Holding nothing back…

Archive for April 2008

Got the results of my blood tests the other day.  Everything was within normal limits!  =c)  This is HUGE considering that my cholesterol has been high for some time now, despite a strict low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.  Keep in mind that my maternal grandfather had high cholesterol (and 13 heart attacks and 3 strokes caused by said high cholesterol), my paternal grandfather takes meds for high cholesterol and has had a bypass surgery, and both of my parents take meds for high cholesterol (and Mom has several stents because of it). 

I’m thrilled!  I had finally given in and let my doctor prescribe lovastatin, because it had become obvious that diet and exercise were NOT going to change my cholesterol levels any.  I was really scared that it was going to take ridiculous amounts to get it lowered, but the dosage she started me out at worked perfectly.

I’m still eating mainly a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet.  I’m still walking every day, weather permitting.  DH is talking about trying to make room in the house for the treadmill that currently resides in our garage so that I can “walk” on days when the weather is nasty. 

At the same time, if my body is just CRAVING eggs, which are *really* high in cholesterol, I’ll eat eggs (usually I have to go to a restaraunt to get them, but hey!  I don’t have to do dishes that way LOL).  If I want a hamburger, I’ll have a hamburger.  But I’ve discovered that I don’t really want those things very much.  Maybe once a month I’ll want eggs (last night was one of those times, actually).  Maybe once a week I’ll want beef instead of chicken or fish.  I’ve discovered that I really LIKE chicken, cooked any number of ways.  And I’ve rediscovered my love for seafood!  There are so many different types of fish out there that I had never tried, and each one of them has a bit of a different texture and flavor.  I was raised on cornmeal-breaded-and-deep-fat-fried catfish as a staple, so imagine my surprise when I discovered that my favorite way to eat catfish is actually grilled with just a light sprinkling of organic no-salt seasoning (Kirkland brand from Costco) and a little fresh cracked pepper! 

Yeah, I wish I could have just gotten my cholesterol down with diet and exercise, and all the gods know that I tried my best.  With my family genetics, I guess it just wasn’t meant to be.  So I’ll take the medicine my doctor has prescribed, and continue to eat low-fat, low-cholesterol and to exercise because I definitely FEEL better for it. 

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I normally don’t get all worked up about commercials for diet programs.  I *know* that they are designed to make people, women in particular, feel bad about their bodies so that they will pay for the services, prepackaged cardboard food, and various and sundry other bullshit products that they sell.  The latest one by Valerie Bertinelli for Jenny Craig just riled me up.  It also riled my 16-year-old (whose BullshitMI is 23*, or “normal” for the naysayers out there that say that because *I* qualify for “obese” under the BullshitMI that my daughter must also be obese), for all the same reasons.

The new commercial can be viewed here:  http://www.jennycraig.com/new_commercial

Here’s a transcript for those that just *don’t* want to view the commercial or give Jenny the clicks…

Valerie (walking on beach in rash shorts and rash shirt, carrying surfboard):  “I’ve lost 40 pounds on Jenny Craig and I’ve reached my ideal size!  Size Surfer Girl (giggle).  I can’t believe I’m surfing again!  Before Jenny I just didn’t think I could do it, but this is a program that I can stick to because I just love the food.  So here I am!  I may not be a ‘Size Gidget’ but I am a size Lovin’ Life!”

Random model-handsome surfer guy running into the water:  “Hey Val.”

Valerie:  “Hey!”  <runs towards water>

Valerie Voiceover (“footage” of Valerie on surfboard):  “Jenny helped me get my life, and my surfboard, back.”

(plug to “Call Jenny” here, fade to black)

First, I must admit that Valerie looks really cute.  But then, I thought she was cute when she still “needed to lose 40 pounds.” 

Now for the bad stuff: 

