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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Talk About The Weather?

It really annoys me when people talk about the weather!

Why do you feel compelled to pretend you are the local meteorologist and give me a play-by-play breakdown of the temperature and wind velocity?

Did you not know that I could access the weather channel any time I wanted and could find the current sun status of Timbuktu?

If I place a call on my dime it is because I want to find out how you are and what you've been up to.  Don't bore me with something so neutral and unfeeling as the weather report.  If I'm giving you my time and show interest then indulge me with your views and concerns with things that matter.  Tell me a story about something of substance.

Just don't bore me with the weather.  Leave that to the professionals.

Lucky 13

Thirteen years ago today we purchased our home in Raleigh, North Carolina.  I have never been back to Stamford, Connecticut since and don't miss it at all.

Today, I woke up at 5:05 a.m. to help my youngest get ready for his first day of tenth grade.  He's basically grew up in Raleigh, NC but there's no evidence of a southern accent.  His demeanor is pure Connecticut-snob.  He gets that from me; poor kid.

Just came back from a summer mini-vacation.  Had a good, relaxing time despite the 90% rainout.  No tan for me but I was able to enjoy the ocean and time with my mom and son.  I even worked out with Nicolas at the hotel fitness center.  Yay for me and my new, healthy lifestyle.

Now that we are back to the grind of early mornings and the demands of high school it is time for me to tackle some projects reserved specifically to address my needs.  I'm planning to make a list of goals for the next couple of months so I can have somewhere to direct my energy.  I'll keep you posted.

Had a weigh-in at Curves almost a month ago (8/1/12).  Down a total of 38.7 pounds and many inches.  My body feels better and I am able to walk and expend more energy during the day.  I average working out at Curves three times a week and would like to increase that to four times per week.  I'm due for another weigh-in in the next week or so.  I knew this journey would be long and I figure if i can keep my average weight-loss at one pound a week, I have a better chance of keeping if off long-term.

Random thoughts...
I suck at taking pictures.  I always forget to take my camera when we go places and I don't understand how to get the right light.  I have not taken a picture of myself in years and do not see myself posting a current picture of myself in the near future.  I give mad props for people who have the confidence to share their current state with the world.  I guess I am just a weak person with little confidence when it comes to appearance.  My nose is so big and pointy (which didn't really bother me when I was younger but is one of my sore spots as an adult).  My skin is discolored from years of sunbathing and ignoring the advice to take care of your skin.  Pro-tip...take care of your skin!  Even if you think it's too late, it isn't.  Get thee to a spa!  Have your skin analyzed by a trained professional.  Get a chemical peel (if needed) and take care of that shit.  Your skin is the largest organ of the human body.  Why are you ignoring its needs for proper care and nutrients?  My son (the aspiring actor) has received treatment recently for acne and I must say it is the best remedy for a teenager in the midst of hormonal warfare.  Don't let your kids walk around in their teenage years with a blatant defect.  Kids can be cruel.  Avoid physical and emotional scars and nip that situation in the bud.  Get thee to a specialist, dammit!  Take all that fucking money that you spend on stupid shit (junk food, non-essential stuff) and take care of the person.  God, sometimes our priorities are fucked-up!

I grew up a fat kid.  I am a morbidly-obese adult.  I'm working on changing that but it's taken 47 fucking years!!!  Please, please, if your child is overweight, please get them help.  Nip that shit in the bud.  The parents set the example for their children.  It is so important to teach your kids good, healthy eating habits.  You only have one body in this lifetime, treat it well.  Never mind the emotional scars of being called, 'fatso, chubby, plump, overweight, obese' and any other derogatory name in the 'fat' thesaurus, the physical scars of carrying extra weight can be irreparable.  You may offer the excuse that it's hormonal or a phase but that's just an excuse.  You may say it is temporary or genetic but you are kidding yourself.  Please, please don't let your kid grow up with this terrible burden of being fat.  It can (and does) ruin your self-esteem which is so important in living a fulfilling life.  My biggest regret is that I let my weight get in the way of me actually LIVING my life.  I am always self-conscious of my appearance and have made decisions which effected my overall happiness and fulfillment because of my weight.  While my kids never had the weight problem that I do, thank God (and knock on wood), I am so pissed at myself that as an obese mother I effected their life choices and happiness.  Maybe I was too lazy or scared to be in public and take them to a soccer game or go with them on a roller coaster or travel on a plane.  I limited their life experiences by being a morbidly obese parent.  I regret having this negative impact on their lives.  They may not realize it now, but they will some day.

More rants to follow.  I've gotta get this shit off my mind, damnit!


Monday, July 16, 2012

Walking Away From Opportunity

I AM the biggest loser!?

This past Saturday I spent a total of five and one half hours sitting/standing in line to audition for The Biggest Loser.  And then,...I walked away.

