Friday, January 28, 2011

Perspiration is Inspiration

My Confession:  I am OBSESSED with Britney Spears' music.  How in the hell did this happen to me?  Unlike my obsession to the mess that is Britney Spears, the road to my addiction is actually not so humilating.  I was so big when I first began losing weight that it was very uncomfortable for me to move.  So, I began by making two promises -
1.  Cut Calories
2.  No Laziator at Work ( aka - elevator)

Taking the stairs was not easy at Edison, especially from the 1st floor to the 3rd floor.  I had to take these mo-fo stairs several times a day.  I was not going to give in and get on that damn laziator!...even thought I really wanted to.   The first few weeks I thought I was going to die.  I think I was purple the first day - but, then something happened - it became more and more easy to go up those stairs.  Go figure - right! 

Climbing those stairs gave me the confidence I needed to walk back into the gym.  I began walking at the RAC on the treadmills.  I recruited two friends - Deyon and Jamie to go to the gym with me.  As I walked slowly, very slowly on the treadmill, Deyon was running and perspiring next to me.  I was so stinking jealous, but her perspiration gave me the inspiration to pick it up.  I HATE working out in front of others.  I HATE it, but I do it.  I was self conscience about how I looked when I worked out, so I was embarrassed to go to classes, but nothing ventured - nothing gained.... or in this case - nothing lost.  Deyon went with me as I experienced some classes.  I settled on the cardio pilates class that met twice per week.  I am so glad I joined this class because it again pushed me out of my comfort zone. 

So, when did this obsession with Britney Spears start and what does it have to do with working out?  Well, it is sort of like this - I took the stairs, began walking, particpated in fitness classes, and then.....I heard this uppity song about a "Womanizer" and it energized me to no end.  Now, I was not about to buy a Britney Spears CD so I ventured on to Itunes and downloaded the song.  It was the first song I ever purchased form Itunes.  I loaded the song onto my Ipod and went off to the gym and worked out as usual........until that damn song "Womanizer" hit my ears.  It was all over for me at that moment.  I felt a surge of insanity come over me and found my finger going towards the UP button.  I couldn't believe what was happening - I was going to run.  AND, I did it!.....for all of 30 seconds that is. 

30 seconds was a start and I could only get better, right?  It became my mission to be able to run through the entire song of "Womanizer. "  Britney and I spent a lot of time together, but eventually I did make it through that damn song.  After that I added Pink and ran through two songs - and then I made it through three songs, and eventaully I ran my first straight mile. 

So, it all starts with a little perspiration and inspiration...... and maybe some Britney Spears.  Physical exercise is not easy, but we all must start somewhere.  Taking the first step is always the hardest, but it does not need to be a leap or a big step - it can be a baby step or even a crawl - as long as you are moving your body more than you were before.  So, move it and when you get a little self conscience just remember that you do not have to live with the humiliation of being obsessed with Briney Spears. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Recipe for Success...the Italian Way

I LOVE deep dish pizza.  I HATE the calories.  Here is a little something to help with that Uno's craving.  This pizza  is a favorite in our house and the whole thing can be made with less calories than you find in just 1 piece of Uno's pizza.  Enjoy!!!!!!

Remember -  I am ITALIAN - we don't measure - we approximate.

Roll out dough - I use about half of a Wegman's dough.
*(I will spray the bottom of my dish so the dough doesn't stick)
Place in 9-10 inch pie plate with sides hanging over the edge.
Throw some flower down in  the bottom of the dough.
Sprinkle part skim pizza cheese on the bottom of the dough - not too much (cuts the calories...)
Crumble up pre-sliced mushrooms and toss them on the cheese (the whole damn pack)
El Fresco Garlic Chicken (2-4 pieces) - partially cook it, chop it, cook it again and then add to the mushrooms.
Sprinkle with a little more flour.
Add chunky tomatoes or some crushed tomatoes, BUT drain FIRST - too much liquid makes for a soggy pizza (but even soggy it is damn good!) - not too much - Just coat the top.
Sprinkle tomatoes with crushed red pepper. garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, dried basil, and lots of dried oregano (or not so much)
Sprinkle with some more cheese and top that with a few dashes of shaky cheese (again, not a ton of cheese - there should be cheese left in the bag at the end of this process)
Roll the edged of the dough inward and spray with spray butter - (yes...the liquid butter , it is a favorite among some anorexics so you can't go wrong)

Cook until done in a pre-heated oven:       425 for dark and non-stick     /     375 for clear pans

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Weight loss is a war of epic proportions.  I love it and want to celebrate it.  I hate it and want to curse it.  There are times I just do not want to compromise or change.  Having to make a lifestyle change in the eating department does not leave much room for calorie negotiations.  Needing to fix my liver, and fix it fast, I did not waiver on my food choices.  I had to lose the weight and the fat.  This meant no eating out or off of my prescribed diet.  This was not an easy task.  I first started my journey in the fall of 2008 - right before the holidays.  Thanksgiving was a frozen turkey dinner, Christmas was a frozen pasta dinner, New Year's was yet another frozen dinner.  I used to joke that a Jenny Craig cheesecake a day kept the cheating at bay.  It was so hard to watch people eat such good food.  I was jealous!!!!!

