- Seek out more bee people. Find the short fat awkward people who don't fit in and dance with them. I know they are out there.
- Make a little birdhouse in my soul. Continue with this web site and blog. I'm not sure anyone is reading anymore (I haven't gotten much feedback to the blog) but if maybe someday, one person stumbles across it and finds some solace, some sanctuary here, then I'll consider this resolution a success. In fact, as long as I keep the blog up I will.
- Believe that life can change and I'm not stuck in vain! This is a tough one for me, especially as I get older and have to face my future with some sense of realism, but without a defeatist attitude. I need to remind myself that I'm too old to be a rock star, but still young enough to maybe play a song on YouTube or maybe even do a coffee house someday.
- Make every day the best day ever! Make plans, and even though sometimes things don't always go as planned, remember to make the best of it either way.
- Continue making short term goals, and updating them as I cross things off. My current list is:
- Make crabs for the ELC.
- Make interactive map of how the FL land mass has changed for the ELC.
- Toilet train the cats.
- Finish Timmy and start book.
- Get new tattoo.
- Get promotional material (brochures and magnets) for David's business printed and distributed.
- Learn a song on the banjo and post a video to YouTube.
- Make crabs for the ELC.
- Continue making long term goals and do all that I can to work towards them. My current long term goals are:
- Appalachian Trail with Joy, Christmas 2010 (at least the part around north GA-North Carolina)
- Summit Kearsage. It's kicked my butt twice so far, I need to show it who's boss.
- See a cock-of-the-rock in its native habitat.
- Sing karaoke. Unashamed, despite having been begged never to go near a microphone again ever (I mean that literally -- my ex posted an MP3 on the internet when we had a band, and someone clicked the link to listen to it and immediately called me, all the way from England, to beg me never to go near a microphone again, ever.)
- Touch Marty Marquis' hair.
- When I was a kid I saw a tv show about a museum in Japan that had a big animatronics collection. I'd really like to find and visit that museum.
- Hike down the Grand Canyon.
- Get the rest of the stamps for my National Park Passport.
- Write a book.
- Sell another photo or other piece of my own artwork (and go to the museum somewhere in Utah that has the first photo that I sold.)
- See a Satanic Leaf Tailed Gecko in its natural habitat (Madagascar)
Okay, those are my resolutions. Your mission -- should you choose to accept it -- post a few of yours!
- Appalachian Trail with Joy, Christmas 2010 (at least the part around north GA-North Carolina)
Monday, December 28, 2009
In the past, I have always started off the new year with such lofty, but alas, unrealistic resolutions. I will never eat sugar again! I will lose 100 pounds! I will go to the gym every single day! And, when the goals don't survive past New Years Day night, I get all depressed, feel like a loser, and give up. Of course, as discussed before, the issue is that I just set myself up to fail. This year, I will try to be a bit more gentle with myself, and at least more realistic. So, my resolutions this year are:
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
A while back, I was trying to make banana bread, but I only had 2 bananas. I looked through the fridge and found some carrots. I thought to myself, "Hey, seen one phallic shaped food, you seen them all" and I replaced the 2 other bananas with 3-4 carrots. It was really yummy. I made some other changes to the recipe over time, replaced the oil with applesauce, brown sugar with Splenda Brown Sugar Blend and threw in a few other things. So now I present to you:
Dee's Phallic Bread
- Total of 5-6 phallic shaped fruit/veggies. I usually use 2 bananas and 3-4 carrots, but I think zucchini would work well too.
- 1/2 cup Egg Beaters
- Cinnamon, nutmeg to taste
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup Mott's Natural unsweetened Apple sauce
- 1 cup Splenda brown sugar blend or 1 cup brown sugar
- (optional) 1/2 cup Raisins
- (optional) 1/2 cup chopped pecans
Directions: Shred the carrots. Smoosh the bananas with a fork or potato masher. Add everything except the flour to the bananas and mix until smooth. Add the flour and mix until it looks mixed. Spray a glass loaf pan with Pam, and dump the mixture into it. Bake at 350 for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. (Time may vary depending on your oven -- it's much better to overcook this than undercook. Test for doneness at the 1 hour mark.)
