Once Upon a Fat Girl

Wednesday, May 31, 2006


It looks like my workout schedule for this week will have to be tweaked.

Ruby still has the runs, and Adrienne and Nick are both home sick today. I'm feeling better, and would like to work out. But I don't think it's going to happen today.

So here's my plan. I'll work out Thursday and Saturday, instead of Wednesday and Friday. And I'm going to at least take a walk when Ruby goes down for a nap this afternoon.

I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about addiction. My family is steeped in it. Alcohol mostly, but when drugs get involved they hit hard. Like my brother who is recovering from heroin addiction. And my sister who traded a speed habit for vodka.

My dad drinks beer everyday. Or he did, until a nutritionist told him he had to stop because he had something wrong with his blood, a precursor to liver problems. My daddy won't stop drinking beer, but he's only doing it on the weekends now.

My step-mom is a teacher. When I was a teenager my dad was in prison (for mail fraud) and it was her and me and a gaggle of much younger brothers. She used to go to school on Friday and come home to change clothes on Monday morning. She spent the weekend drinking.

So I always thought I was doing okay. Because I don't drink at all. Ever. And I don't use drugs.

It's finally dawned on me that not only do I have an addiction as severe as my alcohol- and drug-abusing relatives--mine is far more obvious. THEY don't weigh 300 plus pounds. You would never be able to look at anyone in my family and pick out the ones with substance abuse problems.

But you could easily pick out the one who is addicted to food. The compulsive over-eater.

She is me.

I went online after reading Passing for Thin by Francis Kuffel. She lost 180 pounds with the help of Overeaters Anonymous. They have online meetings. I tried two of them, and wasn't too impressed, but I'm going to keep trying.

They also have email loops. I picked two to join. I meant to join one, but I found another one that felt like such a perfect fit I had to join it, too. Those are a hoot. Much smaller, more initmate. And it's odd to have everyone involved really get what is happening inside me.

I met a woman through that second group who has offered to be my sponser. I'm biting the bullet. Because I don't want to be an addict. I want to be recovered. I want to be healthy. And I can't be if I'm obsessed with food, even if I'm thin.

It isn't even only about being obsessed with wanting to eat food. I think about my weight, and my weight-loss all day long. I need to learn how to live again. How to eat and exercise without making a career out of it.

For the first time in my life, I feel like I can live a life where food is nothing more than a pleasant source of energy. It tastes good. It feels good. It makes me feel good. But it doesn't own me. They say it takes three weeks to break a habit. I haven't had a binge, and only one episode of overeating, in 31 days. I feel strong. I feel hope.

And when I close my eyes, I can feel myself crossing the finish line of my first triathlon.

Tomorrow is June's check-in day. I'm going to make an honest effort not to weigh myself again until July 1. I'm not sure I'm ready yet, so I might not be able to keep to that. I am definitely going to stay off the scale during the week and only weigh myself on Saturdays, no matter what. Daily or more weigh-ins are keeping me tied into a diet mentality.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Diet Schmiet

Since I'm not feeling well, the most ambitious I got today was hanging out and reading other people's blogs. Of course right now I'm pretty much obsessed with weight loss blogs. I've noticed a few things, now that I'm really paying attention.

1. There are a ton of diets out there. I mean a solid ton. And they all contradict each other. Eat carbs, don't eat carbs. Count calories, don't count calories. It's exhausting.

2. A lot of people use the terms 'good' and 'bad' in relation not only to the foods they eat, but themselves when they eat. As in..."I was good today" or "I was bad today."

3. A lot of bloggers have lost some weight in the past, but have gained it back. Or have fallen off the point-wave-Atkins wagon, but are getting back on.

And the whole time I'm reading these blogs, I'm thinking--there has to be an easier way. For all of us.

I don't want to lose weight on a diet and then gain it back later. In fact, I can't even think of anything worse. I would hate that. I'd rather just stay fat.

What I'm working on is trying to figure out the cause of my obesity. There can be only one. And it isn't eating carbs or fat or protein. The only way to reach 323 pounds is to eat more calories than my body can use in a day.

And let's face it. I didn't get to this weight by overeating at meals. This fat suit has been brought to you by binging. Eating when I'm not hungry. Eating my emotions. Eating my pain and fear and loneliness and crappy childhood.

I do not weigh more than 300 pounds as a result of lack of willpower.

I weigh more than 300 pounds because for as long as I can remember, weight has insulated me. It keeps me invisible. It keeps me safe. It gives me a built in excuse for anything I'm too afraid to do.

I'm tired of being afraid. I want to really live, and I want to feel good. I want food to stop being the boss of me.

I'm 100 percent certain that a best-selling diet isn't the answer for me. If for no other reason than the word diet makes me want to take the box of Tasty Kake cherry pies in my freezer to bed with me right now.

P.S. I hope you all know that this post is not a judgement on anyone who follows a diet. This is just me trying to work out my own demons. We all have to do what works best for us. I understand that completely.

Involuntary Purge

Yesterday was strange.