  • She’s reached her ideal size according to who?  According to her Jenny Craig “counselor”?  According to her agent?  According to Valerie’s doctor?  According to Valerie’s vision of how she “should” look?  According to Valerie’s BODY?  (Guess which one of those *I* think is important.  <grin>)
  • WTF is “Size Surfer Girl”??  Fat people can and DO surf.  I’ve seen them do it! (Videos of “fat surfers” embedded below.)
  • I’ve tried Jenny Craig (and Nutrisystem) in the past.  The food that Valerie professes to love, tastes like cardboard.  And it’s TINY.  To quote a commercial that makes me laugh, “It looks like ELF food!”  Seriously, I only had 30 pounds to lose at that time, and they had me on 1000 calories a day.  That’s a starvation level diet folks.
  • Now that Valerie is 40 pounds lighter she is “loving life.”  So, according to Jenny, anyone that “needs to lose weight” can’t be loving life?  WTF?  I have about 70 pounds Jenny would probably tell me that I “need” to lose.  I guess Jenny thinks I must be fucking miserable!
  • “Jenny helped me get my life, and my surfboard, back.”  Excuse the fuck out of me?!?!?  Valerie may have had no life when she was 40 pounds heavier (somehow I doubt that very seriously though), but I and all of the fat people I know have lives.  Those lives are full, fun, and fulfilling whether the individual living that life thinks they need to lose weight or not.  I, personally, have friends who think I am pretty damn wonderful thankyouverymuch, a husband of 18 years that loves me no matter *WHAT* my BullshitMI is, three children that I homeschool, I am on the board of our homeschool assocation, and that’s just the stuff that I do/take care of/love on a *daily*  basis.  I swim, walk, ride my bike, waterski, dance, love, and basically do whatever the hell I want to do, and I don’t let my weight stop me.  AAMOF, the only things I *don’t* do as an obese woman are things I didn’t do as a thin woman. 

AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!

Ok.  *whew*  Rant over.  I just really really really REALLY HATE the implication that even *mildly* overweight people have no life, or at least should FEEL like they have no life.  ::::deep breath lest I get back up on the soapbox::::

Now, for those “fat person surfing” videos I promised.  The first one is freakin’ AWESOME!!!

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 For some reason, the second video isn’t embedding, but you can still see it by copying & pasting the url.  I’ll keep working on trying to get it fixed though…

* edited.  Originally read 28, because I was writing off the top of my head and didn’t pull up the BullshitMI chart like I normally do, and remembered the marks incorrectly.  DD is two points below “overweight”.  I know this because our doctor gives us crap about it, without taking into consideration that DD is VERY active in Karate and is very muscular.

I know that anecdotes aren’t considered scientific evidence, but within my circle of family and friends there is enough anectdotal evidence that bariatric surgery doesn’t work long term and/or has serious health side effects to convince me that it’s something I do *NOT* want to undergo.

The list of people I know or am related to that have had bariatric surgery for weight loss includes:

  • Two aunts
  • One cousin
  • Three friends

Of the six people I know that have had weight-loss surgery, only ONE has lost significant weight and kept it off for more than a year.  O-N-E, my cousin who went from 300 to 180.  Neither of my aunts has lost more than 5% of their body weight, one went from 280 to 266, the other went from 320 to 304).  One is a year post-surgery and the other is two years post-surgery.  I’m not *recommending* dieting by saying this, but 5% of your body weight is a fairly attainable amount to lose by “traditional” diet and exercise methods, without radically altering major bodily organs (I can’t help thinking that disordered eating in the form of a diet HAS to be healthier for someone than high-risk, radically altering surgery, not a very HAES attitude I know, but…).  Of the three friends that have had weight-loss surgery, one is two years post-surgery and has “settled in” at approximately 20% of her body weight lost (from 230 lbs to 185), the second friend has settled in at approximately 10% of her body weight lost (from 190 to 171) at one year post-surgery, and the third has settled in at approximately 30% of her body weight lost (from 245 to 171) at about a year and a half post-surgery.  The only one of them that has fallen below the “obese” category according to the BullshitMI is my cousin, who has gone from “obese” to “overweight”.  ALL of them are still being hounded by their doctors to lose more weight!  Every last one of them, despite having taken what is IMNSHO the most *RADICAL* step one can take in an effort to lose weight.  *sigh*

  • EVERY single one of them still cannot eat more than a few ounces at a time without vomiting. 
  • Not one of them can eat even a “fun size” candy bar, or any other kind of sweet treat, without vomiting. 
  • Not one of them can eat pizza, hamburger meat (in ANY form), pork, or anything even remotely spicy without vomiting. 
  • 4 of the 6 are “surviving” on Ensure and/or SlimFast drinks, the only things they can consistently keep down. 
  • All of them suffer severe heartburn or acid reflux.
  • All of them have chronic diarrhea.
  • Two of them have been diagnosed with IBS post-surgery.
  • One has been diagnosed with Ulcerative Colitis post-surgery.
  • One is suffering severe depression post-surgery.
  • One has severe joint problems that she didn’t have before the surgery.
  • One has had serious heart problems post-surgery, that she didn’t have pre-surgery.  Her doctor suspects it is due to potassium deficiency.
  • The ONLY one that says she would do it again is my cousin. 

