Thursday, January 10, 2013

Maybe I've Decided to Just Be Fat?

Note:  This post is a bit of a mind dump but I fully expect it to rocket to the top of my most read post stats. It seems whenever I write a blog with a self deprecating or depressing title - even if the content is not - it gets hundreds and hundreds of views.  Which I find hilarious... and a little sad.  Like people are so miserable they want everyone else to be miserable too.


"It's food. It's 90% food."

"It's exercise.  You've got to move."

"It's a combination of exercise and food!"

We've all heard these statements in regards to being healthy and getting to an ideal weight, right?  But what is it?  Is it different for each of us or is one of those things right? Maybe health and 'ideal' weight means something different for each of us too?  Maybe it means I'll be fat.

I've gotten right back into my regular workouts over the last couple of weeks, although I'm still not back at the running levels I used to be at.  In any case, I've been getting up every day Monday-Friday at 4 am and am exercising by about 4:45 be it at running or at the gym on the Arc Trainer or Elliptical.  I also go to 2-3 Muay Thai Boxing classes.  On Saturdays, I sleep in a bit later but still end up running.  Sundays are a toss - I either take a walk or just take a day of rest.   To some people, that's a lot of working out and to others, it's a drop in the bucket. For me, it's all I can do right now, even though on some levels it's minimal for me as I used to run a lot when I was training for races. I'm talking hours and hours of running, even in the mornings.  But even at minimal, I feel good, I feel better than I have in a while.

Still?  I find myself after MT classes or while driving to work feeling discouraged that I do all this working out yet can't seem to get my body where I want it to be.  I wonder, will I ever, ever be satisfied? I mean, I know I don't want to diet right now but I am so very DISsatisfied right now. Miserable on some levels, truth be told.

The other night I was looking through old photo files looking for a specific picture, which led me to surf through my files.  As I came on some photos from just last spring I found myself thinking how good (and happy) I looked - and yet I know at the time, where I was, where my body was, was not good enough. At the time I had no satisfaction.  While I felt better, it still wasn't good enough. But right now?  Right now I'd given ANYTHING to dial back to those pre-fracture months and have that body back.  Have that weight back.  I won't be re-posting any of those photos here because if you are determined you can go to my archives and see them.  Besides, I don't need to have it rubbed in any more than I did the other night, when I had to stop looking at photos for fear of bursting into tears.

On some level, even though I know the weight I gained is because of the fractures and torn tendons, I'm so mad.  Mad that I couldn't didn't just control my damn eating when I was unable to exercise. The truth is not only did I not control it, I gave into quite a bit of "I'm feeling sorry for myself" eating, which resulted in yet another big gain.  A gain I can little afford what with my stupid thyroid and its mechanism that makes me gain weight in a blink and lose it slow as molasses.

All of this, along with my decision to stop dieting and weighing myself, has collided to make me ask the question, "Have I truly given up and decided to just be fat?"  My BIF and maintenance blogger Shelley (current motto: Get Lean in 2013!) has openly admitted that she gave in to eating anything and everything she wanted for a period of years and gained 100 pounds.  While not liking the physical effects, she will tell you flat out she enjoyed the food and never, ever worrying about what went into her mouth.

There are lots of times I feel I would like that too.  Especially times like now when I'm working on getting back into a good solid routine with my exercise and feel slightly fatigued most of the time.  On the other hand I feel if I gave into that I might just spiral downward so far I wouldn't be able to pick myself back up.

Besides, we all know whether you diet and weigh yourself or you don't, your appearance and your clothing will tell the story, and my story isn't a happy one right now.  I have gotten victory over one thing though. In the past, I have put off real living for far too long, simply based on what I weighed and looked like.  I missed participating in some really wonderful things. Believe it or not there was a time I literally would not have gone to the White House if I felt my weight wasn't exactly right.  Over the past couple of years I have managed to put a stop to that and thank goodness, those days are over!  At least I've got that straightened out.  But other issues definitely remain.