Kevin and I took the kids to see X Men 3 (we loved it, by the way...fun movie). In Las Vegas, almost all the movie theaters are inside casinos. In Las Vegas, all casinos have buffets.

So we went to the buffet for dinner.

I haven't binged since May 1. I am proud to announce I didn't binge yesterday. I knew going in that buffets are a trigger for me. That not only do I tend to binge at them, I tend to continue to binge for days afterward. But I was feeling strong. I stayed in my calories for the day (I aim for under 2000), I just ate 1600 of them in one sitting. Ugh.

I did overeat. Yes, I think there is a difference. I ate a little past being full. I did not continue to eat and eat and eat, until I couldn't breathe.

Here's where it gets strange.

By the time we got to the movie, I was starting to feel really yucky. I blamed it on the heavy, rich food I'd eaten. I was feeling bloated...I actually had to undo my pants button (thank the goddess for darkened theaters!) I just couldn't breathe. I did overeat, but not by that much! I was just feeling awful.

When we got home, I decided to head to the gym. Thought maybe working off some of that food would make me feel better. I am proud to announce I did my first "tri-training"! I rode the stationary bike for 30 minutes, and did some strength training. It felt good. And it did make a difference that in my mind I knew I was training for something.

I came home, still feeling really gross. Although better for the work out.

Then I got sick. I mean really sick. Throwing up, severe case of the runs.

I do not purge. I never have. But it was a really weird feeling last night. I wanted to throw up. I felt so bloated, and so disgusting. I wanted all that food out of my body.

I take a handful of vitamins every day (multi, C, B complex, Iron, Magnesium, fish oil), and I took them last night, knowing that they might make me puke. That thought freaked me out. It wasn't the vitamins that made me sick, but just the thought felt very bulima-ish.

Ruby has been sick with stomach-realted-issues since Saturday night, so I'm sure I just picked up her virus. I didn't purge on purpose.

I woke up this morning five pounds lighter than I was when I went to bed.

So, now I feel like overeating and feeling sick are connected in my mind. Not necessarily a bad thing. Getting sick last night headed off what might have been another binge today, related to feeling guilty about over doing it last night. I don't know that I would have binged today. I'd like to think I wouldn't have.

But. Kevin's parents gave us THREE grocery bags filled with Tasty Kakes that some east coast relative gave them. I was so upset the whole drive home from the movies, knowing those were going to be in the house. Really, anxiety ratched up to panic levels. Now I feel like if I even have to look at a Tasty Kake, I'm going to puke again. Ick.

Normally I would have stuffed those damn cakes in my face, crying and miserable.

I feel weak today physically, but strong mentally.

My next tri workout is tomorrow. Funny how one little change of thought can make me feel like an athlete again. When I was riding that bike yesterday I imagined my family and friends waiting for me at the finish line. Even if I came in dead last...the thrill of competing again, of finishing something so challenging...I could taste it.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Swim, Bike, Run...whew!

I found a website yesterday that laid out a beginners training program for triathlons.

Triathlons. Damn. Could I ever get there? A sprint triathlon is swimming 400 meters, biking twelve miles and running three miles. (I think that's right.) This site has a good starter training program.

Part of why I hate working out is that it's so boring. So so so boring. But maybe training would make it more interesting. I loved training when I was younger. And how amazing would it feel to finish a triathlon?

I called Jill last night and asked if she wanted to do it with me. She wasn't enthusiastic. LMAO The training program is only three days a week, and includes some strength training (which I do enjoy) and starts out with the bike at the gym. After a couple of months swimming is added. A few more months running is added. And in a year, voila! Triathlon time.

Yes. I am going to do this. My inner athlete is screaming to be set free.

In Fed Up! Dr. Oliver-Pyatt talks about how loving and respecting yourself goes beyond saying the words. It requires a physical manifestation. Reviving my athletic spirit, and actually allowing myself to train again...that feels like self-love.

If anyone else is interested in this, I'd love to hear from you. We could form the Fat Girls Triathlon club and train together!!! A year from now we'll take the triathlon circuit by storm. They'll never know what hit them.

In other news...

My book is coming along. I'm working on what I hope is the final rewrite. What I have to focus on is characterization. That's my weak point. My goal is to be finished with my final draft by the time Kevin and I go to Disneyland for our anniversary the last weekend in July.

Everyone keeps asking me if it's done, and when can they read it. And all I can say is...it's harder than it looks! I'm not sure how some authors write two or three novels in a year. Maybe it gets easier with practice?

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Short ribs and sticky rice...mmmmmmm

According to Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt, author of Fed Up! the only way to reach a healthy weight with any lasting success is to stop dieting completely.

She says that means that you have to take the 'bad' label off all foods. There is no bad food or good food. You can eat whatever you want, as long as you are hungry and stop eating when you're full. Sounds sane doesn't it?

She says that eventually all the stigma will be off foods, and a piece of cake will just be cake and fries will just be fries...they won't be reflections on personal worth (I was so bad...I ate cake...so then I ate the whole cake just to get it out of the house...you know you've done that!)

