Tag Archives: weight loss

One Hundred Pounds Gained and Loss

25 Sep


One hundred pounds.

It’s a ton of weight.  Maybe not an actual ton, but you get the idea. I’m finally come to the point in my weight loss journey journey towards healthy living where I stepped onto the scale at my gym and watch the number slip down to 282—100 pounds lower than the highest weight I can remember.

What a loss.  What a gain.

A hundred pounds ago, I could only shop at Catherine’s and had to order more “trendy” clothes out of a catalog because I was never, ever going to wear non-boot cut jeans.  Or flowery old lady tops.  I remember shopping at Boscov’s with my mom knowing nothing would fit me, but watching her try on Alfred Dunner tops while I sat in a dressing room chair wondering why fashion designers assumed fat people only wanted to wear ugly clothes.  Was it just because we looked ugly that we should dress ugly as well?

I fought back tears every time I went to the doctor and watched the scale creep past 350 into the 370’s.  After that I closed my eyes when they weighed me.  One time I ventured a peek and saw 382 on the scale.  I was mortified and wondered if I would be dead by 35.  In fact, I was sure I would be dead by 35.

I gradually lost little bits of weight as I accepted certain foods were not conducive to being diabetic, but I remained steadily at the larger range of the plus-sized world until one February I talked to a friend and told her I couldn’t take it anymore.  I couldn’t live like this anymore. She gave me the encouragement I needed to make a change. I greatly revised my eating habits and bought a stationary recumbent bike peddling my way to weight loss.  I did well.  I even made it to 296 pounds.

My friends lauded my achievement.  I felt beautiful for the first time in forever.  It was glorious to bask in the glow of what I did…and what God did in me.  It all changed as I fell into a deep depression two years age.  The weight crept back.  Turmoil within my family caused even more stress.  When my mom died, I gave up entirely, though I still couldn’t bring myself to eat certain foods because I had learned how they affected my body.  Yet I was back to flirting with the 320’s.  I felt hopeless to stop it because life didn’t seem to matter anymore.

A friend took me to a local gym and we signed me up for membership, not for weight loss, but because I had so much anger following my mom’s death.  I needed a reason to get out of the house besides seeing my therapist once a week.  I also desperately needed a way to channel my grief and rage.

Eventually, after also going to physical therapy I found my way to the gym’s pool since a foot injury kept me off the gym floor/machines.  Truthfully, I join the gum for the pool, but found it impractical,.  Who wants to wear a bathing suit, take a shower, and run around with wet hair?  I mean, I was struggling to get out the door as it was and all this extra stuff wasn’t helping.  Since my foot was injured and I had no other options, I tried to the pool. I discovered I loved it. 

In June, when I went to the doctor for my regular four month check-up, she discovered my pancreas was having some issues and did a medication adjustment.  Thinking about my mom’s death only months before and panicking about future health issues, I decided to take back my life or I would surely lose it to obesity-related disease.

I decided, after so many years of wishing God would just take me, that I would fight to find purpose and meaning.  I would fight for my life—physically, emotionally, spiritually.

On June 15, the fight began again.  My starting weight on that day according to my fitness app was 315 pounds.  As of yesterday, it was 282.  

I dropped 33 pounds through diet changes, exercise, and perseverance.  Oh, and A LOT of prayer.  I remember starting aqua aerobics praying, “God, please get me thought this exercise.” Or going onto the gym floor to use the machines. I was easily the fattest person in the room.  I would plead, “God, help me keep it together.”  Sometimes I still think about my mom and want to tell her I’m at my lowest adult weight I can remember and I fog up my swim goggles with hot tears because she’s gone.

People have asked me, “What’s your secret?  What plan did you use?”  There’s no secret.  There was no official plan.  I just record my calories in an app, exercise to make sure I’m creating a calorie deficit, and watch my carbs.  I try to cram as many veggies and fruits into my body as I can and use fruits to replace my cravings for something sweet.

Once a week, I eat ice cream or fries or whatever.  I don’t deprive myself of the foods I love; I’ve just changed how often I eat them.  I also make sure to eat proteins and healthy fats, like cashews and avocados.

I imagine I’ll always fight the battle of the bulge, especially as my body becomes more accustomed to weight loss and exercise.  The experts say the less weight one has to lose, the harder one has to work to burn the same amount of calories.  

And I’ll constantly be afraid of going back to my higher weights.  I don’t want to get rid of my bigger clothes, because what if I gain the weight back?  Yet I want to hold onto the security of being safe at any size.

