Tag: weight

Skinny, Skinny, Skinny

Today I have a bit of an upset stomach so I am not going to the gym but never fear I will be right back at it tomorrow!  The last 2 weeks have been some of my most consistent and hard working during this fitness quest.   It really helps to have a goal and getting ready for this open water swim is a huge challenge.  At least I read yesterday that the water is warmer than usual-70 degrees, oh la la!

Currently I am working on the most boring project for work.  It involves looking at a spreadsheet with 27,000 items and identifying what branch the item belongs to.  Sometimes this requires my looking up the monument or national park to see what area it is in.  (On the plus side, I am now somewhat of an expert on the national parks, even obscure ones!).

To keep from falling asleep I have a movie on as background noise.  Today I’m watching Brigadoon with Gene Kelly and and Cyd Cherise.  Its not the greatest musical but I enjoy it. It has beautiful dancing and a few of the songs are catchy.

The thing that shocked me while watching is how insanely skinny Cherise is.  In fact, all the women are uber-skinny- made more so by restrictive corsets. It reminds me of the famous scene from Gone with the Wind when Scarlet is upset over not being able to corset her waist at 18 inches after having a baby!

so skinny!

Does anyone else think she looks ridiculous with such a tiny waist and large bust?  Maybe that seems like the cliched response of a fat girl but honestly! The only thing I can think in her defense is that she was a ballet dancer and they are always very skinny.

The sad part is we still set such insane standards.  For instance, the other day I was watching Big Bang Theory and Kaley Cuoco’s character Penny is upset when Sheldon guesses that she weighs 120 lbs.  Let’s say she is 5 ft 7, 120 would still be well under the body mass index produced by the insurance industry.

By all competent medical diagnosis 120 should be considered skinny, even underweight, but on the show she is horrified to be labeled as a fat 120. I even read some articles that listed Kaley as a ‘curvy’ member of Hollywood young.  Please!  If she is curvy than no wonder so many people are turning to eating disorders. What do we all have to be below 100 lbs to be considered skinny? Crazy!

To see the clip go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PJ2pG8fNH9s.  They won’t let me embed it.

Hollywood doesn't think this is skinny

The problem with words like ‘skinny’ is they have no real diagnostic value.  They can mean whatever you want and so using such a vague term as a goal for change is dangerous.  If skinny is your goal it will literally never be good enough.  You will never be skinny enough.

I would love to say that the images and skinny messaging promoted by Hollywood doesn’t affect me- that I am strong and know it is garbage.  I do see the flaws but I am not invulnerable to the feelings of longing for a body I will never have and an image that will never happen.  I don’t know anybody that is perfectly confident all the time and doesn’t on occasion wish for a seemingly better, more attractive body.  When those moments come, the images sent out by Hollywood can do damage to my self-esteem and confidence.  I am not immune to such feelings. Are you? Luckily, I am wise enough and strong enough to pick myself up and start telling myself the right kind of messages.

Perhaps I am thinking of this topic because I have been exercising like a maniac and yet my bi-weekly weigh-in yesterday I had lost no weight.  Obviously this was a disappointment but I know that I have become healthier in the last 20 days.  My swim times are faster, my weight repetitions and amounts are more, and I feel enthusiastic and happy.   The skinniness may not come along but I have to remember that being skinny is a mirage of a goal.  Being healthy is real.  Finishing my race on the 13th is a real goal, and I know I can do it- skinny or not!

What do you think about the illusion of getting skinny?  What are your goals for fitness and weight loss and how does the images presented by Hollywood or fashion impact you?

A Good Moment

All of my friends, family and blog readers know I have done a lot of whining as I’ve ventured down the road to physical fitness.  While I would like to bear all the difficulties with gentile grace, the stresses and struggles have at times been more than I can endure alone.  It’s all I can do to keep from screaming with  frustration.   (Seriously, if you only knew how much I want to complain and don’t, you’d find me restrained). Thank you in advance for your continued support and patience with my struggles.

It is with this history in mind that I share a perk of my weight loss I experienced today.

First some background.  As I have mentioned on this blog I am a member of the Tree house Athletic Club in Draper.  This is a nationally award winning gym- the best in the state with amazing personnel, incredible facilities and a serene spa environment.  I could not have experienced half of my success at any other facility.

In fact, the gym is so great a special program called Real Life Fitness trains there.  This is basically a fitness boot camp (or a fitness retreat as it is called on their website) where people from around the country come for stays ranging from 2 weeks to 4 months.  From what I’ve seen of the program it looks pretty good.  It’s a bit too military for me (sometimes their trainers are out on the floor yelling and it makes me crazy! I hate that kind of trainer.) I have never watched the show but I guess its designed to mimic The Biggest Loser.