At one of our many family get-togethers I had enough.  I lost it. I could not take the frozen dinners anymore.  I was facing the knowledge that I would not be biting into the succulent, juicy, cooked just right on the grill beef tenderloin.  I would not be savoring the creamy buttery taste of the bree cheese that surrounded the cran-orange chutney.  There would be no hunks of fresh bread warmed with melted butter.  Salad with homemade blue cheese dressing was no longer. Gone was the succulent chocolate cake with the fudge frosting that just melts in your mouth as the sugar slowly dissolves.  Gone.  Gone.  Gone.  As everyone sat around the table with their full plates and hearty laughter I excused myself to go and cook my calorie and fat restricted frozen meal.  With each spin of the microwave plate I began to weep.  As I removed my meal from the microwave and peeled back the plastic film I wept more and more heavily.  Enter into the kitchen Carl, my brother.  I can't imagine what I looked like, but I knew how I felt - lost and miserable. 

I look back on this day and giggle now, but I am also grateful.  I was so lost then.  Carl actually did me a huge favor that day.  He acknowledged my relationship with food as an addiction.  It was one of the first times the word addiction had been spoken aloud in relation to me and food.  It was liberating.  He said that unlike other addictions I could not escape mine - I have to eat.  I cannot walk away from food.  Addiction to food is a hard addiction to conquer.

Thankfully I am in a place in my life where frozen meals are not the foundation of my healthy eating.  The meals, however, did serve a purpose beyond that of calorie/fat restriction.  They provided me with the time I needed to learn how to cook in healthy ways, discover how my body reacts to & breaks down different foods, and it taught me appropriate serving sizes.  Obesity is my war and this battle is won.       


Saturday, January 22, 2011

A Challenge: Change Your Approach

I have worked for the RCSD since 1999.  Most of my years with the district were spent at Edison Tech.  Like me, Edison has gone through a succession of changes.  The one thing that has remained a constant with the changes at Edison is that each change has led to more dysfunction than the last.  The students have changed, the number of schools within the building has changed, and the faculty has changed. 

There are times when people in our professional lives have a great impact on our personal lives.  This happened to me when a young female teacher came to work at Edison.  She unleashed her insecurities onto me and she did it in a brutal and relenting fashion.  She was instrumental in starting a pregnancy pool when I was preggers with Noah.  "Is She or Isn't She?  She's too BIG to know for sure!"  She wrote a book about me, "Abby SaurusRex" and included some wonderful graphics.  Pure hatred from someone I barely even had a working relationship with let alone a relationship where I would invite her criticism. 

I wish I could say that this mockery was an isolated incident, but it has not been.  I have been called names - even a bitch, been made fun of, pictures have been drawn of me, I was told once to not drink anything on a flight because I would not fit in the bathroom of the plane, my expertise has been dismissed, my ideas passed over, and I have flat out lost job opportunities.  Weight discrimination is one of the last socially accepted forms of discrimination.

On a systemic level - advocacy and education are needed to help bring about a change in the way we behave towards obese people as a whole.  Bringing about change on a personal level can be more difficult.  Losing weight has changed the way people treat me, but not others who remain obese.  And yes, the changes people made towards me have been significant.  Overall, I am treated with respect and without reproach in both my professional and personal life.

My initial BIG weight loss also had an interesting response from people that I never expected.  The smaller and smaller I got, the front runners who had treated me so poorly began complaining about their own weight.  Their fears were evident.  What would happen to those egos when my size/weight was less than theirs?  Would they then become the joke? 

I have shared many personal hurts that weight has invited into my life in my last two blog posts.  If there is anything that I want people to learn from my stories it is that while we learn bad habits (ect), like treating obese people poorly, we do not need to exercise these lessons.  We cannot change who we are.  I am an emotional eater.  That will never change, but my approach to my emotional eating can change.  We all have approaches toward people and things in life which can and should change.  So, have a non-scale victory (NSV) this week and challenge yourself to begin changing your approach to one person or thing.  I dare you to live better.     

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bad habits, Hang Ups, and Discriminations

I used to be terrified of having a daughter.  I did not want to have more children for fear that I would have a daughter and ruin her.  Now that I am the mother of a daughter I  pray everyday I don't ruin her with my bad habits, hang ups, and own discriminations. We are all guilty of trying to reassure people that they will break the negative cycles created by their parents, but so often it never happens.  This is a difficult post for me to write.  It means I am ready to face my own demons, but are others ready to see what I have to say?  Maybe it doesn't matter whether or not they are ready, it is simply just time that they do. 