This is the kicker with losing weight—which is both a loss and a gain—is that people seem happier with me.  I feel more normal and accepted in society.  I’m no longer one of *those* fat people, even though I technically am.  I think I take up more space than I do and yet I take up more space that I want to.  

I may have lost 100 pounds and gained a lot of confidence, but the stigma of being fat, won’t go away. 

I am still fat; I’m just 100 pounds less fat that I was before.

This is me

28 Sep


A year ago, my friend and I met over dinner to catch up.  She told me about the man she had been dating for several months.  As with all things Lizzie* it was a hilarious story that had that makings of a good rom-com movie.

“Do you think he’s the one?” I asked.

She shrugged as she responded.  “I don’t know.  I mean, I think you get to a point in your life where you’re like, this is who I am and this is who you are.  You don’t have to pretend to be something you’re not or play games.  You just figure out if you can live together.”

I nodded.  Notions of romance after age 35 were crushed.  I resolved to get a giant chocolate chip cookie before I left to help me swallow this bitter pill.

“So can you, you know, be who you are together?”

“Yes,” she confidently said.  She took a sip of green tea. “You don’t have to impress each other.  You just are who you are.” She threw her arms out and laughed, “This is me!  This is who I am. Take it or leave it.”

I laughed, too.  I tried to think of any instance in which someone of the opposite sex wanted to “take it.” Maybe I was just a “leave it” kind of woman.  You know, the kind of woman you want as a friend, but not as a girlfriend. 

I used to think I was awkward around men because my father had an affair, which absolutely crushed my 19 year-old heart.  Now, I think, I just never felt pretty enough.  Somehow the idea of the male gaze affected me younger and I was always the fat kid.

I look at old class photos and I’m one of the fattest kids in my class.  As I got older, I was the fattest kid in my grade.  I sift through my college pictures and often times, I was the fattest one pictured.    We’re all known for something, right?  I was known for being fat.

See, I wanted to be known for being smart or funny or kind or godly or a decent singer or a good writer.  For so much of my life, I’ve seen myself as the fattest person in the room. And I hated myself for it.

I mean, do you know what it’s like to carry the weight of that extra weight around?  It’s not just the excess celluloid, but all the judgment and shame that comes with it.  And I’m not talking about the opinions of others.  I’m talking about how I feel about myself.

Once upon a time I was the fattest person in the room.  I had to order most of my clothes online (or from catalogs.)   I tried to eat better and exercise.  I would lose 40 pounds and then gain it back.  Actually I would gain even more weight.  At one point, I weighed almost 400 pounds.

And I thought, this is me.  This is all I’ll ever be.  If a heart attack doesn’t kill me, then diabetes certainly will.  This is me and I am going to die from being too darn fat.  They call it “morbid obesity” for a reason.

My “This is Me” wasn’t who I wanted to me.  There wasn’t a satisfaction that comes with knowing who I am and accepting it.  It was more like, “This is me and I hate myself.  I can’t believe anyone would like me….and maybe if I put on make up, I won’t look as bad.”

But that is not who God created me to be.  At 400 or 300 or 200 pounds, I don’t think God ever looked at me as “the fattest person in the room.” I believe He just saw His beloved daughter, Amy.

Sometimes I’ve railed at heaven, screamed at my ceiling shaking a fist of accusation.  Why did You make me like this?  If I’m fearfully and wonderfully made, then why am I so flawed?  Why can others eat a bag of M&M’s and drink regular soda and eat at fast food places and I have to be so very careful?  Why doesn’t my body make enough insulin?  Why is my metabolism so slow?

WHY AM I SO FAT?!  Why has my life been so sad that I’ve wanted to eat?  And why have I allowed this fat to starve me of a more abundant life?

Really, God, why am I fat?

One day, He gave me an answer.  He didn’t have to, of course, because He is God and God doesn’t need to explain Himself.  I heard it in my heart.  “For My glory.”

And part of me is ashamed to admit that seems mighty unfair—why do I have to suffer for His glory?  I realize, though, that I have no idea what glory or holy or fairness or justice really is apart from God; therefore, His “glory” seems like some abstract concept.  What is the glory of the One whose very name is holy? 

I think about Moses face glowing from seeing the passing of God’s glory as he was protected in the cleft of a rock by the very Hand of God.  To be called to do something for God’s glory is a high calling indeed, even if it is difficult to bear.

I’m starting to realize I’m so much more than a number on a scale or my age or the size of my clothes.  It isn’t about finding “the one,” getting married, and having kids or scoring that perfect job.  It isn’t about buying a house or owning a dog.  Those are all good things.  Great things even.

