Once Upon a Fat Girl

Sunday, November 30, 2008


When I get a new client, our first appointment is a through evaluation. An assessment. At the time, it seems like I'm asking questions that don't have anything to do with addiction. But in the end, it's pretty clear that when you have an addiction it touches every part of your life. I spent a good hour or so evaluating myself. Not only did I come up with an assessment to get me started here, but I gained a new appreciation for my clients and how hard it is to reveal yourself in this way. Tomorrow I'll post my first treatment plan.



I am a 37-year-old woman living in rural Nevada. I am five foot nine and weigh 335 pounds.

Three years ago I had a full physical checkup. My cholesterol is 125, but the percentage of good vs. bad is a little out of balance toward the bad. At that time my thyroid tested in the healthy range. My blood pressure and sugar were good. I had my blood pressure tested again recently and it’s still good.

I have fairly severe back and leg pain at least once a week. It’s worse if I stand for a long time (for instance, Kevin and I went out of town last week and went Christmas shopping. I was nearly immobile that night and felt physically ill from the pain down the backs of my legs and in my lower back.)

I have IBS that is mainly triggered by stress, dairy, and foods very high in fat (such as deep fried.) At least once a week I have fairly severe stomach pain and either constipation or diarrhea (I know, I know…TMI…sorry.)

I get tired easily. I started a new job at the end of October that, while not particularly physically demanding, has a very high learning curve and is mentally and emotionally demanding. During the week, I often just work and then go to sleep within two hours of getting home. By the end of the week, I’m pretty drained and have little energy for doing more than hanging out at home.

Even before I started my new job, I barely had the energy to get through the day.

I am slightly anemic and rarely remember to take an iron supplement.

I was an athlete from childhood until I graduated from high school. Today, I almost never exercise. I find it painful and embarrassing and very uncomfortable. I miss being an athlete.


I don’t have any pending legal problems.

Mental Health

I don’t have any diagnosed mental health issues.

I do have some unresolved issues from my childhood that sometimes contribute to my overeating. (I may nor may not be going into these in the future on this blog. For now, its enough to know that I recognize the problem and will be dealing with it during the next year.)

I am the type to get excited about a new idea, but lose interest when there aren’t fast results. I’ll need to make sure that I remind myself that slow and steady is the only way to meet this goal.

Social and Family

I have been married twice and am currently married to my second husband. I have a good relationship with my ex-husband whom I’ve known since childhood. He is the father of my two older children. I have a solid relationship with my current husband. He’s the father of my youngest child.

I have three children. Adrienne is 16, Nick is 14, and Ruby is 3. Nick has autism, which causes a good bit of stress, although less now than when he was younger.

I have one very close friend. She lives in Las Vegas and I speak to her at least once per month and see her when I go to Las Vegas to visit.

I have many acquaintances, but have a difficult time letting people get close to me. I have never made friends easily, even though I normally get along well with everyone.

I don’t have any significant problems getting along with anyone in my immediate family or with any friends or acquaintances.

I have eight siblings and my dad as well. I have a pleasant but rather distant relationship with all of them. Most live in Las Vegas. One sister lives in Idaho and one brother lives in Hawaii. I have not talked to my step-sister in two years, and rarely talk to her mother who was married to my dad since I was a little girl (they divorced when I was an adult.)

My mother died of breast cancer when I was 24.

Several of my siblings and my father are alcoholics. One of my brothers is a heroin addict and struggling to get and stay clean. I am the only one in my family who doesn’t drink or do drugs. My step-mother was an alcoholic as well.

Substance Abuse

I do not drink at all.

I do not use illegal drugs, or abuse prescription drugs.

I don’t smoke.

My eating habits mimic the behaviors of a person with an addiction.

Plans and My Soup Recipe

I've been thinking a lot about my plan this week.

In the past month, since starting my new job, I've been completely immersed in the world of addiction. I keep asking myself...is it possible to really be addicted to food? I mean--in a way, isn't everyone one addicted to it? It's a necessity for continued life. But I've been shocked to find that what some of my clients report feeling in their addictions, I feel to some degree about food.