Here's the thing: even though getting my black belt was an amazing accomplishment, in some ways I don't think it was good for me.  Because if I can do that while I'm fat, I can do anything fat, right?  I can, in fact, shut down the fat voices in my head and get bigger and just keep buying clothes that fit so at least I look OK.

It's not what I want, but it is what I've been wondering if I've decided to do. Yeah, in case you couldn't tell, I'm frustrated and discouraged after seeing those pictures.  I'm questioning myself but I'm not certain there is an answer.


  1. when I was a trainer I had an amazing woman as a client.
    Ill never forget her saying, essentially, the same thing to me as you say about the black belt.
    for her the choice (16 years later!!) was to never worry about a pound again
    I think shes the same weight now as then and is FAR MORE FIT THAN I WILL EVER BE.



  2. Between my many bouts of weight loss and after regaining, I would have periods where I genuinely did not care if I was fat. I would fry up dinner with sides of coleslaw or potato salad and we'd have dessert on top of that. Exercise was a walk here and there -- nothing strenuous.

    I probably did damage to my body and now that is my first priority. I want to avoid, if at all possible, that slippery slope of having to take ten to twelve medications every day. So far, it's working.

    Hang in there. I know it would be so much harder for me if I were to have an injury, like you've had, that prevented me from exercising. For me though, it's mostly what I eat that controls my weight. :)

  3. Interesting post. I don't think the human body is designed to be fat. It's what we do to our body ourselves or what a disease does to our body. That's why I'm never going to satisfied with the weight that I have now, it's not what's good for me or what suits me. Does that mean I stopped living life till I'm there? Hell no, that would mean I hadn't had a life the past 10 years.

    I understand your feelings but the way I know you after reading many, many of your posts, I think this is temporary and that you will work towards a healthy weight someday in the future. Because you know this is not the body that belongs to you. The Spring body belongs to you and once you get there, you will appreciate it this time.

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  5. This is a thought provoking post Helen - sure to get tons of comments. All I know is that for the longest time, food = guilt. If I didn't eat healthy 100% of the time, and had a few M&M's that were sitting on someones desk, I'd beat myself up and then in turn would do the "fuck it!" routine, and eat like shit for the rest of the day, or week or month!

    Food has always been my emotional go to - didn't matter if I was happy, sad or mad. This last week has been an epiphany for me because I didn't have a laundry list of "must do" things for the New Year. It's actually really freeing!

    Can't wait to see what other people have to comment - hugs!!

  6. I hear ya, Helen! This is a hard thing to do, partly because the work and effort never ends. I also had a painful shoulder/arm injury that seriously hampered my activity and made me depressed for a long time, so I understand that too--I gained more than 10 pounds during that year and just couldn't get going with weight loss. But I also think Marc is right about "burnout." This unrelenting effort that we must make is at times overwhelming, and we're only human. There will be ups and downs. I can't tell you what you should do, because we're all different. As for me, I reached a point where I had to quit thinking about hard core weight loss and allow myself to eat reasonable amounts of regular, everyday food (including small dessert portions) that would not cause weight gain. Strangely enough, during this period, I experienced both physical and emotional healing, and I slowly lost some weight.

    I have to admit that I am now moving back into a more stringent weight loss mode, but I do have concern that it will set me up for the "afters" or rebound weight gain. Sometimes I think that just being happy with slow weight loss is OK, but then I become impatient.

    I have also found, like Caron, that what controls my weight and promotes weight loss is mostly what I eat, not exercise. Nevertheless, I am headed to the gym right now for some moderate activity. Take care, Helen--you are a dear!

    1. I don't know why my comment published as "unknown," but I think I have it fixed now. It's E.

  7. Very interesting post. For my height and age, I'm supposed to weigh 120-130. I lost over 100 pounds and I'm the fittest I've ever been. I fluctuate between 143-146. I know I will never get down to 130 and I've given up hope. I think each person is different and can't go off a doctor's chart. Health and fitness don;t always mean skinny!