When I was younger I was not only heavy, but also a competative swimmer.  I loved swimming.  It was something of my own - something I was truly great at.  Now, I know that most swimmers are thin.  Swimmers work out 6 times a week and compete consistently.   I did the same for 14 years of my life.  I broke record after record but for the life of me I could not win the weight battle.  I just couldn't.  Every year I just got bigger and bigger.  Now, I may make it sound like I was huge, and I wasn't, but in the swimming world - I was.  This prompted my parents to cut my calories.  My mom packed my lunch, which was limited.  We ate at 1030 in the morning.  I was deprived of a snack before swimming and we practiced from 300 until 600pm. 

What was a girl to do?  Well, when I got older I walked to the store around the corner everyday for a snack.....So NOT allowed!!!  Every evening my dad knew I walked to the store and I got scolded for it.  My parents were so focused on my breaking the rule of walking to the store that they never dealt with the true issue - This girl was hungry and needed a snack.  They missed teaching me about healthy choices to instead chastise me about going to the store and eating junk. 

Well, I continued to get bigger.  So, my parents decided to find out what was going on once and for all.  I remember they made me go through some physical fitness test where they made me run on a treadmill.  I couldn't do it.  I was a swimmer.  I never ran - I did not have time to run as I was always in the pool.  These people told my parents, who stupidly belived them, that because I could not run long distances I was lethargic, lazy, and out of shape.  Yes, the NYS YMCA Champion swimmer was out of shape. It was now official.  I was an out of shape lazy girl who just needed to work out more and eat less.  Oh boy....

Where the hell were they going to cut calories from and when was I supposed to work out more?  This is when all the real dieting started.  The more my parents obsessed over my weight and supposed lethargy the more I morphed into what they expected.  It has been like that ever since.  The more my weight becomes an issue, the bigger I get.  My weight has never not been a topic of conversation for my family.  Everyone thinks that they have a say and can hold judgement over my weight. 

So many bad habits were created at this time.  I was so hungry and deprived that I began eating with my arm hugged around my plate so no one could take food from me.  I would also stab anyone with a fork if they came near my food.  I began lying about my food intake and eating in private so no one would see me.  I would eat to console myself.

This is the time when I also learned to hate my body and myself.  I learned that no one would ever love me as long as I was fat.  I learned that in order to be in shape one had to know how to run very long distances at very fast speeds.  I learned that fat was ugly.  I learned that fat people don't deserve to be respected.  I learned that fat people are to be judged.  I learned fat people are always lazy. I learned that I was a joke. 

So, I still have my own Bad Habits, Hang Ups, and Discriminations to deal with, but as far as my daughter is concerned, the cycle ends with me.  This is my promise as these are not the habits I want my daughter to develop or the things that I want her to learn.  I want her to respect her whole-self and I will protect her from anyone, including mylsef, from teaching her differently.  She is beautiful and will always be beautiful.  Lillian Elizabeth is the best parts of me.



Tuesday, January 18, 2011


So, anyone who has ever had to significantly reduce calories will love this story.  To maintain my previous weight I had to be eating well over 3,000 calories a day.  I was probably close to 4,000.  I reduced my caloric intake to 1500 calories a day with no more than 30 grams of fat total.  To those of you who do not know what 1500 calories looks like - picture a slice of pepperoni pizza and a few wings washed down with a cold beer.  You get the picture.  Needless to say my husband was not on board with changing his eating habits, so dinner was on as usual for him.  By usual I mean a couple of juicy ribeye steaks on the grill.  Two steaks that I got to cook.  Bastard! So, as I am cooking the steaks I leave my dinner waiting on the counter.  My dinner you ask- a 260 calorie mini pizza and a salad.  Well, it was my dinner.  If I had a meat cleaver close I would have used it to chop my husband's hand off.  While I was grilling - for him- that man ate my damn pizza - called it his appetizer.  I flew into a fury. I was never so angry in my life.  How dare this man who gets the privilege of eating TWO steaks eat my tiny dinner as his appetizer.  The mere thought made me rage more.  Brent just looked at me like a deer in headlights.  He had no idea what he had done wrong.  I would have made Hitler cringe.  Why tell this story?  For me, it was the first time I ever got angry over not being able to eat whatever and whenever.  It is not the only time I will be caught grieving over food.  I needed that grieving process to shed the old ways and to adapt to the new.  So, get angry.  Cry, throw a fit, or two, or a hundred if you are like me.  Just get through the process so you can move on. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

My Journey Begins

Okay - so let me begin by telling you where my journey pretty much started - I have for years been on the heavy side - I mean the really, really heavy side.  I have successfully lost and gained hundreds of pounds.  Gained more than lost .  I have tried...almost....everything on the market.  So, when I got the news that my liver was gonna kill me - or more like I was killing my liver which was going to kill me - I thought about my son.  I took a week (or two) to decide my options.  1.  Gastric bypass- I would out eat it before I lost ten pounds.  2.  Lap Band - same thing - won't teach me a different lifestyle.  3.  Pills - with a side of fries - tempting, but I couldn't remember birth control, how would I remember this?  4.  Diet and Exercise - not my two favorite words.  But, I chose the diet and exercise route.  What did I have to lose....weight?