Food lets me hide. Instead of dealing with life head on, I can eat to stave off emotions. Food has in some ways become my identity. I have spent (and do spend) a lot of time and energy finding food, preparing it, and then dealing with the after effects of overeating. I sometimes rearrange my life around food (for instance, not taking a client during a certain time because I want more time to eat at lunch.) I often eat more than I intended to, and for a longer period of time. I spend a lot of time planning to quit overeating.

The list goes on.

Clearly, I show the signs of addiction. Just as clearly, I can't quit cold turkey like the law requires my clients to.

I've decided to write myself a treatment plan, and maybe even complete an assessment, just like I do for my clients. For them, I write a new treatment plan every quarter and review it every month. So that's my plan. Look for that in the coming weeks (before January 1.)

I do feel firmly in the planning stage of change. I've ordered some books. I've told my husband that I plan to change and that I need his help. I've started posting here again.

Okay. On a different note, here's my after-thanksgiving soup. It's so amazingly yummy! The base is from the wonderful Bread and Soup cookbook by Crescent Dragonwood. (I think that's her name.)

Turkey and Brown Rice Soup

In a big soup pot pour:

4 cups vegetable broth (or other broth. Make some from your turkey carcass if you like, but I think veggie is the lowest in fat and calories.)
5 cups vegetable juice (like V8)
2 cups water
1 T Worcestershire sauce
Onion and Garlic powders as desired


Chopped up left-over turkey (I had about a cup and a half and it seemed just right.)
1/2 a cup of chopped onions
1 cup chopped Brussels sprouts (don't chop fine, just slice each into four or five slices. Chopped cabbage would work, too. I had left-over raw sprouts that I didn't roast with turkey day dinner. I bet if you had left over roasted ones they would be super yummy!)
1 cup of frozen chopped spinach (use maybe 2 cups if you're adding fresh chopped spinach.)
1 cup brown rice, uncooked

Bring it all to a boil. Reduced heat, cover, and let simmer about an hour or until the rice is done. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This reduced for me to a thick, lovely soup. The brown rice gave it a really hearty texture.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Really Big Plan

I have plans. Big ones. I know that I haven't posted here in forever, and regularly even longer than that. But I have big, big plans. And I want a place to keep them in order. And this place hit the big-plan lottery!

I've started working as a drug and alcohol counselor and I've learned something that's really eye-opening to me in my nearly constant (and failing) pursuit to lose weight. There are six stages of change. Precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, maintenance, and termination.

I've been stuck in a perpetual cycle of contemplation mixed with brief periods of preparation and hard shots of action. Followed by even harder relapse. So I'm giving myself a good long time in the preparation stage. From now until January.

I'm the only one who works in my building. I have a big group room with a TV where I can exercise during lunch hour. I also work directly across the street from a football field that will make a nice track when the weather warms up. I have a fridge and a microwave so there is no excuse for eating McDonald's for lunch.

My only goal is to feel good. To be healthy enough to have the energy to do more than work and sleep. It's a quarter to nine right now and I'm so tired. So bone tired. It's time to get my life back. Fat has had it long enough.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Day Three

FIRST: Please go check out my new writing blog at my own little domain name :)

I had my first substitute teaching job of the year today. Fifth grade. It went well, I think.

I ate a decent breakfast and packed my snack and lunch according to my BLC plan. Yay me!

I have come of the conclusion that I can not have cookies in my house. Ever. I can't stop eating them. I bought some oatmeal cookies because they were called for on my plan (I swear!) and in three days I've eaten about the whole package.

I weighed myself at the school, because my scale needs a new battery. According to that scale, I lost two pounds this week. I'm calling it four though because I weighed myself after lunch and wearing my shoes and a ankle-length denim skirt instead of being nakies.

I feel good. I think that's the most important thing. I feel strong.

Except my arms. I did 150 wall-ups yesterday and my arms hurt so bad it's making me sick to my stomach.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Day Two

So yesterday I did pretty well with my BLC menu plan. Until the evening. I ate several oatmeal cookies and some cheezits. Not because I was terribly hungry, but because--ugh, my brain is broke I swear. If I'm not super full I get this panicky, horrible feeling. It's the worst.

I don't know how to get rid of that feeling. Why do I sabatoge myself? I'm not beating myself up--today is another day, and my challenge doesn't really start until Sept. 16 when the show starts.

I decided to do a card deck exercise challenge I found on the BLC website.