And when you get to that point, you'll start to want to eat healthier food. Out of respect for your body, and how much better you feel when you eat a varied diet.

But...she says it's totally normal to want to eat and eat and eat the foods that you've been depriving yourself of all these years.

Fab. That means I can eat McDonald's right? Ok. So I load up the kids and I drive. And as I drive I start to feel sick to my stomach. The idea of biting into a Big Mac is making me queasy. Even greasy fries...yuck.

Oh No. Does this mean that I'm so far into the diet mentality that I have to force myself to eat what I want to eat? As I'm driving I'm feeling this sick anxiety in the pit of my stomach.

And then it finally dawned on me.

Um. I don't want McDonald's. As shown by the sick feeling at the idea of it.

Oh. Damn. This is so weird. Because do I really not want McDonald's, or am I just feeling guilty about 'breaking my diet'?

No. I really didn't want McDonald's. I didn't want to eat that crap. Turns out...once I know I can eat there if I want to, I don't really want to. Because McDonald's is kinda crap. And hell, I can eat whatever I want.

What I want is to keep feeling as good as I've felt the past week or so.

So I might as well eat some yummy Hawaiian Barbeque, right?

BBQ short ribs, sticky steamed rice. Oh yum.

And guess what? I ate until I was full. I did not force myself to eat every bite (including the nasty macaroni salad, which I normally would have eaten just because it was there, nasty or not.) I did not eat until I felt like I couldn't move. I ate exactly what I wanted, and I stopped when my body was full.

I did that all day today. Which meant Oscar Mayer hot dogs and cottage cheese with pineapple for lunch. The only mindless eating I did was when I got Ruby a couple of crackers, and then ate the rest of the sleeve (saltines) myself. I should have went for dinner earlier, because I was hungry.

But guess what? I stayed under 2000 calories today.

She also says counting calories is diet mentality. I'm not ready to drop that yet. It might take time to get completely over my old habits. But until I get a handle on natural eating (that's what she calls eating when you're hungry until you're full) I need Calorie King to keep my anxiety at bay.

Because the funniest thing of all is that I have so lost touch with my body, I have no idea when I'm hungry or full. I'm winging it. I have to keep asking myself. It really helps that not-quite-full-enough anxiety to tell myself that I can eat short ribs and sticky rice every single meal if I want, as long as I'm hungry.

I weighed myself this morning, and with the absense of period bloat, I'm down another 1.5 pounds. So, that's 2.5 pounds this week. It'll show up on my June 1st check in.

Apparently weighing is a diet-mentality no-no as well. That's another one I'm struggling with. Because I've gone from weighing once a week to weighing everyday...to weighing every time I pass the scale. That has to stop. I want to get to where I'm only weighing in on the first of the month. I might try that in June, but I'm not making any promises. One step at a time, right?

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Fed Up!

I'm reading a book by Dr. Wendy Oliver-Pyatt called Fed Up! The author is a psychiatrist specializing in eating disorders, and a recovered bulimic.

As I'm reading this amazing book, tears are literally spilling down my cheeks. Because this...this!...is what I've been talking about. When I say that all the fad diets leave me with an icky feeling, when I talk about wanting to step out of my fat suit. This book is what I'm talking about.

Dr. Oliver-Pyatt talks in her book about how diets do not work, and in fact are detrimental to health and make you fat. As a 316-pound life-long dieter, I have to agree. Diets have not made me thin. Surprised? I bet not. Have they made you thin? I don't mean for five minutes, until you eat your first carb or chocolate bar, and start the climb back up.

She says that the only way to break the cycle and have a healthy body is to stop dieting. Not just stop Atkins or Sonoma or South Beach or The Zone. Stop restricting at all. No lists of 'good' and 'bad' foods. No eating low-fat Fudge Brownie frozen yogurt when what you really want is Cherry Garcia. No leaving off the whipped cream from your Venti frappucino, if you really want it on. No eating a Lean Cuisine while your family eats Dominos.

No dieting. Period.

What a fucking terrifying concept. She says the only way to achieve health is to ... are you ready for this?...eat when you're hungry and stop eating when you're full.


She advocates going to the grocery store and buying WHATEVER YOU ARE HUNGRY FOR. Dorritos. 7-up. Cherry Garcia. Whatever. And eating it. When you are hungry. That binging is a reaction to hunger.

Eat when you're hungry until you're full, to avoid binging.

So simple it hurts.

Counting calories is out. And I'm afraid to stop. I have instinctively already done what she said, and I'm not depriving myself. I'm not cutting out food groups or making myself eat rice cakes for dinner. But I am counting my calories. I'm keeping to a highish number though...1800 to 2000. I'm keeping track because I have no real concept of how much I'm eating. I'm working on that, but I'm not there yet.

She talks about the feeling of anxiety that feels like hunger when a chronic dieter eats. That's that feeling...that almost full, but not quite there feeling...that I was talking about. The one that scares me and makes me want to eat all the Oreos. All of them. Just the fact that she named that feeling makes me feel better. It's legitimate, this panic. It's okay to feel it.