Anyway, the process appears grueling and difficult.  As I have not been a participant, it is tough for me to comment on its effectiveness, but I have noticed improvement in some patients as I work out with them each day.  My only worry is whether they can keep up such a difficult routine when they get home?  Some of them are doing 7 hours or more of exercise a day!  I am glad I decided to go with the steady-as-she comes approach instead of something like Real Life.  I don’t think I will be as fearful of gaining once I achieve my goals.

Now getting to today- I did a quick workout this afternoon (had voice lesson so I had to hustle).  As I put away my gym clothes and water bottle in my locker I noticed a woman who looked depressed sitting in the lounge area.  I could tell she was a new Real Life’r and I said:

“Rough workout?”

“Yeah, I felt like I was going to pass out.” she said

“How long have you been here?” I said

“Just 2 days. You been here a while ?” she said (I must have looked in pretty good shape for her to say that!)

“I’m not in Real Life.  I live here in Draper but I’ve been working on losing weight for the last year.”

“Really?  They just told me I need to lose 67 lbs” she said her face filled with despair.

“Well, don’t over do it.  You can only do so much.  Your body will fight back big time- especially at the beginning”  I continued “People have no idea when they say ‘get off your butt and work out how hard it is going to be.  You are talking about 3 years of your life 2 hours a day with other major lifestyle changes.  It isn’t just get off your butt. ”

“Seriously” she said. “I’m so sick of hearing that.”

“I’ve been working hard for a year and lost 40-some pounds and still have a long way to go.  If I can do it, anyone can do it.  Don’t get discouraged. ” I said.

“I appreciate that.” she said as tears welled up in her eyes.  Of course, this made me cry!  Unless you’ve been where me and this nameless woman have, you don’t understand.

“Really. It feels impossible right now but you can do it!”

I had to rush off to make my lesson but as I exited the gym I shed another tear or two to marvel at where I’d come in 10 months time.  Back then I’d never have been able to give that woman advice.  I wasn’t going to Tree house until August!  It was a sweet moment of victory- one which I hope to repeat many times in future years.  I also hope a few people are similarly inspired by this blog- despite the complaining.  It would make it all worth it!

Some people when they change their life they look at the discarded versions of themselves with disdain and maybe a bit of anger.  I promise to all of you that I will not do it.  Talking to that lady today made me realize I can inspire people and lift them up.  Believe me, those struggling with weight-loss get enough negative feedback- they don’t need to hear any from me.  I hope I am the first one with a hug and a word of encouragement.  I hope I always see people’s potential and accept them for who they are now, while never doubting their ability to change.  This is my goal and mission statement.  You guys better help me keep it!  If I get out of line remind me of my commitment and give me a bit of a wake-up slap!

Today was a tender mercy I will never forget.  Too many more…

Crazy Doctor

I think I would have been better off with Dr. Nick!

Anyone who is my facebook friend knows about the crazy experience I had last week.  On Monday I went to Provo for an appointment with an endocrinologist. My regular doctor had recommended  I see her because of my history of hormonal problems.  I don’t want to over-share but I have the following unusual symptoms:

1. Gained at least 50 lbs the year I went through puberty (the photos are striking from year to year)

2. Have been over 200 since I was 12.

3. I was an active child/teenager and yet the weight never went.  I was on the swim team in high school and a life guard but never went below 200.

4. Have been diagnosed with endometriosis when I was 17 which can effect hormone levels.

5.  Have other signs I won’t go into and recently had a bunch of blood work done and it showed some imbalances.

Given these conditions I thought perhaps hormone levels could be a piece in the weight loss puzzle.  I was not looking for an easy answer or something to blame. I know my habits are the majority of the problem but that doesn’t mean there aren’t other contributing factors.

With this positive attitude I went to the doctor expecting to be listened to and treated with respect.  Boy was I wrong.  The minute I got in with the doctor everything was rushed.  Even when they weighed me they rushed through it and didn’t wait for the scale to settle.  (it was one of those old scales where you move the weights over).  She said I was 287 but I know I am less then that!

Once I was seated she proceeded to ask me all kinds of questions that got progressively more strange.  Without taking a second to LISTEN to the points I have listed above she asked me about my upbringing, what kinds of food my mother made for me, how social I was as a child, how active I was growing up.  Then she gave me a huge lecture on the epidemic of  childhood obesity and told me my mother must have fed me bad foods and that I was an unhappy child, leading me to binge eat.  I tried to tell her this wasn’t true and that in general I was a very happy child and that my mother fed us good food.  We hardly ever went to fast food and most meals were made from scratch.  I also asked “if it is all my mother’s fault then why are my siblings twigs?”.  This received no response but more lecturing.

