Just for fun: “Vintage Weight Loss Ads”

Just wanted to share this article from Huffington Post:
Vintage Weight Loss Ads: A Look At The Health Advice Of Yesteryear

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Keep the light turned on: Energy efficient weight loss

An airplane gets most of its wear and tear during takeoff and landing.  Stop-and-go traffic is brutal on your gas mileage. Frequently turning a light on and off takes more energy than just leaving it on. As my husband tells me, that’s why those energy efficient light bulbs turn on low, and gradually get brighter and brighter.

Red Light Green Light. Photo by Nick Krug.

Remember that game we played as kids – Red Light Green Light? Stop. Go. Stop. Go. Don’t get caught moving.

The actions of stopping and starting are brutal to a lifelong weight management/exercise regimen. It breaks you down. It saps your energy. It’s discouraging. It costs your body a fortune.

I’ve noticed that a lot of fellow bloggers who have lost—or are in the process of losing—large amounts of weight are doing it in chunks. Pun intended. 🙂  They will lose 30 or 40 pounds, maintain that weight for a while, then continue on their downward, forward motion. Even with a maintenance “break,” they are making a continuous progress in the right direction. They never fully stop. And once in maintenance mode, they don’t stop watching their intake (food) and output (exercise).

In my 20s, I remember being constantly unhappy about my size. I was always trying to lose weight. In the meantime, I worked out fairly regularly on my NordicTrack. I played indoor soccer.

Because I was always looking at the negative, I failed to recognize the positive, wonderful truth:  I could basically eat what I wanted (within reason) and not gain weight, as long as I kept exercising.

The last several months of weight maintenance have been a great test. Everyone is different, but it seems my metabolism rewards me for regular workouts. I can enjoy occasional, delectable, decadent meals without doing serious damage to myself.

It’s such an encouraging, hopeful feeling. Because there is a little voice inside my head saying, “Why bother losing all this weight? You’ll never change, not really. You’ll just gain it back. You have before.”  Because I’m a girl who loves food. Apparently, I can have my cake and eat it, too, within reason—as long as I keep my body moving. As long as I don’t stop.

I can lose this weight. And I’ll be able to keep it off.

There is only one condition: Don’t ever stop. Keep the light on. Keep my butt moving.

Now we’ve just got to get back to the gym after a 2-week hiatus.

The tyranny of eating whatever you want.

Folly is an unruly woman;
she is simple and knows nothing.
She sits at the door of her house,
on a seat at the highest point of the city,
calling out to those who pass by,
who go straight on their way,
“Let all who are simple come to my house!”
To those who have no sense she says,
“Stolen water is sweet;
food eaten in secret is delicious!”
But little do they know that the dead are there,
that her guests are deep in the realm of the dead.
Proverbs 9:13-19 NIV

fol·ly/ˈfälē/
Noun:
1. Lack of good sense; foolishness: “an act of sheer folly.”
2. A foolish act, idea, or practice: “the follies of youth.”

There’s a sort of giddy feeling that comes when I’ve given in to folly, not caring about what I eat, how I look, how I feel. It’s seductive, like the serpent was to Eve in the Garden of Eden. “Go ahead and eat it. It won’t hurt you.” Or, “Go ahead a stay there on the couch. You’ve had a hard day. You’re tired. You need the rest.”

It’s a false sort of freedom. It looks, tastes and feels like freedom, but then it becomes a prison. It’s the tyranny of eating whatever you want. It’s a freedom that leads to death. As the Proverb says above, “But little do they know that the dead are there.”

Gone is the nice clean feeling inside. Gone is the confidence in knowing I’m doing the right thing. Do I really stop and count the loss when I’ve given up on my goal? I am counting the cost right now. I am making a course adjustment before all of my efforts are lost.

My big sister gave me a great pep talk via email yesterday. She’s been losing weight with the help of Weight Watchers. Thought I’d share her wisdom here.

“I know it is hard to keep the focus, but giving up can’t be an option.  Just means figuring out emotionally where the walls are.  You are doing better than you think.  Remember where you used to be.

…I have really seen that I can’t do it just by eating less, or just by working out.  They really have to go together, which then makes it a life style.  I also watch Biggest Loser (Tues, 8pm) and that helps motivate me–seeing other people make excuses and what it sounds and looks like.  I am also having to break thru this next layer–my middle third–where my body wants to settle in.  But I am feeling SO MUCH better just for myself.  It is like getting out of debt, freeing.  I don’t feel so embarrassed everywhere I go.  You’ll figure it out.  Just don’t give up!  Keep picturing the things you will do when you are the goal size you want to be.  I’m trying to think, dream, of what those things are for myself.  I think getting my scooter was one of them.

