll lose weight.

But you know, I haven't craved anything like that. I eat my stir-fried chicken and vegetables...snack on handfuls of almonds....and eat my yogurt like it's going out of style. And I don't mind at all what others are having. I have a singular focus in my heart and in my head, and I'm determined beyond reason to stay on this path.

Peeps, I've lost 24 pounds since February 17th. I have many, many more to lose, but I already feel a bounce in my step that wasn't there before. I've gone down almost two sizes in the last month, and my beautiful Easter dress was big on me in a size 22.

I'm getting my life back, one pound at a time. There is no stopping me this time, and I mean it - I'm held accountable by my friends, my family, two online communities, my coworkers, my doctor, and my own heart.

This is it. I'll make it this time. I'm already on my way.

(That's me on the left, with one of my closest friends...taken at Easter)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

140 Reasons to Lose 140 Pounds

If 140 seems to you like too many, I would beg to differ. To me, it's probably not enough. "Because I want to" doesn't cut it anymore - I need a constant reminder of all the things I've lost by gaining and all the things yet to be gained by losing to make this really real.

Here are my reasons. Years of pain and many, many tears color every word. This was hard to write, and harder to publish, but it needs to be said. These are my reasons for making this work.

  1. I am beautiful, and I deserve to actually feel like I am.
  2. It hurts to know that whether they would ever say it or not, I’m sure I embarrass my thin, gorgeous friends by looking this way.
  3. I’m fairly talented in applying makeup, but no one ever sees it past all these layers of fat.
  4. My pretty smile and unique eyes don’t ever get noticed.
  5. I know I got my current job because they couldn’t see me through the phone. If they had, I wouldn’t be here.
  6. I’m sick of being a size 24. The single digits are calling my name.
  7. My back hurts.
  8. My neck hurts.
  9. My knees hurt.
  10. My ankles hurt.
  11. The plantar fasciitis that I’ve had for years in my feet is becoming unbearable.
  12. I’ve said “You’re so disgusting.” in the mirror more times than I can count.
  13. Saying the phrase in #12 never stops me from eating, and never stops me from hurting – I need to stop saying it.
  14. I want to have children someday.
  15. I want to have children who aren’t embarrassed of their grotesquely obese mother.
  16. I’m probably on the verge of diabetes.
  17. I’m probably wearing out my joints with every step I take, hauling around nearly 300 pounds on a 5’5 frame.
  18. I have beautiful fingers and dainty thin wrists...somewhere under all this fat.
  19. As much as I love the clothes in Lane Bryant, I would give anything to never darken their doorway (with my huge shadow) again in this lifetime.
  20. I’ve probably spent – and wasted - $5,000 on diet products/programs. I’m sick as hell of doing that.
  21. I have friends who can go into any store and buy adorable $4 shirts off the clearance rack, and rock them like the hot-bodied gal she is. I have to go to the plus-size section and pay full price. The department stores have us fatties cornered.
  22. I want to be able to bend over and still breathe.
  23. Thank God, I’ve never been called “fat” by a student...I never want to have reason to be again.
  24. I can’t find shoes that fit my size 11 feet that are still comfortable. I die a little inside every time I buy a pair, because I’m truly a size 9 under the fat.
  25. I can’t wear shorts.
  26. I won’t wear a bathing suit in public.
  27. I hate the beach, because it’s an embarrassing, shameful spectacle to be the “fatty” in a sea of hardbodies.
  28. I’ve had a rash around my waistline for years from having my jeans waistband gouge into my fat rolls. I can’t stand it anymore.
  29. I wear a 44DDD bra. You’d think that would be a good thing. It’s not.
  30. The chest I stuff into the bra mentioned in #29 never wants to stay inside the aforementioned bra. I think they want their freedom, so they send some over the edge.
  31. Summer is a nightmare for the very overweight.
  32. What I wouldn’t give to wear a sleeveless top without burning shame.
  33. I can feel my butt jiggle when I walk.
  34. I can feel my thighs jiggle when I walk.
  35. My knee joints pop when I walk...audibly. It’s so embarrassing in class.
  36. I haven’t been hit on more than once in my life while I was out for the evening. It was by “Tom”, a 50-something Mooresville redneck with no more than 4 teeth. He was a sweetheart – he told me he’d think of me tomorrow and smile while he worked on cars at the body shop.
  37. As sweet as Tom was, he’s not the kind of guy I want to date.
  38. I haven’t had a first glance, much less a second, from a guy in forever.
  39. I hope to get married someday.
  40. I don’t want to – nay, I simply WON’T – be a plus-size bride.
  41. My friends will get married before me, I’m sure, and I never, EVER want to be another plus-size bridesmaid. At a weight I would do anything to be now (nearly 100 pounds ago), I felt shameful in B.’s wedding...and I’m sure I was, although she’d never say so.
  42. I don’t fit into theatre seats anymore.
  43. I cried the last time I sat in an airplane seat...I had to put up the armrest to fit.