Then we got on to my adult life.  I told her I had lost 31 lbs and you know what she said- “I’d have to see a picture of you before?”  Can you believe that?  I was shocked that she didn’t believe me! Next she asked about my current social life- “Do your friends eat a lot of junk food?  Are they all overweight?”  I told her my friends are supportive and amazing, which produced a scoff of disbelief.  “Do you eat junk food, fast food? I bet your candy eater?  Are you a soda drinker?”  “NOOO”  I responded as adamantly as I could.  I even told her about my no fast food pledge, but she clearly thought I was just telling her what she wanted to hear.   Then she asked me about all of the diets I’d tried.  I told her weight watchers, american heart association, slim fast etc.  Her response was

“Weight watchers is the best.How long did you try it?”

“Around 6 months.  I didn’t really like it” I replied

“Oh that ‘s not long enough.  It has to be at least a year.  You should do it again.” she said

Merits of weight watchers aside, I couldn’t believe a medical professional was specifically endorsing a company.  Bizarre.  Then she became more bizarre by telling me I should watch The Biggest Loser because it would inspire me to lose weight!  I felt like saying “I have a blog talking about that show…” but she didn’t listen to a word I said.  From the moment I set in that office she had me pinned as “another fattie trying to get an easy answer”.  I’m sure she must get that a lot but in my case I was the exception to the rule.  There are valid signs that perhaps a problem exists.  And even if it doesn’t exist, I think my hormone imbalances are at least worth looking into.  No doctor should assume the worst out of his or her patients and everyone fattie or not deserves to be treated with respect.

Believe it or not the appointment got even stranger.  I have a birthmark on my head that guess what I’ve had since BIRTH!  I’ve had tons of doctors look at my head over the years and never has anyone mentioned a problem.  This doctor did about a 1 minute exam on me and then looked at my birthmark and said “Oh you should have someone look at that right away.  I would definitely have that taken care of?”  In shock I tried to ask why, what was the problem, etc and I got no response.  I’m telling you she didn’t listen to a word I said!

Finally at the end she gave me a prescription for a diabetes drug which she said “would help me lose weight.”  Of course, she also said “it has side effects like nausea and vomiting (maybe that helps with the weight loss!).   I am tested quite often for my blood sugar and insulin and have never been high or on the edge of high.  Never.  I felt she gave me this prescription because I was fat and it would be the magic pill she thought I was there for.  Of course, I have not filled this prescription!

When the appointment was mercifully over I left and noticed the doctor left with another doctor talking about “the surgery they  had”.  Clearly she was rushed and maybe that is part of her bad behavior, but I don’t think it explains all.  This woman took one look at me and made her medical judgments right then and there.  She refused to listen, she lectured, and she treated me with disdain.  Thank goodness I am at a strong point because in previous years an experience like that would have sent me into tears.  I felt so judged by her.  I’ve never felt so uncomfortable in a doctors office, or so marginalized by anyone in my life.

The entire experience had one positive effect.  Earlier in the day I had been with my trainer and my swim coach.  They were both so encouraging. My swim coach thinks if I keep up my current physical activity I could participate in a triathlon in May!  I told him “I feel like I have just as good a chance of having a baby in May as running a triathlon!  I can’t even run a lap”.  Nevertheless, he believes I can do it.

My swim coach, trainer, family, friends blogging community, acquaintances, everyone, has been nothing but super encouraging as I’ve been working to change my life.  They have all been the opposite of this mean old witch of a doctor.  I immediately told my referring doctor to not use her anymore and explained what had happened.  I also told my insurance company and got a different doctor to try.

Finally I called the office to get my records sent and complain.  I still can’t believe the receptionists response to my complaint:

“We get that a lot” and then she added “She’s from the East Coast.

I told her that I’m from Maryland and folks there still expect to be treated with respect and be listened to.  I can handle blunt, even rude but to be treated with disdain is not appropriate ANYWHERE!  I don’t care where you live a doctor should never pre-diagnose a person based on his or her appearance.   That is wrong and as an East Coaster I am offended  by such a lame excuse! East Coast my foot!

Anyway, it was a challenging experience that made me feel uncomfortable, angry, sad and judged but it also reminded me of all the support and love I have every day.  Thank you to all of you for everything.  I couldn’t do it alone.  (I’ve tried and it doesn’t work!).