And...just like she says in her book...it's passing. And...also just like she says would happen...as I'm giving myself permission to eat without guilt, I'm finding that I'm wanting to eat healthy foods because I want to, not because I have to.

Anyway, this book has ten steps and I'm going to work through them here. If anyone else has read the book, I'm really interested in hearing from you.

I've said it before. I don't want to diet. I just want to be normal. I'm not going for perfection. I'm just aiming for something in the neighborhood of health and well-being. And I want it to stick. No one can eat in Waves or levels, or cut out the freaking bottom of the food pyramid, forever. No one. Who would even want to.

But I can spend the rest of my life eating when I'm hungry, and doing something else when I'm not.


I've spent the morning looking at some weight-loss blogs and researching some diets.

For some reason I've come away feeling sort of ... icky. It really seems to me that the makers of these diets (the cookie diet, the grapefruit diet, Atkins, Sonoma...the list goes on and on and on) are praying on the desperation of people like me. Really they all have one thing in common--reduced calories.

There has to be a better way. Who the hell can follow plans with waves and levels and complete denial of entire food groups...forever? And what fat person wouldn't have latent eating disorders triggered by such severe restriction?

Seriously. If God intended people to eat low-carb, he wouldn't have invented wheat. And raspberries. And big juicy apples. And chewy brown rice.

He wouldn't have made woman with such a strong natural craving for chocolate.

For the first time, I'm not following any diet other than just keeping an eye on my calories. I'm aiming for 1800 a day.

What I've found in the past 26 days is that the first two weeks were super hard. I was cutting down from a conservative estimate of about 3000-3500 calories a day. Even going down to 2000 actually hurt. I spent one night a couple of weeks ago huddled in a fetal position on my bed, weak with need for a 1500-calorie meal from McDonald's.

But now, four weeks in, I'm feeling fine. Somehow 1800 calories seems reasonable. It's not easy. My body is still adjusting. I've given it total free reign for 34 years and now it's behaving like Ruby when I don't just hand over my entire Caramel Light Frappucino.

My belly wants what it wants, and it wants it now.

I've noticed a couple of other things:

*I'm full faster.
*That panicky feeling when I'm not stuffed to the gills is far less frequent. (For a while there I was waking up with it.)
*My skin is clearer.
*I'm craving healthier foods. Like fruit. And brown rice (!!!)
*I have more energy. I'm not falling asleep in my soup by dinner time anymore.

Weigh in

Another pound gone!

Its only one pound, but I can't tell you how happy I am to release it.

Because today is the second day of my period. Out of the thirty days in a month, today is the absolute worst to have fall on weigh-in day. Day two of my period is always the day when I'm retaining so much water, I slosh. My fingers feel like sausages. My feet and face are puffy. I look six months pregnant.

And still...I lost one pound.

I used to belong to Tops. I never lost much weight with them, but without a doubt, when I did lose some, I always always gained on the week of my period.

But today I lost one pound.

I'm really proud of that.

Friday, May 26, 2006

I'm in a Writing Mood Today!

First...there was a comment to my last post that mentioned a fat friend who started to sabatoge efforts.

My bestest best friend is a normal weight. She's 5'7", maybe 150-160 pounds. She's very fine boned though, and that weight translates to a size 14 for her (for me, 150 pounds will be a size 8 or so.)

When I told her, years ago, that my goal weight was 150 pounds she was stunned. "You think you should weigh less than me?" I just stared at her. Well...hello. I eventually asked her if she thought she was at her perfect weight. No, she said. Well...hello again. I'm not allowed to dream about being a weight that is fat for you?

I hadn't thought about it, but now that I am, I'm pretty sure that I'll get some sort of reaction from her. I might not end up weighing much less than her, but I'll definitely be more slender. I know for sure that I wear a Lane Bryant 14/16 at 220 pounds.

I'm anticipating comments along the...haven't you lost enough? You don't want to go overboard! Wow, I think you can stop now...vein.

AND I made the most scrumptious, amazingly delicious stuffed peppers tonight for dinner. Here's the recipe:

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

Four green bell peppers
1 1/2 cups dry brown rice (the kind that's not milled)
1/2 cup dried sweetened cranberries
1/4 cup sliced almonds (or other nuts)
1 can black beans, rinsed
3 Tablespoons sherry or white wine
3 Tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon worchestershire sauce
Spices (I used Mrs. Dash extra spicy, garlic powder, dried parsley, salt and pepper...use what sounds good to you)
2 cups tomato sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar

Steam the rice with 3 cups water for 50 minutes.

Meanwhile cut the top off the peppers and clean out the seeds and white pith. But in a glass dish with 1/2 inch water and microwave for six minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the wine, soy sauce and worchestershire together in a small bowl.

Combine the rice, cranberries and nuts, and beans. Add the sauces. Mix well. Add spices and mix again.

Take the peppers out of the water, dump the water. Fill the peppers with about 1 cup of rice stuffing.