I arrived at the audition facility at 7:30 a.m., chair and Starbucks in hand (no breakfast).  There were 312 aspiring contestants ahead of me.  Yes, I was number 313.  The auditions didn't officially begin until 10:00 a.m. but clearly I wasn't the only hopeful wanting to arrive early, excited at the opportunity that lay before me.

I assessed my fellow competitors and the over 600 more that would follow me and take their place in line to gain one of 20 spots on the popular reality show.  For the most part, we were all obese.  Some more morbid than others.  It was the one place where you could surely find at least one (or hundreds?) bigger than you.  It wasn't necessarily a secure feeling.  It was a sad feeling.  I quickly realized that there are many more people in the world worse off than me.  I started feeling guilty about my place in line.

I struck up a conversation with George who was behind me in line.  He drove down to Raleigh, NC from the DC area (Alexandria, VA).  We shared some stories, family pictures, and holding each other's place in line as we needed bathroom breaks and water replenishment.  George is a very positive person and his determination was inspiring.  He has a beautiful, young family and I found myself rooting for George and praying that he can get it together so that he could participate in life with his boys.  I started wanting it more for him than for me.

I started my journey back on January 25th of this year.  While I haven't made amazing progress, to date I have lost 35 pounds and have regained the energy, stamina, and ability to incorporate a fitness program for the last six weeks.  I thought being a contestant on The Biggest Loser would help me get over this plateau and accelerate the shedding of pounds.  In the back of my mind I was concerned about the effect of my adrenal tumor on taking on such a rigorous workout program.

Before you can even step in line to become a contestant for The Biggest Loser, you have to pre-register online.  There are some thought-provoking questions and before you know it you are delving into your painful past and conjuring up events which you have tried to cover up (with food inhalation) for the last 40 years.  It is an emotional process.  Also part of pre-registering is the submission of pictures of your face and a body shot.  I avoid cameras like the plague and while reluctant to take a photo, I had to comply with the rules.  After the photos were uploaded to my computer I had to come face-to-face (so to speak) with my profile picture.  I am one ugly, fat, and pathetic son-of-a-bitch.  Damn!  The tears filled my eyes and rolled down my cheeks as I realized I really don't look much different than when I started this journey back in January.  My son tried to console me but I knew the truth.  And, damn, it hurts.

To prolong the agony and really bring you to a dark place, there is a nine-page application which needs to be filled out as well.  And, boy, were there some doozies.  I was asked about my accomplishments, passions, and sacrifices.  Who is my hero?  Do I volunteer?  What life events have impacted my weight gain?  How motivated, athletic, and competitive am I?  Health questions, typical background check questions, and even legal questions were covered.  I was asked to provide names and numbers of potential character witnesses and friends.  Funny enough, these last few questions stumped me the most because I basically have no immediate, close friends.  Part of the reason is that I've been stuck in my house for ten or so years.  The other part of the reason is because basically (and my family would agree) I am:  rude, emotional, opinionated, cranky, obnoxious, and self-pitying (that was one of the questions, too, by the way).  Nonetheless, I forged ahead and was determined to at least try to audition.

At about 9:00 they handed out yet another application and each prospective contestant was asked to complete it.  It was only four pages.  This is when I found out I was number 313 in the process.  So, as the line moved up outside of the complex, the heat of the day blossomed.  By the time 10:30 a.m. rolled around we had reached the door of the building and I had to give up my chair that I had been dragging along.  The building was cool and conditioned but once we ascended the stairs to the third floor (Can you imagine all of these morbidly obese people trying to climb stairs after standing outside in the heat for three hours?  Not a pretty sight.  I was convinced this was a tactic used by TBL production team to weed out the really weak ones.) the line stopped.

By 12:30 p.m. my toes and calves were cramping.  I felt a little dizzy and oh, so aggravated.  It didn't help that they had a bunch of skinny, fit people running around and clapping trying to get the crowd excited.  I was ready to strangle them.  My attitude took a nose dive and I talked about giving up.  George tried to offer a little encouragement but basically he probably was happy at the prospect of negative Nelly taking her leave.  I couldn't sit down at this point for fear of not being able to get up or worse yet getting a cramp and having a spasm while I was on the floor.  I was not in the mood to become everyone's entertainment.  I told myself to try and stick it out for another half hour and then check to see where they were with the line and the interview process.

At 1:00 p.m.  I walked down the line in front of me and occasionally asked people their numbers...252...207...it looked like the line ended at number 175!  I did not see myself holding on for another two hours.  Besides, I told myself there were so many more people worse off than me who haven't even started a healthy lifestyle plan like I had in January.  Besides, I would rather see someone like George be a contestant than myself.  When it comes down to it there is really nothing special about me that would make me a better contestant than others.