Update: I found this actually works better as muffins, it comes out a little less dense than the bread. I baked them in the aluminum foil muffin papers for about 30 minutes. As with the bread, make sure you test for doneness.
Monday, December 21, 2009
I need reminders a lot. I'm not talking about stuff like, "Get cat food" or "Wear clean underpants in case you are in an accident". I need the kind of reminders that keep me going through the day. Some wise person recently suggested to make flash cards with reminders on them, and to keep them around when I need motivation. So I started making a set. Many are song quotes, just because music has always been a motivator for me, but some are from books or just my own little head. Here are my personal daily reminders:
- Be like water, don't bash into the rocks, learn to flow around them. -- paraphrased from the Tao
- Believe that life can change, that you're not stuck in vain. -- The Smashing Pumpkins
- Paint the world anew, find a way to open all the joy in order to alleviate the strain -- Orbital
- I don't think of you at all. -- Ayn Rand, from The Fountainhead (you have to read it in context)
- Anger is an energy. -- PiL
- Hang your hairshirt on the lowest rung, it's a beautiful life. -- REM
- We're part of the fire that is burning, and from the ashes we can build another day. -- The Moody Blues
- Reach the stars, fly a fantasy, Dream a dream and what you see will be, -- Limahl
- Don't dream it, be it. -- Rocky Horror Picture Show
- It's the best day, ever! -- Spongebob Squarepants (we had this song played at our wedding)
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make your own set of flash cards. Keep them with you. If you fee comfortable sharing, post some here as a reply to this note.
Friday, December 18, 2009
Wow, I can't believe it's Friday already. This week has flown. Busy week, and even busier weekend. Oh well, it keeps me off the couch! Goals for the weekend:
- Attend Audubon meeting
- Do the Cocoa Bird Count
- Wrap and pack all gifts
- Finish holiday cards, get them ready for mailing
- Go on walk to see holiday lights in Viera (this is a DeeMotivation event, RSVP if you want to join us!)
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
I am really not into cooking. If the world ended in a firey holocaust tomorrow, I could easily survive barricaded in a 7-11, living on coffee, Slim Jims, and Hostess Zingers. Who am I kidding here -- I don't need a holocaust, I actually HAVE spent weeks living on coffee, Slim Jims and Hostess Zingers. I wish I could say it was during my wild college days, but it was as an adult when I was just too darn lazy to cook anything else! So, to say I'm a lazy cook is an understatement. But, I do have creativity on my side and occasionally this works to my benefit.
For example, David was away last week. As he does most of the cooking now, I was feeling kind of lost and on the verge of heading out to 7-11 for old times sake. But I found a left over bowl of his White-barbeque sauce grilled chicken in the fridge. It was already chopped up, so I took a tiny bit of Smart Balance mayo, some Sargento shredded cheese, and some pecans to make a chicken salad. Bread isn't always lap-band friendly, but David had hit a sale on low-salt Ritz crackers... So I nuked up the chicken salad, and used it for dip with the ritz crackers, and that was my lunch. It was sooo yummy. So, I present to you:
Dee's Chicken Salad
- Left over cooked chicken
- Anything you find in your kitchen that looks like it might taste good (chopped apples, pecans, pumpkin seeds, raisins are all good candidates)
- Something to hold it all together. I use a little Smart Balance mayo, but barbecue sauce, cheeze whiz or Hershey's syrup would also probably work
- Some Sargento shredded cheese
Mix together, microwave until the cheese is melted (about 30-45 seconds), and dip something into it. I suppose if you are into healthy stuff, you could dip carrots or apples. I use crackers or my fingers or in a pinch, cookies.
Monday, December 14, 2009
So, in previous posts I've talked about what keeps me (and many people) from doing stuff. Let's get positive today and look at things from the other side. What motivates us? For me, I find motivation in:
If that's not motivation, I don't know what is!
Share with me -- tell me what motivates you!
- Fear. Not in a bad way though. For example, my first day in Florida, I threw open my back sliders to find the most scary looking spider I've ever seen in my life. It was white with black spots and red spikes on its back. I was horrified. I slammed the sliders shut, and even locked them (as if the spider could open the sliders.) I decided I didn't want to be afraid, so I went out, bought some wildlife ID guides and learned what could hurt me, what couldn't, I took some classes, and today I am a Florida Master Naturalist. And, just so you know, the spider in question was a Crab-like Spiny Orbweaver, a fairly harmless little critter.
