Thursday, January 31, 2013

Sabatoge, or Capitalism at it's Finest?

I talked with my mom today. This is not a new or rare occurrence, we talk pretty much everyday, but this morning we were talking about about health and such, which is also not rare. I love talking with her as we share and gain insights with each other on a vast myriad of subjects from childbirth to weight loss to shame/vulnerability/guilt to religion/faith to parenting to politics to just general thinking.

Anyways, this morning we were talking about weight loss and exercise. My mom has been going to a gym a few days a week with my sister for some extra exercise. And it was rather appalling to me the amount of sabotage that was going on there. Now, this gym advertises itself as a judgment free zone. This is a good thing. And a popular weight loss competition show advocates for this gym (according to my mom, I don't watch any television, so I wouldn't know). My mom was telling me that at the registration counter, there is a bowl of free candy. And, the place also happens to sell high sugar, HFCS drinks and other assorted junk food. I mentioned that that sounded to me like sabotage. I mean, why would a gym encourage it's members to partake in high calorie, low benefit foods/drinks? I mean, soda? Free candy? How does that fit into the gym's mission statement? Their statement reads:

"Our Mission Statement
We at Planet Fitness are here to provide a unique environment in which anyone – and we mean anyone – can be comfortable. A diverse, Judgement Free Zone® where a lasting, active lifestyle can be built. Our product is a tool, a means to an end; not a brand name or a mold-maker, but a tool that can be used by anyone. In the end, it’s all about you. As we evolve and educate ourselves, we will seek to perfect this safe, energetic environment, where everyone feels accepted and respected. We are not here to kiss your butt, only to kick it if that’s what you need. We need you, because face it, our planet wouldn’t be the same without you. You belong!

The Judgement Free Zone® (haha, they misspelled Judgment on their Corporate page, LOL)
As the most innovative health club brand in the United States, Planet Fitness is known for a lot of things – our absurdly low prices, our Lunk™ Alarm, and most of all perhaps, for our Judgement Free Zone® philosophy, which means members can relax, get in shape, and have fun without being subjected to the hard-core, look-at-me attitude that exists in too many gyms."

Now, I understand that for some people, it can discouraging to work out alongside body builders and model-esque women. I get that, and can see the need for a place where people can work out without judgment. However, here we have a gym full of overweight people (body builders and skinny people are not allowed). Now, in my limited experience, and mostly just my own, putting a bowl of free candy out is a bad idea! It's like inviting a friend over for dinner, a recovering alcoholic, and putting a glass of wine at his chair. Oh sure, you can tell him all you want "don't feel pressure to drink it, it's your choice, I won't feel bad, etc, blah-blah-blah, ad nauseam." Or smoking around someone who is trying to quit, and offering them a pack too. Isn't the sugar/candy/food the reason these people are overweight and obese? So why are they supplying them with their drug? Some of it FOR FREE!?

My mom brought up a story she had seen (also on this weight loss show) about a school that sold all kinds of junk food to the students. When pressed on why the administrators allowed this sort of thing, they tried to make some lame excuse about there being some fruit on the list too, etc. What it really boils down to is the students were addicted to the sugar, to the "highly palatable foods" that the school was offering, and the school was making MONEY off of that addiction. They didn't want to stop offering junk food, because it was going to affect their pocketbook. No matter the effect it had on the students, sugar highs and drops, behavioral, obesity, ill health, etc. No, the almighty dollar ruled.

I wonder if this gym, which promotes themselves as this wonderful tool for weight loss and health recognizes the danger they present by supplying high sugar drinks (and probably other 'highly palatable' items: candy bars, etc) and free candy to their patrons. Or, if they even care? Is it the almighty dollar at work again? Keeping their clients fat so they come back? This, I do not know the answer to, however, I do think it is fair to point out the unhealthy irony. Just as an alcoholic cannot drink in moderation, a heroin addict cannot shoot up in moderation, a sugar or "highly palatable food" addict CANNOT eat those items in moderation.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

I Think . . .

I think I have a sugar addiction.

I am not sure how long this blog post will be. I feel I need to do some more exploring before I can fully express my thoughts, but I wanted to at least get the subject out there. I haven't had sugar in awhile. I mean, I suppose I have had some, but not this way. My daughter brought home a box of Girl Scout cookies the other day, and gave everybody one. Thinking nothing of it, I accepted one. It wasn't that great tasting at all really. However, since then, I have had an intense desire for more sugar. It is so intense. When I wake up in the middle of the night, I want sugar. During the day, when I am driving, watching a movie, feeding the baby. I want it badly. Sitting here typing about it, I am picturing exactly where in the kitchen I have more. It blocks my desire to eat anything else even. In fact, I found myself calculating the caloric value of some sugary treats so I could see if I could cut out some veggies or a meal to allow it. Yea, it's that bad.

I talked to my mom today, while she was walking 9 miles. Yeah. I talked to her a bit about this sugar thing. I did not ever think I had a food addiction or sugar addiction. I mean, I just like food, I can stop whenever I want to, etc. (Yea, THAT doesn't sound like a smoker or alcoholic!) I don't remember it being that bad stopping eating sugar. I don't even know if it was a conscious decision, versus a cost saving one, you know? But after that one cookie, I almost couldn't stop eating more. And I haven't been able to stop wanting more either. It's almost frightening how badly I want that sugar.

Last night we went to a birthday party. I knew there would be pizza and cake, so I made sure to allow myself calories to eat it. I had two slices of pizza, and a very small piece of cake, perfectly within reason. I didn't even finish the cake. I didn't like it (sorry to my friend!) But all the rest of the evening, I wanted more pizza. Today too. And the cake? My husband brought some home. I told my friend no thank you, we didn't need it, but I guess my hubby can't turn down free food. So now, this cake is in my kitchen calling my name. I didn't even like it. But I crave it, and pizza. WHY?!?! That I do not know, I don't understand the science behind it. But, I do know this. Something in the cake and cookies (sugar?) and something in the pizza must trigger something chemically in my brain or body to make me crave more of it. Especially, since I didn't even like the two sugary options when I had them.