  44. Seatbelts strain around me.
  45. Airplane seatbelts gouge into my skin...but I’ll be damned if I’m asking for an extender.
  46. I exceed the weight limit on most outdoor furniture by more than 50 pounds.
  47. I used to have perfect balance – now I can’t put on one sock at a time without a struggle.
  48. Oh God, what I wouldn’t give to be able to cross my legs again.
  49. I spill out over the seat at church into the seat beside mine. They’re wonderfully comfortable, and very wide.
  50. I cringe, fighting back tears, when I begin to walk after a long time sitting. The pain in my feet is close to unbearable.
  51. I have begun to waddle.
  52. “One size fits all” shirts and nightgowns don’t come down over my chest anymore, much less fit.
  53. High heels are a pie-in-the-sky dream. There’s no way in hell I could balance nearly 300 pounds on two tiny sticks.
  54. My slip on Skecher sneaks and black dress shoes are such a blessing – I can’t bend down to tie my shoes anymore.
  55. When I squat down beside a student’s desk, it feels like the skin at the front of my calves is about to tear open. My own skin must be straining to cover my body. Dear God, is that a sad and horrible thought.
  56. I love fashion, but being fashionable is nothing but a dream.
  57. I can’t ride a bike anymore, because my pelvic bones can’t hold up the weight of my body on that tiny seat. The pain is excruciating.
  58. Old beloved shirts and gorgeous knee-length skirts hang forgotten in a closet in Pennsylvania. I’d give anything to wear them again.
  59. My hair, what I’ve always called my “crowning glory”, seems like such a waste framing a bloated, imploding face.
  60. It hurts to do my hair, because my arms hold so much weight that I can’t keep them up for more than a few seconds.
  61. My cholesterol is most likely in the mid-to-high 200s. I suppose I could have a heart attack any minute.
  62. Buttons pop off my dress pants routinely.
  63. Shirts that fit around my upper arms often hang so loosely off my chest that they make me look pregnant. Shirts that fit my torso correctly make my arms look like sausages in casings.
  64. Bold floral prints are way, way out of the question.
  65. My beautiful pinstriped pants hang lonely in my closet, unworn. The stripes bend at my thighs, pointing out how obviously I fill them out at the top.
  66. Pantyhose? Forget it.
  67. Negative self-talk rules my mind, and steals my happiness. “You’re freaking hideous.” “Good God, you’re a cow!” “Mary Rose, how did you let yourself get this way?!” “No one will ever love you.”
  68. I’m afraid no one will ever love me.
  69. I want to do a Richard Petty Driving Experience ride-along (imagine the rush of doing 180 mph on a real NASCAR racetrack!), but I know that a.) I won’t fit in any of their firesuits, b.) I wont’ fit through the window, and c.) I won’t fit in the seat.
  70. Sitting on bleachers or in backless seats is excruciating.
  71. My posture is shot to hell...holding up this chest for so many years has probably permanently damaged my spine.
  72. I can hardly get into the back of a coupe.
  73. I can feel my car sink, and I can hear it creak when I get in.
  74. I can almost sense its sigh of relief when I get out.
  75. I don’t fit in the seats at NASCAR races.
  76. When I find my seat in a theatre or at a race, I can sense the horror of the person in the seat next to mine – “Oh, God...a fat person. Just who I want to be stuck next to all afternoon.”
  77. I can’t tell you without tears how much #76 hurts.
  78. I’ve encountered doorways through which my body simply doesn’t fit.
  79. I’ve had to squeeze sidelong through doorways and hallways in old homes.
  80. I groan inwardly in public bathrooms when the doors open inward. To get in or out, I have to stand sideways beside the toilet to get the door open enough to fit my body through.
  81. Wrapping a towel around my entire body is only a dream. Even beach towels don’t fit the whole way around.
  82. I can hardly maneuver in my little cube shower.
  83. Taking a bath? How the hell am I supposed to a.) lower myself in, and b.) fit side to side laying down?
  84. I have constant heartburn.
  85. It’s very difficult to haul myself off a sofa or out of a cushy chair.
  86. I rarely sit on the floor anymore, because getting up is too painful.
  87. I turned my ankle back in October, and it still hurts sometimes. Imagine the strain of nearly 300 pounds of pressure on that joint in that one moment. I was in class, and I gasped in pain. My children were so worried.
  88. I won’t go to an amusement park, because I know I won’t fit in the roller coaster seats.
  89. I long to ride a roller coaster again.
  90. I hate eating with people I don’t know. My brain is constantly screaming at me, “They’re all looking at you! They all think you’re a pig for eating this, when you so obviously shouldn’t be!”
  91. I counted the other night as I walked into Lowe’s Home Improvement – I walked exactly 6 steps before I got winded.
  92. I would give anything to be able to hike again.
  93. I’m afraid I am or I have been someone’s “token fat friend”.
  94. I have a widow’s peak and the right shape of jaw to have a heart-shaped face, but the hairstyles and eyebrow shapes for those women don’t work for me – my face is simply round.
  95. Thank God anklets don’t seem to be in style. These fat ankles need no attention drawn to them, and anklet will fit around them.