- Music. This is a huge motivator for me. Most of the videos linked on the twitter feed are songs I find motivational. Either the lyrics are important to me (e.g., Illuminate), or the music makes me move
- Other people. Many times, I find motivation in trying to motivate other people (hence, this web site.) But there are many people who motivate me in return. Wayne got me up that mountain, Jeff got me to the gym many times, and just today, I got a special present in the mail:
If that's not motivation, I don't know what is!
Share with me -- tell me what motivates you!
Friday, December 11, 2009
Well, I will definitely be GOMA this weekend. Lots to do!
- Go on hike Sat morning (see events page for details)
- Take picture for holiday cards
- Take annual family holiday portrait
- Attend yoga class
- Meet Barb for dinner
- Start sorting and wrapping
- Start assembling gifts
- Start assembling holiday cards
- Write annual holiday letter
I don't think I will have to SOMA this weekend at all! Go me!
And what non-couch activities do you have planned? Do tell!
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
As explained in my first blog post, I created this web site in hopes that I can help motivate other people like me to get to the summit. Today, I was asked to clarify this a bit further.
Who are people "like me"?
Well, I am morbidly obese. I have struggled with it all my life. True story: Growing up, the main exercise I got was running off to hide in the woods behind the softball field during gym class. There were train tracks back there, and I remember being afraid of the trains, but that was not anywhere near the fear of being in gym class. Seriously, as a child that young, I was so filled with shame and self-loathing that I would rather have been hit by a train than have people see me in shorts, be picked last for the team and all the other joys of gym class.
I'm 45 years old, but I try not to act it. True story: I was having dinner with some (older) friends a few weeks ago. I mentioned how happy I was that I went to a rock concert at a club a few days prior, I told how great the concert was [Blitzen Trapper] and how I stood by the stage screaming and dancing and the band high-fived me coming off the stage. And the BEST part was that the bouncer made me show ID to get into the club! To which my "friend" replied, dead serious, "Really? Was he going to give you the SENIOR DISCOUNT?"
But I digress. What I mean when I say "people like me" I mean other folks who struggle with their weight, and are not neccesarilly young and athletic.
What it is "the summit"?
Well, when I think back to being in that gym class, I remember the terror, the knots in my stomach, the abject horror of the thought of someone seeing me run, having someone see my body parts jiggle and bounce, having people see me sweat and breathe hard and always come in last. I was able to overcome those fears as I wrote about previously. But for many obese people, those fears are still there, and they are what keep us not just from exercising, but from enjoying life.
For me, the summit means not just facing those old fears head on, but being done with them and putting them in the trash where they belong. Your personal summit might be coming along on that first hike or bike trip with me listed on the events page. For others, it might be replying to a blog post annonymously and saying, "I'm here, I'm reading, I'm too scared to come out to an event but I'm listening, and maybe someday..."
The Goal of This Site
My main goal with this web site is to get people who might otherwise stay inside -- out of shame, out of fear -- to get outside with me. I'm not going to turn you into a super athelete, I just want you to know that being obese does not have to mean that you have to hide indoors in shame and fear. I am proof of that. Come outside with me into the light, there is comfort and joy in numbers.
Comments from previous blog:
(Anonymous) at 2009-12-10 20:16 (UTC) (Link)
Is this thing on?
But you're my "People Like Me."
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
On occasion, I like (well, "like" is a bit of a strong word -- more like "tolerate") using that big heaty thing in my kitchen... oh, what's the technical term for it... oh yeah! The stove! I use the Stove on occasion. The fact that there really aren't a lot of lap band specific recipes out there, coupled with the fact that I don't like any that I've found, have caused me to create some lap band friendly recipes of my own. Now, by lap-band friendly, I mean stuff that generally has some nutritional value, tastes good, and doesn't make me throw up.