Combine the tomato sauce and sugar. Pour some in the bottom of the dish. Put the peppers back in. Top them with the rest of the sauce.

(I put a slice of reduced-fat Swiss cheese on top of each at this point. It's up to you...it isn't necessary. You could try some parmesan or grated cheese right in with the rice.)

Bake for 30 minutes.

There was a lunch-worth of rice mixture left over...oooooh yes!

One pepper, even with the cheese, has about 360 calories. I ate one with some Mandarin oranges and was completely full.

I've never used brown rice before. It has a nice chewy texture that makes the meal seem very substantial. And it's better for you to boot!

Now my brain hurts

Diets don't work for me. They don't work, because they trigger in me a nasty, undeniable, monster of an urge to binge. Dieting doesn't work for me.

Which sort of sucks since I weigh over 300 pound and would really--just really--like to be normal. Not skinny, or perfect. Just fucking normal. It isn't that much to ask. I don't want to be the fat one any more.

So I've been doing a lot of thinking. Trying to get behind the reasons why I binge, why I'm the fat one to begin with.

First--I think it's interesting how other people use the fat one to set their own self-esteem. Growing up my sister Jill and I were always, always, always compared to our mother and her sister.

I was just like our Mom. Everyone said so. And Jill was just like Auntie.

The only problem being that when we were kids our mom was depressed, fat, very ill (she had a nerve disorder that paralized her for months), the only divorcee in our family. Our aunt? She was tall and willowy and beautiful and a talented artist who lived in a big beautiful house in San Diego.

Now, looking back through the eyes of a grown-up I see things differently. Our mother was all those negatives. But she was also a lovely woman who had a strong faith in God. She was sunshine, just lighting up any room she walked into. She died of breast cancer when I was 24 (ten years ago) and hundreds of people showed up at her funeral. Including her elementary school crossing guard. She made that much of an impact.

On the other hand our aunt was, and still is, a miserable woman. Never happy, and it came out in stomach disorders that helped keep her thin. She weilds her faith like a whip, using it to knock down anyone who thinks differently, and keep them in their place. Since I was a little girl she's lived in San Diego while her husband lives and works in San Francisco, coming home for one weekend a month. We're talking twenty-five years.

In retrospect, I'd rather be like my mother. A thousand times. But...that comparison shaped the way I think of myself today. And it did the same for my sister.

Because I can only be the 'fat one' if she's the 'skinny one.'

Only she's not skinny anymore. She's very tall...6'1"...and weighs about 230 pounds. A solid size 16/18. Much thinner than me. See. She gets to have in the back of her mind...at least I'm not as fat as Shaunta. It isn't mean, or probably even concious. It's just the way it is.

So I'm curious. What will happen when I'm thinner than my sister? Her best friend weighed over 400 pounds two years ago, and had Gastric Bypass surgery. Charlene went down to about 30 pounds less than Jill. It rocked her. Then Charlene got pregnant, and gained some back and is now about 30 pounds heavier than Jill. And all is right in my sister's world again.

How much worse will it be when its me? The only fat one out of nine kids? Is there a chance that I could even be thinner than tiny Alison, my step-sister who was a model and now wears a size 12?

See the irony? The skinny-ones aren't so skinny anymore. And the fat one is ready to shed her fat suit. Finally.

So anyway. It will be interesting to see what happens. Let me tell you one thing. It isn't easy having two model-esque sisters. I wasn't a fat child or teenager. But I weighed 160 pounds at 5'9" in high school...when Jill (only two years younger than me) was over six feet tall and weighed 125. And was gorgeous. And had perfect long beautiful hair. And a constant boyfriend that she's married to now.

Jill was perfect. And I was 'athletic.'

Okay, enough of that. I have one other thing on my mind.


I've really been paying attention to how I feel during the day about food. And I've noticed that I'm okay at breakfast and dinner. It's between the hours of about 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. that I get that panicky starved feeling. That feeling like if I don't eat now, I'm going to die. That feeling of not-quite full that drives me insane.

Why lunch? I really did some soul searching on this one.

I'm the oldest of nine. There was never a time, growing up, when I felt like I had 'enough.' I had to save some for my little brothers and sisters. No seconds. No extra. Add to that the "you'll end up fat like your mother" crap that started at about age eight.

I was also one of the most miserable grammer-school students ever. Imagine Carrie, only five years younger. I was that girl. The one that every other kid in class used as an emotional stepping-stool for their own confidence. I cried everyday for six years.

And I ate lunch alone. It was never enough. I can remember feeling this empty hole in my stomach every lunchtime, knowing that when I was done eating I was expected to go play. And God, I hated the playground. I wanted to fill that hole, stuff it until it went away.

In junior high things got better. I remember being shocked as hell at that. Suddenly, I had friends. A boyfriend even. And I started running. It started with a PE teacher who challenged me to stop being the very last one done with the daily lap.