I convinced myself that if I stick with my plan and tighten up some of my habits which have slipped since January (like:  writing every thing I eat down each day, eliminating salt, and eliminating butter) I could gain control and get back on the right track.  It may take longer but at least I will know that I did it on my own and at my own pace.

While I did walk away from an opportunity to audition for The Biggest Loser, gain control of my life, and possibly win $250,000, I know in my heart that I freed up a space on the show for someone who needs it more desperately than me.  I guess I am kind-hearted and therefore,  the biggest WINNER!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Playing Pretend Inside The Actor's Studio

If I were to ever visit James Lipton Inside The Actor's Studio, following are my answers to his questions:

What is your favorite word?  
I appreciate the vast array of words that surround me.  My best friend is the dictionary and my alternate is the thesaurus.  I have a penchant for alliteration and get giddy when I can marry words together to maximize descriptions and expand explanations.   VERSATILITY.

What is your least favorite word?
As we develop and learn language we find words that evoke an emotional response.  If a word elicits a negative response it holds power that directs repercussions with damaging results.  My least favorite word to say is the 'n' word.  My least favorite word to hear is NO.

What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
What excites me the most is an intelligent, in-depth conversation, one-on-one, with someone I care about and whom I can learn from because they are forth-coming and sharing a real part of themselves with me.

What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally?
People who are ill-equipped or unwilling to communicate and share their authentic selves with me do not deserve my time nor respect.
.
What sound or noise do you love?
The sounds of nature offer a peace and tranquility that can not be replicated mechanically.  The songs of the birds brighten my day and remind me of the spirituality and fragility of life.  The sound of water (whether its the ocean, waterfall, or running stream) reminds me of our ability to renew our lives, cleanse our palates, and change direction if we so choose.

What sound or noise do you hate?
The sound or noise which I most fear is the sound of a crash or vehicle accident.  It connotes a negative change in someone's life even if it is only property damage.  There are consequences and someone is at fault.  Perhaps someone was neglectful, irrational and irresponsible? 

What is your favorite curse word?
I grew up in a family who used curse words in normal every day conversation and, on the other end of the spectrum, to hurt and humiliate each other.  I am no stranger to the versatility of a good curse word.  It can be used for emphasis, as a noun, or to express great surprise.  MOTHERFUCKER.

What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
Since I don't really have a current occupation I see the question more as what do you want to be when you grow up?  When I was young I wanted to be a Playboy bunny, model, artist, actress, writer, singer or lawyer.  I still would like to be these things.  Realistically, I would like to be a successful artist and writer. 

What profession would you not like to do?
The profession that I'd least like to do would be a mortician because I have a fear of death.

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
Come in.  All are welcome!

Monday, June 25, 2012

FINAL INVOICE

Well, it's been almost a month since my last post.  Partly due to avoidance and partly because I don't have much to say...until today.

My need to purge usually comes about when I've bottled up all of my feelings and thoughts and let them simultaneously combust at the most inopportune time.

My friend Lisa has pointed out to me that what we think of others is a reflection of how we see ourselves.  Harsh but true.  I must keep this in mind as I am enveloped in this cloud of negativity for going on three weeks now.  On a positive note, I've come to some very unflattering revelations about myself.  Sad but true.

The following statements, while on the surface are directed at another person, are in reality about me (according to Lisa):

  • I resent that I cannot be myself when I'm around you.
  • I hate stepping on egg shells so as not to hurt your feelings or offend you.
  • You make me feel fat, unattractive, obnoxious, annoying, and as if I remind you of my father of whom you dislike or even hate.
  • I think it's sad that you did not acknowledge my hard work of trying to adopt a healthier life along with smart eating choices and exercise.
  • Instead of lifting people up, you put them down.
  • You are a cold bitch who has no idea of how to communicate warmly with others.
  • Your holier-than-though attitude is so tired and old just like the wrinkles on your face and silver hair.
  • At one time I loved you and felt like you genuinely liked me as a person.
  • I believe your love for me changed when I fell in love with a black man.  You did not approve.
  • Can you stop loving someone?  Did you ever love me?
  • I choose not to subject my kids to your cloud of negativity. 
  • I will not allow you to make my children feel the way you make me feel.
  • I'm not sure who you are trying to impress with your life of denying yourself:  pleasure, fun, and happiness.
  • YOU SHOULD HAVE BEEN A NUN!
  • If I could add up the entire monetary value of all the birthday gifts, Christmas presents, anniversary gifts, home down payments, money just because, vacations, souvenirs, and any other expenses that you have paid for under my name, I would take that amount and repay you in full.  The cost to suck up to you for your approval has left me: guilty, resentful, and used.
  • You make me ashamed to be who I truly am.
  • I am a selfish, immature brat at times.
  • I feel entitled to enjoy every day of my life even if it means I will be poor, miserable, and judged.
  • I know you don't approve of my choices to stay at home and not work.
  • I know you resent me, judge me, and disapprove of me.
  • I feel sorry for you.
  • You are a hard-worker when you want to be or when you want to put others to shame.
  • You judge people and their choices for how they choose to exercise their spirituality.
  • I don't like how you look over my shoulder, stare at me when my eyes are averted, shake your head in disappointment, or shrug your shoulders in indifference. 
  • Your denial of the current state of societal norms and your choice to cling to the past coincide with your inability to submit yourself to what the world has to offer.
  • I don't like the fact that I delayed my birthday vacation at the beach (even though I will go as soon as you leave).
  • I don't like that I reluctantly catered to you by biting my tongue and thinking before I speak just because you cannot handle confrontation.
  • I don't respect you because you refuse to tell me to 'go fuck yourself'.
  • I don't like how you use me as a pawn by having me be mediator and middleman between you and your sister because you lack communication skills.
When I win the lottery, and the payoff is big enough, I will pay my FINAL INVOICE so that I am no longer indebted to you.