I created the following recipe while trying to make chicken pie. Most chicken pie recipes call for some kind of dough or pastry, which isn't particularly lap band friendly. So I wanted to make a crustless chicken pie. But crustless chicken pie is chicken stew, which I didn't want either. So, I came up with this casserole that firms up. Then I got sick of making it with chicken, and threw in some sausage. Now I usually leave the chicken out all together, but you can do what ever floats your little boat. So I now present to you:
Dee's Not Chicken Pie Recipe
- 2 packages of Adel sausage (I usually use the chicken and apple one, but any will work), chopped (or 2 packages of cooked chopped chicken (I use the boneless skinless thighs) or 1 package of each chicken and sausage)
- 1 bag frozen veggies, thawed or nuked for a few minutes (I like the pea, carrot, corn and green bean mix, but use whatever you like)
- 1 container ricotta cheese (I use fat free -- I don't remember the size, but it's bigger than the small one)
- Shredded cheese to taste (I use 1/2 bag of Sargento low-fat cheddar or the 4-cheese blend. The Kraft Free cheeses are less expensive but they don't melt well and generally taste like ass.)
- 2 eggs or 1/2 cup egg beaters
- Black, white and red pepper to taste (I tend to use lots being the spicy chick I am.)
Directions: Beat the eggs and mix in the ricotta, shredded cheese and spices. Fold in the veggies and meat. Spray a casserole dish with Pam and dump the mixture into it. Bake at 350 for 35-45 minutes or until the ricotta is set.
Note: I usually break this up into 4oz servings and freeze, it freezes and nukes really well.
Monday, December 7, 2009
Okay, I promised in the FAQ that this is not a diet advice site at all. But I do have one diet tip that I would like to share that I just discovered recently. To curb your appetite, always eat your breakfast while checking your friends page on Facebook. In recent days, I have been treated to:
- Close up pictures of a friend's infected foot
- Pictures of another friend eating what appears to be a cricket (apparently a delicacy in some places)
- By far the most disgusting, pictures of another friend eating a Windows 7 promotional 7-patty Whopper.
Friday, December 4, 2009
Well, it's Friday again. Time to set some goals for the weekend. Unfortunately, my last set of Friday goals were derailed by illness, so my goals for this weekend are pretty similar:
- Paint Timmy (I finished his paper mache tonight, and put out the call for rebar on Freecycle)
- Go the Cocoa Village Arts and Crafts show. RSVP to me if you plan to come along!
- If Timmy is dry and has legs and shoes, take him out to be photographed for the annual holiday card. If he does not have legs and shoes, stay home and rectify the situation as time is getting short!
- -Alt--If it doesn't look like Timmy will be complete, see if I can safely use Rudolph one last year
So tell me -- what are your goals for the weekend? Watching TV doesn't count!
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
Sometimes when I am feeling down I try to think hard about what is that is really missing from my life. It's far too easy to convince myself that if I had more money or was thinner or had something I could be happier. But the fact of the matter is what is almost always missing is just perspective.
A true story: David was gone for most of the summer on a consulting job. One morning, I awoke to find all 5 of our cats WAY too interested in my slippers lying beside my bed. I got out of bed and lifted my slippers to find one very unhappy frog under them. The cats all converged, and with my husband 500 miles away, I had no choice but to wrestle the poor frog away from the cats myself. This is probably TMI, but I generally sleep nekkid... so there I am, nekkid, holding a very unhappy frog with 5 very excited cats wanting their toy back. With one hand holding the frog, I wrapped as much of myself in a blanket as I could, and went out onto the side porch to release the frog. I muttered to myself and the frog, "Dang, it, I bet no one in the world is having a bad a day as I am already."
The frog turned around, gave me the stink eye and said, "YOU? YOU? You are having a bad day? I just got attacked by 5 freaking cats!" Well, okay, he didn't actually say the words, but I saw it in his little froggy face. And I realized that no, I was not having the worst day in the world, and in fact, I probably was not even in the top 10. And I most definitely was not having a worse day than the frog.
The next time you are feeling down, perhaps needing a little motivation, step back, take a deep breath, and remind yourself, "At least I'm not the frog!"
Monday, November 30, 2009
One of the things that comes up often in relation to eating is the concept of "good" and "bad" foods. Salad=good, cookies=bad. I've spent a lot of time in the past associating what I eat with how I judge myself. If I had a hunk of cake, I was a bad person, if I had a salad I was good. Even knowing that raw veggies upset my stomach, I would still feel good about myself for eating a salad, despite being curled up in the fetal position from the stomach pains. But at least I was "good".