It’s about being able to say, “This is me.”  This may not always be me because God is constantly refining me into someone who looks more and more like Jesus.  It’s about seeing my flaws and gaps and open spaces and seeing how God’s light shines through and how His strength makes up for all my weakness.  It’s not being about the fattest person in the room, but rather about being the person in the room who is living and loving for His glory.

It’s about me coming to terms with myself.  This is me.  It’s not all I’ll ever be, but it is a result of everything God has done in my life up to this point. I want you to look at me because I want you to see  Jesus.

This is me trying my very best to live for His glory.

This is me.

Transform: I Can

13 Jan


My mantra up until yesterday (when I first realized I had this mantra) was “I can’t.”

I can’t write.

I can’t get healthier.

I just can’t do this anymore.  God, why do you push me on to do these things I just can’t do?

Somewhere between my heart and the scribbles in my journal and the intervention of the Holy Spirit, I realized that “I can’t” is just an easy excuse.  “I can’t” means I don’t have to and it would be easier to give up and stay the way I am.  Because status quo can be easier than change, especially for me.

Yet my creative heart yearns for something more…and there’s that part of me, too.  These two selves war within me and I am trapped.

I thought about my mom, who is hooked up to a dialysis machine every night because her kidneys don’t work anymore.  She will spend the rest of her life on dialysis.  I see her life fading because she can’t walk very well.  When she falls, she needs someone to help her up.

When I fell, she was the one who used to help me up.

When she says “I can’t walk up a flight of stairs,” it’s true.  But the thing about my mom is, that she’ll try to walk up those stairs anyway.

So I’m starting with my “I can’t” statements.  There are some things I truly cannot do, but there are others I’m just hiding behind because I’m afraid.  What if…I can?

I can write.  I’m doing it right now.  No one said it has to be good, right?

I can get healthier.  I lost 80 pounds in 2015 and I intend to lose at least 80 more.

I can do this because I don’t have to do it alone.  I have a God who never, ever, ever, ever leaves me and who covers me with His extraordinary love.

Circumstances require us to change and change to push us to transform into someone we never knew we could become—the kind of person that God wants us (wants me) to be.

Christmas Un-Wrapped with Big Daddy Weave

15 Dec

Big Daddy Weave is doing something special for military families this Christmas.  As part of the “Be Brave” Campaign, the band has featured military families on their website and invited their fans to donate to the families. The project was inspired by the song “I’ll Be Brave This Chrsitmas” from the band’s new Christmas album, Christ is Come (Fervent).  Also, as part of Amazon MP3’s 25 Days of Music promotion, you can download Big Daddy Weave’s “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” Front man Mike Weaver shares about the album and his holiday memories in this version of Christmas Un-Wrapped.

Why did you decide to release a Christmas album this year?

After we’d completed our fifth studio record with Fervent, it just seemed like the right thing. Over the past few years we’d had a couple of Christmas singles that had been included in various compilations and what not, so we felt like we already had a place to start. It was kind of weird tracking Christmas music in June though. Hard to feel the Yuletide with ninety degree weather outside!

Which of the songs on the album is particularly special to you?  (You can name more than one!)

Well the carols that we created new arrangements for were all special because we’d grown up singing them every year. There are a couple of originals on the record though that I have really enjoyed since we’ve finished though.  The song “Glory” is a real worship moment on the record for me. It was a different feeling lyric  for me as a writer as well and the verse lyrics didn’t show up until it was literally time to go in and record vocals. The other song that really sticks out message wise is the tune “I’ll Be Brave This Christmas”. It’s about a little boy writing a letter to his dad, who’s off at war, around the holidays. I really have a great respect for the sacrifice our soldiers and the families that they leave behind to follow what I believe to be a very noble calling from God.

What is one of your favorite Christmas memories?

My parents always put on the Santa things really well! When we woke up on Christmas mornings, I mean it all HAD to be true by looking at what had transpired in our living room over night. I love them so much to this day for making such a big to do over us growing up. They were by no stretch of the imagination wealthy, but we never wondered if they cared about us. We KNEW it because of how great of an effort was shown, and this was just a small example.

What’s your fave Christmas song/Christmas movie or cartoon/Christmas cookie?

I always loved the old Rudolph movies and certainly I cried when the Grinch was so cruel to that poor little dog of his, but more recently I never seem to get tired of the Will Ferrell movie Elf. “You REALLY like sugar don’t you? Is there sugar in syrup? THEN YES!!!”