  8. Its interesting you mention about feeling "not good enough" in your prefracture pictures. I was feeling the same about my pictures from last spring. I thought I was no where near where I wanted to be at that time, and today I would do anything (well almost anything) to get back there. I think our bodies even change a lot in even one year with all the "changes", at least for me it seems that way. You are exercising and being aware...that's a huge deal. Give yourself a break and your weight will fall into place. You have accomplished so much and I know you will continue to!

  9. The years I threw dieting out the window were pretty awesome, I have to admit...except for the constant heartburn. And having to buy bigger clothes quite often. And not participating in life. But hey - the food tasted good!

    My thoughts are swirling after reading your post, but the same two keep rising to the top: One, you sound frantic with your workouts. You barely give yourself one rest day a week. Are you loving everything you're doing? Because if not, it sounds like it's time to ease up a bit, and maybe relaxing more might help with your stress levels.

    My other thought for you is peace. My wish for you is to come to a place where you can feel at peace with yourself, your body, your diet, and your exercise - to know that what you are doing is enough, and to not have to fight this so much.

  10. Awww hugs Helen. As fat athlete (fathlete?) I totally get it. I know I'm a total yoga pusher I know but have you thought about it? It's great for injuries and body image/mind issues all at the same time. I also agree with Fran that this is temporary. Glad you posted about it - we're all here to support you!!

  11. I keep writing and rewriting my comment but the words don't seem helpful so instead I am sending a big virtual hug from someone who truly understands.

  12. I am really struggling with putting my thoughts down here. I am currently writing a post very similar to this (great minds, you know).

    There are a couple avenues of thought here. One is maybe to give yourself a bit of break exercise wise and stop being so tired. I don't mean stop all together, but it is possible you are over trained for the current you and need that break. It doesn't matter how much you used to do in the past - your current body might be over trained. Just do your food the way you should and less workouts.

    The other is maybe not worrying about the weight loss and working more on accepting the lovely woman that you are. I think it was Roxie who said they don't print your weight on your tombstone - or even a picture for that matter. Maybe working on all that first and the weight will follow. Or it will not and you will be happy regardless of that, which is what I want for you. Truly.

  13. sigh. I feel your pain Helen. And like amazinginmotion, everything I write seems trite or useless, so I too am sending a giant virtual hug your way, and also wishes that this too shall pass and you see yourself as we see you: gorgeous, determined, strong, fierce, caring...the list goes on. Though we've never met in real life, I feel I know you through your words, and I assure you, you are FANTASTIC.

  14. Helen--I totally feel you in this post. In my struggles over the last 7 months, I too have pondered this very thing. I've decided I want to feel better and return to my lower weight. The truth is, we're great people with or without the extra weight. Finding, truly finding a peace within ourselves regardless of our size is paramount to our happiness. In my experience, it's not the food and exercise that become the biggest barrier--it's our thoughts and feelings. Taking care of ourselves, in my opinion, starts with detoxing our thoughts...and then we're able to clearly decide where we want to go without the negative influence. And maybe we're happy where we are. But please don't confuse "happy where we are" with "I'm supposed to be here--this is what I get." Whatever truly makes you happy... You're a powerful person, Helen--and not just because you're a black belt. Your most powerful resources are your thoughts and feelings...they help form attitude and you know what they say about attitude... My best Helen. Take care, Sean

  15. Great post...can relate. Lots of awesome comments, too. Shelley and Sean in particular resonate with me. Something I've been pondering lately is the concept that longer and harder is not better when it comes to workouts...that is does stress the body and a body in stress not only holds on to weight, but also causes cortisol spikes and increases appetite, etc. etc. Vicious circle stuff.

    Thoughts and feelings. The training I've been getting over the past several months has shown me that it really is about thoughts and feelings and how we train our brains. It's simple to explain but not always easy to do. I have been able to "prove" it to myself in some ways, but not (yet) in others. But I am determined.