In hind sight, it's easy to say that this was completely insane on many levels. In the first place, food is just food. It isn't good or evil, and consuming food doesn't make me good or evil. But more importantly, why judge myself at all? As an atheist, I don't believe anyone or anything is inherently good or evil, especially not food. But for some reason, I, and many fat chicks, feel the need to judge ourselves by what we eat or what the number on the scale is.
I think we need some perspective. Here is my list of foods that there is legitimate reasons for feeling good or bad about eating:
- Wheel bearings -- despite the high iron content, they hurt your teeth
- Chick peas -- they are nasty and feel like you're eating little tiny icky eyeballs. And worse, at parties they sometimes disguise themselves as cheese dip, when in fact, it is Hummus, which is ground chick peas, which is the only thing more evil than whole chick peas.
- Hitler's brain -- I saw a movie about this once. Not something one should eat.
- What ever you need or perceive that you need to sustain your mind and body.
The point here, is that food and consuming food does not make you good or evil. Whether you are good or evil depends on your own definition, which, at least for me, changes from day to day, and minute to minute. Right now, my definition of "good" is someone who keeps the litter box clean. My definition might be something different in the morning, but it doesn't ever have to be anything more; I don't need to rate myself as good or evil, I just am.
Your mission -- should you choose to accept it -- is to just be. Don't call yourself good or bad, and if you feel you must make a judgment, make it over something real, not about something you ate. Unless you ate some chick peas, in which case, you probably are evil.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
So, one of the things I know that I do, and I'm sure that other fat chicks have a problem with, is setting unrealistic goals. We hear on the news and from our doctor that we "have" to exercise at least an hour a day 4-5 days a week. So, we say, "Hey! I will exercise for an hour 5 days a week! Yee Haw!". But then reality sets in. Something comes up at work, a kid or cat get sick, it's raining, a really good tv show is on -- whatever the reason, we miss a day and then just give up; we have it so ingrained in our heads that we MUST exercise 4-5 times a week for an hour a day, that we convince ourselves that anything less is worthless.
But the truth is, it's not. Something is better than nothing. That is the point of the daily twitter suggestions at the top of the web site, that is the purpose of the weekly events. What ever you do counts. Walking around an art festival or traipsing through a forest taking pictures of birds won't get you a gold medal in the olympics. But the thing is, you aren't sitting on your couch either. And, it's kind of like eating a vegetable pizza; there is a healthy component (the veggies) but they are buried in something good (the non-veggie part of the pizza!)
"But wait!" you say. "How can we have fun? What about the mantra "No pain, no gain"? Well, personally, I have found that if leaving my couch isn't fun, I'm not about to do it. So let's have a new mantra: "No pain, no having to spend $40 at Walgreens on aspirin, heating pads, cremes and ace bandages!"
Okay, so on to the point of this post. For this weekend, let's make some realistic, non-couch goals. Here are mine:
- Go the Friday night Audubon meeting
- Go to the art festival at Fox Lake Park on Saturday (see the events page for details, shoot me an email if you want to join us!
- Finish the paper mache on Timmy Flamingo and start the paint
- Shop for Thanksgiving (I will be making my infamous bread with the bad name.)
What are your non-couch goals for this weekend? Leave a comment with your plans for getting off your butt!
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
So, back when I realized that I could go out and do stuff, I had one tiny obstacle. Ok, two obstacles, and, well, they weren't that tiny at all. The problem was, when I exercised, my knees were getting bruised. Not because I have bad knees, but because I did not have a good sports bra. Fortunately, this was back before the internet got really weird, and a google search for "DD sports bra" only returned 2,000 porn sites. Once I sifted past the porn, I found a website called http://www.junonia.com. I heard angels sing when I discovered sports bras and shorts and activewear that was made just for fat chicks! It was so incredible and glorious to discover a store that realizes that all fat chicks don't just sit around on their butts! I immediately ordered new shorts and some sports bras.
One particular bra, I called her "Sporti," and I became fast friends. We hiked Idaho, and Wyoming, and Colorado together. We moved south together and waded through swamps, and hammocks and scrub. We did pepper busting, mangrove planting and yard work together. It was such a joyous 10+ years together.