And yet, the 60 Minutes segment on bariatric surgery last week didn’t mention ONE of these potential side effects.  In fact, the segment implied that bariatric surgery has only very minor side effects in most cases. 

Please, ANYONE considering bariatric surgery for weight loss, do your own research!  Do NOT depend on your doctor to fully inform you of the possible implications of bariatric surgery.  Talk to several people that have had the procedure you are considering, preferably people that are more than one year post-surgery.  You will probably discover that bariatric surgery isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

Oy vey.  Mania set in yesterday.  Not an unusual state of affairs for springtime.  Unfortunately, I’m making everyone around me crazy with my shifting moods (from ecstatic to infuriated to creative and back again) and my nonstop talking with the constantly changing topics, the web of which nobody but me can understand. 

In the past, I would have gone on a shopping spree, spent money we didn’t have to spend on things we didn’t need (or in some cases even WANT once the mania was over).  The worst it ever was, I took the kids to the mall on a Wednesday (you’ll find out how I know this much in a minute).  I had paid no bills yet, not ONE.  I hadn’t even bought groceries yet.  And I proceeded to purchase things with the debit card until it “quit running” (iow, there was no more money left in the account).  Then I started writing checks, because “it’s Wednesday and DH’s paycheck will be deposited on Friday, and these checks couldn’t possibly clear before then.”  Yes, I actually remember THINKING that!  Doesn’t make any sense to me now, well…  Today it does, but normally it doesn’t, but it sure as hell made sense then.  By the time we chased down every one of those checks, and paid the NSF fees (both to the bank AND to the stores), I had spent THREE WEEKS worth of paychecks.  And I hadn’t even paid our rent yet. 

I don’t do that anymore.  Mainly because DH and I have set things into place so that I *can’t*, but also because now that I know what is wrong with me (bipolar disorder) I can see it coming and find something else to do with that nervous, manic energy.

So yesterday I started spring cleaning.  I rearranged the living room, cleaned it from ceiling to floor.  I cleaned my sons room from ceiling to floor and rearranged it (mainly so that I could vaccum UNDER the furniture *sheesh*).  Today I did the girl’s room, the hallway, and the kitchen.  Ceiling to floor, under and around, moving stuff around.  Nobody knows where anything is anymore.  “c)  But me, anyway.  Tomorrow it’s DH’s and my bedroom and bathroom.  If I’m not at least STARTING to come down by then, I may just start on the garage! 

The kids are just trying to stay out of my way.  They know what this is, thankfully, even if they don’t understand all the mechanics of it, and they know to just “lay low.”  It’s not so much that I get ugly, as that I’m constantly on the move, gotta do something.  I feel like Cheese on Foster’s Home for Imaginary Friends:  “Gotta go gotta go gotta go gotta go gotta go gotta go gotta go!”  I don’t know WHERE or WHY, I’ve just GOTTA GO!!!  And if they aren’t at least somewhat careful, they’ll get swept up in it and put to work with me, and they just can’t keep up with the manic energy that is fueling my nonstop motion and nonstop chatter.

DH came home, and within 45 minutes he had holed up in our bedroom because he just couldn’t handle it.  He’d had a really rough, exhausting day at work.  Coming home to a manic wife chattering his ear off who wouldn’t stay in one place for more than a few seconds was driving him up a wall.

What’s worse is that I didn’t sleep last night, and probably won’t tonight.  Insomnia is the biggest bitch kitty about mania for me.  After a night of laying in bed, listening to the buzzing in my head, tossing and turning, I was still so full of energy today that I couldn’t even stand to sit down to EAT!  And I’ll probably lay there and listen to the buzzing again tonight.  =c/

Hat tip to Fatshionista for bringing the video below to my attention.  =c)

So.  The debate is that these are “healthy” women, espousing “healthy” views towards food.

I just don’t see it.  To be a little more sure that I wasn’t letting my own personal prejudices get in the way of seeing the “message” of the video, I asked some of my friends (both fat and thin) and their husbands (also both fat and thin) to watch it.  We all, fat and thin, female and male, saw a bunch of thin women making fun of fat chicks. 

The general consensus was that these skinny bitches (see *my* definition here) were saying:

  • *This* is the way fat chicks eat (buckets of fried chicken, twinkies, ding dongs, candy, etc.).
  • Fat chicks don’t *think* they are fat (hence the too small bikini).
  • Fat chicks eat when they aren’t hungry (“If you ain’t really hungry, get your appetite on!”).