  16. Sometimes when I find myself exactly where you are, I realize that the overriding issue is the constant reminder that this struggle for all of us is FOREVER and it becomes so daunting, I question (like you) if it is worth it. When I've had a gain or don't feel motivated, it's easy to fall towards that thought process of saying, "good grief, when I'm at goal weight, it's a struggle to stay there, when I've had a regain, it's a struggle to turn things around,and even when I've been at my worst, the struggle seems overwhelming, so why bother!" It helps to remind myself that EVERYONE struggles with something and their struggle, to them, is just as real as mine is to me! I know that doesn't offer anything helpful except to say, I truly believe the feelings will moderate or pass and you can move forward. I don't often comment, but I do read and enjoy your blog!!

  17. I don't even know what to say about this Helen as I am having my own struggle right now. I do know that for me it's more difficult to be positive about everything during the long cold winter months with less sunshine to make me happy! Could part of your mood be due to the weather and time of year?

    The past month post surgery has been very difficult for me in all areas of my life including eating! I believe that this too shall pass for both of us. It is a setback and we have to pick ourselves up and keep moving forward. One step at a time.

    You are already exercising - I envy you! Once I can start moving and exercising, I hope it will help me to feel more like my old self again. Right now I feel like I am living inside someone else's old body! This too shall pass.

  18. I hear you Helen. It's so worth exploring the feelings, the thoughts, the motivation behind. Complex stuff.

    I like what Sean said- thoughts come first. So true for me, too. Thoughts, food, then exercise. All inter-twined like colored sand in a glass.

    Good luck and hang in there. The answers are there. Keep working through the thoughts and feelings. The right thing will come out in the end IMO.

  19. As usual I'm late to the party here - but I love the post and found it very thought provoking, esp. wince I have a good bit of weight still to lose. But I've actually had thoughts of (even at 40 pounds overweight), I have a million friends, a great life, yada is it really necessary to always be in the struggle?

    For you to call yourself fat seems crazy to me, Helen. You are strong, fit (and working on getting fitter) and healthy with a wonderful work ethic for exercise. If you're fat, I'm morbidly obese, and even I can look in the mirror, wearing mostly 16s and an occasional 18, and know I'm not. And you're not fat either.

    Shelley's comment was fantastic. To echo her, peace to you.

  20. Hello again Helen,

    Well, first of all give yourself a big HUG for working out. Step 1 for being healthy is working out and getting exercise. Being "fat' is less of a problem than you think.

    As for being fat, I don't know what your BMI is but your picture looks in a normal-ish range??

    I have been borderline obese (228 lbs, 6' i") but because I was tall and I carry fat all over, not in my gut, nobody though I was fat...but it was not fun, let me tell you. I felt like crap...the food I ate was tasty and addictive but made me feel terrible. (although I didn't know it at the time)

    Also In my case my cholesterol was not good and I needed to eat healthier and not just less calories. I did not want to take drugs. ..I have made that change and feel so much better!

    Anyway, I would not focus on your weight as much as the stuff you are eating. For me the key was eating less dairy fat. (I LOVED CHEESE...but it did not love me 8( )

    I think the key is to have a GOAL and work toward it. There is nothing like setting a goal and trying to hit it. I was never athletic in school but now I find it a fun hobby with such huge mental/self esteem/physical benefits.

    I like to do races and there is NOTHING that makes me feel more alive than toeing the line on race day. What a wonderful thing! Scary...yes... something we lose in our modern life style..the sheer joy of moving from a to b!

    Once you get hooked on improving your performance and meeting your goals you will look at the extra bread at a dinner (e.g.)...and realize it is just going to SLOW you DOWN. And you will be able to refuse it and know that come race day you will be lighter and stronger and more of the healthy person that nature wants you to be.

    So my advice is to set yourself a goal that is a stretch but doable and MAKE IT HAPPEN! And enjoy your body as nature intended!

    Any day you can run a a GREAT DAY. That's my motto.



  21. I hear ya.

    I was debating this exact same thing. I get stuck at my current weight every single time. I still have more fitness goals to achieve, but the whole fat thing... well.... I'm starting to believe it is what it is.

    And with that said, you look fantastic.