The freedom to be myself will be my biggest win ever (even though my wallet will be empty) because I will then have the FREEDOM TO BE MYSELF!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Stronger?

Stronger.  A current hit pop song by Kelly Clarkson.  Taken from the old adage, 'What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger', a proverbial truth as I enter week three of my body transformation. 

Phase one of my journey to a healthier life involved a 'quick' start with a weight loss program sans exercise.  You see, I had to lose some weight first so that I could muster up the energy and confidence to move my fat ass.  Down thirty or so pounds after three or so months, mission accomplished.

Phase two involves incorporating exercise into my new healthy life regimen so that I may accelerate the weight loss process and tighten up the muscles and loose flesh that tends to remain on a (formerly) morbidly obese person.  I joined Curves two weeks ago and began working out at least three days a week for thirty minutes.  After getting reacquainted with the machinery I am feeling 'the burn' after each session and working up a sweat.  So far, it hasn't killed me.  I feel stronger.  When I get into 'the zone' I am intense, breathing, and always pushing for at least one more rep.  It is a good feeling and builds confidence as I conquer my goals and push harder.

Phase three may involve pushing myself to add another day at Curves, incorporate a neighborhood walk on the days I don't go to Curves, and/or exploring a new weight-loss program to 'jump start' or, again, accelerate weight loss.  I would love to play tennis, golf, and do some kind of water aerobics in the future as well.  I can't do it all at once, I realize, but as I become stronger I hope to treat these activities as enjoyable time rather than a way to lose weight.

In the meantime, I take it one day at a time and realize that I own the power to make healthy choices in my life.  Losing weight and adopting new healthy habits is all in the mindset.

DREAM it, DESIRE it, FOCUS on it, ACCOMPLISH it!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

"Merely knowing what to do does no good if we don’t do it. Don’t procrastinate, do it now!" –Joyce Meyer

A quote that spoke to me this morning so much that I shared it on my Facebook.  So appropriate and relevant to my life as I took another step toward my journey to a new, healthy lifestyle.

I wrote about what I know I needed to do as I faced the end of going to a weekly weigh-in at a structured weight-loss program.  Back in March I promised that we would join Curves or Weight Watchers as we continue our quest to become healthier versions of ourselves.  Although it was delayed for almost six weeks, we 'bit the bullet' and signed up with Curves yesterday.  My buddy and I, my mom, endured the process and got introduced to the equipment.  We contemplated our motivation and set goals for the next year.

It has been six weeks since I've had an official weigh-in.  The good news is I did not gain weight.  The great news is I lost weight!  This is a new scale to deal with and I weighed in with my sneakers on my feet.  So, mentally I must resolve the continuation of my progress and how it is evaluated.  I've decided to take into account the 'hiccup' of the last six weeks and use the date of January 25, 2012 when I commenced my new way of life.  As of May 15, 2012 I've lost 27 pounds.  Now that I have committed both financially and mentally to incorporating exercise to my program by going to Curves for the next 12 months I hope to lose an average of ten pounds per month.  By June 21, 2013 I hope to weigh less than 175 pounds.  Now, to most people that sounds heavy for a 5'4" female.  And, it is.  But, I never said my journey would be over by then!  I must continue going (HOW EVER LONG IT TAKES!) to be healthy, confident, and comfortable with myself.

It is peculiar, though, at one time I went to a nutritionist and they did their body fat analysis and caliper test and told me my ideal weight was 175.  In fact, when I did Nutri-System years ago and got down to a size 14 I felt pretty damn good.  But, when I was in high school and went down to 125 (my same weight in 6th grade!) I looked hot.  I'm not sure if I'll be able to go quite that low this time around but my goal is to be healthier and more confident.

I reserve the right to adjust my goals at any time as I see fit because, after all, this is MY journey!