Diamonds: Jumping jacks
Clubs: Crunches/bicep curls
Spades: Wall-ups
Hearts: squats/lunges

You pick a card and times the number on the card by 10 with jokers being 20, aces 15, kings 13, queens 12, jacks 11.

I decided on five cards a day, here are mine for today:

3 and 8 of hearts: 110 squats
ace and queen of spades: 270 wall-ups (!)
king of diamonds: 130 jumping jacks

So far I've done 50 wall-ups. LOL I'll be at this all day, which might be the point.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Day One

I don't think I'll do a daily post about the BLC (Biggest Loser Club) from now until Christmas. But you know, you just never know!

Today was the first full day on the program. It's amazing how much 1900 calories is, when you're actually eating food and not Ding Dongs and Salt & Vinegar Lays. I mean really. I had three meals and a huge snack...and I can still eat another snack tonight if I want to.

Here's what my day one looked like. I followed the BLC meal plan pretty closely, making minor adjustments according to what I had at home or could afford to buy at the grocery store.


Two slices of whole wheat toast
1 T of blackberry jam
1 egg
2 slices of thick bacon (I know! But it was on the menu, I swear!)
1/2 of a tomato

I could have had a snack here. But I went to the store, and by the time I got back it was lunch time.


A huge bowl of cabbage soup
1 cup of strawberry yogurt
1 ounce of yummy cherry-flavored prunes (Gross sounding...but scrumptious like candy)
.5 ounce of Cheezits


I combined the morning and afternoon snacks and had 3/4 cottage cheese, pineapple, 1 ounce of walnuts and a little handful of raisins. Mmmmm...best snack ever!


Baked Tilapia with zuccini and tomatos
1 cup mashed potatoes

I also did ten minutes on my trampoline. My goal is to build up to at least 20 by the time Biggest Loser starts.

So one day down. Whoo!

Friday, September 05, 2008

Time to Take Control

My life has been insane this summer.

I sold two books. Two manuscripts that I wrote, to publishers. I am an author.

I went to San Francisco to meet with agents and publishers at the huge and amazing Romance Writer's of America national conference. It was the most insanely wonderful experience.

Nicholas, my son who has Asperger's Syndrom, has started high school. Stress leading up to it, but so far so good as far as the actual experience goes. Both he and Adrienne are working their hearts out.

I'm finishing up a 9 month long class in advocacy for people with disabilities that required a once a month weekend away from home.

And I weigh 330 pounds today.

So something has to give.

I don't need to hide anymore. That's my mantra. I don't need to hide. I can give up the extra 150 or so pounds. They've done their job. I don't need the insulation against the world anymore. I'm ready to meet it head on.

So I've signed up for the Biggest Loser Club. I'm not sure how long term I'll do it. But I really need strong help cutting back my calories. I'm eating 3500 to 4000 a day. Those are such huge numbers, and I don't even feel like I'm eating that much. Biggest Loser Club, based on my weight, put me on about 1800 to 2000 a day. That's half. Or a defect of about 14000 a week...that's four pounds a week, just in uneaten calories.

The program recommends five days of cardio and three of strength training a week. I figure that's good for another two pounds a week. Kevin gave me a little trampoline for Christmas last year. I really like it, because it's freaking freezing up here a good part of the year, starting pretty darn soon. It gives the kids and me a chance to get some indoor exercise. I've been jumping on it everyday for the last week. I can go for about ten minutes right now (two songs.) I do it several times throughout the day. My goal is to be able to jump for an hour straight (twelve songs) by Christmas.

So I'm not holding my breath for six pounds lost a week. That's silly. But there are 17 weeks until Christmas. I think I can lose 30 pounds by then and go to my next major family gathering weighing less than 300 pounds. That's my goal.

So that's it. I'm a huge Biggest Loser fan. I'll be following along with them for the rest of this year. The show starts Sept. 16. I start today.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Today, I Do Not Care What I Weigh!

This was in my email today:

Dear Ms. Alburger

Thank you so much for submitting DEVIL YOU DON'T. Both I, and another editor, have read it, and we would love to read the full manuscript. Please send it by email at your earliest convenience.

Thank you for thinking of Pink Petal Books!


Can you hear me squeeing? Can you?