Bonus Question: What’s your New Year’s resolution?

This last year my resolution was to lose 90 lbs in ’09. I’m almost there right at 80. I figure I have plenty left to lose, so how bout another 60 or 70 in 2010.

True Confessions Friday:: I define myself by a number on a scale.

1 May

When I go to the doctor’s office, I have stopped looking at the number on the scale.  The last time I looked, I was thrown into a depressive tizzy that lasted for months.  Definitely not helpful and I gained more weight during that time.  It’s better to ignore the numbers and move forward with changing my life through exercise and diet (as well as discovering my relationship to food).

At a recent doctor’s appointment, the nurse told me I lost 5 pounds at the big weigh-in.  Go me!  As a matter of fact, my clothes do seem a little looser.  I made it through my dreaded one-on-one with my family doctor, who urged me to make an appointment at the weight management center…now that I’ve got an exercise routine worked out.  Sigh, this whole changing your life thing is hard work.

Because there was goofy insurance junk going on with the weight management center, I made an appointment with the area’s ONLY baritrician.  No, this isn’t weight loss surgery; she’s a doctor who helps with weight-loss and really gets to the bottom of what’s going on physically.  During the course of my appointment-making, the lady on the phone asked me how much I weigh.  Instead of offering a guesstimate, I asked Sarah (who went to my appointment with me due to my doctor-anxiety), who looks at the scale for me.  She told me the number, and it was a good 20 pounds higher than I expected (and that’s with losing 5 pounds).

I could scarcely repeat the number as all the excitement drained from my voice.  Appointment complete, I just sat in stunned silence.  Shrug it off, I told myself, you are doing what you need to do.  It doesn’t matter because you will lose the extra 20, too.  You are finally taking control of this area of your life.  You have more energy, strength, and your sleep cycle is finally normal.  You are doing great!

All I could think about was that number.

By the next day, I was drained of positive energy, and that number was pressing on me.  As I drove home from the pool, tears flooded my eyes.  How could you do this to yourself?  I was literally screaming and shrieking.  I wanted to crash my car because I was filled with hopelessness.  Instead, I just pulled over and cried until I was weary.  Then I drove home, collapsed on my bed, and decided that I would never leave my apartment again so that world would not be subjected to my hideousness.  I felt sorry for all the people who had to see me and my extra 20 pounds that day.

Sometime while wallowing in self-pity, I realized that I was late for my acting class.  Oh, crap, I thought, not only do the extra 20 and I have to leave the apartment, we have to perform in front of people.  I was half an hour late, and not in my usual jovial mood.  Everyone noticed it.  For the first 20 minutes, I did everything I could to hold myself together until I was eased into the rhythm of my class.  We began to perform our monologues, and a sick sense of dread came into my stomach.  I didn’t want to do mine, please, give me a reprieve.  But this was our second to last class and it was monologue night.

My turn came and I shuffled up to the front of the class and arranged the “stage” just so.  I offered some sort of apology about not being myself tonight, and the class smiled supportively.  Then I fumbled through my monologue.  I didn’t do as well as I would have liked, but this is acting class, not Broadway.  Everyone clapped appreciatively, and the instructor repeated to me how much she liked my monologue.  Instead of choosing a monologue from a movie or play, I had written my own, which I adapted from my blog post, “I Wish I Was Beautiful”.  Boy, did those words right true!  I felt like the most hideous woman in all the world.

I grabbed my evaluations and forgot about them until I was home.  I knew I wasn’t going to get a lot of excellent’s due to my distracted mental state, but I didn’t think I would receive this comment, “Who says your not?”   I stared at the paper trying to figure out what the question meant, then I realized it meant to say, “Who says you’re not beautiful?”  Uh, me.  Then it floored me, someone in my acting class thinks I am beautiful, even with the extra 20.  I’m beautiful to someone.

That number is starting to lose its grip on my mind, on my psyche, on my emotions.  I am the same person I was the day before I learned about that number, and my friends and family and most importantly, my God, still love me in spite of that number.  I’ve let that number sum up the worth of my entire personhood.

I am so much more than that number.

Stalked By Celery

9 Mar

Right now, I’m munching on celery.  Mostly because I’m hungry and it’s a negative calorie food.  Yup, it takes more energy to consume and digest than the empty calories contained in the stalk.  You’d think we weight-conscious Americans would be downing the vegetable by the bagful.  You would think, wouldn’t you?