  96. The two beautiful amethyst and tanzanite rings my dad gave me as gifts sit in my jewelry box. My fingers have become too fat to wear them.
  97. Many necklaces won’t clasp around my pudgy neck.
  98. I haven’t worn a belt in years and years.
  99. I wouldn’t tuck in my shirt if you paid me.
  100. I hate having my picture taken anymore.
  101. I have cried, many times, looking at old pictures of myself, even pictures from when I was 190 pounds. That feels thin now.
  102. I would give anything to even be 190 pounds again.
  103. I cringe at the picture I have tacked to my bulletin board of me posing with Elliott Sadler last summer. I can’t believe I’m showcased in color in the newspaper perpetuating the “obese redneck” image of NASCAR fans.
  104. I’m sure there are parents who see me and immediately distrust my skills with their children. People are just like that – fat = substandard, no matter the field, and whether the people would ever admit it.
  105. Children at the mall have snickered at me before.
  106. I’ve gone into a mall bathroom and cried because of #105.
  107. I still seethe at the salesgirl at the Gap who, when I took a friend’s size 12 pants to her to exchange for a 10 for my buddy to try in the fitting room, said, “Size 10? For YOU?”
  108. I tell the story in #107 for a laugh, but my heart hurts when I tell it.
  109. I have acting talent, but I haven’t been on a stage in years. Just the thought terrifies me – and not due at all to stage fright.
  110. I’m afraid to take a bath on the second or third story of a home, for fear that the weight of the water and my body would be too much for the beams beneath it to hold. Please don’t tell me that’s an irrational fear. I’m sure you all know how heavy a bucket of water is...multiply that by the amount of water in the tub and add something close to 300 pounds...that’s a lot of weight.
  111. I’ve seen friends lose weight, and watched with raging jealousy.
  112. I want someone, anyone, to be jealous of me.
  113. My heart sinks when I drop something, because I know I have to find a way to pick it up. My kids are either respectful or they sense that feeling innately, because they often run to my rescue to pick things up for me. I do love them.
  114. My mattress has a sagging spot on the side where I sit to put my shoes on.
  115. That same mattress has a “canyon” in the middle where I sleep.
  116. I dread walking from a far-away parking spot at the mall, because I’m out of breath by the time I reach the door.
  117. I have a tough time getting out of restaurant booths. It’s so humiliating in a crowded restaurant.
  118. When I hang out with my girlfriends on our friend’s deck and we get cold in the evening, everyone else can get a jacket of her husband’s from the closet. None of them fit me, so I shiver and all the while promise her I’m fine.
  119. My thighs chafe.
  120. My upper arms chafe.
  121. My bras chafe.
  122. I just chafe, period.
  123. The mother of one of my students bought me a gorgeous Cracker Barrel rocking chair for my classroom. It’s king-size, and looks HUGE sitting in the corner of the Book Nook, but when I sit down in it, the sides of my legs touch the armrests. I spill out the sides. It’s so embarrassing.
  124. When I meet people for the first time who I’ve spoken to on the phone before, I often hear, “Oh! You don’t look like I pictured you!” The last time, I said, “Yeah, you probably envisioned me thinner.” She looked shocked, but I know what she meant.
  125. The toilets in some public restrooms are attached only to the wall, not sitting upright from the floor. I cried the first time I used the bathroom at Bass Pro Shop in Concord, when I sat down and heard the whole thing creak underneath me. I was afraid it would break off the wall.
  126. I love to dress up, but I haven’t been asked on a date in years, and I can’t stand the thought of even shopping for a size 24 dress for a formal occasion. I don’t think I could get into pantyhose anyway.
  127. I miss my super-short haircut, but I know I would look horrible without something around my double chin.
  128. I need to break the food-as-medicine mentality. Stuffing my face does not make me happy.
  129. I love to exercise, but there is simply too much shame inside my heart to put on the clothing necessary for a workout and go out there in front of others.
  130. Also, the pain of working out is too great to handle. I love just-worked muscle feels like such an accomplishment. But the pain I’m talking about is the pain in my joints and ligaments and deep down in my body. It’s just too much for me.
  131. My friends deserve an attractive buddy at their parties.
  132. I deserve to feel like I belong when I spend time with my attractive friends.
  133. I want to live to see 40, and I want to enjoy every year I have left in my lifetime.
  134. I long to twirl in front of the mirror and love what I see.
  135. I long to feel like someone finds me attractive.
  136. I long to find myself attractive.
  137. It makes me so sad to think of the years I’ve spent hating myself.
  138. I believe that the real Mary Rose is hiding inside me, longing to get out.
  139. I believe that I deserve to be that Mary Rose, and to shed this tired, hurting old version, and leave her in the dust.
  140. My heart aches for success in beating this, and I believe I can do it.