I am starting to see the wisdom in my mother's method of 'dieting' (term used very, very loosely). She never cheats. With her, it's all or nothing. Maybe moderation is NOT a good idea. I didn't have these cravings until I had just a little. Is this what an alcoholic tries to do? "I'll just have ONE beer, and be responsible." Does that work for them? Or a smoker, "Instead of two packs a day, I will just do one." Do those types of responses lead to the addictee to being able to quit? I don't know. But I do know that trying to keep things in moderation this time around, is harder than just abstaining from the junk completely. And I fear I am addicted to it. As I try to picture myself never having cake again, and the sorrow, the deep sense of loss I feel. Like saying goodbye forever to a dear friend. Why have I made food my friend instead of real people? That's not right.

We were discussing the dangers of smoking and alcohol in the children' class on Sunday (discussing agency and choosing the right) and one of the teachers brought up a powerful point. Some people (maybe more, I don't know) have a genetic (perhaps) trigger to being addicted. One puff or sip might be all it takes to pull that trigger, and when that trigger is pulled, we give up our agency to choose. We then can't say no to having more. I am feeling the same way about sugar right now. I don't suppose I will ever stop wanting to eat it, but I hope the intense craving lessens over time.

I need to tie this into how our traditions make us fat, but I think that is a topic for another day.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

So, It's Been Awhile . . .

A lot has happened in the last two (almost) months. The day after my last post (November 30), my precious princess #3 was born (child #5). Miss W was 9 days late, but isn't a lady always a tad late, in order to make a grand entrance. Since then, we have battled illness after illness in our home. But, finally we are all healthy, and hopefully, it will STAY that way for a LONG time.

Lately, I have been studying/reading up on the topic of SHAME. And boy have my eyes been opened. There is a wonderful "shame researcher" on YouTube named Brene Brown. I recommend you ALL to watch her two videos from the "TED" conferences. I am also reading her book "The Gifts of Imperfections." And as I read them, I discover a lot of pain, and introspection, and stuff that I REALLY don't want to deal with.

I have a confession to make, I gained back pretty much everything I lost. That's right. I look and feel awful, again. And on the one hand, I feel like I kinda deserve it. Like, I am not worthy or deserving of looking and feeling good. And I am really struggling with LOTS of feelings of worthlessness and such. It's been quite a struggle, especially of late it seems. I hate the way I feel. And a lot of me hates myself. I want to be happy. I am tired of the struggle, of the work, of things being so hard for me and my family. And while I recognize and appreciate the blessings I have been given, I still struggle with those things making me feel happy. Brene talks about how we numb ourselves, with food, alcohol, prescription (and less savory) drugs, etc to avoid feeling things we don't like. And boy is that true for me. I don't like feeling worthless. I don't like feeling trapped. I don't like feeling unhappy. So I use food to medicate myself into NOT feeling those things. Food makes me feel good, if only for a short while. And that short while is WORTH it for me.

There is a meme floating around that says "Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels." I don't think that that is necessarily true. The prospect of being "skinny" does not feel as good to me as a nice, warm brownie. "Skinny" does not feel as good as it feels to mindlessly eat through a bag of candy or chips and to feel free of emotional stress and worry for just a few minutes. "Skinny" isn't enough for me.

But I am trying to remind myself why I started this blog, this journey, in the first place. I started this journey because I wanted to be able to play with my kids. I want to be able to sit on the floor and play, to run and jump with them, to be involved physically in their lives, right in the ring with them; not stuck on the sidelines. I want to live long enough to watch them all grow up and become upstanding adults, to watch them raise their own little families. To meet all of my grandkids, some great grandkids, and if I am lucky maybe a few great great grandkids. And you know what? Fat people die earlier. And, in my experience, fat people don't have very happy lives. The reason I started this blog was because I wanted to maybe inspire one person to try again, to lift one person to start anew, or to begin for the first time. And today I realized, that one person? The one person who decides that he or she can start again? That one person can be me. You know, if I am the only person that this blog helps get control, isn't that enough? Yes, I do believe it is.

And so, even though I am fallen so far back, even though I totally blew my 'diet' (term used loosely here) today, that doesn't me that tomorrow can't be better. It doesn't mean that I have to go into my kitchen and finish off that ice cream. It doesn't mean I have to throw in the towel on this day. For another hour and a half, this day is salvageable. So, here I go, back on the train. As long as I am alive, it is not too late to change, to make a difference.

Two things: I have joined a weight loss challenge. $10 to join, winner (highest percentage lost) takes all the money. And the other: I opened an account on Basically, it is a calorie counter. I like it because I don't have to count all my calories myself, it does it for me.  Oh, and also, I have found a video series on YouTube by 'CafeMomStudios." They have soooo many videos, like 30 minute cardio routines, 20 minute yoga, etc etc etc and so forth. While I still love my main man Mr. Simmons (you know I love you Richard), the videos I have of his are 45 minutes to an hour, and with my now 8 week old baby, I just don't have the time to devote all at once like that. I am hoping to be able to do a 30 minutes cardio in the morning, and a 20 minute yoga in the evenings.

So yea, I guess that's it for now. Welcome back to a live blog. And one more thing, I saw a meme the other day, which I will butcher horribly with paraphrasing, but essentially it said "Even if you are the slowest runner/walker, you are still lapping everybody on the couch." How true is that? No matter how slow you have to go, you are still doing better than you were before.