Then my step-mother decided that it was time to stop paying for dance lessons. I loved those dance lessons, but I wasn't very good. I started swimming instead. Which I loved as well...but not enough to fill the hurt that came from being not-good-enough (which meant not-skinny-enough) to dance.

I wasn't fat. Not in grammer school. Not in junior high. But I felt huge. And by junior high my family life was falling apart. That empty, gapping hole was still there. I couldn't get enough to eat. Luckily I was very athletic, and worked out enough to keep the fat at bay...but I can remember being desperate for food. To the point of being weak and sick by the time I got home.

And then I'd dive headfirst into the kitchen. A favorite afterschool snack was two hotdogs with mustard and cottage cheese.

By high school my homelife had completely deteriorated. I was working full-time to help support my brothers and sisters. I was the walking dead. My only joy was eating. And I ate and ate and ate. I still wasn't fat. But I was eating like the world might run out of food on me between lunch and dinner.

Two years later I wasn't an athlete anymore. I got pregnant with Adrienne at 20, and at that time was humiliated when my doctor took one look at the the '227' on my chart and said "My your a big girl aren't you?"

So. Back to lunch. I still...all these years later...get this horrible panicked feeling at lunch time. When my food is gone, no matter how much I ate, I get this weird and very intense need for more. I've found that it will pass. But not easily. I get obsessed with food until I'm within an hour being able to 'legally' eat dinner (five o'clock...I don't have to eat that early. It's just that once I'm close to it being okay to eat dinner, the panic leaves.)

Looking back over my menus for the past month, I can see that I by far eat the most at lunch time. I also eat whatever snacks I eat during those hours. I almost never snack at night, and I've even been known to skip dinner (once I know I can eat it.)

Whew. Okay. I think that's enough thinking for one day! I'm off to Mexican food lunch with my dad and some of my brother's for a birthday celebration.

Send some leave-the-chips-alone vibes my way, okay?

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Thank you

I had a serious Big Mac attack last night. Kevin got off work early...he works overnight usually, but got off at about 10 last night. It had been a good five hours since dinner. I was hungry. No. I was Hungry.

And I had PMS.

And I wanted some french fries, damn it.

Normally Kevin would have brought us some McDonald's home and we would have watched a movie or something and eaten together. And I would have had: A Big Mac, a large fries and an apple pie.

I figured out how many calories that is. More than 1300.

Kevin wouldn't let me eat McDonald's. He said no. He said that I'm doing so well and he wasn't going to ruin it for me.

Thanks Kevin. Really. Even if I did say you weren't allowed in the bedroom if you didn't have a McDonald's bag with you. I love you.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Why Couldn't She Have Taken After Her Father??

Everyone...and I mean EVERYONE says that my daughter Adrienne looks just like me.

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And everytime I hear it I cringe for her. Who wants to be told constantly that they look like their 323 pound mother?

I wonder if she lays in bed at night and worries that she'll end up as fat as me? She had a bought with depression last year, and part of that was a near obsession with her weight. She told me that she'd look in the mirror and see someone so ugly, she wanted to throw up. (I made her an appointment with a psychiatrist that day, and she's better now.)

The thing is, she does look like me. Enough to make me want to cry for the little girl that I once was. The little girl who wore a size eight and felt like a huge cow. I don't want that for my baby. She's the same size I was at her age (shorter, she's 5'5" where I was 5'9" by 13...and she's not as athletic as I was...but the same general size.) I want her to look at herself and see how beautiful she really is.

How do I do that when everyone under the sun keeps telling her that she looks like me? Because she's a smart girl. She knows what I think of myself. How can she really know how beautiful she is, when she knows she looks like me and I think I'm so ugly?

How do I help my daughter see that not everyone is supposed to be teeny tiny? That she's lovely exactly as she is? That looking like her mother doesn't have to doom her to a life in a fat suit? That taking care of her body doesn't have to mean deprevation and dieting and trying to look like Lindsay Lohan?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Reclaiming My Inner-athlete

Once I was an athlete. I was a swimmer, a runner, a soccer player. I rode my bike two miles each way to school everyday, and then to swim practice. I swam four hours a day year round. I ran ten miles a day in training for cross-country track. I went to summer basketball camp, and played on a neighborhood soccer team.

Even then, I thought I was fat, because I weighed 160 pounds (at 5'9") when all my friends, my sisters and my step-mother weighed less.

I wore a size 8. I had one tiny handful of fat on my belly if I laid on my side. When I laid on my back, my stomach was completely flat. I wore a size 36B bra. I wear a 46D now.

I hated my body. But I loved what it could do. I loved to push myself and I loved that feeling of exhaustion that comes from using your body. Feeling all my muscles, knowing they've been worked. That was something I loved, once upon a time.

Now exercise hurts so much, I avoid it. When I walk, my hands get this weird swollen feeling, and I get a pain in my right leg. My back hurts. My heart hurts, too, because I am so very, very concious of my body when I exercise.

I can only swim two lengths of an Olympic-sized pool without feeling like I'm going to drown. When I was seventeen I swam twenty lengths as warm-up.