Well, there’s my dissertation on that!  Just don’t give up, but don’t be hard on yourself either.  Be the boss of yourself, not a victim.  You are so much stronger than you know.  Who cares about the past, there are no choices left in it, but there are all the choices for the future.”

Time to go straight on my way, ignore the voice of folly, and listen to the voice of wisdom.

Self pep talk from the past…

This is the button that popped off of my size 16 pants. Buttons don't lie!

It’s been over a month since my last post on February 8th. Blog silence is not a good thing. It means I don’t have good news. I haven’t been keeping my commitment to lose weight. I don’t want to bore you all with my pathetic excuses. Most of all, I don’t want to discourage anyone. Losing weight and keeping it off is possible. People do it all the time. So I’m working on getting my head back in the game. I’m wishing I could have bottled up the motivation I felt last fall for how I’m feeling right now. Sigh.

I’m going to start with a note I wrote to myself almost ten years ago.

July 27, 2002

Life is great! The future is bright! There is so much to accomplish, and instead of feeling overwhelming, it’s motivating and exciting! Remember that Jennifer!

When it gets hard, and you’re down, and you’re wondering what’s the point – think of how incredible it’ll feel to accomplish this seemingly impossible goal.

Write when you want that pizza, that buttery popcorn, that hot fresh bread, that chocolate, that ice cream. Think of how uncomfortable it makes you feel to eat that – how too-full, bloated, gross gross gross you feel. You don’t even enjoy it all that much anyway. It just makes you feel huge, sick… and think of the lovely indigestion it causes.

And then there are the feelings of failure, of self-disgust, of self-recrimination. And how that can lead to more mistakes, more failures. Failure breeds failure, and success breeds success.

Oprah calls it that “Holy Moment” when you’re tempted and you want to give in. You have a choice. Do you give in, or do you take power over that temptation and say – Dammit, No! There is so much freedom in knowing what to eat – and it is liberating to do the right thing! That’s Biblical even – the freedom in obeying God.

The wrong food is a prison, it is a kind of slavery, and it keeps you stuck in a spot and limits your world. It is death. It leads to terminal illness. What kind of hope is that? None. Hope is life. Hope is what keeps us alive.

Remember how good it feels when you’re addicted to exercise?! The rush, the adrenalin, the power, the knowledge that you are being productive and good to yourself. Best of all, the feeling afterwards. That warm shower, washing away all the sweat and soothing your muscles, the nice clean clothes, the pleasant, buzzing, relaxed feeling afterwards. It feels great!

Addiction transference: It’s not the food. It’s the issues behind the food.

1-800-GET-THIN Billboard. Image source: http://thecurvynerd.com

Last week, I caught a local (southern California) morning TV news story about a forty-something woman who had gotten the lap-band weight loss surgery. She thought that getting thin would make her happy. She believed their marketing slogan, “Let your new life begin. Call 1-800-GET-THIN!” She lost over 100 pounds, but found herself as unhappy as she was when she was heavy and became addicted to meth. What? That’s crazy!  Maybe not. The commentator said it was an issue of “addiction transference.”

Addiction transference? Interesting. The news piece stuck in my head for several days. Whether a person loses weight because of surgery or via diet and exercise, it’s the same cautionary tale:

  • Being thin isn’t going to magically make you happy and solve all your problems.
  • Discarding the fat suit doesn’t magically transform you into a completely new person.
  • You can’t run away from yourself by changing your appearance.
  • All the crap inside you that made you fat in the first place? It’ll still be there when you’re thin if you don’t deal with it.

I scoured the TV station’s website to find a link to the story to share, to no avail. I did find an extremely interesting article on the lap-band website: Addiction Transference and Lap-Band Surgery:  It’s easy to trade another addiction for your food addiction.

I had two observations after reading the article.

  1. I was glad that the company acknowledged that addiction transference is a possible issue for their patients. Hopefully they make the patient aware of it ahead of time and take proactive steps to prepare for it.
  2. I was annoyed that the article emphasized the physiological reasons for addiction rather than the emotional ones. Here are a couple of examples.

“The first theory that has been initially proposed is the idea that patients develop addiction transference in order to fill the “void” that is no longer there because of their treated obesity. However, as more research begins to take shape scientists and psychologists alike have found support for the theory that the major addictive pathway in the brain that is responsible for alcohol and cocaine dependency is also responsible for obesity problems… In addition, researchers have suggested that obesity essentially acts as a cover or type of prevention for other major addictions such as those to alcohol, gambling, or even cocaine.”