Ps.  Enter my recipe contest.  I hope my list of comfort foods hasn’t dissuaded anyone.  You can send me any recipe you think is tasty.  It can be gluten free, vegetarian, vegan.  Whatever.  As long as it is good I will give it a try!  Send to smilingldsgirl@yahoo.com.

Healthy Recipe Contest

Yesterday I went to my free trainer session at my gym.  Fortunately my trainer is awesome, thoughtful and understanding (she is a former overweight girl herself).  I felt great about our session until today when my entire body hurt- and when I say entire, I mean just that.  Unfortunately for me she gave me an assignment to replicate the work out every day except Sunday and then meet and report on Monday.  I’m not exaggerating when I say every muscle in my body revolted against mere movement today, let alone exercise.   However, knowing my body lies, I forced myself to the gym and did the routine.  Then I suffered 2o minutes on the exercise bike.  My face was red, my body ached like it was being tortured and I felt ready to pass out but I made it through.  Now I am writing this post full of ibuprofen and smelling strongly of bengay but I’m proud of myself.  I did it and it was really hard.

In an effort to NOT think about tomorrow’s exercise I have an exciting proposition.  Since I started to change my life, I have been trying different cookbooks on healthy eating from the library with limited success.  I did find one that had a cool recipe for pork chops with roasted grapes (sounds weird but it was great!) Most of the recipes have been either stuffed with lame substitutes (cool whip is no whip cream), or are completely lacking in flavor.

Here’s my idea…I am going to have a healthy recipe contest.  Anyone can enter by sending me a healthy recipe via email to smilingldsgirl@yahoo.com.  This can be baking, cooking, grilling whatever but please make it a recipe you have actually tried.  Do not simply google “healthy fried chicken recipe”.  I would particularly love recipes that mimic or satisfy cravings for comfort foods.  These recipes do not have to be “quick cooking foods”.  In fact the more ambitious the better! Some examples of healthy recipes I would love are:

fried chicken or chicken fingers

pancakes

spaghetti and meatballs (I would love a great healthy meatball recipe)

meatloaf

pizza/calzones

french toast (breakfast food in general is a real craving)

snack foods

fettuccine alfredo (Italian food would be great)

thanksgiving food (turkey, gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing etc)

chicken and noodles

chili and cornbread

grilled cheese and soup

thai food

lemon chicken

wheat bread/rolls

quesedilla (or other interesting latin food)

gourmet salads

homemade ice cream

cookies (chocolate chip are a favorite)

casseroles

curry

indian food

sushi

gourmet sandwiches

biscuits

pies (especially lemon meringue would be a thrill)

The recipes you send can be variations of traditional dishes.  (Such as lemon mirengue pudding instead of pie).  Please include the source for recipe if received from a cookbook or magazine (also add the nutritional information if it comes with).  I have a traditionally stocked kitchen with stick blender, blender, kitchenaid mixer,  food processor and george foreman grill.  I do not currently have a waffle iron or souffle pan.

Once I have tested the recipes (might take a while- sorry) I will declare a winner and he/she will receive:

$20 gift card to Williams Sonoma. (that’s right!  If there are 2 great recipes I may have a second place prize).

Instant fame with the recipe publication on my blog (I know its a big prize!)  🙂

Consider your efforts to send recipes as your piece in my eventual fitness puzzle.  Just think of it-  someday you can see the stunning skinny me and think “thank you, I had a part in that gorgeous woman!”  Seriously, it would be a big help and I am keenly grateful in advance.  Happy cooking!

My Weird Self Image and Other Updates

So I haven’t posted for a bit.  To begin with I had a lot of make up work to do in both my jobs after being sick so long.  The next reason is I have been exercising like a maniac at my new GYM!!!  Yes, I finally decided to step my exercise to the next level and join a gym.  It was a hard decision because the only gym nearby that had a pool  (an absolute requirement) is at the top of my price range ($69 a month).  The gym is called the Treehouse Athletic Club and is about 5 minutes from my apartment.  Treehouse is actually a great deal for families but they sock it to the singles (I’m sorry but you think it would be the other way around.  I’m only one person!).  Weeks ago I asked my facebook friends whether I should join a gym and one of them said “make sure it is somewhere you want to be”.  This sounds obvious but is not the case with most gyms.  They are usually “too body builder, show-off my weights, I’m a total tool”,  for my taste.  On the other end of the spectrum I have done Curves once before but its expensive for what you get and doesn’t provide classes, a pool or any real cardio.