But alas, all good things must come to an end... (cue the dramatic music here.) A few months ago, after a long hike though a swamp, David and I were driving home. I was driving, and I felt something on my shoulder under my shirt. I reached under my shirt to feel for whatever it was, and suddenly, there was shaking, and crying from under my shirt... "I... I... I can't take it anymore! I've been stressed to the limit!" and with no other warning, Sporti died, right as we were driving. When my hand emerged from under my shirt, it brought with it some shards of elastic which were all that was holding her together.
Had I known, I would have tried to do something to help her. Oh, sure, there were signs, a few rips here and there, stains, the fact that my boobs hit my knees when I wore it, but still, I really didn't think the poor old bra would ever just up and die like that. I brought her home and washed her and put her back in the drawer. Deep inside, I knew that I should probably just let her go, but after all we have been through together, a part of me wanted to believe that maybe we still have a few hikes left together, maybe a few trips to the gym... heck, maybe I could rebuild her, I mean, look what they did with Jaime Sommers!
But alas. It has been a few months now, and I see the shredded carcass of Sporti every time I open my underwear drawer, and I'm thinking, maybe it's time to let her go. So I turn to you, dear readers, to ask for advice. What do you think should become of Sporti?
a) Make her into art
b) Turn her into a kitty hammock (two kitties can swing at once!)
c) Cremation, then burial at sea
d) Make her into the official DeeMotivation flag and fly her proudly at future events
Reply to this post with your vote or suggestions of your own. And, in case you think I am making this story up, here is a final portrait of Sporti:
Comments from original blog:
(Anonymous) at 2009-11-20 00:19 (UTC) (Link)
Alas, poor Sporti
I vote for turning it into an artsy kitty hammock.
(Anonymous) at 2009-11-20 00:40 (UTC) (Link)
I think you should make a christmas stocking out it. Richard had an old white tee shirt with a little hole in it and when Reilly was a baby he would stick his little finger in the hole and say something really funny. I made Reilly a Christmas stocking and lined it with the tee shirt, circled the hole and wrote the story of how he stuck his finger in the whole and would laugh! KEEP IT!
LOVE the memoir of Sporti! I am so enjoying your site! KEEP IT UP!
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
The FAQ answers this question, but I thought I should expand on this topic a bit.
As mentioned in the previous post, I've had a weight problem my entire life. Back around 1996, some people I work with were doing a charity thing, climbing Mount Monadnock in New Hampshire for Habitat for Humanity. I was recently divorced, kind of lonely, thought I might meet new people. I weighed around 230 at the time, but had done a little hiking, and didn't think it would be that bad. Well, it actually wasn't that bad at all. I got about 3/4 up the mountain, and was feeling pretty okay about myself. I was quite winded, and sat down on a rock to rest. I thought to myself that I made it much further than I thought I would, and now I could go home proud. My buddy Wayne happened along at that moment and asked me why I was sitting there. I told him that was as far as I could go and I was turning back. He said, "ARE YOU CRAZY?? Look! The summit is RIGHT THERE!" and he pointed to what to me looked to be 12,000 feet away. But I got up. And I went the rest of the way. And it wasn't 12,000 feet. And when I got to the top, I started crying because I realized for the first time in my life, it was not being fat that kept me from doing stuff, it was the voices in my head telling me that I was too fat that kept me from doing stuff.
My life changed that day. I haven't turned down anything fun "because I'm too fat" since then.
So, let's flash forward to a few weeks ago. I was chatting with friends, and we were talking about what keeps us from doing stuff. We had started specifically talking about why we don't exercise, but I also realized that many times fat people just don't go out in general. It turns out that lots of us have that voice in our head, but very few of us have Wayne to tell them to get off their butt, it's just a few more feet to the summit. So, I started this web site in the hope that maybe I can convince just one or two people that it's just a few more feet to the summit, and the view is really spectacular from there. And I live in Florida now, so summits are a lot easier to reach here :-)
Comments from original blog:
(Anonymous) at 2009-11-18 17:11 (UTC) (Link)
Dee, that was a great day. To accomplish what we did was remarkable. Being out there and climbing that obstacle. Refreshing to get to the top and to see the view. Great time to catch your breath and more importantly to reflect. It was not just an accomplishment for you but for me as well.