“Treating obesity through a weight loss surgery does not necessarily mean that one would experience a compulsive disorder or other type of addiction. It simply means that obesity surgeries essentially uncover another type of problem that may be going on in the brain, such as an abnormal level of dopamine that has been found in those patients that do develop addiction transference.”

The article made addiction transference sound rare. According to the site, “the American Society for Bariatric Surgery estimates that only about 5% of individuals develop this problem. On the other hand, U.S. Bariatric, a major weight loss surgery center in Florida, puts the number at 20% or above.”

Consider the source: I’m reading an article provided by the providers of lap-band surgery. Of course they’re going to want to blame addiction on something physical in your brain. God forbid they should hold a person accountable for their emotional issues and choices. That’s not what they’re selling.

To be fair, I must add that the article concludes by saying that if someone is at risk, the patient should seek extensive counseling and possible medication to treat addiction transference.

While writing this post, I was playing Words with Friends on Facebook with my husband. This ad popped up. It makes Jennifer Hudson sound so healthy emotionally, like she is comfortable in her body, no matter what size she is. I hope it is true for her!

When I started my weight loss journey, I considered lap-band surgery for about two seconds. I know it’s helped a lot of people, but there’s just something about it that bothers me. I know I need to fundamentally change myself inside and that can’t be achieved by having a superficial surgical procedure. I know I need to change my habits, deeply ingrained in me for over forty years and it feels like cheating to take the short cut. I know it won’t solve the real problems of why I got fat in the first place. There is no quick fix for that. No way.

So I press on… 🙂

P.S. And let’s not forget that one “side effect” of lap-band surgery is Death. There’s that. In looking for a photo for this post, I found Curvy Nerd‘s: In the News: 1-800-Get-Thin woman dies after lap band surgery. Her concluding statement was startling, but true:

“This is what we do to people — they are willing to risk death in order to be ‘skinny.'”

A happy indication of true change.

Scrabble with my Dad and sisters. Note the absence of junk food on the table. 🙂

Hello blog buddies. It has been about three weeks since my last post. Sounds like I’m making a confession! Rest assured, the absence of blog posts does not indicate a lack in my commitment to keep pressing forward on this journey.

Sick no more
Like most of you, life is just crazy busy. I had a third bout of the cold/flu after writing my last post. I finally went to the doctor when my throat hurt so bad I couldn’t swallow. My eyes turned pink and a bunch of gunky nasty stuff started oozing out. Sorry to be gross, but it seriously freaked me out. Went to the doc the next day and he prescribed eye drops and a five day course of antibiotics. He advised OTC pain meds for my throat such as ibuprofen or naproxen. Who’da thunk you need pain meds for a silly cold (other than for sinus headache, which I didn’t have)? He said the virus was causing the nastiness in my eyes. About a day later, my eyes cleared. About three days later, I was feeling pretty groovy. Now I’m back to 100% health. Oh, it feels good to feel good.

A happy indication of true change in traditional family eating habits
I visited my family in Oregon last weekend. It was a surprise trip – my sister “R” needed some help on an important project: Her mother-in-law passed away in early December, and her husband requested my graphic design skills to help put a memorial slideshow together. She and her husband’s family flew me the thousand miles up north to finalize the project for the memorial gathering that took place yesterday. (R let me know that everyone loved the show. It’s such a great feeling to help a family in this way as they both grieve the loss and celebrate the life of their Mom.)

My thinking, headed up to Oregon, is – don’t worry about the diet this weekend. I’ll be with family. We like to eat when we all get together; all moderation is usually thrown out the window. We like our popcorn, M&M’s, red and black licorice, chocolate, etc.

R and I stayed at our sister T’s house to work on the project; our fourth sister wasn’t able to join us. T and her husband are very conscious about taking care of themselves, so there was no junk food in the house. R started Weight Watchers a couple months ago and she’s making fantastic progress; she’s dropped over 20 lbs. She’s got me seriously considering changing from Lindora to WW. I’m ready for lots more variety and choices so I can stay in this for the long haul.

Perhaps it was because we were so busy all weekend on this project. Perhaps it was the fact that we are all actively working on losing or maintaining our weight. But we did not pig out once. We ate our protein bars when we got hungry between meals. It was funny when we each pulled out our favorite bars and compared labels. T pulled out her nut and dried fruit snacks. She also made us fresh carrot and apple juice using the juice machine that she gave her husband for Christmas. Sweet ambrosia!