However, there’s a problem with celery—it’s unpleasant.  It doesn’t taste great, it’s stringy tentacles get stuck in my teeth, and it’s texture is bizarre.  In fact, the only way I can scarf the stuff down is by putting peanut butter on it or dipping it in salad dressing, thereby making a negative calorie food a positive calorie food.  Leave it to me to take something healthy and turn it on its head.

Of course, it’s not as bad as the vanilla yogurt we have in the fridge, which has Butterfinger crumbs in a special container on the lid.  Ooooh, crunchy!  Nothing like adding a smashed-up candy bar to bland ol’ yogurt for a boost.

So I’m trying to add more fruits and vegetables and other healthy adult foods to my diet, but it’s hard.  Actually, fruits aren’t a problem.  I love fruit—of all types.  I could land on a desert island, eat fruit all my days, and be a happy girl.  Of course, my blood sugar would shoot way up and I’d go into a diabetic coma, so my days, though happy, would be numbered.  Plus, it’s time to act grown up and eat like an adult.

Buuuuut, I just don’t like vegetables.  Some vegetables are both raw and cooked like carrots and mushrooms (which is technically fungus).  Other vegetables like corn and broccoli taste better when cooked.  But when vegetables aren’t cooked correctly (too hard or too soft), they’re gross.  Plus, apparently we’re cooking half the nutrients right out of ‘em.

Salad.  Salad’s a good choice, right?  Leafy greens, carrots, mushrooms, those little mini-corn cob things that I don’t eat but look really cute, cheese, ham cubes, bacon bits, some diced eggs, and lots of salad dressing.  Lots.  Because low-cal and fat-free salad dressing is gross.  And those leafy greens can be better tasting, so best to stick with some safe Romaine and iceberg lettuce.  Now my chef salad has become a messy clump of supposedly healthy fat.  Good grief!  I might as well get a Big Mac at McDonald’s and save myself the misery.

I’m not going to do that.  I’m going to keep trying to eat better because I want to be feel good about myself and more importantly, live a healthy lifestyle.  I have to admit that changing my life for the better this past month has been exhausting, and yet I’m happier than I’ve been in a long time.  I feel better about myself and I’m more connected with others and with God.  I’m still a work in progress (like always until the day I die), but at least I am making progress with my work.  Look at that, my celery is finished.  I guess it wasn’t so bad.  Sigh.  I wonder if we have any carrots.

Wii Be Fat

19 May

This is actually the Japanese Wii Fit box.  I’m pretty sure i couldn’t stand on one leg with my arms in the air.

Wii Fit which debuts May 19 in the U.S. was released last month in Europe (is it me or do they get everything first?) and apparently the game told an active 10 year-old girl that she was “fat” using the highly accurate body mass index (BMI). The BMI conversions don’t accurately measure the fitness of children.

Watch an exciting video about Wii Fit…

Naturally, the girl and her parents were upset that Wii Fit called the little girl “fat” and have caused an uproar (full story). Seeing the error of their ways, Nintendo has apologized to the family. Here’s a quote from the article about Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum, “Fry, however, thinks the measurement is misleading and he’d like to see children banned from playing the game.”

OK, the measurements are wacky so kids should be banned from playing the game entirely? Huh? Aren’t we going a little overboard here? Tell the kids that the system is messed up and let them play on Wii Fit. I’ve heard people say, “Kids get fat and lazy from sitting around and playing too many video games.” Now there’s actually a game system that allows people to be actively amuse and a game is being banned for telling a girl she’s fat? Am I missing something?

Although, I am not encouraged to work out when I enter my height and weight into the BMI. It seems too impossible to get into that “perfect” range. Sometimes I just want to give up and go out for ice cream. Or I feel too fat to go to the gym or the pool…TO LOSE WEIGHT! How can one be too fat to lose weight? Yeah, we women struggle with our weight issues in interesting ways. I’d probably feel the same way if I had Wii Fit. As if everyone else in the world doesn’t tell me I’m fat, now my fitness video game is doing the same. Yeah, time to raid the fridge.

Whether Wii Fit or those pesky numbers on the scale or the image in our minds, how we perceive ourselves and how others perceive us is only part of the bigger picture–there’s the way that God sees us. God created in us a beauty we can never understand, and though sin has ravaged our bodies and distorted our ideas of self, we remain in His image. It is so hard to accept who we are in Christ and the truth of what God calls us–beloved. This is an area in which I struggle in my own life and am working on constantly. The truth is so much harder to believe than the lies, whether in our heads or the BMI on Wii Fit.

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