I can only walk 30 minutes at 3 miles an hour before my body hurts so much I'm in tears. When I was seventeen I ran ten miles five days a week.

What have I done to myself?

I'll never be seventeen again. But damn it, I don't have to feel like 100. I can have my energy back. I can enjoy moving and using my body again.

I can get back to the point where I loved riding my Beach Cruiser, and where swimming was a challenge, not a near-death experience. I can remember how much I love basketball and how running used to make me feel like I was flying.

I've been concentrating on making sure that I cut 500 calories a day from my diet. I'm not dieting. I'm just trying to eat more healthfully. And the cutting 500 calories a day thing is working well. I'm actually cutting much more than 500.

I've spent the last year convinced that I had some sort of thyroid dysfunction that was making it impossible for me to lose weight.

Then I went on Calorie King and started keeping track of my calories.

Seems simplistic...a lower-calorie approach to weight loss? No carb or fat counting? No celebrity endorsements?

But I realized that while I was whining, I was eating...nearly 4000 calories a day.

Cutting down to 2000 was HELL for the first two weeks. I was eating half what I ate before. It felt like torture.

I don't feel tortured anymore.

Monday, May 22, 2006

I used to be invisible

I was a single mom for five years. That whole time I weighed about 240 pounds, wore like a size 18/20.

Funny thing. I remember thinking, often, that I must have been invisible. I wasn't thin enough or at enough to gawk at. I got my share of gawks up until about 200 pounds. After that...not so much. I used to go listen to live music at a casino when I could get a babysitter, and I remember sitting there, in this sea of people, and noticing that no one...no one...looked at me.

So, I stayed invisible until about 270 pounds, or a size 22/24.

Now, I feel like I've swung to the other side of gawk-iness. People are looking again, and not in a good way. I've gotten a few double takes at the grocery store, or restaurants. Nothing real obvious or mean-spirited, but still. That isn't so far in the future, if I don't get this weight issue under control, is it?

Also, two women that Kevin works with have mentioned my weight to him. For some reason that really hurt. Really, really hurt. I wish it didn't. I wish I could say, screw them! Who cares what they think. But I didn't, I couldn't.

So, I guess I'm working my way back down into invisibility. And when I get under 200 (a size 12/14 for me) I'll be on the other side of it again. The good side.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Close Call

I had a sort of surreal experience tonight.

My big kids are visiting their dad, and Kevin had to work tonight--leaving me and a sleeping Ruby home alone. This happens once a month, maybe twice. Traditionally, when this happens, I eat whatever I want for dinner. It's a party in my belly!

But I lost four pounds this last week. Today was check-in day. So I was paying closer attention than I normally do.

I went to three...yes THREE...fast food restaurants tonight. Starbucks, Wendy's and El Pollo Loco. Normally, I would have just gone to one and loaded up. Going to three actually started out as an attempt to keep my calories under control. But--something about it scared me. I could see myself loading up on food at all three, and really having myself a bingefest tonight. I could taste it. I have no doubt that I would have had:

Starbucks: A venti carmel light blended coffee and some sort of pastry (for dessert you know?)

Wendys: Spicy Chicken sandwich, biggie fries, ceaser side salad with all the fixings

El Pollo Loco: I probably wouldn't have gone here...I would have loaded up at Wendys.

So, while I did eat more calories that I would have liked today--I feel the need today to take a minute and figure out what kind of damage I might have done.

What I ate for dinner was: A baked potato from Wendys with the filling from an El Pollo Loco chicken al carbon taco and the little packet of reduced fat sour cream that came with it...another taco...and a ceaser side salad with no croutons. (I bought a piece of chicken from El Pollo Loco, but I didn't eat it. I'm saving it for lunch tomorrow.) And a grande carmel light blended coffee.

Total calories: 866

If I'd eaten what I mentioned above...the chicken sandwich, biggie fries, larger starbucks, pastry...I would have eaten (are you ready for this?) 1918 calories. Damn. That doesn't even count the ketchup!

I only need to cut 3500 calories from my diet this week to lose a pound. I cut 1100 just today! That's damn near half a pound, thank you very much!

I've heard that you can figure out how many calories you need to maintain your weight by multiplying your weight by 14 (for sedentary...it's by 17 for moderately active people...but lets face it, I didn't get to 323 by being active!) So...317X14=4438.

It didn't seem possible. Until I did the math on me losing four pounds this week. At 3500 calories cut per pound lost, I had to have cut or burned 14,000 calories last week. That's 2000 a week. Which happens to correspond pretty well with my average calories last week. I averaged about 2100 a day.

That meal I narrowly missed injesting tonight? That's how 4438 adds up.

I'm feeling very in control and proactive right now. I'm very much feeling like I can kick my fat suit to the curb. I'm going to find my face, my waist, my ass and my tits underneath all that blubber. Yes. I. Am.

May Check-in

This is my May check-in. Starting in June I'll check in on the first of the month.

My starting weight on May 1, 2006 was 323 pounds. Unfortunately, today was the first time I've taken my measurements.