There was more, but those are the biggies.  I am still incensed by this video.  I don’t know that anyone could convince me that this video had any intention but to make fun of the fatties, but I definitely invite you to try.  Please, show me how this video is “fat friendly” because I just do NOT see it.  =c/

So I went to the doctor yesterday, the same doctor I’ve been seeing for years now despite the fact that she persists in giving me the “lose weight and your <depression, high cholesterol, fatigue, menstrual cramps, migraine headaches, etc.> will go away” myth at almost every visit.  BTW, that depression is diagnosed BIPOLAR disorder, not “garden variety” depression (not that “garden variety” depression is anything to joke about).  Except this time, she didn’t try to give me the myth…  Not one mention of my weight. 

I go in, and they weigh me as usual.  No comment from the nurse (this was a new nurse, still a thin nurse, but not the ill-tempered woman that has been there for the past couple of years).  Go back to an exam room, take my blood pressure.  Nurse tells me that it’s 110/70 which is “good.”  Temp was 98.7, pulse was 72.  Updates my family history, and actually takes down information that the previous ill-tempered nurse had rolled her eyes at.

New nurse actually notes things like:

  • My maternal grandfather had *13* heart attacks, *3* strokes, and *4* off-bypass heart surgeries, and died at 52.
  • My paternal grandfather had a bypass 4 years ago.
  • My mother has 4 stints (one in her pulmonary artery, one in her descending aorta, one in her ascending aorta, and one in a femoral artery).
  • My mother has lupus.
  • My mother and father BOTH have high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides (gee, wonder if the fact that I have high cholesterol and high triglycerides has a genetic component?).
  • My maternal grandmother, paternal grandmother, both maternal aunts, and my sister (who is three years younger than me) have all had hysterectomies.
  • My maternal grandmother, mother, sister, two aunts, and 5 of my cousins all have depression.
  • My mother and maternal grandmother both have osteoporosis.
  • My paternal grandmother suffers migraines that are non-responsive to “normal” treatment (i.e. Imitrex and other drugs normally used to prevent migraines).

These are ALL things the previous, ill-tempered nurse had failed to note.

Doc comes in, looks at the new-and-improved family history, raises her eyebrows and talks to me for a few minutes about how my bipolar meds are working (pretty good actually).  Asks about my last migraine (two weeks ago, the day after my last menstrual period started).  Fusses at me about not having my last pap on schedule, makes appropriate understanding facial expressions and says appropriately understanding things when I explain that my gynecologist wasn’t covered the last time our insurance changed, yada yada.  Says we can do a pap there, and is understanding again when I explain that DH’s work is changing our insurance YET AGAIN, and I’d rather wait because I’m having some other issues “in that department” and (she finishes the sentence for me!) “you don’t want it to be pre-existing.”  Says to come in as soon as the insurance changes over and have one.  Informs me that I should have started having mammograms 3 years ago (I had no clue), but doesn’t fuss or push me to set an appointment for one.  I figure she’ll probably do that when I go in for the pap.  Reauthorizes my meds, orders bloodwork (lithium level, full lipid panel, thyroid panel, IDK what else, 4 vials total), and sends me on my way. 

Not ONE mention of my weight, which is a little weird considering that EVERY time I’ve been in for the past 8 years she’s said SOMETHING about me needing to lose weight or having lost weight or having gained weight back or…

I’m just hoping this is a permanent change.

I’ve been looking for a two-peice bathing suit, that isn’t a tankini, but also isn’t a STRING bikini AND doesn’t have the “halter” style top…  NOTHING!  At least, not in a size big enough for me.

Apparantly the local Lane Bryant thinks that us fat chicks don’t swim, because they didn’t even HAVE swimsuits.  Don’t get me wrong, I have lots of love for LB, especially their sexy Cacique underthings!  But the total lack of swimsuits made no sense to me.

Catherine’s only had these terrible one-peice suits.  And they were truly horrific.  Huge flower prints, big padded funky-looking cone bras, empire-line skirting… 

Old Navy had nothing above a size 12.

JCPenney’s had a fairly decent selection, but the two-peice I liked didn’t come larger than a 14 (and ran small).

Wal-Mart’s selection was just horrific.

Target’s was even worse.

So apparantely us fat chicks only swim if we can cover up as much skin as possible, and we certainly don’t tan.  I can’t POSSIBLY want to have a nice-looking two-peice that FITS, looks nice, and actually supports my rack-of-doom.  Because I am a fat chick.