SodaStream® Fizz Home Soda Maker. Photo from Brookstone.com

T had also recently purchased a soda maker as she and her husband really like sparkling water. She made us a drink and added just a bit of berry flavoring. It was about 40 calories for 8 oz. So good – it reminded me of those New York Seltzers or Crystal Geysers my Mom used to buy back in the 80s and 90s. T got it at BevMo for about $100. The only maintenance cost is the carbonation canister — it’s about $30 to replace. It comes with four large bottles that maintain carbonation for about four days. She keeps the canisters in the fridge full of water so that when she makes the soda, it’s already cold. I love diet soda. I want one! No cans or bottles to recycle. No lugging sodas from the grocery store to car to house. Less clutter and better for the environment. It’s on my wish list. 🙂

We spent an evening with our Dad and brother playing Scrabble, our traditional family favorite, after eating T’s homemade chili with Ritz crackers. We went to church with Dad the next day, then went out for lunch. T and I split a garden omelet plate at IHOP. That evening for dinner, R and I split a chicken dinner plate. In both cases, splitting provided plenty of food and we were each satisfied but not stuffed.

Bottom line? My sisters and I have acquired much healthier eating habits. I was ready to toss it out the window temporarily for the weekend, but they broke the pattern. Getting together no longer equals a free-for-all when it comes to food. And our time together didn’t suffer; in fact, it was better than ever.

R and I finished the weekend at the airport waiting for my flight by enjoying Coffee People mochas and scones—for lunch. A perfect sweet end to a productive and bonding weekend.

As I flew home, I kept thinking about how good I felt… to have finished a major project, to have no regrets over the food I ate or the words I said, to have just enjoyed my sisters—as well as seeing my Dad and one of my brothers. It’s good to connect with the people you love. Must visit more often. 🙂

Sick of being sick.

“From the moment that you lose your health, it is too late. Health brings a freedom very few realize, until they no longer have it.”
—From “Top Five Regrets of the Dying,” by Bronnie Ware (fantastic article, by the way), reposted at BeyondTheOpposites.com

No, I’m not dying. Thank God. I don’t have a terminal illness. Thank you Lord. There are many people so much worse off than for me. I have only temporarily lost my health.  I shouldn’t complain.

But right now I’m sick of being sick.

I was sick with a cold/flu the entire week between Christmas and New Year’s. Like, in-bed-for-three-days sick. Our third wedding anniversary in the middle of that week was a total bust. I was much improved the first week of January, and my husband and I went out a couple of evenings for dinner and a movie or show. We took in some comedy at the local Improv. One male comedian joked about women who let themselves get fat after they get married. He complained that his wife told him, “If you really loved me, it shouldn’t matter how much weight I gain.” He replied to her, “If you really loved me, you wouldn’t get fat!” The men in the audience laughed hysterically while the women were silent. He said, “I know you women out there are pissed off at me right now for saying that, but it’s true. You know it’s true.” I cringed. I’m thankful for my husband all the time. He married me when I was at my heaviest weight.

Sunday night, I was ready to hit my eating plan full throttle for this serious next weight loss push. I prepared my intentional, healthy snacks and lunch that night, then went back to work on Monday. Several of my coworkers had been ill the week before, and some were still out sick. Ugh.

My husband and I had a fantastic workout at the gym on Monday night. Then Tuesday came, along with the all-too-familiar cruddy feeling: burning eyes, sore throat, headache, body aches.  I went to bed Tuesday night at 7:30pm, didn’t get up until 8:30am the next day and emailed-in sick.  Then went back to bed until 1pm. How many hours of sleep is that? Like 16? Sheesh.

Back to work Thursday and Friday. I ate normally, which means stuff like turkey sandwiches and shredded beef tacos. I’m feeling better, but now I have a hacking cough which, experience tells me, will last for weeks. Drives my poor husband nuts.

It’s just so frustrating. Starting is hard. Getting into the mindset is hard. Then a ginormous wrench gets thrown in.

Trying to figure out why I relapsed. My husband thinks I started too hard and fast on the food and exercise after being sick.  That along with one really bad night of sleep on Sunday apparently created the perfect storm.

And now I’ve gotten my husband sick. Eegads.

I’m trying not to fret too much about losing my flow. The amazing feeling I had throughout the fall as I dropped the weight. I want that feeling back. That focus. That commitment. That excitement. That hope. Right now I just want to feel better, which sometimes means having a chocolate chip cookie.

Doesn’t help that I’m PMS-ing, a time when my personal reality is completely altered.

My inner critic is saying, “You can’t stick with anything for long. You always quit after a few months.” Shut. Up.

Well, one hopeful sign of permanent change is that we miss the gym. We can’t wait to get back to the gym. It’ll still be there tomorrow.

I miss my health. I want it back.