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Just in case there is any doubt--just looking at these pictures hurts. I was an athlete...a swimmer, a runner...I think that I still think of myself that way. I avoid cameras. Seriously avoid them. I'm crafty at it. I also don't spend much time looking in mirrors, and when I do it's almost always from the shoulders up. Now I'm faced with these pictures.


Waist: 49.5"
Bust: 54" (over boobs) 46" (just under boobs)
Hips: 56"
Upper arm: 16.5"
Upper thigh: 30"

Weight: 317 (I've lost six pounds since May 1!)

Friday, May 19, 2006

Behold the Beauty

Here are the pictures I promised of my baby. I'll post some of my older kids next week. These are in the back yard, having some wet fun in the tiny blowup pool that I used to put in my shower to bathe Ruby in when she was tiny.

In this one, Ruby has lost the diaper and is rocking out...just excited to be out in the sun and getting her feet wet.

And finally? The cutest caboose ever. Really. Ever.

A long rambling post

This weekend is going to be focused almost entirely on my book.

I have the bestest critique partner in the world, Mel. She rocks so hard. She's going out of town until Sunday. Right now we are working on getting my final draft finished, with a June 1 goal (I don't think that will happen...but still...) My next book has been fighting for dominance, the characters begging me to pay attention to them. As a result, I've been hiding out from my current book. I want to finish it. I want it DONE. Book number 2 is just going to have to wait its turn. From now until Sunday, I'm going to be working hard on getting the final draft ready for Mel to read. There are only like 5 chapters left for her to edit for me, out of 43.

Kevin is going to take before pictures for me this weekend. I'm scared. Really. Help. I avoid cameras like the plauge. But...I need to do this. I'm going to take monthly pics. Hopefully you all don't go blind!

I'm going to take some pictures of Ruby today, I'll post later. She's such a babydoll. Wait until you see her!

I weighed myself today. 314.5. That's down from 321 last Saturday. Which scares me some. I'm afraid it's some weird water weight loss, and it will come crashing back on. I weighed 323 on May 1. Woo...I might lose 10 pounds this month! Unbelievable.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Who Am I to Hide in a Fat Suit?

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

I took Adrienne to see Akeelah and the Bee last week. (Great movie by the way, if you like slightly-cheesy feel-good movies, which I do.) This quote was in it more than once. I found it odd that they didn't attribute it. Then I found out that a lot of people mis-attribute it to a Nelson Mandela speech, when really it was written by Marianne Williamson. I'm thinking the Starbucks people, who produced the movie, were hoping for a little miscommunication. Anyway. Who wrote it doesn't take away anything from its power. I struck a chord with me.

So, I wrote it in my journal. And I'll be reading it outloud every morning for a while. Because I'm goofy like that!

Hello there

My name is Shaunta.

I weigh 320 pounds.

Three weeks ago I weighed 323, the most I've ever weighed.

Why Once Upon a Fat Girl? Because I'm a writer. Clever, huh? And because fairy tales have happily-ever-after endings.

Here are the facts of my life right now:

I have three kids. A son, Nick who is 12. And two daughters, Adrienne who is 13, and Ruby who is 17 months old.

I'm married to Kevin, who works so hard so that I can be a stay-at-home-mom. I love him to pieces, even though he does bring home ice cream to tempt me.

I have an eating disorder. I binge. Really binge. I don't purge, mostly because puking makes me cry. I am addicted to food. I come from a long line of addicted people. Mostly alcoholics, although one of my brothers is fighting a heroin addiction right now (please, pray for him.)

I do not have the fat gene. I have eight siblings and two parents. I am the only one who is really fat.

I writing a novel. A romantic suspense, which I'm nearly done with the final draft of. I'm quite sure you'll be hearing much about this...because it's my life right now.

I used to be an athlete, in another life. The life when I was young and beautiful, but still felt like a cow. A cow, at 5'10" and 160 pounds of solid, toned muscle (wearing a size 8.) I strongly believe that my food addiction, binging and subsequent outrageous weight can be directly linked to a childhood of listening to my skinny step-mother tell me: "you aren't fat now, but if you keep eating like that, you'll be fat like your mother."

My mother was an emotional eater, like me, and was maybe 50 pounds overweight at her heaviest. I am 150 pounds overweight. She was also the most beautiful woman ever, stunning really.

So, this blog is my way of telling myself: Guess what chickie...it's time to grow up. The evil step-mother hasn't been married to my dad in ten years. She was abusive and neglectful, and it's time (way, way past time) to let her hold on me go.

My plan for losing weight? A reduced calorie diet. I'm aiming right now for 2000 calories (I got as fat as I am by eating 3000 calories). Also, and this is the hardest for me right now, exercising three times a week for 30 minutes. I'll increase that as I gain some strength. I'm using www.calorieking.com as an aid, mostly for recording my food. I'll post a link later to my blog and food diary there, in case you're interested. I've lost an average of one pound a week since May 1, 2006.

So there you have it. Thanks for stopping by!