In June of 2007, after struggling with a weight problem my whole life, I decided to get a lap band. I fell for the sales pitch, hook, line and sinker. There are some things the lap band sales people don't tell you before you get the surgery, the main one being, the surgery only helps if you are someone who ONLY eats if you are physically hungry. Now seriously -- you do not get to be morbidly obese eating only when your body needs food. Even if you ate chocolate covered steak, if you only ate it when you were genuinely hungry, and stopped eating when you are full, you are not going to become morbidly obese.
Another thing they don't really talk about is the fact that things like broiled chicken and raw veggies can get stuck in the band, but candy, ice cream, pretty much anything made out of sugar goes right through without a problem. This means that at the times you are stressed, or sad, or have the urge to eat for any reason other than hunger, you quickly realize that not only can you still eat junk, you can still eat it in large quantities, without any problem at all.
And the last thing, the ugliest thing, that the lap band sales people don't tell you is that the surgery does absolutely nothing to help you with self control. Now okay, you are probably reading this and saying to yourself, "Well, FREAKING DUH!" But no, I honestly went into the surgery thinking that the lap band would help with self control issues -- I mean, to me, that was really the entire purpose for having the surgery, If I thought I had any semblance of self control, I would not ever have had the surgery, I wouldn't have needed it in the first place.
So, I had the surgery, came home from the hospital, and pretty much lost my mind. I thought about food constantly. I had always been pretty obsessed with it, but this was seriously pathological. It only took me about two months post surgery to realize a few ugly truths about myself:
- I have never, literally never, been hungry in my life
- When left to my own devices, I eat like a four-year old whose parents abandoned her in a candy store
- I have absolutely no self control
It destroyed my soul that after about a year I hadn't lost any weight. Ok, well, I lost about 30 pounds, but honestly, I've lost more than that after a good fart; when you start at almost 270 pounds, 30 doesn't mean jack. So, I started going to counseling. Oh my. The first shrink I saw, I went into her office, sat on the couch, and when she asked me why I was there, I started crying and said that I just can't stop eating and I don't know why. I swear I am not making this up: she replied with, "Oh, I know just how you feel, this morning I ate a box of pop tarts and then I..." She rambled incoherently for quite a while before she let me speak again. It went downhill from there. I went back for a second appointment, and I mentioned that I am an atheist. She told me that was my problem with food, I need jesus in my life. I walked out and didn't go back.
A while later I tried another shrink. She seemed a little more sane, but she only had experience with alcohol/drug addiction. While I can appreciate they are similar problems, she clearly only had one hammer (the 12 steps) for this nail. After trying to explain the whole "atheist" thing to her, and after a few weeks of her telling me about the wonders of the 12 steps I finally bailed on her as well.
Now I was not only destroyed, I was pissed off as well. By this time I had lost count of how many lap band adjustments I had. I was afraid I was going to go postal the next time the lap band salesperson told me that I just hadn't hit my "sweet spot". After over two years, I pretty much just stopped going for adjustments as losing three hours of work for nothing was serving no purpose other than making me stressed that I was missing three hours of work. The only thing I gained from the lap band sales person was on my last appointment, she told me about a new shrink in town who specializes in eating disorders and works with lap band patients. To be honest, I was beyond skeptical, assuming that this person was just someone else on the lap band payroll, but out of desperation, made an appointment.
I actually made quite a bit of headway with this shrink. I found out a lot about myself, a lot about why I eat, but I found out one last thing about myself that may or may not be a good thing. That is: I don't hate myself anymore. I don't know that I ever really did, but I am fat, and society really kinda frowns on that; I don't think I hated myself as much as I felt really guilty for not hating myself.
My biggest epiphany came a few months ago. I decided to make two lists for myself, short term and long term goals. The list consisted of stuff like, I want to see a Green Jay, I want to hike the grand canyon, I would like to sell another piece of my art. There was nothing on that list about losing weight. The epiphany was that it just isn't what I want to do with my life. I'm not saying that I'm giving up, or that it's not something I will never do, I am realistic enough to know that I'm pretty healthy now, but that won't last the older I get. I'm just saying that losing weight is not something I have any desire to spend the rest of my life obsessing over. 45 years is enough. It's just time to move on to bigger and better things.
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