With these expectations I went in to Treehouse last Monday for a trial day and it was like they knew I was coming.  There even happened to be a swim instructor there who gives tips on your stroke twice a week.  Need I mention that the pool blew me a way and the spa was even better.  There are 2 hot tubs, 2 pools (one for laps, one for child play), tons of equipment and weight machines and classes galore.  Plus, the whole environment felt so relaxing.  They have fluffy bathrobes, shampoo, conditioner and body wash in the showers, deodorant spray and lotion in the changing rooms, a swimsuit dryer, and nice hair dryers.  In the words of my friend “this is a place I want to be”.  After weighing the options, on Thursday I went in and paid the year-long membership (got a 10% discount for paying upfront) and have been using it like crazy since.  Anyone in the Draper area who would like to check it out let me know.  I have a few guest day passes. There have been times when I’ve joined gyms before but this time feels different.  This whole fitness quest has felt different.  I’m now at 285 (that’s 28 lbs lost since March) and working to get down to 250 asap.

Speaking of 250…the other day I was watching TLC when a weight loss program came on.  The idea was to profile people who are trying to lose 100 lbs.  One of the men on the show was nearly 500 lbs- clearly a huge problem.  However, the girl they profiled was 258 lbs, and they were acting like the two amounts were identical in scale.  I will be thrilled when I get to 250 lbs but that’s not really what bothered me.  I genuinely see myself and certainly myself at 258 lbs as beautiful not some grotesque human being as this show was portraying.  The woman wouldn’t look at her wedding pictures because she was so horrified at her weight.  They even interviewed her parents who said how disappointed they were in their obese daughter (Isn’t that awful! I wish I was making this up).  I’m not trying to defend being 250 lbs.  I know it is unhealthy in many ways but isn’t it strange that I have such a different viewpoint than the producers of this show or the woman involved? When I look in the mirror (even at 285 lbs) I see a beautiful plus size girl.

This is not the first time that I have noticed my unusual degree of self-acceptance.  When other people are apologizing and criticizing themselves I often feel great.  Of course, I have moments of self-doubt and discouragement but usually not because of my behavior, performance or body.  In fact, Megan is always laughing at how freely I compliment myself.  I simply respond,  “I live alone. If I don’t say it no one will!”.   For example, when I cook a new recipe or try a different technique I will tell everyone at the table if the food is delicious (my former roommates can attest to that!)!

Several years ago another example hit me.  I was an obedient, hard-working missionary-not perfect, but I can honestly say I tried my hardest each day.  When I got on the plane leaving Indiana I knew in my heart I had found everyone I needed to find, and worked as hard as I could.  I left with NO REGRETS.

I naively thought all good missionaries felt this way and had this same reassurance from the Lord.  A couple  years after the mission Julia Graves came to visit me, and we met up with several sisters from our mission to see both our mission presidents.  When chatting with President Simmons I said

“the great thing about a mission is it is the one thing in life you can do with no regrets.  You can know you served the Lord 100%”.

I was not saying this to boast or brag about my great mission.  I really did think everyone felt this way; however, when we got in the car one of the sisters said

“Wow, sister Wagner. I wish I felt that way about my mission.”.  Then all of the others agreed with her.

I can’t overstate how surprised I was by their reaction. It made me step back and realize my many blessings.  I knew then Heavenly Father had given me my sense of peace and closure to a very physically, spiritually and mentally draining mission.  I didn’t specifically pray for this reassurance but the Lord knew I needed it.

I was thinking about this experience and the 258 program when I realized perhaps my acceptance of my body has also been a blessing.  Maybe the Lord needed me to be happy with myself until I was ready to change.  He needs me to be actively serving, loving and trying my best no matter what my weight is. He also loves me regardless of my appearance.  Last year I read a book called the Amazing Adventures of Diet Girl, and I hated it with a passion.  The thing that made me mad is the author portrays her heavy self as practically worthless- like a big blob incapable of interacting with friends, family, or participating in activities such as travel or other recreation.  I promise that when I lose weight I will never look down on the old me.  I have value and am beautiful even at 285lbs, and I don’t care if  some stupid TLC program or book says otherwise!

23 lbs

23 lbs of lard. This was all in me! Crazy!

So today I found out that I have lost 23 lbs since I started exercising at the beginning of March.  I am now at 290 lbs- having started at 313. I went to the grocery store and took pictures of what 23 lbs looks like.  It is shocking! Just thought I would share this with all of you. Particularly seeing the lard makes me want to try extra hard to get rid of the rest.   It’s just hard to believe all of it was inside me! Amazing!  Thanks for all the support.